On Aug. 19, the federal minister responsible for the RCMP requested that Alberta provide resources starting this fall to confiscate 30,000 firearms. Alberta is not legally obligated and has informed Ottawa it will not offer assistance.

Alberta’s government has been advised that the RCMP will be deployed to confiscate firearms under the “buyback” program. Alberta taxpayers pay more than $750 million annually to fund the RCMP as our provincial police service. Alberta’s government expects that no tax dollars or police resources be wasted implementing a program that will not increase public safety.

In order to take action, Alberta has written to the commanding officer of the RCMP in Alberta to advise that, pursuant to the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), the confiscation program is not an objective, priority or goal of the province or the provincial police service (Article 6.0), nor is such deployment “appropriate to the effective and efficient delivery of police services” (Article 2.3a). Consequently, the RCMP should refuse to participate.

Despite taking this step, the federal government may still direct the RCMP to serve as confiscation agents. To prevent this from happening, Alberta will formally dispute any attempt to do so by invoking Article 23.0 of the PPSA.

“Alberta has been told that the federal government will use the RCMP to confiscate firearms – as they did during the 2013 floods – when the RCMP seized over 600 firearms during the notorious High River gun grab. Actions taken today will seek to prevent history from repeating itself. Further options are being explored and all options are on the table.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“This ill-advised firearm confiscation program is another misguided step in the federal government’s efforts around the criminal misuse of firearms. I do not believe that law-abiding Canadian firearms owners support these bungled efforts and have no confidence in the capabilities of the federal government to administer such a massive seizure of personal property securely and effectively.”

Teri Bryant, chief firearms officer

Quick facts

  • Article 6.0 of the PPSA allows the provincial minister to set the “objectives, priorities and goals of the Provincial Police Service.” RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki repeated this in an Aug. 16 statement.

  • Article 2.3(a) of the PPSA notes that: “The Provincial Police Service will not be required to perform any duties or provide any services which are not appropriate to the effective and efficient delivery of police services in the Province.”

  • Article 7.2(a) of the PPSA states that the commanding officer will: “…implement the objectives priorities and goals as determined by the Provincial Minister.”

  • Article 23.0 of the PPSA outlines a dispute mechanism.