House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was guns.

Topics

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from February 13 consideration of the motion that Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, be read the third time and passed.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Well, Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party's dream has really come true.

Let us look at how long we have been having this debate. The debate first started when a Progressive Conservative senator suggested to Kim Campbell that the House look at registering long guns. This idea was well received back in 1991 by the Progressive Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party. I am not too sure about the Bloc.

It has always been a mission of the Reform Party to bring in a bill to kill the long gun registry. Today the Conservatives will see that mission realized. I am not going to guess at the decision prior to the actual vote, but I know about that glass bubble in the Conservative administration. The government has indicated how its members are to vote on this bill and no one would dare vote against what it has indicated. Given that the Conservatives have a majority, the Reform Party's dream of getting rid of the long gun registry will be realized today.

We have been hearing all sorts of arguments but the one that really amazed me was regard to the costs. Governing is about priorities. The government has gone out of its way to give the impression that the gun registry costs billions of dollars. It has been trying to give the impression to Canadians that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on the gun registry. That just is not true. Independent offices have made it very clear that the annual cost of the gun registry is close to $4 million.

We talk about priorities in this place. The government will kill the registry in the same year that it introduced a bill to increase the number of members of Parliament from 308 to 338. To have more politicians in this chamber will cost six times the annual cost of the registry. Imagine that when we talk about priorities. How many Canadians want more politicians? That speaks well in terms of the government's priorities. I can appreciate members might not like to hear the truth, but that is the truth.

It does not matter what the facts really are, the registry is dead. If 85% or more of the police officers in Canada told us today that the registry saves 100 lives a day and they could prove it, it would not matter. The Conservatives will not be confused by the facts. They want to get rid of the gun registry.

What has more credibility is the RCMP. The RCMP is an independent agency. Many Canadians have a deep amount of respect for the RCMP and the fine work its members do. The RCMP conducted a survey in regard to the firearms registry and issued a report. I will read from the report:

A survey of CFRO users showed that 81% of trained police officers supported the statement, “In my experience, CFRO query results have proven beneficial during major operations.” So beneficial, in fact, that RCMP dispatchers, RCMP Operational Communications Centres, Quebec Police agencies, Halifax Regional Police, Halton Regional Police, Canadian Military Police, OPP, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, West Vancouver Police Department and the Tsuu Tina Police Service have re-designed their Records Management Systems to auto-query CFRO whenever a police officer queries CPIC. Additionally, 513 RCMP detachments and federal units, 579 Canadian municipal police agencies and 88 OPP locations query CFRO yearly.

Those are the facts from the RCMP, but it does not matter to the government.

The other day I posed a question to a Conservative member. I asked if he believed it was possible that the gun registry might have saved one life. The Conservatives will not even concede that. They will not concede that there has been an ounce of benefit from the gun registry for its $4 million in annual costs, a figure that came from the Auditor General of Canada, or one-sixth the cost of the 30-plus members of Parliament the Conservatives have told Canadians they must have. They say, “Prove it”.

Let us go back to that RCMP report. It states:

After an individual was observed driving directly into some parked vehicles, he was taken into an ambulance to be checked out. He subsequently pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the attendants and threatened to kill them if they touched him. He then exited the ambulance and fled on foot. The local police soon apprehended him and found that he was in possession of a Glock pistol and loaded spare magazines. Canadian Firearms Registration Online (CFRO) checks indicated that he was a licensed owner of 31 registered firearms. NWEST was asked to assist by preparing the public safety warrant, laying charges and seizing 33 firearms (two of which were not registered), along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

These are the types of reports I find credible because the RCMP has recognized the value of this and incorporated it into its report. I have heard from many people, such as emergency first responders and so forth. I have heard the arguments.

I was first elected in Manitoba back in 1988, just three years prior to Senator Nurgitz coming up with the idea. From about 1993 to this day, I have heard a lot about the gun registry. There were some problems in its early years with the costs of administering it.

However, the gun registry was never an attack on farmers or law-abiding citizens. If that were the only issue the Conservatives were truly concerned about, then all they would have to do is to amend it, and they would have wide support to do that. That was not the agenda of the Reform Party. Its commitment was clearly to get rid of the gun registry.

