The prairie provinces and New Brunswick called on the Canadian government to scrap plans to use police resources to purchase assault-style firearms from the public.
Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and New Brunswick discussed the issue at the 2022 Meeting of Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety. The prairie provinces had already written to their RCMP divisions saying provincial funds should not be directed to the program.
Saskatchewan Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister for Saskatchewan Christine Tell and Justice and Attorney General for Saskatchewan Bronwyn Eyre said in a joint statement that the program will hurt people using guns for legal and noble causes.
"While we fully support crime initiatives that focus on the issues related to the criminal use of illegal firearms, preventing and combatting gang violence and addressing the issue of illegal or smuggled guns in our province, we don’t support those that impact law-abiding hunters, sport shooters, ranchers, farmers and Indigenous people who use firearms for lawful and good reasons," they said.
Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro said the program will be expensive.
"Two years ago, the federal government said that using police resources would be ‘expensive and inefficient. Now the federal government has resorted to using police resources to seize firearms from Canadians. Make no mistake, the federal firearms confiscation program will cost us billions and will not improve public safety. Alberta’s government is not legally obligated to provide resources and will not do so."
The Canadian government says it has banned more than 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms, broken down into 11 categories:
The proposed price list ranges from $1,139 to $6,209, depending on the category of gun.
"Put simply, assault-style firearms, like the AR-15, do not belong in Canada," said Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino in a release. "By design, their purpose is to kill as many people as possible, which is why our Government took the bold step of banning them from our country, once and for all."
The federal government said:
- It will be mandatory for individuals to participate in the buyback program, have their assault-style firearms rendered inoperable at the government's expense, or otherwise lawfully disposed.
- The proposed price list was developed to reflect what Canadians may have paid for the various styles of guns before May 2020.
- An Amnesty Order is in place until October 30, 2023 to protect lawful owners of now-prohibited firearms from criminal liability.