Living in rural Canada is getting deadlier as residents of a Northern Alberta town describe themselves as being in a war.
But the Liberals aren't making it any easier for us to save our own lives.
Conklin is an oil patch town of about 200 people on the way to Fort Mac, and it is spiraling into lawlessness and crime.
A CBC article detailed the dangers faced by one family who runs an oilfield company, Renegade Gas and Oilfield Services, based in Conklin:
“Terry Mills's truck sped into the yard at 3:45 a.m. MT on Nov. 8, 2018, confronting the thieves who had smashed their vehicles through the chained gate. They were there to steal gas again. Mills nudged one of the cars with his hood then ducked when he noticed the rifle poking through a window aimed at his head. The robbers sped off, but Mills and a security guard were soon speeding after a black car on the snowy highway.”
Now, this could be the scene in any small town community on the prairies these days because the crime rate is 38 percent higher in rural Alberta than it is in urban areas, according to a recent report released by Statistics Canada.
Criminals know that for rural Canadians when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
However, in places like Conklin, it's even worse. The closest RCMP detachment is 140 kms away, approximately an hour and a half drive.
The CBC article about Conklin’s crime plague highlighted another problem: Canadians cannot defend themselves with firearms without risking serious charges.
“That's when he started popping shots,” Mills recalled. “We're on the phone with the RCMP from Lac La Biche. And I told them, they're heading their way. They should intercept him. And then I said the guy was shooting at us. The officer said 'If you shoot at him, I'm going to charge you with manslaughter.' I said I'm not shooting at him. He's shooting at us.”
To combat rising crime rates, the Liberals have passed overreaching gun legislation, Bill C71. The law subjects lawful firearms owners to increased scrutiny and background checks and, based on demographics of gun ownership, unfairly targets those who are most likely to be victimized by rampant criminality: rural Canadians, and especially those in isolated communities like Conklin.
C-71 will do nothing to inconvenience the criminals who shot at Terry Mills as he was on the line with the police that night.
But if Terry Mills owns a rifle, his life just got a little harder.