The Conservatives refuse to listen to common sense and facts. Instead, they fabricate and propagate myths and mislead the public about what the facts really are.

There was never any intention to turn a farmer into a criminal. Name one individual who was put in jail because of this legislation, Mr. Speaker. Give us one. You will find under the firearms registry that that is not the case, because law-abiding citizens were never a target.

It was an issue of the government's priority. Was $4 million a priority?

I have had a number of police officers who have told me that the long gun registry is nothing more than one of many tools they use to ensure public safety.

Do members not think that police officers approached the house of the person I mentioned a bit differently knowing that he had 33 registered guns? I know they approach every house as if there were a gun there, but if I were a beat officer and I knew that inside that house there were 33 registered guns and that the person there had just threatened to kill some people, I would approach that house quite differently. I would suspect they had a number of police officers going there.

The registry does make a difference. The facts show that.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I just cannot believe what I heard from my friend from Winnipeg North.

The Liberals actually held my seat back in 1993 when they dreamed up the gun registry. In 1997 they lost by just a hundred votes, mainly because the people in my riding, the farmers that the member said were not criminals but sure were treated like criminals, and the hunters, the outdoorsmen, the rural Canadians, said “Enough of the Liberals”. As a result, the Liberal member, Jon Gerrard, lost that seat by just a hundred votes. The Liberals' support in my riding has continued to decline to a point where, in the last election, they only had 3% of the vote in my riding. Why? It is because they are completely disconnected from what rural Canada is all about.

This member has just proven it here again. He gives the example of just one person who ran out of an ambulance carrying a Glock. Well, that Glock would still be registered under the current system. Handguns are still restricted firearms or are prohibited, and they will be registered, as are all licensed firearm owners. When police actually reference whether or not a person—

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. I will have to stop the hon. member there. I am sure other members will want to ask questions.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that not all 33 of those registered items were in fact known to the police. They were only known to the police because of the registry.

The point is that if someone fabricates something or takes an issue such as this and says that the government is making people criminals because they are not registering their long guns, it will have an impact on public opinion.

I would invite any member to come into any riding in the province of Manitoba and justify increasing the number of politicians in the House of Commons. I will debate members anywhere on that particular issue. In fact, I would even debate this issue. However, they will have to be able to provide the facts and the truth behind the facts, and not be selective.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would be very interested in hearing my colleague's take on the information provided to the House last week by the member for Yukon. He stated that the RCMP had told the committee investigating this bill that over 4,400 stolen firearms were re-registered through the registry.

Does the member think that might have been an avenue where the gun registry could actually seek find and catch criminals, and whether stolen firearms could be returned to their lawful owners? What kind of impact could that potentially have on Canadians' safety?

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member brings up a great point. If we look at the registry as a whole, we have had endless examples of how the registry has made society a safer place.

However, I give the government credit for its communication network, which has been highly successful over the years. The Conservatives have used misinformation, trying to give Canadians the impression that the registry costs hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Canadians have a difficult time agreeing with the gun registry when those are said to be the expenditures.

It is the misinformation that has killed the long gun registry. If we were to take a group of people in a town hall meeting and cite the examples like the member just raised, I believe that at the end of the day we would find a vast majority of law enforcement officers and Canadians as a whole saying that the government is wrong, that it is not taking measures that would make our society a better and safer place to live.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the government's response to an order paper question asking for data on the kinds of homicides and injuries that happen in Canada due to guns, and on the number of women who have been victims, and aboriginal people, and the number of suicides, et cetera, I was really surprised to hear that the government does not track that information. I does not track the impact of gun injuries and homicides.

My question to the member is, what does he think of the Conservatives saying there is no evidence that the gun registry save lives, when in fact there are no data tracking that at all?

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my greatest frustration is probably when government of the day, no matter what, says there is absolutely zero benefit from the gun registry, when we in fact know there have been benefits. We know that for a fact. However, the government time and time again refuses to acknowledge that. It is unfortunate because that is the fact, it is real and it is wrong for them to give Canadians a different impression.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to begin the final day of third reading debate on Bill C-19, the ending the long-gun registry act.

