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March 30th, 2022 - Question Period with Minister Marco E. L. Mendicino - Firearms Buyback Program

Firearms Buyback Program

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Minister, my question for you concerns your government’s firearm buyback program. Almost a year ago the Parliamentary Budget Officer, or PBO, reported this program will cost up to $756 million to buy back close to 518,000 firearms, three times the amount your government had estimated. In addition, the PBO figure did not include the cost to administer the program due to a lack of details about this program from your government.

Minister, do you dispute the PBO’s figure? And could you also tell us how much the firearm buyback secretariat has spent to date on its operations and salaries?

Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety: Senator, I look forward to introducing a buyback program, which is the back-end brace to a prohibition of AR-15 and other assault-style firearms that have just had devastating impacts on our communities. Whether it’s the Quebec City mosque shooting, where I just visited the mosque, or, in my own hometown, the 2018 Toronto Danforth shooting, the examples are far too often and replete. These particular firearms have no place in our society.

We have, therefore, put in place an amnesty period, because in fairness to those who purchased them, we wanted to be able to put forward a system that will allow for fair compensation. I can assure you that my department is working on that, and the introduction of the buyback program will happen as quickly as it possibly can so we get that particular firearm out of our community.

It is only one of a number of strategies that we are deploying. As I mentioned earlier, we also have to make sure that we are investing in law enforcement so that we can stop illegal guns from getting into our country at the border, which we are doing. Last year, we had a record year of arrests and seizures, which shows progress. It also means we’ve got to introduce more resources to prevent gun crimes from occurring. We announced a $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund less than two weeks ago. We need to do all three things, and of course, I look forward to working with the PBO so that we can be transparent about the costs of those investments.

[Translation]

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