POLITICS
03/29/2012 11:02 EDT | Updated 05/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan MP Accused Of Promoting Gun-Toting Youths

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Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz is under fire for allegedly promoting the notion that young people should carry guns, an accusation he denies.

The allegation came from Liberal MP Judy Foote, who raised the issue during question period in the House of Commons.

"The member from Yorkton-Melville told a classroom of Ottawa high school students, some as young as 14, that all Canadians should carry firearms, and girls in particular should be armed to protect themselves from sexual assault," said Foote, who represents the Newfoundland riding of Random-Burin-St. George's.

Breitkreuz, however, claimed the allegation was off base.

"It's totally without foundation," he said. "I would invite the member to apologize and withdraw her statement right now."

Foote's assertion related to remarks Breitkreuz supposedly made to a group of Grade 10 students.

A letter, penned by the parent of one of the students, alleged that Breitkreuz delivered a pro-gun message to the teens.

Dianna Sakisheway's letter was written March 28 and a copy was provided to CBC News. A copy was also sent to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as well as Breitkreuz, and the opposition parties in Ottawa.

It expressed outrage at what she said her 14-year-old daughter heard when the MP spoke at Canterbury High School on March 7.

"Garry Breitkreuz ... promoted gun violence," she claimed. "Mr. Breitkreuz made charged statements to the youth that were emotionally provoking and intellectually confusing."

While the letter expressed outrage over a pro-gun message, it did not directly quote Breitkreuz.

The letter also did not make any reference to young people carrying guns to protect themselves from sexual assault.

It spoke more generally about guns and safety, claiming that the federal government was delivering a message to youth, that "everyone in Canada should carry a weapon, preferably a firearm, because then we would live in a safer society."

The letter then went on to promote the long-gun registry.

Breitkreuz has been critical of the gun registry for years and the Conservatives have vowed to scrap it.

Foote attempted to table the letter in the House of Commons, but there was no unanimous consent for that.

CORRECTION: Due to a caption error from The Canadian Press, a previous version of this story incorrectly included a photo of Conservative MP Rick Norlock. The photo has been removed and a photo of Garry Breitkreuz has been added.

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