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Cost for federal gun buyback scheme rises again without any guns actually bought

Author: James Wood 2021/10/21

Federal spending for consultation on the gun buyback scheme is already rising, according to records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“We’re already seeing costs go higher and the government hasn’t bought back a single gun,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “The gun buyback won’t make Canadians safer, but it has all the makings of another big taxpayer boondoggle.”

Last December, the Department of Public Safety handed a contract to IBM Canada to help develop the firearms buyback framework, at a total estimated cost of over $1.1 million.

By May, the total estimated cost had jumped to just over $1.5 million after several contract amendments.

The department said the original contract given to IBM included optional services, which could increase the value of the contract up to $395,600. Public Safety decided to ask for those services.

“The expected cost just to buy the guns back has already ballooned, so taxpayers have every right to be skeptical,” said Terrazzano. “The government still hasn’t told taxpayers how much the gun buyback will cost.”

The RCMP’s National Police Federation says the policy fails to address gun violence.

“The narrative is that we need to restrict gun ownership because that will curtail crime, when really the evidence is that illegal gun trafficking leads to criminals owning guns, which leads to crimes with firearms,” said NPF president Brian Sauvé in November of 2020.

“So really, we need to look at the source of the problem.”

To date, the Firearms Buyback Secretariat has spent close to $2.2 million, with about half going to bureaucratic salaries and the other half going towards operational spending.

The total cost of reimbursing gun owners could cost up to $756 million, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. However, the PBO did not include staffing and administration costs due to a lack of program details.

The government is planning to spend $4 million annually on the Firearms Buyback Secretariat, though Public Safety has said the buyback office would be wound down as the program runs its course. 

The government has yet to buy back any guns and the program remains under development.  

“The gun buyback is an expensive program that won’t keep Canadians safe,” said Terrazzano. “The feds need to scrap the gun ban and buyback, because we don’t need another ineffective policy and taxpayers can’t afford to waste more money.”