An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

In committee (Senate), as of Dec. 11, 2018

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 of this Act amends the Firearms Act to, among other things,

(a) remove the reference to the five-year period, set out in subsection 5(2) of that Act, that applies to the mandatory consideration of certain eligibility criteria for holding a licence;

(b) require, when a non-restricted firearm is transferred, that the transferee’s firearms licence be verified by the Registrar of Firearms and that businesses keep certain information related to the transfer; and

(c) remove certain automatic authorizations to transport prohibited and restricted firearms.

Part 1 also amends the Criminal Code to repeal the authority of the Governor in Council to prescribe by regulation that a prohibited or restricted firearm be a non-restricted firearm or that a prohibited firearm be a restricted firearm and, in consequence, the Part

(a) repeals certain provisions of regulations made under the Criminal Code; and

(b) amends the Firearms Act to grandfather certain individuals and firearms, including firearms previously prescribed as restricted or non-restricted firearms in those provisions.

Furthermore, Part 1 amends section 115 of the Criminal Code to clarify that firearms and other things seized and detained by, or surrendered to, a peace officer at the time a prohibition order referred to in that section is made are forfeited to the Crown.

Part 2, among other things,

(a) amends the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, by repealing the amendments made by the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, to retroactively restore the application of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act to the records related to the registration of non-restricted firearms until the day on which this enactment receives royal assent;

(b) provides that the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act continue to apply to proceedings that were initiated under those Acts before that day until the proceedings are finally disposed of, settled or abandoned; and

(c) directs the Commissioner of Firearms to provide the minister of the Government of Quebec responsible for public security with a copy of such records, at that minister’s request.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Sept. 24, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms
June 20, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms
June 20, 2018 Failed Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms (report stage amendment)
June 19, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms
March 28, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms
March 27, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms

FirearmsStatements By Members

September 24th, 2018 / 2:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, it would seem that there is no end to the Liberals' summer of failure.

I rise today as an avid hunter and a member of the Conservative hunting and angling caucus.

I want to give a shout-out to all of the hunters and fishers for whom this time of year is very important.

I was recently invited to participate in activities at a shooting club in my riding. I witnessed all those who participate in this sport systematically applying existing safety rules and legislation. I previously had the same opportunity in the Isle-aux-Grues archipelago, also in my riding.

In a region like ours, hunting is not just a hobby; it is a way of life. After all, Montmagny is Canada's snow goose capital. Anyone can clearly see how hunting plays a role in my constituents' everyday lives. However, some Canadians are worried about Bill C-71. They believe, as do I, that Bill C-71 will have no effect on gun violence and will simply create more red tape.

I am committed to standing up for the interests of hunters in my region by saying no to a registry that is costly, ineffective and—

Firearms ActRoutine Proceedings

September 20th, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, on Thursday, September 20, 2018, at the expiry of the five hours provided for debate on the third reading stage of Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, every question necessary to dispose of the said stage of the said Bill shall be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, September 24, 2018, at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved that Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to open third reading debate in the House today on Bill C-71, an important piece of legislation in support of public safety and the ability of law enforcement to investigate gun crimes, while at the same time being reasonable and respectful toward law-abiding firearms owners and businesses.

Following years of declining crime rates in Canada, a number of critical statistics concerning firearms pivoted in 2013 to show a significant increase over subsequent years. In 2013, there were 211 attempted murders involving guns; in 2016, there were 290. In 2013, there were 134 gun homicides; in 2016, there were 223. For armed robbery, the numbers jumped from 2,096 in 2013 to 2,870 in 2016. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada that became available just this summer, between 2013 and 2017 overall offences involving guns increased by 44%. It is this troubling trend that Bill C-71 would help to address, hand in hand with our investment of $327 million over five years, rising to $100 million every year thereafter, to intensify our battle against guns and gangs.

