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The federal government has now spent nearly $42 million in taxpayer funds on its “firearms buyback program,” first introduced in 2020 to confiscate guns deemed illegal by the Liberals.

However, despite the costly spending, not a single firearm has been purchased from Canadians.  

Conservative Sen. Don Plett filed an order paper question in September, asking Public Safety Canada to reveal how much money had been spent over the past four years on the program, which assigned 60 department employees to work on the project. 

The response revealed that $41,094,556 had already been spent since 2020.  

“This is a boondoggle, and it hasn’t even begun,” said Plett during the Senate question period on Friday. 

“How can your government have spent $42 million on this, when not a single firearm has been bought back?” Plett asked government representative Sen. Marc Gold. 

Documents also revealed that a contract of $2.27 million was awarded to IBM to develop, design and implement the program. However, Public Safety Canada initially said that it would only cost half that figure during its 2020 announcement of the program. 

According to the documents, the RCMP has 15 full-time employees devoted to the program and Service Canada also assigned two employees, while Public Services and Procurement Canada said that it has devoted “the equivalent of 5.825 full-time employees” as well.

“This government has spent $42M on a confiscation program that doesn’t exist and has no idea how to get the job done. Forget about individual owners, (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) got the eager participation of retailers who’ve been paying storage and insurance on unsellable inventory and the full support of the industry lobby,” Tracey Wilson, vice-president of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights told True North. 

“He could easily have those guns liquidated but can’t get that done either.” 

Wilson was referring to a $700,000 agreement the government reached with the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association to confiscate “assault rifles” from retailers. However, the program itself isn’t expected to start until later this year.

The second phase of the program involves confiscating legally owned firearms from licensed owners.

The Trudeau government’s 2020 order-in-council saw over 1,500 gun models banned and earlier this year, an invitation was sent out to vendors interested in qualifying for the buyback program. 

The government estimates anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 newly prohibited firearms are currently owned by Canadian businesses, with an additional 125,000 to 200,000 owned by licensed individuals. 

However, amnesty for licensed owners was extended until 2025, two years past the initial date of Oct. 23, 2023.   

Critics of the buyback program argue that since the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with prohibited firearms smuggled into the country via the US,  law abiding citizens are being unduly punished. 

“Four years after Trudeau telling Canadians that the guns he banned by OIC were simply too dangerous to own by the people who’ve owned them safely and without issue for decades, they are all exactly where they were back then. Safely tucked away in the gun safes of responsible, licensed Canadians who own them,” said Wilson.

“$42M spent, 83 people employed full time in Ottawa … for what?”

The Liberals’ initial buyback program didn’t involve confiscation, according to the National Post, but after the Quebec anti-gun group PolySeSouvient expressed their outrage with Trudeau, confiscation was later added. 

While exact estimates are not available, confiscation will ultimately cost taxpayers a fortune. 

“This wasted time and resources would have been better spent fighting smuggling at the border and organized crime, if we had a government who was serious about public safety,” said Wilson.