Since its inception back in 1999, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association has held a fundraising dinner which has since become known as a “Stick to your Guns” dinner. Originally an annual event, this dinner has been expanded to be held several times a year in various locations across Canada. These dinners have had such notable speakers like Sandra Froman (former NRA President, 2005-2007), and long time supporter and a true friend to Canadian firearms owners, MP Garry Breitkreuz. In recent years a specific annual version has become linked with the CSSA’s Annual General Meeting, and this one was held on April 28th in Gatineau, Quebec.
The last time the author was in the region, the city of Hull had not been amalgamated into Gatineau and the author had barely begun to become involved with firearms. It seems so long ago, but the city and region hold many worthwhile attractions for visitors. So if you get a chance, please ensure that you visit one of the many museums in the area. Now, as this was to be the first of the CSSA AGM’s held in the province of Quebec, there was some anxious times for organizers leading up to the event as turnout was an unknown factor, but all the their worries were for naught. Nearly ninety (90) individuals braved the somewhat chilly weather to attend the CSSA AGM, of which roughly half were from the province of Quebec. With many questions asked by individuals in attendance and a great wealth of information about the efforts of the CSSA, the AGM was alive and resulted in a large volume of information disseminated to those in attendance. As always the CSSA is humbled by the sheer volume of support from its membership, and hopes to be able to do even more in the coming months and years both domestically and abroad.
With the AGM wrapping up just after noon on the Saturday, the CSSA had decided to arrange a tour of parliament for the late afternoon prior to the fundraising dinner and this was available for attendees of the AGM. TPF was unable to attend the tour, but had heard that the tour was phenomenal with people being right on the House of Commons floor and sitting in both the seats of the Honorable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House as well as the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The entire structure of the parliament building is a monument to history and grand construction of generations gone by. With exquisite stonework and inlaid patterning, it is amazing how well made the building is when one considers that the wiring and plumbing is nearly completely hidden from casual sight as you walk through out the building.
At 6:00pm the “Stick to your Guns” dinner officially opened and began the festive evening, with it being the first CSSA fundraising dinner since the historic April 5th, 2012. This was officially coined as the 1st Annual Dead Registry Celebration, as it occurred mere weeks after the historic passing of Bill C-19. Even with some last-minute scrambling for setting up the prize tables, the evening proceeded with very little snags and errors. With Tony Bernardo being the Master of Ceremonies and Mr. Brian Lovig of the Daily Split being a co-host, the evening was anything but dull. Not one, but TWO speakers were in attendance that evening with Mr. Garry Breitkreuz being the initial speaker and telling about the trials and efforts that have been endured and overcome by the CSSA and those who believe in firearms freedom. The keynote speaker was mister Phil Morlock, one of North America’s leading experts in promoting heritage outdoors activities that include hunting, sport shooting, fishing and trapping. The praise which came from the mouths of these two individuals was humbling to the CSSA but also invigorated those in attendance to continue to stand up and fight for the Canadian firearms community.
With good food and nearly one hundred attendees, the dinner started off on a great note and the sheer number of prizes were astounding. There were many spectacular prizes available and the top ones were two of the four rifles available that evening. To quote the host’s repeated mantra, “Did we mention that these rifles were UNREGISTERED?” Many thanks to those who won the Chaparral Winchester Model 1866, the Carl Gustav 63 target rifle, and the plethora of prizes that were available. Many thanks must also go to Mr. Brian Lovig for his professional assistance in auctioning off some prizes, such as the Model 1866, to the attendees. Some of the raffle draws were very well received and quite innovative such as the Joker Draw which was a beautiful stainless Ruger 10-22 rifle with laminated wood stock. The catch? There were only 12 tickets available so it was a 1 in 12 chance to win. Just amazing and so well received by the audience.
A special thanks to the following for their support and help in what was a truly extraordinary evening. These companies and individuals are part of Team CSSA and contribute to the success of the organization to keep the fight in the face of the gun grabbers and ensuring what is accomplished is lasting and stays beneficial for Canadians.
- John St. Amour, Marstar Canada
- John Mock, Stoeger Canada
- Bob Nichols, R. Nichols
- Daniel Legault, Browning Canada
- Anthony Toryni, Trade Ex Canada
- Ken McRory, Vortex Optics Canada
- Brandon Bulter, Battenfeld Technologies (Caldwell/Tipton)
- Ben Krete, The Gun Centre
- Mandy Esteves, Shooting Chrony Inc
- Dave Landsborough, Triggers and Bows
- Lee Morgan, Gunzilla Canada
- Tony Bernardo, Canadian Institute for Legislative Action
- Brian Lovig, The Daily Split
- Garry Breitkreuz, CPC Member of Parliament for Yorkton-Melville
- Hornady, Kershaw, Forster, Lyman, and several more companies
- Luc Thivierge, Chris Youngson, Norm Lapierre, and so many more individuals
After all the food had been eaten and all the prizes had been doled out to winning attendees, the evening was far from finished. The CSSA went the extra step and provided a live band for the remainder of the night. “Reloaded” was a garage band made up of some veteran and professional talent from the ranks of the CSSA itself. Armed with his Gretsch guitar, Tony Bernardo lead the group with professionalism, Rob Alexander invoked his keyboard with practiced skill, Brant Scott wailed with purpose on drums and Dave Weston put up the backbone bass with fingers flying. With the occasionally addition vocals provided by Tony’s daughter, Kira; the night was filled with electricity and was possibly the finishing stroke in completing a picture perfect day of energy and enthusiasm.
Many thanks to all who helped make the entire day a memorable one and hopefully TPF will see you again next year at yet another CSSA AGM, if not sooner at more of these fund-raising dinners.