Top Stories

Canada’s firearms laws: Meet the Conservatives’ messenger


Words have always come easy to Raquel Dancho.

She remembers her parents saying she was less than a year old when she started stringing them together, speaking in short sentences.

“Everyone is born with natural gifts,” he said in an interview from his Parliament Hill office. “I’ve always been a good communicator.”

Today, Dancho is the federal Conservative Party’s leading voice on one of the country’s hottest topics: guns and crime.

The issue of gun control in the 2021 federal election backfired for former party leader Erin O’Toole. He angered supporters by backtracking on a promise to overturn the federal Liberals’ ban on so-called assault weapons after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attack.

After that campaign, O’Toole needed a communicator in parliament who could go toe-to-toe with the Liberals on the hard file, so as to avoid getting the party into trouble.

Enter Dancho, who was chosen two years ago at the age of 29 to represent the Kildonan-St. suburban Winnipeg. Paul:

His performance on the docket was impressive enough that he outlasted O’Toole and remains a critic of the party under current leader Pierre Poulevre, for whom tough crime is a top priority. This, despite O’Toole volunteering in 2020 and remaining neutral during the contest, which Polièvre won in 2022.

The former staff member of the Manitoba Legislature came from four generations of farmers and was raised in the tradition of hunting.

But Dancho said it was attending high school in Montreal that most informed his approach.

Entering McGill University in 2008, he said he felt like a “fish out of water,” not least because he knew how to drive a tractor when many around him didn’t even bother with a driver’s license.

Barack Obama had just been elected president of the United States, the Occupy movement was on the rise, and the streets of Montreal were filled with thousands of students protesting tuition hikes. According to Dancho, all the events showed him perspectives outside of his traditional upbringing. .

“You’re never going to please everyone with your opinions,” he said. “But I really try to pause and consider what the other side thinks about this and why they think that way, and talk to something that builds a bridge between the two. It’s a lot of thinking.”

When Stephen Harper led the Conservatives to a majority in the 2011 election, Dancho joked that he might be the only Tory voter living in his riding of Montreal, which neighbors Trudeau.

She recalled seeing herself in newly elected MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who was elected in a Calgary riding in her 30s. “It was the first time I felt. “Oh, I could do that too!”

More than a decade later, Rempel Garner is returning the praise. “He’s incredibly smart. He’s strong, quick on his feet,” Dancho said in a statement. “He can go as far as he wants.”

Dancho led the Conservative charge against the Liberals’ Bill C-21, which aims to ban handguns. It became a political mess for Trudeau last fall when Liberal MPs proposed an amendment to tighten the definition of prohibited weapons that critics, including First Nations leaders, warned would include popular shotguns. The change has been withdrawn.

Tracy Wilson, spokeswoman for the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights, admits she first saw Dancho as someone brought in to clean up the mess O’Toole created with gun owners on his base.

Instead, he presented himself as an expert and a man of strength, Wilson said. “He’s a real little bulldog.”

Wilson said part of Dancho’s effectiveness comes from the fact that he’s “not an older, white, angry guy,” which is the perception many have of a politician or lobbyist who speaks positively about guns. “A lot of women in her position might be on the other side of that debate.”

Dancho said that when he speaks, he wants gun owners to feel respected, but in a policy-focused way that earns the trust of non-gun owners in the suburbs and “especially women.”

Carlene Varian, a vice president at Summa Strategies and a former senior staffer in several Liberal cabinet ministers’ offices, said political parties know women bring their gun concerns to the ballot box. And statistics show that women face a greater risk of domestic and firearm violence.

Varian said he doubts putting a millennial woman in the Conservative gun message will affect people’s deeply held beliefs, but he still sees Dancho as one of the party’s most powerful MPs, and someone who can represent those who are “not white, male and middle class.” age”.

Dancho said it was a “great injustice” that young women remained the most underrepresented group in parliament.

She said she was inspired to see Family Minister Carina Gould become the first cabinet minister to give birth in office in 2018, and she supports hybrid measures the House of Commons has passed for lawmakers during the pandemic, such as remote app-based the vote.

“This is an absolute game changer,” he said. “I feel strongly about my support for this option, while respecting that you should be here as much as you can.”

Dancho said the job is a privilege, but it comes with “significant sacrifices for your family” and a heavy workload that requires a strict regimen to maintain.

It also comes with its share of vitriol, though she said she doesn’t let it get to her.

After returning to Manitoba from Quebec, Dancho worked in politics. In 2016, as a young Progressive Conservative worker, she found herself running in the state’s most secure NDP riding as a “sacrificial lamb candidate,” as she put it.

When going around neighborhoods, “I’d get to the next door before they yelled at me,” he said. “It made me very tough.”

Dancho later brought his assertive attitude and burgeoning political skills to a pair of contests few predicted he would win, defeating the daughter of a former MP in the Conservative nomination race before defeating an incumbent Liberal MP.

Both times Dancho said he was advised to be ashamed.

“Here we are.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 11, 2023.

#Canadas #firearms #laws #Meet #Conservatives #messenger

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button