As the main party leaders appeared on stage for the first time Thursday in a French-language debate between Justin Trudeau, Erin O'Toole, Jagmeet Singh and Yves-François Blanchet - a stunning revelation was dropped.
O'Toole announced his support for the Trudeau government's Order in Council targeting firearms.
Previously, the Conservative Party has accused the Liberals of “harassing hunters and sport shooters,” and said that Ottawa must focus on gang violence. Firearms policy included vows to hire more RCMP officers to combat gangs and gun smuggling. The Conservatives have also promised to target “straw purchasing” — the legal purchase of guns that are then transferred to unlicensed people, whilst simulteaneously reviewing existing firearm laws with the participation of “law enforcement, firearms owners, manufacturers and members of the public.”
Although it was thought that gun lobbyists and manufacturers might be consulted in shaping future firearms policy, this is increasingly appearing not to be the case, as is the promise to repeal Bill C-71 and the ban on assault-style rifles.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously announced a ban on 1,500 makes and models of military-grade "assault-style" weapons in Canada, banning the selling and transport of such weapons in Canada.
"As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed," Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said. "Enough is enough. Banning these firearms will save Canadian lives."
Trudeau had announced a two-year amnesty period some months back to allow people who already own these firearms to comply with the ban, in addition to a buyback program.
This recent decision to maintain the OIC indicates a newfound political closeness between the Liberals and Conservatives on gun policy not seen since the 1990s. It should be noted that restrictions on many firearm models introduced by the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney were also supported by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien .