Marco Mendicino struggles to defend Trudeau's gun 'buyback'

Meanwhile, when pressed for data or analysis, the assistant deputy public safety minister said that he didn't know what impact the program will have in addressing public safety.

Marco Mendicino struggles to defend Trudeau's gun 'buyback'
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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On Tuesday, October 4, the House of Commons hosted a meeting about Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms).

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in the meeting that “we need smart laws like Bill C-21 which, among other things, will introduce a national handgun freeze.”

According to an article from CTV News:

In his testimony before the Public Safety Committee, Mendicino was specifically questioned several times about whether the firearm buyback portion of the bill is the most effective way of reducing the currently rising instances of gun violence. 

If passed, Bill C-21 would introduce a national handgun “freeze” on sales, purchases or transfers of handguns, introduce “red flag” laws, increase maximum penalties for some firearm-related offences, and implement a buyback program of the more than 1,500 “assault-style” firearms that were banned in the country in 2020.

CTV added that “opponents of the bill say the buyback program is too costly, and that it punishes law-abiding gun owners, as opposed to effectively reducing gun violence by preventing illegal guns being smuggled over the border.”

“Conservative MP and public safety critic Raquel Dancho questioned Mendicino extensively on the cost of the program, saying RCMP officers are already stretched thin in many regions of the country. She argued the buyback would take money away from community protection and border.”

“We need a bill that will provide additional tools to fight organized crime,” said Mendicino in the meeting.

He added that when Bill C-21 passes, it would “increase maximum sentences from 10 to 14 years for those hardened criminals who would try to terrorize our communities with guns,” and that it would also provide “additional surveillance tools to law enforcement so that we can interdict those individuals who are trying to traffic guns whether it's in our communities or at the borders.”

An article by Blacklock’s Reporter added:

The Department of Public Safety yesterday said it has no specific research indicating new gun controls will reduce gun crime. Initiatives were based on a general sense that fewer legal guns would make for safer homes, witnesses told the Commons public safety committee.

“I think Canadians would want to know the department has done a study that the outcomes will lead to enhanced public safety,” said Conservative MP Dane Lloyd (Sturgeon River-Parkland, Alta.). “Does the department have such a study or analysis that would indicate these programs will increase public safety?”

“I don’t know exactly what impact it will have,” replied Talal Dakalbab, assistant deputy minister of public safety.

Cabinet’s Bill C-21 An Act To Amend Certain Acts would prohibit all new sales of handguns in Canada. Cabinet in 2020 also proposed a buy-back program of some 1,500 high-powered firearms. The Parliamentary Budget Office in a 2020 report Cost Estimate Of The Firearm Buy-Back Program put expenses at $756 million but cautioned figures were incomplete.

Mendicino concluded that there isn't really a backup plan, so it seems like the Trudeau government is counting on this program to be effective.

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