New Brunswick is the latest to join three other provinces in a disagreement about Ottawa’s use of police resources to confiscate legally-acquired firearms from Canadians.
The provincial government joins Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s call on the feds to halt plans to use RCMP and municipal police to confiscate more than 100,000 legally acquired weapons.
“New Brunswick’s bottom line is this: RCMP resources are spread thin as it is,” said Kris Austin, the province’s newly-appointed public safety minister.
“We have made it clear to the Government of Canada that we cannot condone any use of those limited resources, at all, in their planned buyback program.”
It comes after federal Bill C-21 was unveiled in May, introduced by the Liberals as “Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation,” such as a buyback program for prohibited weapons.
The bill also proposes new “red flag” laws to address the role of guns in domestic violence and a national handgun freeze. A temporary ban on handgun imports went into effect in August.
Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro said the federal firearms confiscation program would cost billions and not improve public safety.
Christine Tell, public safety minister for Saskatchewan, said while her province supports initiatives related to illegally-obtained weapons and gang violence, this federal plan isn’t effective.
“We don’t support [initiatives] that impact law-abiding hunters, sport shooters, ranchers, farmers and Indigenous people who use firearms for lawful and good reasons,” said Tell.
Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said many aspects of the federal approach to gun crimes unnecessarily target lawful gun owners while having little impact on criminals.
“Any buy-back program cannot further erode our scarce provincial police resources, already suffering from large vacancy rates, and away from focusing on investigation of violent crimes,” he said.