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Firearms Control

November 30, 2021

My question is for the Leader of the Government.

Municipalities, especially large urban centres, are grappling with a resurgence of gun violence. Over the past two years, shootings in Montreal have claimed the lives of many young people. One of them was 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui, who was shot to death in February in Saint-Léonard. Twenty-two-year-old Duckerns Pierre-Clermont was murdered not long ago in front of his home in Villeray. Sixteen-year-old Thomas Trudel was senselessly killed in Saint-Michel.

The Premier of Quebec and the Mayor of Montreal are urging the federal government to crack down on gun trafficking. Recently, the Union des municipalités du Québec’s executive committee called for tougher border controls and legislative amendments banning handguns. As the Mayor of Montreal said:

Cities are stepping up and continuing to do everything in their power to prevent violence, fight organized crime and keep our communities safe. We can’t do everything alone. The government of Canada must do its part.

Contrary to what was put forward in the Throne Speech, the federal government must ban handguns from coast to coast to coast immediately. It also has a moral obligation to collaborate with the provinces and municipalities to improve gun control.

How will this government finally act on its responsibilities and work with the provinces and municipalities to better control guns?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

I thank the senator for the question.

I would like to begin by expressing my condolences and those of senators and the Government of Canada to the family and loved ones of Thomas Trudel, who lost his life recently. The Government of Canada has done many things to reduce gun trafficking overall, including creating a cross-border task force to address smuggling and gun trafficking, creating a fund to provide financial support to the provinces and territories, and not only giving money to Quebec, but also granting $250 million to the municipalities to meet the needs of the communities.

To answer your question more specifically, as announced, the Government of Canada is prepared to work not only with the provinces, but also with the municipalities that want to ban handguns in their jurisdiction, and it will continue to provide financial support to the provinces, municipalities and territories that want to move forward.

Why does the government not simply abolish handguns in Canada?

Senator Gold [ + ]

That is a good question. As all members here know full well, although the issue divides the provinces, there are also diverging views within a same province, namely between urban and rural centres. The government is aware of this issue and will hold consultations. In a federation, it is important that the provinces and municipalities find the right path. As the Governor General said in the Speech from the Throne, we expect that a bill will be introduced to address this issue. Once it is introduced, we can continue this important conversation.

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