That new funding will be aimed at three key goals: first, increasing the capacity and the effectiveness of the Canada Border Services Agency to interdict gun smuggling at the border; second, bolstering the work of the RCMP to identify and take down illegal weapons trafficking operations; and third, to support provinces, municipalities and local law enforcement in their efforts to disrupt gangs, prosecute offenders, prevent young people from being drawn into gangs in the first place and to help them exit that destructive lifestyle. This initiative has been very well received by our provincial and municipal counterparts and many stakeholders, like those from all across the country who attended our guns and gangs summit last spring in Ottawa. Discussions are well advanced on how to make the best use of the new federal dollars. The new Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction will be rolling out the details in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, we continue to advance Bill C-71. The public safety committee of the House studied this bill very carefully, and during its consideration it accepted amendments from all of the major parties. I would like to extend my thanks to the committee members who, as always, conducted a very thorough study of the subject matter and sent the bill back to the House in improved form.

During the last election, the Liberal Party ran on very specific campaign promises relating to firearms. Bill C-71 deals with those promises that require legislative change. They were as follows: first, repeal the changes made by Bill C-42 that allowed restricted and prohibited weapons to be freely transported without a permit; second, put decision-making about weapons restrictions back into the hands of police and not politicians; third, require enhanced background checks for everyone seeking to purchase a handgun or other restricted firearm; fourth, require purchasers of firearms to show a licence when they buy a gun and require all sellers of firearms to confirm that the licence is in fact valid before completing the sale; and finally, require firearms vendors to keep records of all firearms inventories and sales to assist police in investigating firearms trafficking and other gun crimes. We are delivering on each of these promises to make our communities safer and to support law enforcement while not targeting law-abiding firearms owners.

First, on the issue of enhanced background checks, currently when deciding whether to issue a possession and acquisition licence, a PAL, the law requires the chief firearms officer of a province or territory to consider the past five years of an applicant's history to determine if their past activities or behaviours indicate a public safety risk.

Bill C-71 proposes to eliminate that five-year limitation. That idea stems from a private member's bill introduced by former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore in 2003. Upon tabling his private member's bill, Mr. Moore told this chamber the following:

Currently the Firearms Act says that if in the past five years a person has committed a violent crime and has been convicted of a violent crime or of threatening to commit a violent crime, that person cannot apply to own a firearm for five years.

My private member's bill does not say after five years: it says if a person has ever committed a violent crime in their life never does that person get to own a gun. If a person has ever beat his wife or ever committed rape or ever committed murder and is released from jail, never in his life does that person get to own a gun....

Those are the words of the hon. James Moore.

Mr. Moore's bill obviously did not pass, because today the Firearms Act still says five years. Bill C-71, however, will remove that time limitation, as well as expand the kinds of things that the CFO can consider when deciding whether to issue a licence or not. There are, for example, explicit references in the law to gender-based violence. Thanks to amendments made by the committee, which were adopted unanimously, the CFO would also be able to consider an applicant's online behaviour as well. There appears to be broad and multipartisan support for these measures on background checks.

For indigenous hunters who engage in the traditional practices of hunting, the aboriginal peoples of Canada adaptations regulations will continue to apply. The regulations allow an applicant to ask an elder or community leader for a recommendation to go to the provincial chief firearms officer to confirm the importance to the applicant of their engaging in traditional hunting practices, which are, of course, a section 35 treaty right. Therefore, we can see the legal framework here attempting to make sure that the appropriate indigenous considerations are taken fully into account.

Secondly, on the issue of transporting firearms, specifically restricted and prohibited firearms, before former bill C-42 made changes to the Firearms Act in 2015, the owner of a restricted or prohibited weapon was required to get an authorization to transport it, what is known as an ATT, every time the owner took that firearm anywhere. The Harper government loosened that restriction by attaching an automatic authorization to transport to every possession and acquisition licence for the purpose of transporting the firearm home from a store or to an approved shooting range or to a port of entry or a gunsmith or a gun show. Because the ATT was automatic and applied to numerous different destinations, it became virtually impossible for police to detect the transportation of restricted or prohibited weapons for illegal purposes.

Bill C-71 seeks to narrow and clarify the scope of the ATT rules. An ATT would continue to be included automatically with a PAL licence to transport restricted or prohibited weapons to a certified shooting range, but beyond that, a separate ATT would be required. This would assist law enforcement without impacting gun owners in any major way. In addition, we will work to ensure that the firearms centre is properly staffed to issue ATTs as required, and we will provide an electronic portal where firearms owners can apply online and get their ATTs in a matter of just a few minutes. If people need to go to a gunsmith after they have been at firing ranges, they would also be able to get an ATT on their smart phones. Therefore, the objective here is to make sure that the service is efficient.

