by Stephen Dafoe
Citing a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report estimating an estimated $756 million price tag to compensate gun owners affected by last year’s gun ban, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on the federal government to cancel the gun buyback.
“Today we learned the gun buyback could cost hundreds of millions more than Canadians have been told and the government still doesn’t know the full costs,” said CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano. “This a huge sum of money and the people on the front line say the buyback won’t make Canadians safer.”
CTF says while the reimbursement costs are estimated at $756 million, the PBO did not provide cost estimations on staffing and administration costs to run the buyback program.
While critical of the costs of buying back formerly legal firearms, the CTF points out a position statement from the National Police Federation that said the program “diverts extremely important personnel, resources, and funding away from addressing the more immediate and growing threat of criminal use of illegal firearms.”
An additional point from the position statement is that handguns have been the primary weapon in gun-related homicides over the last decade. In 2019, 60 per cent of the 261 homicides were due to handguns, which the NPF says are “either already prohibited or restricted in Canada.”
“The 2020 “assault” or “assault-style” firearms ban does not alter the status of handguns
in Canada,” the position statement reads. “In fact, “assault” or “assault-style” is not a legal weapons classification in
Canada – they are colloquial terms to describe high-power and rapid-fire guns (often used by the military) that are mostly already banned in Canada.”
CTF notes the federal government could employ another 1200 officers for a period of five years with the $756 million that will be used to buy back guns.
“The people on the front lines say they don’t need an ineffective and expensive gun buyback program and taxpayers can’t afford another costly scheme that won’t make our lives better,” Terrazzano said. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to reverse course and scrap the ineffective and expensive gun buyback.”
The Conservative Party of Canada also offered criticism of the PBO report. Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Richard Martel, Conservative Quebec Political Lieutenant, released a joint media statement on the costs.
“Canadians are now seeing the true cost of Trudeau’s agenda – approximately $750 million wasted to take legal firearms from law-abiding Canadian citizens,” the statement reads. “Like the first Liberal government gun registry, the firearms buyback program is yet another billion-dollar boondoggle that does nothing to truly address increasing violent crime, gun smuggling, and gang violence in our communities.”
The two Conservative MPs argue that every dollar spent taking a firearm away from a law-abiding firearm owner is a dollar not going to fight illegally smuggled guns, what they say is the true issue of firearm crime in Canada.
“Conservatives will, and always have, supported common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” the statement continues. “That’s why Canada’s Conservatives are calling for this wasteful and unnecessary political program to be scrapped immediately – and for the Liberal government to put forward a real plan to keep Canadians safe.”