OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest is promising to subject a national ban on so-called assault-style firearms to a classification review by a panel of experts.
It comes after the former Quebec premier said back in March that he wasn't "seeking to change the laws as they are," when asked about the same prohibition.
A campaign spokeswoman said today that Charest stands by his initial position because what he's proposing is a review of the regulations and not a legislative change.
The party's position on firearms came under scrutiny during last year's federal election campaign when former leader Erin O'Toole struggled to articulate whether he was proposing to lift a federal ban on some 1,500 models of what the Liberals call assault-style weapons.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed the ban using regulations introduced through a May 2020 order-in-council.
Charest's position on that ban is similar to the one O'Toole eventually adopted last year. He inserted a footnote into the party's platform clarifying it would keep the prohibition in place but subject it to a review.
Gun control has re-emerged as an issue during the race to find O'Toole's replacement after the Liberal government tabled new legislation in the House of Commons proposing to freeze the sale, purchase and importing of handguns.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2022.
Stephane Taylor, The Canadian Press