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Yukon Party motion against proposed gun buy-back program passes with NDP support

MLA Brad Cathers referred to the program as the “proposed confiscation of lawfully acquired property”
Brad Cathers, Yukon Party MLA for Lake Laberge, spoke to reporters on April 20, 2022. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

A Yukon Party motion regarding the federal government’s proposed gun buy-back program has passed with the support of opposition parties.

The motion urges the government to ensure RCMP resources aren’t used to enforce the program.

On Oct. 12, Yukon Party and NDP MLAs voted in favour of the motion, while Liberal MLAs voted against it.

It urges the Yukon government to “ensure that territorial policing resources are not diverted to assist in the implementation of the federal Liberal government’s flawed gun ‘buy-back’ program.”

Since 2020, the federal government has banned more than 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. The intent of the mandatory buy-back program is to permanently remove assault-style firearms from the streets, and provide compensation to owners and businesses affected by the May 2020 prohibition.

When debating the motion, Brad Cathers, the Yukon Party MLA for Lake Laberge and Justice critic, referred to the program as the “proposed confiscation of lawfully acquired property.”

“It is important to take an evidence-based approach rather than one guided by emotion,” he said.

“Public policy based on fear is not the right approach to take.”

Cathers argued that moving money away from dealing with “serious issues” — such as organized crime — will make the Yukon and other parts of Canada less safe.

He said strained police resources have not grown enough to divert resources, citing a law enforcement report prepared for the RCMP, released late July, which indicates the territory is becoming entrenched with at least five organized crime networks consisting of more than 250 individuals.

Cathers pointed to a National Police Federation position statement that agrees the program does not address public safety by diverting “extremely important personnel, resources and funding away from addressing the more immediate and growing threat of criminal use of firearms.”

In response, Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said she has spoken with federal Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino and has been meeting with justice and public safety ministers from across the country.

McPhee noted the territory has the highest per capita rate of possession and acquisition licences for both prohibited and restricted guns in the country.

She said the Yukon government is trying to find balance.

“We remain supportive of the implementation of legislation that will help make our communities safer, while we continue to support the lawful use of firearms by Yukon homesteaders, Yukon hunters and Yukon farmers,” McPhee said.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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