Firearms: Mélanie Joly replies to Legault and Plante

Federal Minister Mélanie Joly argued Tuesday that a joint effort must be made for better control of firearms at the border, after the appeal of the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and Prime Minister François Legault.

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The day before, the Premier of Quebec and the mayoress of Montreal had again urged the Liberals to contribute to the fight against firearms trafficking, the metropolis still grappling with the problem of shootings.

On Tuesday morning, Federal Minister Mélanie Joly and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez were asked if the Trudeau government is ready to do more.

“It’s a shared responsibility. It is obvious that there must be more resources [pour les] police forces. It must be a priority for the City of Montreal as well, ”declared the Member for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, while making Montreal responsible for its management of organized crime.

“We know that the issue of street gangs does not necessarily fall under the federal government,” said Mr.me Joly.

Mr. Rodriguez, for his part, recalled that Ottawa had supported the unanimous motion voted on in the National Assembly.

“After analysis, we said ‘yes, we are moving forward’. We nod [à] the request of the National Assembly. In addition, we put at least a billion dollars aside to finance what the province wants to do, ”he said.

More than 500 weapons seized

The Border Services Agency revealed a few days ago that it had arrested a Floridian at the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward, Ontario.

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Vivian Richards, 48, was carrying in the trunk of her car 56 undeclared prohibited firearms, 13 overcapacity magazines, 43 10-round pistol magazines and 100 ammunition in boxes that were in the trunk of the car.

Customs officers process 100 million travelers annually at 1,200 entry points.

The data, only for the first quarter of April to June 2021, shows that customs officials seized 509 firearms in the country, while they seized 548 for the full year 2020-2021 and 753 in 2019-2020. .

Reached by TVA Nouvelles on Tuesday, the national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, Mark Weber, stressed that the fight against arms is a priority for its members, who would also like an expansion of their powers to take into account drives out arms smugglers.

“We could do better if we could patrol between border crossings. Absolutely, ”he told TVA Nouvelles on Tuesday.

Unlike the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), customs officers cannot leave their border crossing by vehicle to make these types of interceptions, Weber explained.

Weapons in detail

In response to the TVA Nouvelles report reporting more than 500 firearms seized by customs officials during the first quarter of the year in the country, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provided further details on the weapons in question.

Handguns, revolvers, rifles, semi-automatic pistols and shotguns are collected annually by the hundreds at the border.

The agency said by email that $ 92.9 million was spent on the Gun and Gang Violence Initiative for fiscal years 2018-19 to 2024-2025.

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The CBSA uses portable x-ray machines and large-scale imaging systems. It also received 14 mobile examination vehicles to more efficiently examine means of transport and shipments.

“Five additional teams of detector dogs specializing in drug and firearms detection have been formed and are now active at strategic entry points,” said Louis-Carl Brissette Lesage, CBSA spokesperson. .

“The Agency has designed specialized training to strengthen the training of officers on vehicle searches,” he added.

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