As I said last week, this is a very proud day for long gun owners and, indeed, people who are fiscally prudent and taxpayers in our country from coast to coast to coast. We are one step closer to fulfilling our longstanding commitment to ending the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all.

I am pleased to tell Yukon citizens, trappers, hunters, athletes, sport shooters, collectors and first nations who rely on long guns to protect their heritage, culture and traditional way of life that the long gun registry, as promised by our government, is finally coming to its rightful end.

Long guns have been a staple tool in Yukon since its beginning, before it was designated as its own territory. This is indeed true of Canada itself.

Throughout this process of debate we have heard all of the reasons our government is opposed to this misdirected legislation. We have heard how wasteful and costly the long gun registry is. The costs have surpassed $2 billion. Can one imagine how many police officers that money would have hired, how many crime prevention programs could have been funded, how much rehabilitative treatment could have been developed and how much victim support could have been provided? When we stop to think about it in those terms, it is an absolutely grotesque and astounding waste of money.

Throughout this entire debate, whether in second reading or committee stage, we have also heard that it is ineffective. Frankly, for the last 17 years, not one person has convinced me that the long gun registry has ever stopped a single crime or saved a single life.

What would stop crime is smart prevention, effective policing and sentences that deter crime. That is the approach to criminal justice this Conservative government is taking and will continue to take into the future.

The single biggest impediment to police work today is paperwork. Crimes by and large are not solved from behind a computer desk. There is as much value today in good old fashioned, on the street, door to door efforts as there ever was. This holds infinitely true when we discuss crime prevention. Crimes are not prevented from behind a desk.

Supporters of the long gun registry continue to claim that it will help the police. Ask any officer if they would like a partner or a computer and a database and the overwhelmingly answer would be a partner. However, the $2 billion blown by the Liberal government went to a database that did nothing, and the police are now buried in databases wrought with errors.

What do I know about this? I was a member of the RCMP's Troop 4 in depot division the year the Liberal government shut it down. It was the second last troop to graduate before a complete closure of the depot for the first time in 125 years of the RCMP's existence. Troop 4 was told well past the mid-point of training that the depot would be closing and there would be no jobs to go to. For the first time in 125 years, facilitators met with our entire troop to say that while we could remain there until graduation, there would be no jobs.

How can the Liberal member now stand in this House and say that the registry keeps Canadians and the police safe with a legacy like that?

It keeps police behind desks. It keeps police buried in data so that they are not on our streets to prevent crimes. The wasted $2 billion could have been $2 billion spent on a partner that every officer would love to have. That would have been $2 billion well spent.

After all the fearmongering and hyperbole the opposition has continued to use at every single juncture of debate, I thought it would be a useful exercise to again review with everyone what I like to call the seven myths of the opposition, by which they have repeatedly misled Canadians.

Myth number one: The long gun registry will help keep suicide rates down. At committee we clearly heard evidence from peer reviewed studies by Dr. Caillin Langmann, Ph.D, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine at McMaster University. He stated:

—the discontinuation of the registration of non-restricted firearms is not likely to result in an increase in the aggregate suicide rate by long gun.

I treat suicide and violence on a daily basis.... [T]he money that has been spent on the long-gun registry is unfortunately wasted; however, we can prevent further waste by taking the money we currently spend on the long-gun registry and spending it on....women's shelters; police training in spousal abuse; and psychiatric care, which is sorely lacking in this country. We are not winning the battle against suicide.

Myth number two: The long gun registry will keep women safer. The committee clearly heard about peer-reviewed research which demonstrated that the discontinuation of non-restricted firearms will not result in an increase in homicide or spousal homicide rates through the utilization of long guns. This only makes sense because the people who register their long guns are not committing these crimes. These are men and women who are impeded by the red tape and the stigma associated with being long gun owners. They do their civic duty despite the unnecessary and wasteful burden imposed upon them. They register their firearms because their government tells them it is the law.

