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Trudeau Ramps Up Gun Control Promises, Makes Guns a Wedge Issue

Trudeau Ramps Up Gun Control Promises, Makes Guns a Wedge Issue

With days to go until the September 20 snap election called by Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party leader and current Prime Minister, face the possibility of losing seats. As of early September, the Conservative Party had overtaken Trudeau’s Liberals as the favored party in polling. For Trudeau himself, opinion polls indicate he has dropped in popularity “with nearly every age and gender group.” Of the five political party leaders covered by the August 30 poll, Trudeau commands the highest “unfavorable” ratings. Forty-one percent of respondents have a “very unfavorable” view of him, and almost two-thirds view him unfavorably overall. Campaign coverage has regularly featured Trudeau being met with furious voters at his public events (like herehere and here).

Perhaps hoping to bolster voter support and boost his poor poll standings, on September 5 Trudeau promised Canadians even more gun control. Trudeau is already responsible for imposing a May 1, 2020 Order in Council that banned over 150,000 types of firearms arbitrarily classified as “assault weapons” with a concomitant confiscation of these previously lawful guns. The new measures Trudeau now promises are a limit on “high capacity” magazines along with CDN$1 billion in funding for provinces and territories to implement handgun bans.

At the same time, Trudeau (who appeared with Bill Blair, the current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, whose department is responsible for enforcing the gun ban and confiscation program), attacked his Conservative opponent using a standard tactic of Democrat politicians in the United States, claiming Erin O’Toole, the Conservative Party leader, was making “secret deals” with “the gun lobby.”

As part of its election platform, the Conservative Party promised to repeal the “assault weapon” ban and confiscation law. “Canada’s Conservatives will improve the regulation of legal firearms to ensure that it is evidence-based and focuses on protecting public safety. We will start by repealing C-71 and the May 2020 Order in Council and conducting a review of the Firearms Act with participation by law enforcement, firearms owners, manufacturers, and members of the public…” Earlier, in a policy declaration adopted in March, the Conservatives committed to what one would think are uncontroversial policies of “cost-effective gun control programs designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.”

Regardless of Trudeau’s efforts to deflect and distract, Canadians will likely focus on his last six years in office and the weak economy, the massive federal deficit and government spending, and rising taxes. His unnecessary election alone will cost an estimated CDN$610 million, the most expensive election in Canadian history.

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