Third, on the classification practices, it is of course up to Parliament, up to the House of Commons and the Senate, as a matter of law, to determine how firearms are classified. For years Parliament has identified and defined three categories: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited. Parliament is always free to change those categories if it sees fit. It can change the characteristics that apply to each of the three categories. That is Parliament's sovereign right.

Administratively, after the definitions have been set in law by Parliament, it should be firearms experts who make the technical determination as to which firearm fits into which category. That is a factual, technical function, and it should not be politicized. Bill C-71 makes that point very clear. It grandfathers those individuals who may be adversely affected by the previous government's decisions to allow the cabinet to contradict the experts and assign a lower category to a particular firearm, contrary to the definitions in the Criminal Code.

Let me turn next to the question of licence verification. Currently in Canada, if people want to buy ammunition for a non-restricted firearm, they must show the vendor a valid firearms licence. It might surprise many people to know that they do not currently have to show a valid firearms licence for purchasing a non-restricted firearm.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Speaker, the practice was changed by the previous Conservative government in 2012. Actually the law was changed so that this became a voluntary provision. The law now says the vendor simply has to have “no reason to believe that the transferee is not authorized to acquire and possess that kind of firearm.” In other words, they do not have to ask. They can ask, but they do not have to ask.

Of course, vendors have that option, and all the reputable ones that I know actually ask the question to determine that the licence is still valid. Most businesses probably behave in that way. It is just common sense. However, if someone without a PAL is looking to get a shotgun, for example, that person is more likely to try to buy it from a vendor known not to run the licence check.

Bill C-71 would make it an offence not to verify the licence. This is not only important to stop those who have never had a licence from acquiring a non-restricted firearm. If a gun shop is dealing with a regular customer, the sales clerk might be tempted not to check the licence that he or she has probably seen many times before on previous transactions. However, if that customer had recently lost their PAL due to a court order, the sales clerk would have no way to know that unless he or she actually checked its validity with the registrar. Customer service will be important so that verification can be done in a quick and efficient manner.

On firearms record-keeping, Bill C-71 proposes to make record-keeping of non-restricted firearms a requirement for all businesses. With proper authorization, police will then be able to better trace the origins of firearms found at crime scenes. This was a requirement for businesses from 1979 until 2005. It is also a standard requirement across virtually all of the United States. It is simply a good business practice commonly applied already by major retailers like Cabela's, Canadian Tire and many others.

Some people have suggested that this will amount to a new long-gun registry. Of course, for such an argument to be logical, it would also mean that Canada first had a long-gun registry back in 1979. Obviously, that would be nonsense. To make this point crystal clear, the Conservatives moved an amendment in the committee, which reads as follows: “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to permit or require the registration of non-restricted firearms.” That amendment was supported unanimously by all members of the public safety committee, who were in total agreement that nothing in Bill C-71 remotely resembles a long-gun registry. That point is now beyond all doubt.

In addition to meeting our platform commitments, we are currently reviewing other options to ensure that firearms do not fall into the wrong hands. For example, we are examining the regulations relating to the safe storage of firearms, especially after hours on commercial premises. Firearms theft from such premises have been steadily rising, and we should try to prevent that trend from getting worse.

We are examining firearms advertising regulations to see if they are appropriate to prohibit the glorification of violence and anti-personnel kinds of paramilitary conduct. We are examining the issue of whether there should be some flagging system with respect to large transactions or bolt sales that may trigger questions on the part of police forces. We are also examining the possibility of enabling medical professionals to flag when they feel a patient may pose a significant risk to the safety of themselves or others.

I would point out that in 2012, Quebec passed what is known as Anastasia's law, which banned firearms in places like schools and relieved physicians of their usual obligations with respect to doctor-patient confidentiality when they felt that someone under their care who owned a firearm might be a danger to themselves or to others. It is a concept that other provinces may wish to examine, and it will be discussed at federal, provincial and territorial meetings this fall.