Meanwhile, criminals do not do any of this. They enjoy the freedom to operate outside of the law and have all the rights and protections of the law. The opposition attempts to position this debate in long guns as men against women, and offender and victim. The committee heard directly from women, women who hunt, women who trap, women who have represented our great nation in international shooting competitions. The opposition would like Canadians to believe that it is only men who own guns. This is simply not the case.

Madame Hélène Laurente, volunteer coordinator of the Quebec women's hunting program, said this in committee:

As a hunter, I don't think it's fair that we are being treated like criminals... The registry does not protect women any more than it does society as a whole.

Myth number three: Guns will now be as easy to get as checking out books at a library. The opposition is ignoring the facts. It is deliberately misleading those who do not own long guns and who are not familiar with the process. I can tell Canadians, as any long gun owner can, that the requirements for licensing are not changing. They include Canadian firearms safety courses and, for some, additional firearm, hunter ethic and safety development courses and, of course, pre-screening security background checks.

Myth number four: Police support the registry and elimination of the registry will put police in danger. This is what the committee heard from law enforcement personnel:

I can tell you that the registration of long guns did not make my job as a conservation officer safer.

That testimony was from Donald Weltz, an Ontario conservation officer.

The committee heard about a survey conducted between March 2009 and June of 2010 of 2,631 police officers from all across Canada, 2,410 of whom voted to scrap the registry. In April 2011, a further survey of Edmonton city police concluded that 81% voted in favour of scrapping the registry. The committee heard that the Auditor General found that the RCMP could not rely on the registry because of a large number of errors and omissions. Numerous individual police officers stated that they do not trust the information contained in the registry and would not rely on it to ensure their safety.

Myth number five: The data should be saved and turned over to provinces that wish to create their own registry. The registry is the data. Our commitment to the Canadian people was clear. Anything less would be disingenuous. The data was collected under federal law for a federal purpose. It will not be turned over to another jurisdiction. The committee heard evidence that the RCMP had reported error rates between 43% and 90% in firearms applications and registry information. It also heard that the manual search conducted discovered 4,438 stolen firearms had been successfully re-registered. With these errors, it would irresponsible to the extreme to allow this unreliable, ineffective and grossly expensive system to be handed over to anyone.

Myth number six: Registering a long gun is no different than registering a car. What did the committee hear on this assumption? Solomon Friedman accurately stated that, unlike registering a car, failure to comply or errors in the application process have criminal implications. People will not be going to jail or receiving criminal records if they fail to register their cars.

Myth number seven: Registering a firearm is simple, so what is the harm? Again, the harm is that any mistake has criminal implications. The mistakes in the registry are staggering.

We should further consider additional testimony from Mr. Friedman:

I have two law degrees. I clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, and I practise criminal law for a living. Even I at times find the provisions of the Firearms Act and the gun control portions of the Criminal Code convoluted, complex, and confusing.

If this is the case, how can we expect average Canadians to navigate this quagmire without error? How can we have criminal consequences as a result? How can we expect our law enforcement officers to interpret and apply complex and convoluted legislation with discretion and consistency if a criminal lawyer, well versed and studied on the subject matter, finds it difficult?

Linda Thom, who is a Canadian Olympic gold medal shooter, said:

I’m accorded fewer legal rights than a criminal. Measures enacted by Bill C-68 allow police to enter my home at any time without a search warrant because I own registered firearms, yet the same police must have a search warrant to enter the home of a criminal. I’m not arguing that criminals should not have this right, they should. I’m arguing that this right should be restored to me and all Canadian firearms owners.

Finally, I would like to highlight the conclusion of Gary Mauser, PhD, professor emeritus at the Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies, Simon Fraser University. He concluded:

First, responsible gun owners are less likely to be accused of homicide than other Canadians. Second, the police have not been able to demonstrate the value of the long-gun registry. Third, the long-gun registry has not been effective in reducing homicide. Fourth, the data in the long-gun registry are of such poor quality that they should be destroyed.

That is exactly what will happen. Our government has made a clear commitment. Promise made, promise kept.

