It seems not everybody is convinced by Justin Trudeau’s new measures for gun control in Canada. Speaking on Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford argued that problems lie with “smugglers” and “gangsters,” rather than with Canada’s legal gun owners. Instead, he suggests that the multi-millions due to be spent on the gun buyback program could be used to improve the country’s border security.
On Friday, just two weeks after the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, the Prime Minister announced a new ban on assault-style weapons in Canada.
Explaining that these guns were designed for the battlefield, rather than hunting or sport shooting, the federal government revealed plans to ban a number of guns, including those used during the Nova Scotia tragedy.
As part of the new ban, Justin Trudeau announced a buyback program for all legally purchased rifles, a move that is expected to cost upwards of $600 million.
However, not everybody believes this is the best way to spend multi-millions, as Premier Doug Ford made clear on Saturday.
Speaking during his daily press briefing, the premier suggested that stricter gun control should target “smugglers” and “gangsters,” rather than Canada’s legal gun owners.
“I can't help but think that money could be put to a much better use hunting down the violent criminals and stopping the illegal guns at our borders,” Ford explained.
Ford stated that the “millions” planned for Trudeau’s buyback program should go towards improving border security, in order to stop guns from being illegally brought into Canada.
He added that priority should be given to strengthening bail conditions and jail sentencing for those who commit gun crimes, as weapons offenders can end up back on the streets within days.
"Throw the key away with these people if they get caught with guns. Don't give them a slap on the wrist and then try to point the finger at legal, law abiding gun owners,” the premier added.
The premier concluded on Saturday by suggesting Trudeau's plan was unlikely to make any difference to gun crime statistics in Toronto.
"You think gun violence is going to go down in Toronto? I don't believe gun violence is going to go down in Toronto based on taking guns off legal gun owners," he said.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has also taken aim at Trudeau’s weapons ban, calling the move "unacceptable" and "inappropriate."
"We think it's completely inappropriate to make this kind of major policy change at a time when parliament has been effectively shut down by the Liberal government," Scheer said in an interview with CBC News.
Despite this criticism, Trudeau and other federal ministers have reassured Canadians that the new ban is not intended to interfere with legal gun activity.
Until April 30, 2022, Canadians who are legal owners of the newly-banned weapons won’t face any criminal charges for having them.
They will also be able to sell these firearms back to the government for a fair market price.
Announcing the ban on Friday, the Prime Minister drew attention to all of Canada’s mass shootings, from the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, to the rampage in Nova Scotia on April 18 and April 19.
"These tragedies reverberate still," he concluded.