Since taking office in 2019, the Jason Kenney United Conservative Party government has been in deep conflict with the federal Liberal government on many, many issues.
For example, firearms legislation and gun control in Alberta and Canada has been one area where the two sides have remained at bitter loggerheads.
With Premier Kenney about to step aside as a new UCP leader is elected by party members and becomes premier, the question of whether the firearms fight with the federal government will continue at its current heated pace remains to be seen.
What is known is that the UCP fight with the Liberals on the firearms file is set to cost Alberta taxpayers at least $12 million over the next three years.
Specifically, the government recently announced plans to spend $7 million next year and $5.2 million in 2024 to support the UCP-created Alberta Chief Firearms Office.
The office was formed last year to assert provincial jurisdiction over firearms policy.
Premier Kenney says the Alberta Chief Firearms Office is protecting provincial gun rights by speeding up processing licence applications, transfers, authorizations to carry and other administrative tasks.
“Boosting resources to the Alberta Chief Firearms Office means law-abiding firearms owners in Alberta won’t have to wait while their applications and transfers are held up by bureaucratic red tape in Eastern Canada,” said Kenney.
“This is one more way Alberta’s government is standing up to Ottawa’s ridiculous firearms agenda and asserting our provincial autonomy.”
Tyler Shandro, minister of Justice and Solicitor General, added, “By greatly expanding the Chief Firearms Office, Alberta’s government will be able to provide faster and more efficient service and will be better positioned to protect firearms owners’ property rights.”
The federal Liberal government has made tightening firearm laws a mainstay of its legislative agenda, with Premier Minister Justin Trudeau saying many times that he is determined to reduce gun violence across Canada.
Wonder if the UCP’s multi-million dollar gun fight against the federal government will be an Alberta election issue?
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.