The Manitoba government has joined Alberta and Saskatchewan in pushing back against the federal government’s planned gun confiscation program as part of its mandatory buyback program for now-banned firearms.
“Manitoba has consistently stated that our approach to gun violence is to focus on those who use weapons in crime, not law abiding gun owners,” said Manitoba Minister of Justice and Attorney General Kelvin Goertzen, in a Facebook post on Sept. 28.
Goertzen said he wrote to federal public safety minister Marco Mendicino on Sept. 13 informing him of Manitoba’s concerns that the confiscation program would “erode” policing resources in the province.
“We feel many aspects of the federal approach to gun crimes unnecessarily target lawful gun owners while having little impact on criminals, who are unlikely to follow gun regulations in any event,” Goertzen wrote in the letter.
“In Manitoba’s view, any buy-back program cannot further erode precious provincial police resources, already suffering from large vacancy rates, from focusing on investigation of violent crime.”
Third Province to Oppose
Manitoba’s action against the federal buyback program comes just days after Alberta and Saskatchewan each informed Ottawa that they would not authorize the use of provincial policing funds in assisting with Ottawa’s planned gun confiscation.
The federal government’s buyback program comes on the heels of its 2020 legislation banning more than 1,500 models of what it termed as “assault-style” firearms, including AR-15s.
Ottawa has stated that the buyback program “will be mandatory” and will require any Canadian owning guns banned by the new legislation to sell them to the government at prices determined by the feds, or else have them “lawfully disposed.”
Alberta was the first province to announce its opposition to the buyback, with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro saying in a press conference on Sept. 26 that the provincial government “will not tolerate taking officers off the streets in order to confiscate the property of law-abiding firearms owners.”
Saskatchewan followed suit two days later, as Christine Tell, the province’s minister of corrections, policing, and public safety, told RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore in a letter that the provincial government “will not authorize the use of provincially-funded resources of any type for the federal government’s buyback.”
On Sept. 28, Shandro added that neither the Alberta government nor the Commanding Officer of Alberta’s RCMP supports the gun confiscation measures.
“Neither the province or Alberta’s RCMP want police resources taken off the street in order to confiscate firearms,” Shandro wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
Noé Chartier contributed to this report.