Gun Rights Activists Bruce & Donna Montague Reach Settlement That Saves Their Home

By Derek James From

Bruce and Donna Montague
Bruce and Donna Montague
Canadian Shooting Sports Association
Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Etobicoke, ON -(AmmoLand.com)- Bruce and Donna Montague’s 10-year fight to save their home from the Government of Ontario is finally over.

They have accepted a settlement and the Honorable Mr. Justice Shaw of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice completely dismissed the civil forfeiture action against their home.

The Montagues live near Kenora, Ontario, where they once owned and operated a gunsmith business.  Like so many other hard-working Canadians, all they wanted to do was earn a living and raise their family with as little interference as possible from an intrusive government.

Bruce and Donna began publicly and peacefully protesting Canada’s firearms laws after the federal government introduced Bill C-68 in 1995—which they viewed as an unconstitutional attack on the rights of law-abiding firearms owners.

After years of activism with no noticeable results, the Montagues decided to put their convictions to the test.  In 2002, Bruce deliberately let his firearms license expire.  Donna did the same shortly after.  There is no question that they would have been permitted to renew these licences had they chosen to do so, yet they deliberately chose not to as an act of civil disobedience.

Their goal was to get themselves arrested and challenge the constitutionality of the law in court.

As they’d anticipated, Bruce and Donna were arrested and charged with various Criminal Code firearms offences.  Bruce did not dispute the fact that he had broken the law.

As he later told the media, “I broke the law, I did it on purpose.  What I was challenging was the law wasn’t valid in the first place.”

At the end of their criminal proceedings, Bruce was convicted of 26 firearms offences—none for being a threat to the public peace.  He was sentenced to 18 months in prison with a lifetime ban on possessing firearms.  Donna was convicted of a single possession offence and sentenced to six months probation.  They also lost nearly all their business inventory, including firearms and ammunition.

This was not the result that the Montagues had hoped for, yet it was not entirely unexpected.  It was the price they were prepared to pay for their principled stand.

But what came as a shock was that Ontario’s Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities (CRIA) office, which is responsible for enforcing the province’s civil forfeiture legislation, initiated its own separate legal proceeding in 2005 to seize the Montagues’ family home.  After everything else that had happened to them already, the prospect of being homeless was devastating for Bruce and Donna.

Shortly after the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) got involved in the Montagues’ defense, the CRIA office sent them a ludicrous offer to settle the civil forfeiture action out of court.  It stipulated that the CRIA office would permit the Montagues to keep their home if they paid $50,000 to the Ontario government and agreed never to talk about it publicly.

This offer raised some very important questions:

  • Is this sort of behavior a standard practice for Ontario’s CRIA office?
  • Are Ontarians routinely silenced by the threat of civil forfeiture applications in order to secure cash payments?
  • If this is happening to other Ontarians, it is deeply disturbing.

There was simply no chance that Bruce and Donna would ever accept this offer, so they prepared to go to court to fight to keep their home.

After nearly two years of legal wrangling, and with the CCF in their corner, the Montagues accepted a settlement offer from the CRIA office.  And on June 16, 2016, the Honorable Mr. Justice Shaw of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice completely dismissed the civil forfeiture action against their home.

Bruce and Donna will not have to defend themselves in court again.  They will get to keep the home they built.  They will not be forced to pay $50,000 into a government bank account.  And they are free to speak openly about all that has happened to them since that fateful day in 2002 when they decided to put their convictions to the test.

To their credit, the Montagues stood their ground and didn’t flinch even when faced with the daunting prospect of being made homeless.  By doing so, they have done all Canadians a great service by bringing the abuse of civil forfeiture laws into the light and under public scrutiny.

This result has only been possible because of the generous donations to the CCF from individuals who were outraged with how the Government of Ontario was treating Bruce and Donna.  And with your help, we can continue to help the Montagues as they fight to have the property seized from their house returned to them.

Thank you for your support, and please consider donating online at www.theccf.ca.

Derek James From is a lawyer with the Canadian Constitution Foundation in Calgary.

About CSSA:

The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.

For more information, visit the website at www.cdnshootingsports.org.

  • 11 thoughts on “Gun Rights Activists Bruce & Donna Montague Reach Settlement That Saves Their Home

    1. Try not paying your property taxes and see who owns your home and property. The truth is that eventually the Government will own your property and the assumption is that you will not live forever but the Government will! We just sort of pay rent and hope for a happy life.

    2. Sadly, our government is doing the exact same things to us as well. When laws are passed that incentivize the government to steal from the people, they will steal from the people. The people that need to read will not ever see it though, as they have their heads buried in iPhone, playing Angry Birds.

    3. Good for those folks but it is really sad and disgusting what they had to go through and the chance of the gov’t STEALING their home for pete’s sake! Sounds like good old home here in the wonderful US of A. . . Wake Up People.

        1. They “have to” enforce the law against the ‘law abiding’…other wise…they’d have to enforce it against themselves…you know…”the real criminals”.

    4. Typical of a government that is too big and too strong. This is what we have in America now as well. If we don’t stop this now, we in America can look forward to this same thing with our right to bear arms.

    5. Notice how an unjust government, that knows it is wrong…will threaten to take virtually everything from you…and then just about always settle out of court, but…only if you sign a statement not to talk about it? I do believe our government does the same, but we don’t hear about it…cause no one can talk about it and if they do…it’s jail time with no end in sight.
      Bastards.

    6. “They have lying, cheating, thieving liberals in Canada too? Isn’t that where the American chicken ex-President Bill went during the Vietnam war?”

      Fixed that for ya.

      1. You forgot about the “Tories” that “escaped” to Canada, at their invite, after we “escorted” the Brits out of America back in the last 1700’s. Ontario province was the new home to a large number of them who remained loyal to the British Crown. It seems they preferred to retain their loyalty to a government that had a mind to tell us how we should live.

        Interesting to note how our present government have far surpassed anything George Three the Kid did back then……

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