Oral arguments before Federal Court Associate Chief Justice Jocelyne Gagné were made via Zoom conference all day on January 18, 2021. Lawyers for the three Applicants – CCFR (Miss L. Warner), us (Mr. A. Bouchelev), and self-represented Christine Generoux – presented first. This was followed by responses from three lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada. Our lawyers were then allotted brief final responses to the AGC’s arguments. The oral arguments highlighted various details of the filed written submissions.
There were 1000 people logged into this Zoom session, making it the largest attended Federal court hearing in Canadian history. It was really amazing that everything went over without a hitch. Many more people were registered but unfortunately they could not all be accommodated.
This hearing was the culmination of many months of complex legal work. We thank everyone who has contributed to our fundraising, and we continue to encourage donations. No amount is too small!
Our lawyer, Arkadi Bouchelev, argued that the May 1st, 2020 regulation should be stayed pending the adjudication of our case on the merits. We are currently waiting for the Associate Chief Justice to release her decision. A few key takeaways from the hearing:
– This was the highest attended Federal Court hearing in history;
– The government essentially admitted that the term “variant” was left undefined to keep firearm manufacturers from complying with the law;
– The government has admitted that the Firearms Reference Table (FRT) is not legally binding;
– The RCMP does not actually have a concrete, written definition of “variant” – the way the term it is applied depends on the firearm in question; and
– The government’s witness, Murray Smith, former manager of the RCMP SFSS unit that administers the FRT, has confirmed that he opposed including the definition of “variant” in the Criminal Code.
The AGC’s arguments were made in support of their contention that our application for the injunction does not satisfy the three necessary requirements:
- It must be a serious case (not trivial or vexatious);
- The applicant must suffer an irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted;
- The requested relief must satisfy the so-called balance of convenience, i.e. that of the public safety interest against our interests.
Needless to say our position is that we do indeed satisfy those requirements.
Associate Chief Justice Gagné reserved her decision without giving any indication of when she will render it. We interpret this as a good sign that the Court’s decision will be very carefully considered.