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

Bib Patel, Lake Country
PHOTOS: Sunrise paints Okanagan skies

Residents in the Okanagan captured stunning shots of a colourful start to Saturday

Staff and students at Vernon’s Fulton Secondary School were evacuated due to an electrical short that sent one person to hospital Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Vernon high school evacuated, one person injured by electrical short

Incident at Clarence Fulton Secondary forced brief evacuation Friday afternoon

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that's ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov | AFP)
WEB POLL: Will you take a vaccine for COVID-19?

Doses are expected to arrive in the new year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

(City of West Kelowna)
Large housing development in Central Okanagan back on the table

Council considering rezoning to accommodate 184 housing units, project hopes for ~933 by completion

Two Canadian petitions are asking to have elected officials removed from office. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: Petitions show loss of faith in democratic process

Online petitions from third-party sources have taken aim at elected officials in Canada

Chinook salmon spawning in the Fraser River near Tete Jeune Cache. ((Shane Kalyn photo, property of the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance)
North-Okanagan Shuswap MP petitions government to reform salmon management

Mel Arnold tables petition to allow more angler access to non-threatened Fraser River chinook salmon

Shuswap Cider Company has applied for a licence that would accommodate a cider manufacturing facility, a tasting room and patio/lounge area at Westgate Market in Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Cider manufacturing facilty, tasting room and patio proposed for Salmon Arm

Council asked to raise a virtual glass to a licence for a cidery and amenities in Westgate Mall

Summerland’s cenotaph was originally installed in front of the high school. The old school was located close to the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Jubilee Road. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Cenotaph and parks in Summerland honour fallen soldiers

Community memorials pay tribute to those who were killed in military service

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Most Read