However, I would also like to focus today on some of the other insincerities offered by the opposition. First and most flagrantly is the NDP, Her Majesty's loyal opposition. This party, sadly, has caved to the big labour special interests. Numerous members of that party from rural Canada told their voters last spring that when they went to Ottawa, they would put the views of people ahead of cheap partisan politics.

Boy, were those people misled. For example, the member for Western Arctic stated recently, and repeatedly, that he would vote to end the long gun registry. He campaigned on this, knowing full well, and in his own words to the Slave River Journal as recently as June 2010, that 95% of the emails he received from the Northwest Territories constituents supported eliminating the long gun registry. The member has now stated in this House that he will vote against ending the long gun registry.

It appears that he is willing to disappoint his constituents, turn his back on them by failing to defend their traditional, cultural, historic and present-day way of life. Why would he do this when he stated in the same article that he believed he would be able to vote as he saw fit? He said:

The NDP has a policy of not whipping the vote on private member's bills, so people are allowed to vote as they see fit.

Alas, the answer. The member for Western Arctic is not prepared to face the wrath of NDP bosses and suffer the consequences.

However, not all members of the NDP are willing to break their commitments. I am referring to the members from Thunder Bay—Superior North and Thunder Bay—Rainy River, who both had the courage to stand up and vote with the Conservative government to end the long gun registry.

Unfortunately, we know how that story went. The heavy-handed union bosses in the backrooms of the NDP spoke and spoke quickly. Immediately these MPs were stripped of the ability to speak up for their constituents. These sorts of intimidation tactics are reprehensible, but frankly not surprising from the disunited NDP.

Let us also look at the Liberal Party members. They have not been as cagey about their position as their New Democratic colleagues. The Liberals were clear prior to the last election that all Liberals would support continuing the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.

Now, thanks to ignoring the will of their constituents, the once-great big red machine has been relegated to the back corner of this place.

Members should not think for a moment that I have any problem with the Liberal tactics. Without these ham-fisted actions by the opposition, our caucus might not have been blessed with the great talents, such as the member for Nipissing—Timiskaming, among others.

Despite the two different approaches of ignoring the will of their constituents, the NDP and the Liberals have something in common. They both support criminalizing law-abiding Canadians through the long gun registry, but oppose punishing real criminals through tough and appropriate sanctions.

This is something that I simply fail to understand. It is the firm belief of the opposition that individuals should have the force of the Criminal Code, the most powerful tool at the disposal of the state, thrust upon them should they fail to fill out some paperwork to register their rifles and shotguns. At the same time, the members opposite grimace and grumble every time our government dares to suggest that those who are trafficking drugs to our children should get serious jail time or that those who sexually abuse children should never have the benefit of having their criminal record erased.

The position not only lacks serious elements of common sense, it is morally bankrupt. All reasonable people agree that individuals must be licensed to possess firearms. We are not changing that. What we are doing is simply taking steps to eliminate a needlessly bureaucratic process that has done nothing to protect public safety.

Anyone who believes that putting a piece of paper next to a firearm makes it safer is not being honest with himself or herself. Let us be clear: Firearms in the wrong hands are dangerous. That is why we are ensuring appropriate licensing still takes place. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding Canadians, however, are merely tools. They are no different from any other piece of property. This again returns to my confusion as to the priorities of the opposition regarding criminal justice.

When I go back to the Yukon I hear the same refrain from all sorts of people. They ask why law-abiding gun owners are treated like criminals, yet criminals are getting off easy. The only answer I have for them is to look back at the history and the legacy of Liberal governments throughout the years.

Our government is looking to take action to correct both of these historic wrongs. We will end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all. We will ensure we develop a correctional system that actually corrects criminal behaviour. That is what we were elected to do, and that is what we will do.

It boggles my mind that any reasonable individual could oppose the bill. There are two fundamental halves. First, as I have touched on, is keeping Canadians safe through effective gun control. Our government does not believe in measures that simply make people feel safe. We are concerned with actually making people safe.

Effective gun control exists through proper licensing and ensuring only qualified individuals have possession of firearms. As I have said before, a gun in the hands of a law-abiding Canadian is just another piece of property. A gun in the hands of a criminal or the mentally ill only leads to tragedy. The long gun registry does nothing to prevent the latter. That is done through screening and licensing, which we have recently increased investment in. That is how people are truly kept safe.

