Monday, July 15, 2024

Alberta gets allocated $53 million from federal gov’t to combat anti-gun and gang work

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s government is stepping up efforts to eradicate gun and gang violence, allocating millions of dollars for the province of Alberta.

“We are absolutely focused on going after criminals who use illegal guns to terrorize our communities,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said at a press conference in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday.

The federal government is promising $390 million over five years for provinces and territories to do just that.

Alberta’s allocation is $53 million.”The plan that we have outlined today focuses on three things: strong borders, strong laws and enforcement and strong prevention,” Mendicino said.

The provinces have some discretion on how to spend their allotment, including by investing in law enforcement or prevention programs.

Doug King, a justice studies professor at Mount Royal University, says the money will help, but it won’t solve the issue.

“Five years from now, we’re going to still have the same problem. There are going to be people who are losing their lives to the illegal weapons on the street, they’re going to be related to gangs or to the drug trade,” he said.

“We also have to tackle the border issues and the flood of illegal weapons into Canada through the border.”

In a statement, the United Conservative Party said it welcomes the money, but adds time would be better spent on bail reform and reversing Ottawa’s gun buy-back program.

Alberta gets allocated $53 million from federal gov't to combat anti-gun and gang work

“To effectively fight crime, it makes far more sense – as Alberta has called for – to cancel the 2020 firearms prohibitions and instead focus on efforts to ultimately prosecute firearms traffickers, straw purchasers and others who use firearms for crimes,” the statement said.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley has some questions about how the resources will be deployed but supports the extra help.

“Any resources that are focused on getting illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, particularly in our urban areas, is critically important,” she said.

The funding comes as the feds introduced a motion on Monday to limit debate on Bill C-21 and contentious changes to the classification of so-called assault rifles.

It will force MPs on the public safety committee to study more than 109 amendments in two marathon sessions.

Alberta gets allocated $53 million from federal gov't to combat anti-gun and gang work

The federal opposition says the new gun laws are being pushed through without proper scrutiny.

“This won’t do one single thing to eliminate illegal guns from our communities. This will not do anything to stop the multiple stabbings and murders on public transit,” said Raquel Dancho, Conservative MP for Kildonan – St. Paul, Man.

Jagmeet Singh’s NDP says it will support the bill.

“Inconceivably, the Conservatives seem to be on the side of the criminals, rather than supporting the important public policy that would allow law enforcement more tools to crack down on these criminals that are using those guns,” said Peter Julian, NDP MP for New Westminster – Burnaby, B.C.

Monday’s funding announcement follows a similar 2017 federal government program that saw Alberta get almost $30 million to combat anti-gun and gang work.