Trudeau Faces Growing Caucus Revolt Over Gun Control

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing a growing caucus revolt from his rural Members of Parliament (MP) over the government’s proposed gun legislation.

The Hill Times reports that the proposed law is “scaring the hell out of the Liberal caucus.”

Trudeau was reportedly furious with a backbench Liberal MP at a recent caucus meeting for suggesting the prime minister only talked to his political staff about the coming bill and not the MPs who have to sell it to their constituents.

The Liberal-leaning Toronto Star dismissed the caucus critics as “nervous Nellies” and urged Trudeau to press ahead with his gun legislation.

The legislation was discussed last week at gun violence summit in Ottawa. It will make it easier for the government to retroactively strip law-abiding gun owners of their firearms for a variety of reasons. Many Liberal MPs say the bill goes too far in a country that already has some of the most stringent gun laws in the world and will not be popular with constituents — especially in the vast Canadian hinterland.

Moreover, Liberal MPs say Trudeau’s fury was unacceptable and contrary to his public image of the easy-going, sometimes insouciant leader. Liberal sources told the Hill Times that Trudeau’s wrath was unleashed against New Brunswick MP Thomas Harvey, the chairman of the Liberal’s rural caucus, who dared to question Trudeau’s gun law.

“Justin was much too vitriolic and attacked him,” an unnamed Liberal MP told The Hill Times in reference to the exchange. “We’re also supposed to have the right to voice our opinion.”

Although Harvey has not commented on the dressing-down he reportedly received — citing caucus confidentiality — other MPs also told The Hill Times that Trudeau rejected any criticism over the gun control bill and insisted the government had received “robust, more than sufficient consultation” and did not require any further comment. Apparently, Trudeau’s lecture did not go over well with the rank and file who said the prime minister’s know-it-all attitude is unacceptable, given that the gun control bill is “scaring the hell out of the Liberal caucus.”

According to The Hill Times report, MPs are also growing tired of the continual presence of Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and chief of staff, Katie Telford at the caucus meetings that are supposed to be reserved for elected representatives and not for political staffers.

Butts, who represents the left-wing of the party, recently defended Trudeau’s now infamous remark about saying “peoplekind, not mankind” by suggesting critics were all “Nazis.”

“There needs to be more time where only elected representatives are in the room,” the MP told The Hill Times.

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