The federal government will launch a study of a full ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada.
A mandate letter to Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlines a number of tasks for the new portfolio, including leading the government’s plan to deal with illegal migration, overseeing the legalization of marijuana and cracking down on opioids.
He is also charged with working on policy, regulations or legislation on gun control.
“You should lead an examination of a full ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada, while not impeding the lawful use of firearms by Canadians,” the mandate letter reads.
The issue of gun control arose after the July 22 mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown.
Trudeau promised the government would take steps to ensure Canadians are safe, but did not say if the government was considering a handgun ban.
“And we’re looking at things that have been done around the world, things that have been done in other jurisdictions, looking at the best evidence, the best data, to make the right decisions to make sure that we are ensuring our citizens, our communities are safe into the future,” he said at the time.
Minister’s marching orders
Blair’s mandate letter was released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday, along with those for each member of cabinet.
His other marching orders include:
- Develop new policies and legislation to reduce organized crime, gang activity and money laundering in Canada, working with provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as community organizations, law enforcement and border agencies.
- Lead talks with the United States on modernizing the Safe Third Country Agreement.
- Seek additional opportunities to expand pre-clearance operations for travellers to the United States.