Despite passing controversial gun control legislation in December, the Trudeau Liberals are adamant it will not be implemented until after the next election.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc confirmed on December 20 his government will defer regulation and confiscation of 'prohibited' firearms until December 1, 2025.
"The proposed deferral of two years is based in part on industry recommendation and the department’s assessment regarding the time required to engage on the requirements and for the industry to prepare," the department wrote in a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement.
The Upper Chamber supported a significantly expanded version of Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), following due consideration by the Senate National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs Committee for six months. They heard from 66 witnesses on the bill and submitted several observations but no formal amendments during that period.
Cabinet in 2020 proposed mandatory buyback of some 200,000 firearms it considered "assault-style." The buyback scheme passed the Senate on December 14 without amendments by a vote of 60 to 24. It received royal assent the following day.
According to the Analysis Statement, deferring the program by two years benefits the industry by "providing additional time to engage on the requirements as well as to prepare business processes, manage existing supply and ensure regulatory compliance."
Among the regulations include standard serial numbers for all firearms manufactured and sold in Canada as opposed to unique identification marks incompatible with others, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
"Currently there is no legislative or regulatory requirement to mark firearms in Canada although most manufacturers imprint a serial number and other information identifying the make, model, manufacturer and country of manufacture as a common business practice," said Analysis.
"The marking of firearms is a critical element in the process of tracing crime guns and combating illicit activity including the trafficking of firearms," it added.
In October, LeBlanc acknowledged stiff resistance to the legislation. The Department of Public Safety wrote then in a notice the federal government is “still developing a buyback program” with no deadline for enforcement.
The minister earlier deferred the buyback scheme on October 30, 2023, to October 30, 2025. "We specifically extended the gun amnesty so as not to criminalize people," he told the Senate National Security Committee on October 23.
"We have been explicit and careful to ensure that these measures do not target those people and in fact allow them to practice their sport and other recreational activities that hunters in my community of rural New Brunswick participate in," added LeBlanc.
"Every time governments or Parliament legislate in this area there is a very quick reaction from hunting groups and sports shooters, many of whom are in my constituency in rural New Brunswick," he said. "People I know go hunting."
However, there has been a significant decline over the past year in the rating firearm owners have given the federal government on their ability to introduce measures on gun violence, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
"How would you rate the performance of the Government of Canada when it comes to introducing measures to address gun-related violence?" asked the in-house report Buyback Program Awareness Campaign. One in four (26%) called it "poor." Another 24% rated it "fair," while less than one in six (15%) called it "excellent."
On December 20, LeBlanc insisted his cabinet colleagues would not abandon the buyback scheme that has cost taxpayers $8.9 million on consultant contracts to date. "It’s a commitment we made during the last election, and we fully intend to set up such a program," he said.
Cabinet originally put the program’s expenses at a minimum of $300 million, in contrast to the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) which pegged costs as high as $756 million.