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Alberta granted permission to intervene in gun lawsuits against Canada

The fight over gun laws in Canada will see Alberta go to court against Ottawa as intervenors in half a dozen lawsuits against legislation that bans hundreds of models of firearms.

In September, the province made the application to intervene in six ongoing cases on non-constitutional issues.

That request was not opposed by the federal government, and on Wednesday, it was granted by the court.

“The federal firearms ban criminalizes hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Canadians who are in possession of firearms that the federal government has arbitrarily banned – simply because the ‘style’ of the firearm was deemed to be aesthetically displeasing by bureaucrats in Public Safety Canada," Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro wrote in a news release.

"I am pleased that Alberta has been granted an opportunity to defend the tens of thousands of Albertans who are personally affected by this ban in a court of law.”

The Liberal government banned roughly 1,500 models and variants of firearms, including the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14, through an order-in-council in May 2020 on the grounds they have no place in hunting or sport shooting.

A proposed buyback program would require owners to either sell these firearms to the government or have them rendered inoperable at federal expense.

"We respect law-abiding gun owners, including hunters and farmers and Indigenous Peoples. And we will take a fair and equitable approach when it comes to compensating them for firearms which are ultimately determined to be prohibited under Bill C-21," Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said earlier this month.

"We are mindful about the need to be transparent and fiscally prudent when it comes to the creation and the launch, and ultimate delivery, of the buyback program."

In court, Alberta will argue that the federal government’s legislation is an overreach of its jurisdiction and will infringe on the rights of gun owners.

The province will submit a written argument in early February. The lawsuits are scheduled to be heard starting April 11.

The cases include:

  • Cassandra Parker and K.K.S Tactical Supplies Ltd. v Canada (AG)
  • Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights et al. v Canada (AG)
  • John Hipwell v Canada (AG)
  • Michael Doherty et al v Canada (AG)
  • Christine Generoux et al. v Canada (AG)
  • Jennifer Eichenberg et al v Canada (AG)

CTV News Edmonton reached out to Mendicino's office for reaction to this development.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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