PM Trudeau says NDP, Bloc are 'aligned' with Liberals in gun control push
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the NDP and Bloc Quebecois are strongly aligned with his party as it moves forward on the legislated aspects of its ban on 1,500 models and variants of certain assault-style weapons.
While the government immediately placed a ban on certain military-style assault weapons on Friday, there are still aspects of the ban that require legislation — such as the planned compensation for those who currently own the now-illegal weapons, and the decision of whether or not to grandfather some ownership of these weapons.
"We will have to work with other parties in the House, not just because we want to establish a strong consensus but because in a minority parliament it is necessary to get the support of other parties," Trudeau said Monday, speaking from the front steps of Rideau Cottage.
"I know that both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP are very strong aligned with us in wanting more and better gun control and we’re going to work together."
To get support for the legislation, Trudeau won't need every party on side. If he has the support of the majority of MPs — which both the Bloc and the NDP can help the Liberals achieve should they choose to vote alongside them — then the House can pass the changes.
"There are many other steps to take, and there are many other, many details to be worked out on exactly how the buyback program will work, whether and what sort of grandfathering there might be, these are things that we will be working on as we move forward towards legislation," Trudeau said.
However, the Bloc is warning that its support won't come without conditions. In a tweet sent out Monday morning, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said he's getting mixed messages about whether the ban will be mandatory for all owners of the now-prohibited military-style weapons.
"Prime Minister told me Thursday that the buyout program would be imposed. I also heard yesterday, amazed, the opposite of the show Tout le monde en parle. Our support is not without conditions. If the buy-back is optional, the settlement loses a lot of effect," Blanchet said in his tweet, according to a translation provided by his office.
NDP critic for public safety, Jack Harris, also weighed in and expressed his tentative support for the plan.
"We support the goal of getting military-style assault weapons off the street but the government needs to clarify the details of their plan," Harris said in a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca.
He added that the government needs to crack down on the issue of guns being illegally smuggled into Canada from the United States.
"We know that most gun owners are law abiding but we need to get serious on violent gun crime by investing more resources at the border to tackle the circulation of arms illegally brought in from the U.S. These military-style assault weapons have been used in violent and devastating crimes. All of us share in the responsibility to do all we can to keep protect Canadians from the threat of these tragedies," Harris said.
Meanwhile, there is one party that is already expressing its steadfast opposition to the current approach. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters on Monday that he doesn't agree with the steps the government has taken.
"Well obviously we don't agree with the approach the government has taken…What the government has essentially done here is that they have created a new rule, a new series of regulations. So, the hundreds of thousands of law abiding firearms owners will dutifully follow these laws," Scheer said.
"The people who will not follow these new regulations are the drug dealers and the gun traffickers, and the people who choose to do evil with firearms. So we believe this is completely ineffective."
In addition to his critique that the Liberals aren't addressing the issue of illegal firearms, Scheer also criticized the fact that these initial changes were put in place at a time "when parliament is not sitting."
He did, however, say his party will still look at the proposed legislation, when the time comes.
"If the government is proposing legislation, we will look at it, but in general we are opposed to the government making criminals out of law abiding firearms owners," Scheer said.