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

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read