The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear Quebec's appeal to prevent the destruction of the federal long-gun registry data.
Ottawa dismantled the registry and its data on 5.6 million rifles and shotguns last year, despite pleas from Quebec.
This is the province’s last chance to preserve the records for an estimated 1.6 million firearms, which it hopes to use to create its own version of the federal registry.
In June, the Quebec Court of Appeal said it would not force the federal government to preserve the information.
At the time, Quebec Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Agnès Maltais said she was disappointed with the ruling, saying the federal government had a “lack of comprehension of the Quebec situation.”
As per usual, the justices did not give a reason for their decision.
The appeal will now be scheduled to go before at least five justices, whose decision will have the ultimate say in whether the registry data will be preserved.
Quebec justice minister 'very happy'
Quebec Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud said he was “very happy” to have Quebec’s arguments heard by the Supreme Court over a cause that he said was unanimously championed by the national assembly.
St-Arnaud also said he was pleased with the court’s decision to maintain the right to register gun ownership data until its justices render their final decision.
Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron said the federal government’s decision to dismantle the Canadian gun registry was illogical.
“The Conservative government used the issue of major costs to abolish the registry,” Bergeron said.
“To see the federal government stubbornly spending more public money to keep Quebec from being able to collect this data and obligating the Quebec government to also spend public money to get rid of this data, it defies comprehension,” he continued.
Juripop legal clinic director Marc-Antoine Cloutier said his group was also very happy with the Supreme Court’s decision.
He said the abolition of the federal long-gun registry put Canadians in danger.
“Today, we are in a situation where we’re going back nearly 40 years and it’s basically easier now to track weapons in the United States than in Canada,” Cloutier said.
However, the Quebec Hunting and Fishing Federation voiced its disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Quebec’s appeal, saying that it would cost taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money.