I will be working with the new Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction on these supplementary measures as well. As members know, the new minister has also been mandated to lead an examination of a ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada, while not impeding the lawful use of firearms by Canadians. That consultation will be going forward this fall.

When taken together, this strategy represents a responsible firearms package that will help make our communities safer. It will help police forces investigate the illegal use of firearms. At the same time, these measures taken together will not overburden legitimate firearms owners in exercising their legitimate rights.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to point out to the minister that the basic premise of Bill C-71 has been flawed from the outset. Rising crime rates have nothing to do with the hunting and sport shooting community. We all know this will do nothing to combat gang crime.

I do have another fairly complicated point I want to raise, and it has to do with discrimination. This bill is blatantly discriminatory. When it comes to security, I think gun control should apply to all people.

Right now, special provisions apply to indigenous peoples. The minister talked about it just now, but there is no mention of it in the bill, and it was not discussed in committee. I know it has to do with section 35. Nevertheless, the point is that all people use firearms, yet indigenous and non-indigenous individuals are treated differently. When it comes to firearms, there should be one set of rules for everyone. That is why indigenous individuals told the committee that Bill C-71 is irrelevant to them.

How can the minister think it is okay for an indigenous person to do whatever he or she wants with a firearm even as the government tightens the rules for hunters and sport shooters?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise again today to speak about the logical absurdity at the heart of Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms. We on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security have read and worked on the text of the bill. The conclusion is inescapable: the Liberals are trying to look like they are fighting crime, but in reality, they seem to be favouring the rights of criminals over those of law-abiding citizens. This is nothing new. Canadians are all too familiar with the Prime Minister's track record. I do not need to persuade anyone that the Prime Minister has an overly liberal attitude towards terrorists and street gangs.

Bill C-71 proves my point. We have been debating this bill for some time in the House, but I can guarantee you that thousands of citizens have been continuing the discussions across Canada. Yesterday, my colleague from Lethbridge presented a petition signed by 86,000 law-abiding Canadians — certainly not criminals — calling for Bill C-71 to be scrapped.

The Prime Minister likes to brag every chance he gets about working for reconciliation with first nations. This has been yet another failure, since there have been no discussions with first nations. Maybe he thought it would be too difficult to have a conversation with them, so he did not bother.

Firearms are a way of life for many indigenous peoples. They hunt every day, as it is part of their ancient traditions, and we understand that. However, they were not able to share their views, except in committee, and only because the Conservatives requested that first nations witnesses appear. Those representatives said they did not deem that Bill C-71 applied to them and they had no need for it. They therefore have no intention of obeying it. That is a pretty serious problem.

As I said earlier, we have not debated Bill C-71 for quite some time. I would therefore like to remind Canadians what the bill is all about. Let me remind Canadians that this bill does nothing to fight street gangs and organized crime. I would also remind Canadians that the bill is an attempt by the Prime Minister to impose a gun registry and yet another burden on law-abiding citizens for no good reason.

Now I will go over some of the finer points of the bill to illustrate to what extent the Liberals have lost their way. The following are some of the gaps in Bill C-71: the proposed legislation would remove the reference to the five-year period that applies to background checks for permit applications, thereby eliminating any time restriction on those checks. What is more, every time there is a transfer of ownership of a non-restricted firearm, the purchaser and vendor will have to check whether the licence is valid. Retailers will also be required to keep records of their inventories and sales at their own expense. The current wording of the bill repeals parts of our former Bill C-42, an act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make a related amendment and a consequential amendment to other acts, which gives parliamentarians, not the RCMP, the power to classify firearms. Under this bill, specific transport authorization would be required every time a restricted or non-restricted firearm is transported across communities, except when a firearm is transported between a residence and an approved shooting range, as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said.

In his speech, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness mentioned that the amendments of all the recognized parties had been accepted. However, we proposed 44 amendments and only one was accepted. The members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security worked extremely hard. We took off our jackets, rolled up our sleeves and worked for hours to make this bill more logical. We proposed 44 amendments to improve the bill. They were not ideological amendments. The Liberals rejected all of them except for one.

