It was recently brought to my attention that an anti-gun control lobby group had set up a webpage, the Turf Mark Holland (2015) webpage (TMH2.org) looking to elicit support (financial and otherwise) for those Conservative candidates in the upcoming election that “…who have shown an affinity for our cause”. One of those candidates that the group is seeking to support is Tim Laidler, our local Conservative candidate in the newly established riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. The link to the “Elect Tim Laidler” page can be found here (a screen shot is posted below). As one can see, the page is largely a repost of the materials found on Mr. Laidler’s campaign webpage. The presence of the page is somewhat interesting in itself as it’s mere existence has a number of implications in regards to the nature of Mr. Laidler’s views on firearms and gun control issues.
The origins of the original “Turf Mark Holland” movement can be found here (see page 14). The group was originally set up as a crowd sourcing effort on the part of gun owners and their supporters to oust Mark Holland, a vocal Liberal “anti-gun crusader” who was running for the federal Liberals in Ajax, Ontario. The movement was ultimately successful in their goal. The current new TMH2.org webpage was set up to build on the success of the original movement by seeking to help elect Conservative candidates who support their cause and to support those candidates running against candidates who largely do not support their views. The fact that the TMH2.org website has chosen to support Mr. Laidler would likely suggest that Mr. Laidler’s views on gun control align more closely with the stronger elements of the anti-gun control lobby as these types of lobby groups do not generally tend to support those candidates that have predominantly moderate views.
Researching Mr. Laidler’s potential association with anti-gun control lobby groups, I came across a number of references (here and here) to Mr. Laidler’s EDA (Electoral District Association) (in this case the Port Moody-Coquitlam EDA) having a “strong gun owner contingent”. Reviewing some of the past posts from Mr. Laidler’s (and others) appears to suggest that Mr. Laidler is, and has been, associated with a number of pro-gun individuals, groups, and events.
B.C. Rod and Gun Show – Rod & Gun Swap, April 17-19, 2015, Coverdale Fairgrounds
For those not following Mr. Laidler’s campaign closely, a number of Conservative candidates including Tim Laidler (Conservative candidate for Port Moody-Coquitlam), Mike Little (Conservative Candidate for Burnaby-North Seymour), and Dean Drysdale (Conservative Candidate in Coverdale-Langley), and Chloe Ellis (Conservative candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby) as well as several volunteers manned a booth at the recent B.C. Rod and Gun show in Coverdale which ran from April 17-19, 2015. As photos from the event show, extensive campaign materials for the Conservative Party were readily available at the booth.
June 12, 2015 Bob Sopuck’s Speaking Engagement Hosted by Chloe Ellis and Tim Laidler
Those following Mr. Laidler’s campaign closely will also be aware that Mr. Laidler (the Conservative candidate in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam), and Chloe Ellis (the Conservative candidate in the riding of New Westminster-Burnaby), along with their EDAs recently co-hosted MP Robert Sopuck, the Conservative MP for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette and Chair of the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus for a speaking engagement at the River’s Reach Pub in New Westminster on June 12, 2015. According to the invite posted by the Conservative Party, Mr. Sopuck was to “offer remarks in regards to hunting, angling, sports shooting, the Common Sense Firearms Act (Bill C-42) and Canadian heritage activities in Canada and meet with guests”. Nowhere in the original event invite does it suggest that the event is a fundraiser although that might be implicit.
This meeting was characterized quite differently on the Gun Owners of Canada Forum where it was described as the following:
“We are having Conservative ‘gun talk’ fundraiser in New Westminster on Friday, June 12 – I would encourage all politically active Metro Vancouver shooters to come out to the event.”
Another page on the Gun Owners of Canada Forum suggests that the National Firearm Association Field Officer and one of the owners of CTCSupplies were running the event. Interestingly, not the Conservative Party. In fact, there are numerous references out there to other individuals claiming to run the event other than the Conservative Party itself.
Notable about both the B.C. Rod and Gun Show and the Bob Sopuck event is the involvement (in helping organize) and (at least in the case of the B.C. Rod and Gun Show), the physical presence of Mr. Philip Chau. Interestingly. Mr. Philip Chau (aka Keung Chau) is, according to one of the posters on the Gunownwersofcanada.ca message board, a director of Tim Laidler’s Conservative riding association, and is, along with a business partner from Burnaby, one of the principals in the online firearm and firearm accessories website Canadian Tactical Cowboy Supplies Ltd. or CTCSupplies.ca (below is a screen shot from the site).
