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Tipsheet

As Canada Prepares to Confiscate Guns, Some Provinces Rebel Against the Policy

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada's government is coming for people’s firearms. There will be a mass gun confiscation program, as his administration banned some 1,500 firearms with a freeze on handgun sales for the time being. Gun control advocates up north have long advocated for a handgun ban, which could be the next step amid Trudeau’s anti-gun crusade. It’s estimated that some 150,000 legally registered firearms are scheduled to be seized by the government. The rash of new gun laws comes after the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooter, which left 22 people dead. The shooter, Gabriel Wortman, was later killed by police.

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These new anti-gun measures were proposed but not passed until after the 2021 Canadian federal election, where Trudeau’s government hung onto power. One of their promises is to enact stricter gun control laws. The rough draft of the proposal called for a voluntary gun buyback policy, a fancy word for confiscation. Now, fresh off an election win, it’s a mandatory act, though some provinces will not assist in the effort. Trudeau’s gun seizure agenda has led to a further straining of relationships between the capital, Ottawa, and the rest of the country it would seem (via Washington Post): 

After a gunman rampaged across rural Nova Scotia in 2020, killing 22 people in Canada’s worst mass killing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned some 1,500 makes and models of “military-grade” assault-style firearms and pledged to buy them back from owners. 

Now, as Canada’s Liberal government prepares to launch the first phase of the mandatory buyback, several provinces and territories say they won’t help. 

The most strident opponents, including the United Conservative Party government in Alberta, are suggesting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “refuse to participate.” Tyler Shandro, the province’s justice minister, declared the buyback was not “an objective, priority or goal” of the province or its Mounties. Alberta, he said, is “not legally obligated to provide resources for it.” 

Marco Mendicino, Canada’s public safety minister, has cast Alberta’s “reckless” position as a “political stunt.” But Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick have also balked at using “scarce RCMP resources” for the program. 

“New Brunswick’s bottom line is this: RCMP resources are spread thin as it is,” said Kris Austin, the province’s public safety minister. “We have made it clear to the government of Canada that we cannot condone any use of those limited resources, at all, in their planned buyback program.”

The dispute is one of several that’s inflaming tensions between Ottawa and the provinces. Alberta and Saskatchewan, long estranged from the capital, recently introduced bills to seek greater “sovereignty” for their provinces and to fight what they see as federal “intrusion.”

Yukon’s government said it supports Trudeau’s gun-control proposals and is committed to finding a balance between counteracting the adverse impacts of illegal firearms and respecting hunting rights. But Tracy-Anne McPhee, the territory’s justice minister, has told Mendicino that its RCMP lacks the “administrative, personnel or the financial resources” to participate without additional support, a spokeswoman said. 

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I like the Second Amendment sanctuary attitude some of these premiers have taken. Still, sadly, without an explicit right to bear arms, that’s codified like the one in our Bill of Rights—I think there will be some chilling videos of Canadian federal police officers showing up at people’s homes and taking their private property. And somehow, there will be a slew of liberal writers defending how the government taking the property of law-abiding citizenry is essential to the health of a democracy. That’s not healthy—that’s cancer.

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