Updated: May 26, 2021
Pam Damoff, Liberal MP for Oakville North—Burlington, is no stranger to controversial remarks when it comes to the NFA, Canada's leading firearms advocacy group.
"Erin O’Toole is backed by the Canadian NRA. It’s led by a director [Sheldon Clare] of the local Conservative Association who attends anti-mask rallies and continues to disparage women. They’re calling the pandemic part of a Liberal conspiracy theory. When will the #CPC condemn them?," the MP wrote on Twitter.
In a response to TBT, Sheldon Clare, President of the National Firearms Association, pointed out to that he is not a director of an Conservative Association and that he has run an independent candidate in a previous election.
Critics immediately took to calling out Damoff. "Disparage women? Like Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Leona Alleslev , Rose Knight and women in the military? That kind of disparaging women or is there another kind?" wrote one commenter, referring to the number of controversies under the Liberal government.
This isn't the first incident involving Damoff against the NFA. Back in February, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and Security, under a vote initiated by Damoff, moved to censure NFA President Sheldon Clare over comments made on the NFA Talk podcast.
Damoff suggested that Clare made a remark about "constructing guillotines again" when referring to the government. “This kind of language is dangerous. Sharing these comments on their platform … can lead to violence,” Damoff told her fellow members of committee. “As we saw in the United States, the storming of the U.S. Capitol by an armed mob was spurred on by similar language. These calls for violence against those who want a safer community are not tolerable, and it is incumbent on all of us to condemn them.”
"I think we need to take a stand," Damoff continued. "We need to shut down this kind of language, this way of talking and thinking that's OK to talk about building guillotines and laughing about those kinds of comments in a public forum."
Conservative MPs abstained from supporting the motion. MP Shannon Stubbs argued that Clare's comments were taken out of context, but that didn't stop the motion from going through. Charles Zach, Executive Director of the NFA, provided us with additional commentary.
"I've been trying to have a communication with Damoff for years, and she's refused. That's perplexing to me. We live in a representative democracy—I didn't vote for her, but she should be representing us all. That's certainly not the case. I'm not trying to chastise the MPs, but my intent as a lobbyist for the NFA is to make them see a different perspective. I've left voicemails and emails to Damoff, all with no answer. Finally, I resorted by going to a local newspaper and telling them that my representative, Damoff, wouldn't respond to me. That afternoon, I got a letter form Pam restating her views on gun control. That's the sort of relationship we have. Since then, every time an election rolls around, she'll ban me on her social media so I can't comment on her posts. Pam [Damoff] is your typical ambulance chaser—I knew her back as a councilor in Oakville. She's not a politician trying to represent her constituents; she's an activist. That's her modus operandi."
Zach also spoke about the incident some months back. "Her office called the police and made a report against me personally for the incident in February; the police called it a "frivolous charge" that didn't merit investigation, and I apologized on behalf of Pam for having wasted their time. She's misused her station on the committee to gaslight me and to put out false accusations - and this can potentially have ramifications for me in terms of my firearms license. In short, she's the personification of what's wrong with politics today. She doesn't play the role of a representative and doesn't understand how a democracy works. She's unapologetic, not wanting to listen or hear another side of the truth. She is truly dangerous, spreading misinformation without any accountability. In short, she's lost the moral authority to govern."