Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.
As the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I rise today to defend my fellow Canadians' rights to own and enjoy private property, in this case firearms. I oppose any efforts by the Liberal Party that would lead to another useless, wasteful long-gun registry, and I do so on behalf of my constituents and the tens of thousands of Canadians who are without representation from their local MPs on this issue.
I spent the summer listening and hearing what citizens from across Canada had to say.
One of the myths perpetrated by the urban media is that there is uniform support for a gun registry in Quebec. That may be true in urban Montreal, but that is not true in rural Quebec. Rural Canadians, regardless of whether they are English or French speaking, are united in their opposition to a wasteful, useless gun registry.
The Upper Ottawa Valley enjoys a long and historic relationship with people on both sides of the river, Ontario and Quebec.
Hunters from Quebec tell me one of the reasons François Legault and the CAQ are polling so well in Quebec in that provincial election, particularly in rural ridings and among Francophones, is because of the decision by the Quebec Liberal Party to bring in a provincial long-gun firearms registry.
In the Upper Ottawa Valley, opposition in the Pontiac to the return of a Liberal long-gun registry has brought attention to a very historic wrong that must now be addressed.
The Canada-Ontario Boundary Act, 1889, legislation that was subsequently enshrined in the Constitution of Canada when the Constitution was repatriated in 1982, clearly situates the Ottawa River Islands of Allumette and Calumet in the province of Ontario.
This fact was confirmed by the Minister of Natural Resources Surveyor General of Canada in the House on January 21, 2016, when he stated in response to a question I placed on the Order Paper:
As stated in the Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 1889, the middle of the main channel still delineates the boundary between Ontario and Quebec. The main channel of the Ottawa River today may be different than that shown on the map of the Ottawa Ship Canal Survey by Walter Shanly, C.E.; nevertheless, it does not change the interprovincial boundary.
The people who live on Calumet and Allumette Islands in the Ottawa River, according to the Constitution of Canada, are legally residents of Ontario. However, Quebec is claiming ownership and enforcing its laws on island residents. Firearm owners on those islands have a legal right to refuse to register their firearms with the Quebec provincial government.
The Government of Canada has a constitutional obligation to protect the rights of the citizens who live on those islands. They do not want to be subject to the Quebec gun registry just because no one has bothered to correct the mapping error.
This error has been magnified by Bill C-71, which is why it has now become an urgent and pressing issue. Lawful firearms owners know that the Quebec gun registry could be used by other provinces as a template. These efforts by the federal government to introduce a backdoor long-gun registry through a province must be stopped in its tracks.
This is a test.
If the Prime Minister is sincere about his respect for the Constitution, he will protect the rights of the Canadian citizens who live on Allumette and Calumet Islands. No more virtue signalling about the notwithstanding clause. Bill C-71 is his problem that he created with this border crisis. Now we have to deal with it.
How appropriate, after the Prime Minister's summer of failure, he would focus on a piece of divisive legislation to divert attention from his summer of failures, with the Gerald Butts culture wars policy of dividing Canadians rather than dealing with real issues.
Let us keep this simple.
Bill C-71 is a knee-jerk response to a problem that does not exist. Law-abiding farmers and hunters are not the problem; criminal behaviour is. Let us quit rewarding criminal behaviour with soft penalties and watch the crime rates drop in Toronto. Let us withdraw Bill C-75 along with Bill C-71. It is as simple as that.
A summer of failure is one spent listening, but not actually hearing constituents and what they were trying to tell members. They were trying to tell the Liberals that this was bad legislation. For one-term members of the House, like the members for Northumberland—Peterborough South and the Bay of Quinte, third reading of legislation, coming after report stage, is when parliamentarians, after listening to their constituents, make amendments to respond to their concerns.
Clearly, government members of the House, who will have to answer directly to voters on behalf of their party, have been too busy not listening to actually hear what the constituents in their ridings have to say about banning firearms. Banning firearms because they might look scary or misleading the public about banning assault weapons when the public has been prohibited from owning assault weapons for over 20 years will not solve Toronto's gun violence.
The members for Northumberland—Peterborough South, Hastings—Lennox and Addington, Thunder Bay, Kenora, Nipissing—Timiskaming, and Yukon should ask to speak to the Liberal MP I defeated. Maybe he will them what happens to MPs when they support a useless, wasteful gun registry or talk about banning firearms because they look scary.
I can confirm for the benefit of the one-term member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington that his constituents were given the now false impression that he would be proposing a whole series of amendments to Bill C-71, the act to harass law-abiding Canadians who happen to enjoy Canadian heritage activities like hunting.
The member for Thunder Bay—Superior North should know that her constituents, who contacted me, thought Bill C-71 would be withdrawn. After alienating a large segment of voters in her riding, penalizing people of faith by demanding a humiliating loyalty attestation oath and taking away funding for student summer jobs, I can assure her that people who enjoy outdoor activities in her riding are an even larger segment of the population to alienate as we enter this final year before a federal election is called.
I understand the Prime Minister is too preoccupied, in his summer of failure, giving 4.5 billion Canadian tax dollars to Texas billionaires to build pipelines in the U.S. and losing manufacturing jobs in the auto sector to listen to the concerns of average middle-class Canadians.
While Liberal MPs might have spent the summer hearing complaints about their government and Bill C-71, the fact this legislation is being rammed through the House demonstrates how ineffectual they are. We know individual Liberal MPs are being ignored by their own party, thanks to the insight provided by the newest member of the Conservative caucus. I take this opportunity to welcome the newest member of the Conservative caucus, the member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. The member's frustration that led her to cross the floor was not being listened to.
The arrogant, elitist party hierarchy led by technocrat Gerald Butts, whose extreme leftist experiments crashed the Toronto Liberal Party so hard, is no longer recognized as an official party in the Ontario legislature. I can assure the government members who I mentioned that their constituents shared their frustration with me over Bill C-71.
Unlike the members opposite, as I always do, I spent my summer listening to my constituents. I hear what they have to say, and I represent their interests in Parliament, as I am doing today.
I thank all the members of the Madawaska Valley Fish & Game Club; the Ottawa River Sportsman Club; the Eganville & District Sportsman's Club, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary; and the Pembroke Outdoors Sports Club, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. They shared their concerns, signed petitions, attended information sessions and educated their fellow citizens. They recognize that banning handguns is just one step away from banning hunting rifles.
A gun ban will be another costly failure to add to all the other costly failures of the government, like paying $4.5 billion for a pipeline that ends up giving wealthy Texas oilman Kinder Morgan chairman Richard Kinder a profit of 637% on that fire sale.