After a gunman rampaged across rural Nova Scotia in 2020, killing 22 people in Canada’s worst mass killing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned some 1,500 makes and models of “military-grade” assault-style firearms and pledged to buy them back from owners.
Now, as Canada’s Liberal government prepares to launch the first phase of the mandatory buyback, several provinces and territories say they won’t help.
The most strident opponents, including the United Conservative Party government in Alberta, are suggesting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “refuse to participate.” Tyler Shandro, the province’s justice minister, declared the buyback was not “an objective, priority or goal” of the province or its Mounties. Alberta, he said, is “not legally obligated to provide resources for it.”
Marco Mendicino, Canada’s public safety minister, has cast Alberta’s “reckless” position as a “political stunt.” But Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick have also balked at using “scarce RCMP resources” for the program.
The dispute is one of several that’s inflaming tensions between Ottawa and the provinces. Alberta and Saskatchewan, long estranged from the capital, recently introduced bills to seek greater “sovereignty” for their provinces and to fight what they see as federal “intrusion.”