One of our amendments proposed that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness be the one to change the classification of firearms based on recommendations from the manufacturer and the RCMP. This amendment would have prevented the RCMP from having a complete monopoly over the classification of firearms and ensured that consultations would precede any reclassification. That would have ensured public accountability by forcing the minister to provide his reasons for the reclassification in the Canada Gazette. The Liberals rejected that amendment.

We also proposed an amendment that would have made it unnecessary to conduct background checks on people seeking to renew a firearm licence or firearm owners the year of the first background check since the continuous eligibility process involves daily checks. The amendment sought to simplify the process without reducing the number of checks. Of course, we all agree that background checks must be conducted.

We wanted to improve the bill so as to make it a little simpler, but we were rebuffed. We also proposed that people on indigenous reserves or in remote areas who live off hunting be exempt from the regulations on firearms transfers, but once again we were told no.

We are now at third reading stage, and I believe it is important to remind Canadians of the Conservative Party's position on this matter. Canada's Conservatives believe that Canadians' safety should be the top priority of any government. Talk is not enough; action and specific measures are needed. Unfortunately, this law does not have any new measures to tackle the gang violence in Surrey or Toronto and the increased crime rate in Canada's rural communities.

We cannot trust the Liberals when it comes to firearms legislation, because they are not cracking down on criminals who use weapons to commit violent crimes, and they are treating law-abiding gun owners like criminals.

The Conservatives will continue to advocate for real action to keep Canadians safe, and we will focus our efforts on the criminal causes of gun violence.

Our leader was very clear yesterday when he said that next year, in 2019, when the Conservatives form government, we will repeal Bill C-71 and replace it with a law that targets criminals and street gangs, not law-abiding Canadians.

We have concerns about Bill C-75, another bill introduced around the same time. The government claims that Bills C-71 and C-75, which were introduced in tandem, are meant to combat gun violence. However, as we have said, Bill C-71 will criminalize law-abiding gun owners. Bill C-75 is even worse. It will turn certain criminal offences, such as participating in an activity of a terrorist group, administering a noxious substance, like the date rape drug, advocating genocide, or participating in organized crime, into offences that could be punishable by a fine. It makes absolutely no sense for the government to do this.

Criminals are criminals. Unless the government stops trying to please and mollify interest groups every time it decides to do something, it will never be able to introduce meaningful, relevant measures that really tackle the problem.

Under Bill C-75, what are now certain criminal offences could become punishable by mere fines. They say their goal is to relieve pressure on the justice system. If the justice system is a problem, fix it. Criminal sanctions should not be downgraded just because the government has a problem.

We will take care of this next year.

In addition to making life difficult for law-abiding individuals, Bill C-71 is telling business owners, people who work hard for their money, to keep records about clients and firearms. They are being forced to keep those records for 20 years. They will have to have a computer system. The government is forcing them to do more, but they do not have the money to do it. Any costs associated with record-keeping will be their problem, unless there is something else we have not heard about.

I would now like to talk about the difference between the work of elected officials in the House of Commons and that of public servants or bureaucrats. Once again, the government is putting Canadians' safety in the hands of bureaucrats instead of allowing elected officials to decide what is important for Canadians. For example, the government is giving the RCMP total control over firearms reclassification. It is now up the RCMP to decide whether an individual is a criminal for owning a firearm that the RCMP now deems to be unacceptable.

We think we should be playing that role, even though it is true that no one here is an expert in the matter. We would need to get accurate information and advice from manufacturers and the RCMP. Then, the minister would make a decision based on the evidence. It is up to us to tell Canadians that after holding consultations or conducting checks, we decided to change the classification. Why would we not be able to do that?

Why let the RCMP make those decisions on our behalf? Once again, the government is giving power to bureaucrats who are not accountable to anyone, who can sit in their offices and decide to change the rules and prohibit a firearm without us having any say in the matter. What are we doing here? This is our job. We are not perfect, but that is why we would need to listen so that we could understand the situation properly and make an informed decision.

With regard to the registry, this is the second time that the Liberals have tried to punish law-abiding citizens. The first time was in 1993. Twenty-five years ago, the “little guy from Shawinigan” introduced a registry and told us not to worry because it would cost only $2 million. Shortly after that, we learned it would cost $2 billion, and we all know what happened next.

