Kootenay Columbia MP Rob Morrison was left wanting for answers after grilling the federal public safety minister and RCMP commissioner over illegal roadblacks and firearm definitions during a recent parliamentary committee meeting.
Morrison said his questions to Bill Blair, the federal Minister of Public Safety, as well as to RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki, focused on upholding the rule of law against “illegal roadblocks” that have sprung up across the country.
In a parliamentary committee meeting, which was recorded and posted online, Morrison queried Minister Blair on if the RCMP has the right to enter onto Indigenous territories and also questioned Commissioner Lucki about enforcing court injunctions.
Commissioner Lucki said that the RCMP has a specific policy for Indigenous blockades and that police can exercise discretion about timing and intensity of enforcing court-ordered injunctions.
In an interview with the Cranbrook Townsman, Morrison said he was concerned about the effects of the blockades on the economy. He specifically singled out concerns from the agricultural sector about moving wheat to cargo vessels at the Port of Vancouver as well as transporting propane to northern communities in Quebec.
“My question always is how long with the government wait until they remove illegal roadblocks?” Morrison asked. “I’m not talking peaceful legal protests whatsoever here; I’m talking illegal blocking right-of-ways where either the RCMP or a police force in jurisdiction can move in and remove the roadblock.”
During the same parliamentary committee meeting, Morrison also pressed Minister Blair on the definition of a ‘military-style’ assault rifle, which the federal Liberal government has pledged to ban.
Minister Blair didn’t specify if the ban would apply to a specific calibre or a semi-automatic firearm, but told the committee that weapons used by soldiers “to kill enemy combatants” should only be used by soldiers.
Morrison said he didn’t get answers to his firearms questions, and also raised concerns over estimated costs of a potential firearms buyback program.
“So really, what I was trying to get at, first of all, if there’s a buyback for whatever firearms the Liberal government decides on their own to [prohibit], if there’s a buyback program, how much is that buyback?”
Morrison said initial cost estimates for a firearm buyback program could reach up to $1 billion and argued that money would be better utilized by law enforcement against organized crime and gang violence.