Canada's Gun Confiscation Effort Runs Into Resistance

It’s been nearly seven months since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a sweeping ban on semi-automatic firearms in Canada, including a mandate that existing gun owners hand them over to the government in a “buyback”, but Trudeau’s Liberal Party has yet to find a private company willing to oversee the compensated confiscation efforts.

When Trudeau’s public safety minister Bill Blair originally sent out a request for proposal, he received virtually no bids from any company. Undeterred, Blair ended up reaching out to human resources company AltisHR, which signed a $60,000 contract with the Canadian government in October to draft a plan for how the confiscation efforts would be managed.

The public didn’t become aware of the contract until December 7th, when the government responded to a question from a conservative member of Parliament. Once the contract became public knowledge, the firm inundated with messages from polite missives to outright threats, and just a few days later AltisHR announced it was pulling out of the agreement.

That leaves Trudeau’s government in the same place it was back in May when it announced the gun ban and compensated confiscation efforts, which are set to begin in mid-2022; the mandate has been issued, but the anti-gun administration hasn’t figured out a way to handle the confiscation efforts.

The astonishing series of events churned up Blair’s office, which confirmed to iPolitics it was preparing the third procurement offer to re-ignite the attempts to get the buyback off the ground.

In an email response to questions, a spokesperson for Blair seemed to suggest the department itself might take charge of the buyback plan.

For the first time, leaders for the two most prominent gun control lobbies in Canada, Wendy Cukier at the Coalition for Gun Control in Toronto and Heidi Rathjen at PolySeSouvient in Montreal, did not respond to questions about next possible steps by Blair’s office – and whether the Public Safety department might establish the buyback program itself.

It’s pretty interesting that even Canada’s gun control groups don’t want to comment, at least publicly, on the mess that Bill Blair has made of Trudeau’s gun ban and confiscation efforts or the resistance shown by both individual gun owners and provincial governments. While they’re not issuing any press statements, the anti-gun activists at the Coalition for Gun Control are still hoping to help defend the gun ban in court. There are multiple legal challenges to Trudeau’s actions, and the first federal court hearing is schedule to take place next month.

The six challenges, or cases, have so far only gone through a series of case-management conferences, with Federal Court Associate Chief Justice Jocelyne Gagné presiding, and setting schedules with Justice Department lawyers representing federal Attorney General David Lametti and counsel for the challengers.

Lawyers from several of Canada’s top law firms, as well as smaller ones, are representing a total of 27 gun owners, hunters, sport shooters, and businesses, including Rod Giltaca, the chief founder and CEO of the CCFR.

The Coalition for Gun Control, represented by its longtime president, Wendy Cukier, is registered to intervene, as is the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

In the lead-up to the first full court hearing in January, to be focused on motions seeking an injunction from the court to suspend the effects of the May 1 prohibition until a ruling on the validity and legality of the cabinet order. Gagné has set a series of deadlines from Oct. 23 to Dec. 21, the final chance to submit arguments.

Canadian gun owners can’t claim protection under the Second Amendment, but they’re still putting up one heck of a fight against Trudeau’s gun grab. I wish them well in the legal battles ahead, and I’m grateful that they’re not willing to roll over and accept the compensated confiscation of their legally-owned firearms.

Mar 03, 2021 10:30 AM ET