Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has admitted he has no other option if provinces won’t enforce the Trudeau Liberals’ gun grab scheme.
The minister made the revelation in Tuesday’s hearing of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which came after three provinces said they don’t want their provincial policing resources used for Ottawa’s confiscation program.
In response to a question from Conservative MP Tako van Popta about whether Mendicino has a “plan B” for provinces that won’t participate in the program, the minister acknowledged he has no other options and said he’s still focused on “plan A.”
“Advancing a fair buyback program that will compensate law-abiding gun owners for the assault-style rifles that they originally purchased lawfully is consistent with keeping our community safe, and we will always be collaborative with our provincial and territorial partners,” he said.
“My door will always be open to working with them in a wide variety of priorities to achieve that goal.”
The minister did not address the strong opposition already voiced from three of his provincial “partners.”
Last week, the governments of Alberta and Saskawtchewan announced that Mendicino wrote to them asking for their provincial RCMP to act as confiscation agents, which they refused.
In May 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he was banning more than 1,500 models of firearms, including AR-15s. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said the program will cost $750 million. Those costs could balloon to $1 billion once administrative fees are taken into account.
Yet, taxpayers have already been billed more than $3 million to run the program and not a single gun has been purchased, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation revealed Thursday.
Alberta Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro said last week he would obstruct the gun grab by any means necessary. He said he wrote to the RCMP saying the confiscation scheme is not a provincial priority, and as such, it is an inappropriate use of RCMP resources.
“Alberta is not legally obligated and will not offer any provincial resources to the Federal Government as it seeks to confiscate lawfully acquired firearms,” Shandro said.
Two days later, Saskatchewan Chief Firearms Officer Bob Freberg revealed the province wrote to the RCMP saying “no provincially funded resources of any type,” including the RCMP, will be used for Medicino’s buybacks.
Following these announcements, Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said he told Mendicino the program cannot erode finite police resources which are needed to investigate violent crime.
“We will be bringing these concerns, along with the shared concern of Saskatchewan and Alberta, directly to the federal government next month in meetings of Ministers of Justice and Ministers of Public Safety,” Goertzen said in a statement on Facebook.
Mendicino has already accused the Alberta government of acting in a “reckless” manner for opposing his costly program.
Conservative MPs on Tuesday’s committee grilled the minister over the Trudeau government’s plan to target law-abiding gun owners with Bill C-21, which includes the gun buyback program, as well as other firearm control measures.
Raquel Dancho asked Mendicino why the government intended to “redirect police resources to the confiscation regime” while resources were already stretched. MP Dane Lloyd wondered why the government was not implementing a program to buy back illegal firearms used by criminals.