Saskatoon

Gun range rejects PPC candidates' shooting competition

Two People's Party of Canada candidates' plan to solve an impasse with a shooting competition at a gun range hit a snag on Tuesday when the range said they wouldn't allow it.

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation spokesperson says the organization had no prior knowledge of the event

Robert Freberg, spokesperson for the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation, says the shooting competition was announced without input from the club's board of directors. (CBC)

Two People's Party of Canada candidates' plan to solve an impasse with a shooting competition at a gun range hit a snag on Tuesday when the range said they wouldn't allow it.

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation (SWF) spokesperson Robert Freberg said the organization had no prior knowledge of the event at its shooting range.

"If you were going to have a bonspiel, you would phone the curling rink…. You wouldn't announce you were going to have a bonspiel and just show up and do it."'

Guto Penteado is PPC candidate for Saskatoon-University and Mark Friesen is the candidate for Saskatoon-Grasswood. The party was invited to a Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce debate later this month and they decided to choose who would go by a skills competition.

The poster for the shootout between Mark Friesen and Guto Pentaedo says the event would be on Monday, Sept. 2, but it was postponed to Tuesday, Sept. 3. (Mark Friesen PPC/Facebook)

The skills competition went ahead at a private acreage. Friesen and Penteado previously said the competition would be streamed live on Facebook but posted a video after the competition was completed saying they didn't livestream it because the property owners had privacy concerns.

Freberg said the range's bylaws prohibits photography or media events without prior approval by the board. The candidates would have had to arrange releases from anyone who was there at the time of filming or set it up in an area where no one else would be in the shot.

"The main reason for that is just to provide privacy and confidentiality for our members."

Freberg also said neither Penteado nor Friesen are currently members of the range.

Friesen said in a video he posted online that he went to the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation offices Tuesday morning to renew his membership but was told his membership was now under review. He said the staff gave him no reason why.

Not a political stance

If the SWF had advance knowledge of the event, Freberg said they would have put it to the board about whether to host it. He said not allowing the competition wasn't taking a political stance — their organization works with all political parties. It came down to the lack of communication about the plans beforehand.

"I'm sure we have members there that aren't happy with us because we didn't support this event but, you know, we didn't get an opportunity to decide whether we were going to support or not support it."

Freberg also said they want to put the right message forward about the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation.

While speaking to CBC about the event, Penteado described himself as a redneck. Freberg takes issue with that description.

"We're far from rednecks…. I can't speak for all 2,500 of our members but myself and many of the other board members really take offence to that terminology."

He described the organization as "very progressive," saying there are lots of female members and that they do a lot of community work including coaching young athletes participating in the Indigenous Games.

"We want to make sure, particularly in today's society where there's such a negative connotation toward firearms, we take the high road, and that's our intention."

Mark Friesen, PPC candidate for Saskatoon-Grasswood, won the competition and will be representing the party at the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce debate on Sept. 10.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, CBC Saskatchewan, and CBC North; and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca

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