Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (The Canadian Press)

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

Duncan’s City Hall will get a seismic assessment this year. (File photo)
Duncan City Hall to get seismic assessment

City hopes grants will help pay for seismic upgrades

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read