On March 6, 2021, I filed an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request with Public Safety Canada to see if they would release any information to back up Minister Bill Blair’s statements in the House of Commons.
From my request:
Reference is made to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s statements in the House on February 26, 2021, where he stated, “We also heard from the chief in Regina, who very clearly said that the guns in his community are not coming across the border but are legally owned, obtained through theft or straw purchase. The chief in Edmonton also opined that only 5% to 10% of the crime guns in his community, in the city of Edmonton, are actually smuggled across the border and the rest come from legal gun owners through theft and straw purchasing.”
For the period of January 1, 2020 to present, please provide copies (drafts and final versions) of all documents, records, reports, presentations, memos, briefing notes, Question Period Notes, advice, statistics, analyses, opinions, petitions, e-mails, correspondence and research relating to ‘straw purchasing’ of firearms by holders of a valid Possession and Acquisition License.
Given ‘straw purchasing’ is one of the cornerstones of Liberal firearm policy, one might expect this request would result in the release of a great deal of information.
One would be wrong.
The entire release package, including its 3-page cover letter, was only 21 pages – most of which was a working copy of a briefing document for the Minister.
- Notably, the answer to the question 5, “What do those who choose to be grandfathered participate in the limited possession regime need to do?” is almost entirely redacted.
- While question 9 lists two paragraphs, they do not answer the actual question, “Since the buyback program is not yet in force, will the Government extend the amnesty for firearms owners?”
Another 25 pages were withheld as Cabinet Secrets pursuant to Section 69(1)(a) of the Access to Information Act.
Evidence-based policy indeed…