Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, campaigning for stronger gun control laws.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, campaigning for stronger gun control laws.Image courtesy of CBC

BERNARDO: Gun control is not working is it, Mr. Trudeau?

On April 16 2024, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre delivered a scathing rebuke of Justin Trudeau’s government.

“StatsCan reveals that gun violence is up 101% after eight years of Trudeau. Go figure. Banning hunters and sports shooters doesn’t stop crime. Stopping gangsters and gun smugglers will.”

Poilievre’s statement is slightly out of context.

Yes, firearms-related violent crime is up across Canada, but 101% applied to one region, not all of Canada.

“Compared to a decade ago, firearm-related violent crime in 2021 was higher in each of these three geographic regions. However, the magnitude of the increases was quite different, with the rate of firearm-related violent crime having increased 18% in urban areas, 38% in the rural South, and 101% in the rural North since 2012.”

Statistics Canada confirmed that gun violence is up since Trudeau took office. The increase started in the waning years of Stephen Harper’s government, but Justin Trudeau’s fatally flawed premise for “keeping Canadians safe” fuelled most of that increase.

FACT: Confiscating legally-owned firearms from licensed firearms owners can’t stop violent criminals from killing and maiming people with smuggled guns.

FACT: Failure to fix our broken Firearms Prohibition Order system means violent criminals are recycled through our 'justice' system with wholly predictable results. Repeat offenders are caught with illegal guns, despite being subjected to a court-ordered firearms prohibition.

Trudeau’s Budget 2024 revealed that the prime minister doesn’t have the courage of his own convictions. Despite billions of new spending promises, not one of those promises includes funding for Trudeau’s Firearms Confiscation Compensation Scheme.

“Four years after the Trudeau Liberals announced sweeping changes to Canada’s gun laws, the government has so far spent $42 million on a federal firearms confiscation program that doesn’t yet exist,” wrote Bryan Passifiume in the March 25, 2024 edition of the National Post.

The only mentions of firearms in Budget 2024 are:

Page 245: "Budget 2024 announces expanded authorities to combat auto theft, keep assault-style firearms off our streets and combat gang violence. Combatting gun and gang violence to make our streets safer, through the Building Safer Communities Fund, which provided funding of $215 million from 2018 to 2023, and will provide an additional $390 million from 2023 to 2028, as well as through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence."

Page 248: "To keep our streets safe today and tomorrow, the federal government banned assault-style firearms in 2020, and is now moving forward with a plan to buy back these assault weapons from retailers and Canadians to ensure they never fall into the hands of criminals. Budget 2024 proposes to provide: $30.4 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, to Public Safety Canada for the buyback of assault-style firearms, sourced from existing departmental resources; $7.4 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, with $1.7 million in remaining amortization, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to modernize the Canadian Firearms Program’s telephone and case management systems."

Justin Trudeau governs by photo-ops and press conferences. He rarely follows through on his grandiose pronouncements, so it makes sense that funding for his Firearms Confiscation Compensation Scheme is not mentioned.

Despite repeated attempts to buy a scapegoat, the Trudeau government cannot find a single entity willing to confiscate legally-owned guns banned under false pretences in a moment of national outrage and grief. Trudeau has already received the benefits of his announced confiscation plans and repeated funding announcements for his “Safer Communities” initiative.

All that remains for him is the downside, and a massive downside at that.

Door-to-door confiscations of private property owned by Canada’s statistically safest segment of society — federally licensed, RCMP-vetted firearms owners — will garner nothing but negative press for him.

Should the unthinkable happen and one of Trudeau’s confiscation agents shoots one of these licensed firearms owners or one of their family members, Trudeau’s horrible polling numbers will drop through the floor.

Such a tragedy could even force Justin Trudeau, his justice minister and his Public Safety ministers to resign in disgrace.

Trudeau may be the most hated prime minister in Canadian history, but he’s not stupid.

He knows there is nothing to gain by sending armed confiscation agents to seize legally-owned firearms, which is why he keeps kicking this can down the road. The problem he created will be someone else’s to fix and that someone won’t be a Liberal prime minister.

Tony Bernardo is Executive Director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association

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