Now the Liberals are introducing a bill that requires retailers to collect data and send it to the government if their business shuts down, but they deny that this is a gun registry. That is what they want us to believe. As the saying goes, they are taking us for fools. They are trying to tell us in every possible way that this is not a gun registry. As soon as someone enters data on a computer, and businesses are required to send that data to the government if they shut down, what is that? It means that information on citizens and on guns is being shared. That is a kind of registry.

Getting back to indigenous peoples, I asked a question on that topic after the minister's speech. He replied simply that this pertains to section 35 of the Constitution. The minister just said directly that, from the standpoint of national security and harmonizing security across Canada, there is a constitutional problem. In its current form, Bill C-71 is unconstitutional if it applies to indigenous peoples. Indigenous representatives told us that themselves, and the minister just confirmed it. Now what is happening? The Liberals are pushing ahead, and once again, the first victims they go after are our law-abiding hunters and sport shooters. We have no shortage of laws in Canada. This is not the United States. It currently takes eight months to get a licence, and there are quite a few hoops to jump through.

I realize that the Constitution gives indigenous peoples certain rights. Still, as I said when I asked the minister my question, people who own guns are human beings, citizens, on an equal basis as other Canadians. Why would we impose a law on one group of individuals that would not apply to another group under the Constitution? That will not work.

I know this is complex, but I think law-abiding citizens are entitled to wonder why this bill is targeting them instead of criminals. The Liberals have yet to answer that question, and they cannot always claim it is because of the Constitution. When it comes to safety and security, that answer is not good enough. The government cannot just fool around with safety and security by simply saying that the Constitution protects its decision and that is that. That is not going to work.

The Conservatives are being told that we are all talk and no action. I just want to remind the House of what our government did to fight crime. When we were in government from 2006 to 2015, we fought tirelessly to keep Canadians safe. For example, we passed the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. This act simplified the licensing system while strengthening firearms prohibitions for people who had been convicted of an offence involving domestic violence. We also passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which strengthened bail provisions for people accused of serious offences involving firearms.

The legislation we passed to tackle organized crime and ensure protection in the justice system provided police officers and justice officials with new tools that would go a long way in fighting organized crime. We supported the national crime prevention strategy. We funded initiatives across the country to advance Canada's crime prevention and community protection objectives under the national crime prevention strategy.

We created the northern and aboriginal crime prevention fund under the national crime prevention strategy in order to meet the needs of northern and aboriginal communities when it comes to crime and community safety.

We created the youth justice fund. In December 2006, the guns, gangs and drugs component of the youth justice fund was put in place to help rehabilitate young offenders.

We also created the youth gang prevention fund in 2006 to support community groups that work with troubled youth in order to prevent them from joining gangs by addressing the risk factors associated with gangs.

In other words, we kept our promises and worked for law-abiding citizens, not against them.

Let no one doubt our determination to fight crime. The Liberals, on the other hand, promised $327 million almost a year ago, but not a single penny has surfaced so far. The Liberals say they want to fight crime, they promise money, but we have yet to see a single penny.

Crime and gangs do not take time off. Gangs keep on committing crimes. The current government is spending a lot of money on a lot of silly things. They promised money to fight gangs and we agree with that, but now one year has gone by and we have yet to see a single red cent. That is outrageous. We need action now.

History is repeating itself. In 1993, the Liberals created the gun registry to make it look like they were fighting crime. Twenty-five years later, the Liberals are pulling out the same old strategy in the hope that Canadians will again be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of the Prime Minister and his team. They tell us that they are looking after us and will help up. In reality, Canadians are not fools. That was demonstrated by my colleague's petition this week. People understand that this is not the way to fight crime. We will deal with the problem next year.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

We saw the previous government's antics with respect to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and there is also the fact that they were forced to reverse course a few times by the Supreme Court of Canada. It worries me to hear him say that we cannot always invoke the charter to get around the law.

I have two questions for my colleague. Does he believe that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a law, and thus in the realm of law, and what does he know about this section of the charter we have been talking about, section 35, as it applies to Bill C-71?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I find it curious that the Conservatives are trying to confuse things, claiming this is a registry. My colleague who knows so much about the history of the registry should know that before the registry was created, sellers were legally required to maintain documentation on sales, as set out in Bill C-71.

