Prime Minister discusses RCMP Depot, Sask. Firearms Act, and $10-a-day childcare during Queen City visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped by the Queen City to highlight his federal government’s Grocery Rebate, but he also addressed issues top of mind for Saskatchewan and Regina residents.

One was the future of the RCMP Depot in Regina, which Trudeau called a “Canadian institution” but fell short of committing to keeping the Mountie training facility open.

“We know how important it is for the local economy, but we also know how impactful it is in training police officers who then serve all across the country,” he said. “I think we all recognize there have to be changes in how we move forward to ensure communities are safe, to make sure that police have the tools and abilities to do the work everyone expects of them.”

The Mass Casualty Commission’s final report into the 2020 Nova Scotia shooting rampage that left 22 people dead recommended the RCMP phase out the Depot training model.

Politicians in Saskatchewan have criticized the recommendation, as the training facility is part of the province’s history and serves as an economic driver for the city.

Trudeau said his government will continue to look closely at the recommendations and take things “one step at a time.”

Just over a week ago, the Government of Saskatchewan passed The Saskatchewan Firearms Act to enhance public safety across Saskatchewan and protect the rights of lawful firearms owners.

The act was applauded by firearms enthusiasts who will see RCMP officers having to obtain a license and local police seeking approval as well as other measures.

It also comes months before the federal government’s mandatory buyback program is set to take effect this fall, which saw the federal government ban 1,500 models of assault-style firearms to protect against gun violence and mass shootings.

Trudeau said that they are committed to keeping Canadians safe from gun violence while also protecting the rights of hunters and farmers to have guns. Something he called “not incompatible.”

“We know that there is no Canadian in this country who wants to see more gun violence. We also know that the approach to that needs to be multifaceted. We need to be continuing to strengthen things at the border,” he said. “We need to invest more in community safety and community policing programs.”

Trudeau said that the federal government is looking to support First Nations communities with First Nations policing and more common sense gun control measures.

“Measures that respect hunters and fishers, anglers and sports shooters, while at the same time making it more difficult for people to access the kinds of guns that are regularly used in mass shootings in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and unfortunately have been used in Canada as well,” he said. “These are things that we will continue to move forward on. We will work with jurisdictions who want to work with us where necessary, but we will fully assume federal responsibility over guns everywhere as necessary.”

Trudeau also addressed questions about what the federal government is doing to help cities like Regina and Saskatoon that are predicting to see a shortage of childcare spaces after the government’s $ 10-a-day childcare plan.

He said that while the federal and provincial governments have made investments to bring daycare down to ten dollars a day, those investments also include support.

“I will also highlight that the agreement signed and the billions of dollars given by the federal government for that wasn’t just to bring down the cost of child care. It’s also to maintain the quality of childcare spaces by bringing in a pay grid for early childhood educators and making sure that there is quality pay for the people who take care of our kids across the country.”

“It also involved commitments around creating spaces as well in child care. So that’s all part of the childcare approach that we’ve had with the provinces. Yes, $10 a day, but also high-quality spaces and more of them. It takes years to build a system like this, but that work is ongoing with the government of Saskatchewan and municipalities like Regina in Saskatoon, where it’s appropriate.”

Trudeau also credited the Saskatchewan Government for their work to see the plan implemented immediately.

“The Government of Saskatchewan is a full partner and is a choice by the Government of Saskatchewan. That means that child care is already at $10 a day here, whereas there are other provinces across the country where it’s still years away. That is partly due to the leadership or significantly due to the leadership and the choices made by the government of Saskatchewan.”

Despite visiting the province’s capital, the Prime Minister did not meet with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe during his stop.

Trudeau said Moe’s office was notified that he would be in Regina, but the two leaders couldn’t meet because the premier was away.

The prime minister added that he had had many productive conversations with the Saskatchewan Party government leader and looks forward to meeting with him in the future.

“In all my conversations with him recently, including some really big conversations on child care and on health care, I have thanked him for his leadership,” he said. “Particularly on health care, where he was one of the three premiers who were working closest with us to make sure that we were putting investments into health care that are really going to deliver results for Canadians right across the country.”

Trudeau also visited the First Nations University to talk and answer questions from Chiefs, faculty, and students.

During the gathering, Trudeau was asked about a wide variety of concerns and hopes from the people, with many questions stemming from investing in education, combating racial barriers in the province and country, and indigenous involvement with government decisions.

Trudeau also spoke on the importance of investments in healthcare and indigenous endeavours, democracy, equality, unity, and journalistic integrity.

with files from The Canadian Press

More from 620 CKRM