The Canadian government is increasing spending on its gun buyback program to $8.8 million, according to a report from Public Safety Canada. 

The mounting costs before the government has purchased a single gun have taxpayer advocates unnerved.

“This is more evidence that the gun buyback is going to be a boondoggle,” said Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) federal director Franco Terrazzano in a blog post published on Wednesday. “The feds haven’t bought a single gun yet and costs still continue to go up.”

The Ministry of Public Safety is looking at spending $1.6 million out of the $8.8 million on an advertising campaign to “increase awareness” about the gun ban and buyback. 

The quarterly report is the first time the government has given a firm dollar value for buyback spending. 

The CTF tracked previous spending with access to information requests, which uncovered a contract with IBM Canada worth more than $1 million for advice on how to run the buyback program. 

The CTF obtained a copy of that advice, which shows IBM developed a list of prices based on the pre-ban prices for the affected firearms, without including how much accessories and parts of the firearms cost. Owners disputing the price could ask an expert panel for an evaluation.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated reimbursing gun owners could cost up to $756 million. That number does not include administration costs, which could add billions of dollars to the final tab. 

When the Liberalsfirst announced the policy, they said the gun buyback would cost about $200 million. Former public safety minister Bill Blair said in February that costs could land “somewhere between $300 and $400 million.”  

Terrazzano said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to cut his losses and scrap the gun buyback. 

“We continue to find more and more evidence of rising costs, and that should be a huge red flag for a government that is already more than $1 trillion in debt and hasn’t bought a single gun,” said Terrazzano. 

True North reported in August that the Canadian government ran a $2.2 million ad campaign promoting Trudeau’s firearms record. 

An official with the Ministry of Public Safety said the purpose of the ad campaign was to “raise awareness of the rise of gun violence in Canada, as well as highlight actions being taken to help address the issue.”

The $2.2 million campaign budget included the ad buy and not the cost to produce the spot.

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