Mr. Chau is also a principal in Washington Tactical Supplies, LLC which operates in Washington State.
Followers of local civic politics in the Tri-Cities area will recognize Mr. Chau’s name from the recently released third party sponsor disclosure statements from the last Civic Election (note the contributors to Mr. Chau’s advertising campaign on the last page BTW), from his letters to the Tri-Cities Now Newspaper complaining about slate politics in the Tri-Cities, from the “NoSlatesTriCities” print ads that appeared in the Now Newspaper such as this one (see below) which appeared in the Tri-Cities Now Newspaper on November 14, 2014.
and his apparent association with the “NoSlatesTriCities.ca” website that appeared and promptly disappeared after the civic election was over. Below is a screenshot of the NationBuilder webpage showing Mr. Chau as the registered sponsor under LECFA of the website.
This may be the source of the comments about the strong gun owner contingent as part of the EDA as Mr. Chau appears to be very active within the gun lobby community.
Interestingly, it appears that it is not only Port Moody-Coquitlam that appears to have a strong gun owner’s contingent within its EDA. It also appears that Donald Sohm, director of the Port Coquitlam Hunting and Fishing Club (Poco Fish and Game), the B.C. Field Officer for Canada’s National Firearms Association, and an avid firearms enthusiast, similar to Mr. Chau, is also board member of a Conservative EDA, this time the New Westminster Burnaby Conservative EDA (see below).
In reality it is very likely that Mr. Sopuck’s speaking engagement was actually set up (as they both claim) by Mr. Sohm (acting on behalf of [or at least in association with] the New Westminster-Burnaby Conservative EDA) and Mr. Chau (acting on behalf of [or at least in association with] for the Port Moody-Coquitlam Conservative EDA). It should be remembered that Chloe Ellis also took part in the Rod and Gun Show and co-hosted the speaking engagement for Bob Sopuck with Tim Laidler suggesting that she and her EDA (through Mr. Sohm) may also have close ties to the firearm enthusiast community.
An element to consider, in hindsight and given the information above, is did Mr. Laidler have a potential leg up in the nomination race over Janine Davies, as well as the other candidates in the nomination process given his military background and given the makeup of the EDA which has been described as having “a strong gun owners contingent”? Could this possibly be another reason to help explain why Mr. Laidler, a candidate with apparently strong views on gun issues, chose to run in Port Moody-Coquitlam when he clearly had much stronger ties politically to the NPA and the BC Liberals in the City of Vancouver? Would a strong pro-gun candidate have had a less of a chance to be elected in the largely “big L” Liberal Vancouver?
“Tim believes in: the right for law abiding citizens to own and possess firearms. He understands the serious flaws of the Firearms Act and supports correcting the problems.”
I was unable to find this quote anywhere on Mr. Laidler’s webpage or in any of the campaign materials that had been so far distributed. Perhaps it was available at the gun show? I’m not sure.
I should note that I personally have what I would consider largely moderate views when it comes to guns and gun control having worked professionally around food hunters for many years and in very dangerous situations in the woods in which an armed assistant and the presence of firearms was very welcome. However, I do understand that a candidate’s support for or opposition to gun control laws can be a deal breaker for many voters no matter which side of the gun control debate that you fall on and I present the information above to let the interested voter decide if Mr. Laidler and/or Ms. Ellis are candidates worth supporting (in regards to this issue).
Astutely recognizing the potential pitfalls politically of taking a stand one way or the other on gun control issues during an election year, one of the posters on the Gunownersofcanada.ca forum asked a fellow forum member “Has anyone contacted Tim Laidler about whether he wants the open support of gun owners?” I would suggest that this question as it relates to Mr. Laidler and by extension, to Ms. Ellis appears to have been answered. Given the ties identified above, one wonders if it is only a matter of time before an “Elect Chloe Ellis” page might also eventually appear on the TMH2.org website as well.
Edit: It appears that since the initial publishing of this post that the “Elect Tim Laidler” page on the TMH2.org webpage has been deleted (or at least has gone into hibernation).