OTTAWA -- The Bloc Québécois succeeded Tuesday in expediting the formation of a parliamentary committee to study the illegal trafficking of firearms in Canada as early as Wednesday.

In the third week of House of Commons proceedings, the formation of committees to study legislation and other parliamentary concerns is still pending. Only the Finance Committee has been formed to deal with a bill tabled by the government, C-2, which would review federal support for the pandemic.

On Tuesday morning, the government House leader was still promising that all parliamentary committees would be established by Dec. 17, when the year-end break on the Hill begins.

In the House on Tuesday afternoon, Bloc Québécois MP Kristina Michaud moved a motion that the Public Safety and National Security Committee be formed that day and that it be instructed to "undertake a study on gun control, illegal gun trafficking and the increase in gun crime committed by street gang members as a matter of priority."

As there were no objections to her motion, it was immediately passed unanimously.

The committee will call the federal Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, for three hours of testimony in response to the Bloc motion. The same invitation was extended to representatives of the RCMP.

The issue of handguns has been a hot topic in Ottawa since the death of Thomas Trudel, a 16-year-old boy who was killed on the evening of Nov. 14 in Montreal's St. Michel neighbourhood. Since then, both Mayor Valérie Plante and Premier François Legault have called on the federal government to find a way to reduce the flow of handguns in the country.

Last summer, during the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to give provinces the power to ban handguns if they wanted to, though they are waiting for the bill that would make that promise a reality.

Quebec called for this power in a unanimous motion passed in the National Assembly last February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 7, 2021.