On Behalf of Irving “Bing” Leblanc

Director, Housing, Infrastructure and Emergency Services

Assembly of First Nations



Prime Minister's COVID-15 Update on May 1, 2020




Good afternoon,


Please see the following highlights from the Prime Minister’s address this morning:


  • The press conference was largely focused on the introductions of an immediate and sweeping ban on assault style weapons in Canada. There will be a buyback program for these weapons supported by legislation. There is a 2 year amnesty period for possession of these weapons, effective immediately you will not be able to sell, purchase, import, or transport these weapons.
  • The Prime Minister recognized that firearms are part of tradition for Indigenous people.
  • The Deputy Prime Minister stated firearms are a danger to vulnerable populations and women, LGBTQ, Indigenous people and people of colour are at particular risk to systemic violence. We need to challenge our attitudes and strengthen our community support. Femicide is a scourge in our society and we need to stop it. Saying no to assault style weapons is putting feminist ideologies into practice.



Will you explain how the government will implement this ban without legislation in parliament?

PM: This is done through regulation. To move forward on the eventual buy-back we will need to move forward with legislation in the House.

Canadians are concerned about their bills on May 1 because of lost work. Why did you do this assault rifle ban now?

PM: We are focused on keeping Canadians safe from COVID-19. Even though society has slowed or stopped during this pandemic we have noticed the impact of firearms.

Deputy PM: With physical distancing our vulnerable population is more vulnerable than ever. Women and girls are seeing an increase in domestic violence and that is why we are needing these rules more than ever.

Why did you not opt for a mandatory buy-back program – how will you ensure that these weapons will not be used for violent crimes?

PM: All buy-back programs need to be supported by a bill. Next steps still need to be ironed out.

What about manufacturers who create new weapons outside of these guidelines?

PM: These policies are going to be evergreen that as new weapons are introduced into the market that Canada will be able to respond accordingly to unsafe weapons.

The shooter in Nova Scotia was using illegal weapons. Why go after lawful gun owners?

PM: Today we are going after dangerous weapons that have no place in Canada. These guidelines will reduce the number of guns in Canada.

Why are you not banning handguns?

PM: Our criteria today will cover 1500 models of guns in Canada. At the same time, there is more to do to strengthen gun control.

Will Canadians who don’t comply be arrested? How much will we pay for these guns?

Minister of Public Safety: This is a permissible amnesty. During this 2 year period they cannot use, sell, or transfer them. The only amnesty is being stored securely. The 2 year amnesty allows us to introduce the buyback program.

Minister of Justice: Buyback will require usual parliamentary processes and safeguards to decide on the compensation.

What will you be doing for Canadians who cannot pay their bills today?

PM: Our priority will be protecting Canadians and it has been that is why we introduced a number of these programs and initiatives.

Deputy PM: Now is the time for compassion. Landlords, support your neighbours and tenants by showing compassion.

We know the federal stockpile was not enough for PPE. What should we expect for the next pandemic?

PM: We should have had more and we needed more. We are working hard to procure supplies from all around the world. It took a lot of scrambling and effort that ideally wouldn’t have had to happen. We will be learning a lot from this experience.