Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (The Canadian Press)

Ontario’s premier takes aim at Trudeau government’s gun control measures

On Friday, Trudeau government outlawed a wide range of assault-style rifles

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is taking aim at the federal government’s new gun control measures, saying he believes the feds should focus on smuggling of illegal weapons at the border and strengthening jail sentences for gun crimes rather than targeting legal gun owners.

On Friday, the Trudeau government outlawed a wide range of assault-style rifles, saying the guns were designed for the battlefield, not for hunting or sport shooting.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also promised a buyback program for all legally purchased rifles that would fall under the new ban, with owners offered fair market prices for their guns — a program expected to cost up to $600 million.

Ford was animated when asked about the new measures Saturday during his daily COVID-19 press conference.

He said he would rather see the millions planned for the gun buyback program go instead toward beefing up border security to stop guns from being illegally smuggled into Canada.

“I can’t help but think that money could be put at a much better use hunting down the violent criminals and stopping the illegal guns at our borders,” he said.

Ottawa’s priority should be strengthening bail conditions and jail sentences for criminals and gang members who commit gun crimes, he added. Ford said he finds it “frustrating” that weapons offenders are often back on the streets within a few days of being arrested and that some receive sentences of only a year or two.

“The problem is not the legal gun owners, we need to target the smugglers and we need to throw the book at these gangsters out there terrorizing our streets,” he said.

“Throw the key away with these people if they get caught with guns, don’t give them a slap on the wrist and then try to point the finger at legal, law abiding gun owners.”

Ford’s comments mark a departure from the approach the Ontario premier has taken with the federal Liberals since the COVID-19 pandemic began infecting Canadians and wreaking havoc in Ontario’s long-term care centres.

The once highly vocal opponent of Trudeau and his policies has been working collaboratively with the Liberal government in Ottawa, striking a particularly close working friendship with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. She told the Toronto Star she speaks with Ford often and that they “describe one another as each other’s therapists.”

Ford didn’t target any specific criticisms at Trudeau or the federal government in his remarks Saturday, and did say he would be willing to work in partnership with the federal government on measures to stop illegal gun smuggling.

However, he did question the federal plan to spend ”hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of hardworking taxpayers’ money.”

“For what?” he questioned.

“You think gun violence is going to go down in Toronto? I don’t believe gun violence is going to go down in Toronto based on taking guns off legal gun owners.”

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Gun ban

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Regional District of Central Kootenay declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders and alerts

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Village of Nakusp looks to reduce water consumption

With sprinklers/hoses, residents could only water gardens for two hours on certain days under amended bylaw

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read