Government says there has been an uptick in handgun purchases since introduction of new gun legislation

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the Liberals will be introducing a temporary ban on the importation of restricted handguns. Medincio was joined by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Liberal MP Yvan Baker. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

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The federal government plans to fast-track a ban on the import of handguns into the country without the approval of Parliament using a regulatory measure that comes into effect in two weeks, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced Friday.

The change will last until a permanent freeze is passed in Parliament and comes into force.

The government tabled gun control legislation in May that includes a national freeze on the importation, purchase, sale and transfer of handguns in Canada.

That law did not pass before Parliament took its summer break, and is set to be debated again when MPs return to Ottawa in the fall.

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In the meantime, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said she has the authority to ban any import or export permit in Canada.

"Working with Marco, we came up with this idea of creating this new system of requiring permits," Joly said. "But meanwhile, we will deny any permits."

The temporary ban will prevent businesses from importing handguns into Canada, with a few exceptions that mirror those in the legislation tabled in May.

"Given that nearly all our handguns are imported, this means that we're bringing our national handgun freeze even sooner," Mendicino said. "From that moment forward, the number of handguns in Canada will only go down."

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 Canada joins U.S.-led moon mission 

Canada is joining a U.S.-led project that will see humans return to the moon and set the stage for further exploration to Mars, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday. Known as the Lunar Gateway, the project includes an outpost that will provide living space for astronauts orbiting the moon, a docking station for visiting spacecraft and laboratories for research.

"Canada's historic investment will create good jobs for Canadians, keep our astronaut program running and our aerospace industry strong and growing while opening up a new realm of possibilities for Canadian research and innovation," Trudeau said at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Que. The announcement comes amid ongoing turmoil within the Trudeau government over SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau faced questions about the issue during his news conference.