Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino was joined by media members on Tuesday morning to witness a collection of seized firearms at a border crossing in Ontario.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers toured Mendicino through the Blue Water Bridge crossing, which links the Ontario town of Sarnia with Michigan. The tour displayed a table of captured guns, a handheld device for scanning packages, and a drug-sniffing dog named Smoke.
“This is the product of a lot of professionalism,” Mendicino said in a CTV News report.
The event at Blue Water Bridge comes amid ongoing criticism the Liberal government is facing for its strategy to stop gun violence in Canada.
In May 2020, the Trudeau government banned 1500 models of firearms, planning to collect them from owners by October 2023.
Last year, that plan hit some hurdles. The provinces of Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick voiced opposition to the federal government’s plan, and critics spoke up, saying it was misguided.
Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw testified in February, back when he was acting deputy chief, that the policy, which aims to buy-back firearms from licensed civilians, would fail to target the biggest source of crime in Toronto.
“The City of Toronto’s experience is that guns are not from law abiding citizens that are being used in crime. They’re guns being smuggled from the United States. Those engaged in handling those firearms are not law abiding, licensed gun owners; they are criminals with no firearms license,” he said.
Ex-gang leader Marcell Wilson testified in agreement. After leaving organized crime, he founded a youth outreach organization in Toronto, working to pull kids away from criminal lifestyles.
“Eighty percent of the gun violence we [witness is] committed with illegal firearms smuggled in from the USA,” he said.
Last year, the CBSA stopped 1,009 firearms from crossing into Canada. The CBSA and RCMP have received at least $312 million in investments to improve border security and gun tracing since 2016.
The CBSA highlights of 2022 cited a 267% increase in travelers seeking entry into Canada, with an 11% increase in prevented firearms.