The second half of the bill, which is equally important, is protecting the privacy of all Canadians. For many years the long gun registry made ordinary Canadians feel like criminals for no other reason than the fact that they happened to own a firearm. They were required to register in a cumbersome and paperwork-heavy process. They were required to submit into a database a list of legally owned private property. All for merely having the audacity of being a long gun owner.

Diana Cabrera from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association testified before committee. She said:

There is no question that the long-gun registry has deterred individuals from entering the shooting sports. Firearm owners are subjected to spectacular press coverage in which reporters tirelessly describe small and very ordinary collections of firearms as an “arsenal”.

Some may say that being in a database hardly constitutes being a criminal. There are all kinds of databases. The problem lies with the attitude. Firearms owners are taught that they need be ashamed of their hobby, that somehow, because they own a gun, they are more likely to become a criminal. This needs to stop. That is completely untrue.

On law and order matters, police and the firearms community tend to march in lockstep. However, the long gun registry has thrust a wedge between these two groups. In many cases, firearms owners rightfully feel that they are being targeted by police officers for simply owning a hunting rifle. While the police are merely doing their job and enforcing the law as it stands, a culture of division has been spawned by the policies of the previous Liberal government. Eliminating the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry is an important first step in correcting this needless division of Canadians.

The fact of the matter is that once we eliminate the long gun registry, there will be no change in public safety. Effective gun control will still exist. What will change is that, once and for all, gun owners will be able to feel good about owning their guns.

I see my time is coming to an end. I would just like to conclude that we have seen a number of steps taken that are simply divisive politics. We saw, as an example, on two separate occasions, billboards designed by the NDP to provoke fear in urban communities. They had silhouettes of dangerous-looking firearms and they implied that these scary guns would be everywhere should the registry be scrapped. Plain and simple, they were wrong. Those firearms displayed are restricted and are still subject to gun control measures.

I call on all members, especially those members who campaigned on this promise, to stand with our government and vote to end the long gun registry. Let us put an end to this Liberal-led attack on our Canadian culture, tradition, history and day-to-day life of north to south, rural to urban, coast to coast to magnificent coast.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the hon. member, I too was a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, which considered the issue of abolishing the long gun registry. My remarks or my question will not make him change his mind. On this side of the House, we are aware that the Conservatives are so convinced that they are right, and their position on the registry is so ideological, that we would be wasting our breath trying to get them to listen to reason.

However, there is one thing I would like to say to the House. The Conservatives often go out of their way to say that the NDP members who voted for the registry must respect the mandate they received from their constituents. But I am wondering if the hon. member is aware that these members were re-elected on May 2, 2011, after changing their minds because they were convinced that the hon. Jack Layton's position was well founded. He said that we were going to improve the registry so that hunters did not feel singled out, and that is what we did. Unfortunately, the Conservatives did not listen to anything we had to say.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if there was a specific question in that, but I will address one thing about us taking a ideological approach to this. In fact, we are taking a fact-based approach to this. There is not much ideological about this. Everything we heard at committee was fact-based. That is hardly ideological. That comes from our constituents.

While a few members may have survived out of a popularity on a number of fronts within the opposition benches, I can clearly state there are a number of brand new members in the House today courtesy of decisions made when other members, who no longer here, turned their backs on the wishes of their constituents. I refuse to do that for the residents of my riding in the Yukon Territory. They have made it loud and clear and I will stand up for their values.

Ending The Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, my colleague brought up some points that I think are valid. In the case of criminality comparisons, drivers licences with gun licences and the criminality involved, he has a point. There is some confusion I have, though, about this. This comes from a constituent of mine who agrees with him, that being in a database for gun ownership makes him feel like a criminal.

Here is the catch. He owns two handguns. The government has decided that it will maintain a handgun registry.

My question is very simple. My constituent points out that the handgun registry is ineffective and wasteful. Why would the government continue that, given how wasteful and ineffective it may prove to be?