Sask. government tells RCMP it will not support federal firearm buyback


Saskatchewan's minister of policing and public safety says she does not want provincial police resources involved in a federal firearm buyback program, a position the federal government is calling reckless.

On Tuesday, Christine Tell sent a letter to Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore.

"The government of Saskatchewan does not support and will not authorize the use of provincially funded resources for any process that is connected to the federal government proposed 'buy back' of these firearms," Tell wrote. 

In May 2020, the federal government passed an order in council banning 1,500 assault-style firearms and certain components of newly prohibited firearms.

It announced an amnesty until October of 2023, giving owners of the firearms time to comply with the law.

The federal government initially indicated the private sector would design and run a buyback of prohibited firearms.

Tell's letter does not explain exactly how the government would go about preventing the use of police resources in the buyback.

In 2011, the Saskatchewan and federal governments signed an agreement securing the RCMP as the provincial police force until 2032.

The deal means Saskatchewan covers 70 per cent of the costs with the federal government paying for the rest.

'Confiscation program'

Tell's letter came in conjunction with a similar letter sent by Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro to that province's commanding RCMP officer. 

Shandro said the federal public safety minister sent him a letter requesting police resources to begin work on the buyback.

Tell referred to the buyback program as a "confiscation program," words echoed by the province's chief firearms officer, Robert Freberg.

"We don't see that it's going to do anything to enhance public safety in the province. The people that they're targeting with this buyback or confiscation ... aren't the individuals that are causing the issue," Freberg told CBC on Wednesday.