House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was registry.

Topics

Suicide Prevention
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present the second petition on behalf of about 260 of my constituents who are working very hard in support of the creation of a national suicide prevention strategy.

Over 3,500 Canadians die by suicide each year and my constituents feel that increasing stresses in our society have taken a toll on Canadians.

As the Kirby report made it clear, more attention is needed to address this painful issue, especially for those who face higher risk, like youth, isolated seniors, first nations and people in remote communities.

My constituents argue that a national suicide prevention strategy is an essential part of fulfilling our collective responsibility to prevent suicide and promote well-being among Canadians. They ask the federal government to take some leadership on this file.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from the Religious Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in my riding of Kingston and the Islands and their friends and supporters.

The petitioners would like to tell the House that climate change is a moral issue that affects the poor of the world and the people who have the least to do with causing the problem in the first place, and that this is unjust. They wish to tell us that the lack of attention to sustainability and to climate change that we have shown in this country is a symptom of unchecked greed. In the face of this, Canada must lead by example. The federal government has not, whereas the provinces and other jurisdictions around the world have.

The petitioners call upon Canada to sign and implement a binding international agreement to replace the Kyoto accord that will keep the rise in global temperatures to under 2°C, as suggested by scientists. They ask for national targets and a national policy to achieve those targets. They call upon Canada to contribute to and support the green climate fund to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change.

Telecommunications Industry
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by the good folks of my riding of Davenport in Toronto. This petition deals with what we call lawful access legislation that the government attempted to introduce in the last Parliament and which we expect it will introduce in this Parliament.

The petitioners state that this legislation would require all telecommunications companies to collect and store personal information about their users and hand that information over to law enforcement at their own request without a warrant. They state that Internet and phone providers would pass the cost of this spying program on to consumers. They state that Canadian authorities have not yet provided the public with evidence that they cannot do their duties without this expanded flexibility. They also state that the Canadian Privacy Commissioner has stated that the legislation would substantially diminish the privacy rights of Canadians.

Therefore, the petitioners in my riding, who have joined over 75,000 others who have signed the “stop the online spying” petition, call upon the Government of Canada to respect the privacy rights of Canadians by maintaining the need for law enforcement to secure judicial warrants before receiving personal information from telecommunications providers.

Wine Industry
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today with two petitions.

I would like to make special mention and commend the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla who has a private member's bill on the same subject matter as my first petition. It is legislation that should have seen the dustbin of history some time ago. It is the 1928 federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act which prohibits Canadian wineries in the 21st century from selling a case of wine to someone from Ontario who is visiting us in British Columbia.

It is about time we decide to allow people in this country to buy wine in one part of the country and bring it to another part. The shipment of wine across provincial boundaries is required to be legalized and freed by this group of very stalwart supporters in my riding and beyond.

The Environment
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from many members of my riding and beyond my riding, but particularly from the Gulf Islands. It concerns Enbridge's supertanker scheme to bring a twin pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat that would ship bitumen crude in waters that have been protected from oil tanker traffic since 1972. It is quite shocking to most residents of British Columbia's coastline to imagine that this could be pushed through.

The petitioners call upon the government to stop being promoters of this project, to step back and wait for the evidence at the hearings, to stop pressing that these hearings on environmental review are taking too long, to respect first nations' rights and to stop promoting a pipeline and disastrous tanker proposal from Enbridge.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

February 6th, 2012 / 3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, as reported (without amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I wish to inform the House that because of the statement made earlier today government orders will be extended by 11 minutes.

The hon. member for Gatineau.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, after consideration in committee, the House is now seized, at report stage, with consideration of government Bill C-19, that not only seeks to eliminate references to long guns, but also to destroy the data in this registry.

I would like to begin by highlighting the absolutely extraordinary work done by my colleagues from St. John's East, Surrey North and Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. These members have attempted to convince the government of the defects in this bill. There is, of course, a lot of politicking that goes on in this chamber, but politics is supposed to benefit someone—not necessarily us, but all Canadians, in general.

It is true that since the creation of the firearms registry—and I was not in politics of the time; I was hosting a call-in radio show—everyone has complained, and not just a little. People were not complaining about the registry per se, but rather about how much it costs and how poorly designed it was in the first place. The reason for the creation of the registry was clear. Perhaps this is not repeated frequently enough: there was a mass killing at the École Polytechnique where the now infamous Marc Lépine decided, just like that, to shoot at people for one single reason: they were women. That made people’s blood boil. It became a very personal matter in people’s eyes.

Nobody in this House, regardless of what side they are on, is saying that they want to put weapons in the hands of somebody who is going to go crazy and do what Marc Lépine did at that time.

The firearms registry was created after a lot of trials and tribulations and hemming and hawing. It was supposed to solve all of these problems. There were problems with the cost of the registry. There were also problems—and this is constantly alluded to on that side of the House—because very law abiding citizens had no desire whatsoever to use a firearm in any dangerous way; they were simply collectors, aboriginals or hunters. The debate then took another turn because people realized that the way the bill was drafted created a lot of problems. In fact, people who had no intention of doing anything illegal could be charged because they had an unregistered weapon in their possession. Basically, there were a lot of problems.

For years, the Conservative government promised at each election, and each year, that when it came into power, it would get rid of the firearms registry and in particular the long gun registry, in order to solve the problem faced by hunters.

What did the NDP team assigned to this bill do when it received Bill C-19? We looked at it in what I would call an intelligent and sensible way. We stated that we understood that the government had made certain promises and we wondered what could be done to try and meet everybody’s needs. In other words, we asked ourselves how we would alleviate the fear in the minds of hunters, collectors, and other groups, and remove the idea that they were common criminals. At the same time, we asked ourselves how we could protect the public.

This was of course considered in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. The committee, as its name suggests, is responsible for the public’s safety. This is the perspective from which we considered Bill C-19.

The committee studied the bill, and now it is before the House at report stage. Colleagues from other parties presented amendments. For technical reasons, the NDP cannot present amendments in the House because it already did so in committee. The amendments had to be presented by other parties. Regardless of who presented the amendments, they were presented not to irritate Canadians or the Conservative government, but to help improve this bill.

That being said, every time an amendment was presented, it was flatly dismissed. The government never even tried to understand why the amendment was being presented. Since we began studying Bill C-19, associations of chiefs of police and various provincial ministers have said that they would like to maintain the information in the registry. I am not the one who said that; I am not an expert on the subject. They were the ones who explained what they do with the gun registry and the data, which are not perfect, of course.

All the same, as I have said since the beginning, no one can plead his own turpitude. The government itself imposed a moratorium on updating the data. That is why some data are not in the registry. It may not be completely up to date, but if it can save just one life, I think it would be worth the effort.

This government is so deeply ideological that it refuses to listen to reason. That is what makes me so sad about this debate. Since the beginning, I have tried to be as open as possible to the arguments on both sides, beyond the promises politicians sometimes make to the people. That is called leadership. We might have some of the same ideas as our constituents, but we have to take action when we know that something is illegal and that it will cause a problem.

The Quebec public safety minister asked that the data pertaining to Quebec be transferred. This is harmless and does not bother anyone. Quebec wants to maintain the registry and assume the costs. It would not cost the federal government one cent. It would cost even less than destroying the data. In fact, we have been told by information privacy experts that destroying the data will be quite the job. You do not just push a button and say it no longer exists.

Millions of pieces of data are used by our police forces. People who oppose the registry may be convinced to say they have never used it. People told us that they do not use the data, but, if it at least protects the public, it is worth it. We now know that some types of long guns will no longer be tracked after the data are destroyed and the long gun registry abolished. The minister opposite has made this the fight of her life, and whether she likes it or not, we will no longer know where these guns are. Do not bother showing me the proof of purchase because if someone decides to transfer their gun to someone else, or if I knock on my neighbour's door and tell him that I like his gun and want to buy it, there will be no record of it.

There are huge holes in this bill. The government refuses at all costs to listen to reason or to even try to ensure that all the holes will be plugged. This is all I want, and it is all that the NDP, the official opposition, wants.

We must bow to the inevitable. The Conservatives will put an end to the long gun registry but, for goodness' sake, let them plug the holes in the bill and listen to Quebec. Quebec is telling them that it wants to keep the long gun registry. It is not right to claim that the data and the registry are the same thing, and that we need only erase the data to abolish the registry.

The issue was that people were treated as criminals. By removing this criminalization we can solve the problem for those people who are waiting for the bill to pass. At the same time, we can ensure public safety.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar
Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague.

First, although we are on different sides on this issue, I appreciate that she has been able to address this and we have been able to disagree in a very respectful way. She was at the committee meetings when front-line officers appeared and told us over and over again that they did not use the registry and, as some of them put it, it actually became a danger to police officers who put any kind of faith in the very flawed data. She admits that the data is flawed. We may have agreements or disagreements on why it is flawed, but it is flawed. We all agree on that.

Would she not agree that front-line officers are putting their lives on the line if they look at that information and put any kind of credence into it when making a tactical decision?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is consistent with what I was saying earlier, and I also appreciate the fact that we are able to have this type of discussion.

Indeed, some people came to committee and said such things. The police officers were very clear. Those I spoke to later on, in order to get a better understanding of how the system worked, said the same thing. When they know that a person is in the registry, they are not going to knock on the door or enter carelessly because they saw that there is no registered long gun at that address.

There was an absolutely unfortunate incident, and I do not have enough time to explain how it had absolutely nothing to do with the registry. Facts can be manipulated to make them say what you want.

In committee, I kept asking the same question: if the registry saves just one life, is it not worth keeping? That question embarrassed even the witnesses who sided most with the government's position, and they did not know how to answer it.

Then we were treated to this grand fiction whereby the registry was responsible for a person's death. By all accounts, that is absolutely not true.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I remember a bilateral meeting that we had here in Parliament with members of Mexico's parliament. Among other topics, we spoke about the violence in the region and, in particular, the violence in Mexico. One thing that struck me the most was when one member asked what Canada was going to do after it eliminated the firearms registry. The illegal export of these weapons to Mexico was now going to be even easier. What did Canada intend to do in this regard?

What does the hon. member think we should tell Mexico?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am short on answers, which is rare for me.

Honestly, this is a real problem. Some senior public servants are saying that Canada will even have a lot of difficulty respecting some of its international firearms agreements. These are other concerns, other loopholes in the legislation that we have gone to great lengths to try to fix.

When someone completely closes the door on all positive suggestions, it is quite difficult to break down that door. Unfortunately, the legislation will have to be amended a few years from now when all the problems it will have created have come to light.