In 2012, when the House was debating the bill to abolish the registry, the Conservatives invited a witness to appear, Rick Hanson, who was then the Calgary chief of police. He testified in committee, or maybe before the Senate committee. He explained that he supported abolishing the registry, but he also said that if the Conservative government wanted to abolish the registry, it would then have to bring back the point of sale records, which is exactly what this bill does.

Could my colleague tell me whether he does or does not agree with this witness, the former Calgary chief of police, whom the Conservatives invited to speak in favour of abolishing the registry? This witness said that this aspect of the law should be restored.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the work of the hon. member on the committee.

The position of the Conservative Party prior to and during the committee work was that Bill C-71 is essentially a backdoor registry. There were supporting witnesses who said that this was a backdoor registry. The hon. member moved an amendment which said that this cannot be construed in any way, shape or form as a registry. The committee was persuaded by the hon. member's arguments that this was not a registry.

Is it still the position of the member and his party that Bill C-71 is a backdoor registry?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles for their speeches.

The issue of gun control is never an easy one to debate. After all, there are law-abiding gun owners. However, victims of gun crimes have told us tragic and horrible stories. We cannot just lump everything together. We have to respect both sides of the debate, which can be very emotional.

Unfortunately, over the course of the past 15, 20 and 25 years, the debate has been politicized, and that does not serve public safety nor the making of good public policy. The debate on Bill C-71 is proof of that. After this bill was introduced, the Liberals sent out fundraising emails. In the House, we also heard Conservative members whisper their thanks to the Liberals for providing a quote to be included in their solicitations. Political fundraising on the backs of victims of gun crimes and gun owners who simply want an acknowledgement of their views can lead to problems and does not advance public safety and public policy.

Let us put this aside and consider the facts before us.

Notwithstanding Bill C-71, I want to start by recognizing something that everyone in this House agrees on, which is this disturbing trend we are seeing in particular in urban centres, in Canadian cities. It is a trend that is so problematic we have seen violence in Toronto, Surrey and other communities such as those.

I was proud to work with our leader, Jagmeet Singh, in writing a letter to the Prime Minister recognizing that more needs to be done to address the root causes of what is causing this violence, whether it is the radicalization of young vulnerable people who are facing all sorts of issues, mental health issues, extreme poverty, victims of the housing crisis, who are being recruited into gangs, their vulnerability being preyed upon by these types of organizations, or whether it is the fact that cities want to see the federal government do more. What form that will take remains to be seen. We will be very engaged in that debate. However, the fact of the matter is that there is a serious issue in this country that needs to be addressed. When I hear what the Conservatives say, the Liberals say, and we as New Democrats say, it is something we all agree on and will be moving forward on in the following months.

As pleased as I am to hear the minister raise the issue of what needs to be done at the border for firearms coming in from the United States, what needs to be done to address the spike in rural crime that is leading to, among other things, the theft of firearms owned by law-abiding firearms owners, or dealing with those issues I mentioned a few seconds ago relating to what is happening in cities notably with regard to gang violence, while the minister is saying the right things and seems to be on the right track, it is clear that more work needs to be done. Arguably, what the government is proposing is not enough. More needs to be done not only to invest in these things but also to tackle them in a more surgical way.

To come back to Bill C-71 specifically, there are several elements I want to discuss.

The first is the least controversial. The way I see it, everyone agrees, or at least should agree, on background checks. There is one thing that I think needs to be cleared up: contrary to what the Conservatives have claimed in committee and in the House, background checks already cover more than the required five-year period, owing to several court rulings. This is already being done by default. The only thing Bill C-71 does is enshrine lifetime background checks in law.

As my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue just mentioned in her question to the previous speaker, background checks are not meant to punish people or to block someone from buying a gun or getting a licence just because they shoplifted a bag of candy from a corner store 30 years ago. They are meant to identify someone who might have been arrested 15, 20 or 25 years ago on domestic violence charges or for uttering threats against women.

That is the kind of person we want to identify, not someone who was arrested at 16 for simple possession of cannabis or for shoplifting, like the example I just gave. I am talking about much more serious crimes that can represent a major threat to public safety and security. As we learned from the studies that have been presented to us on violence against women and self-inflicted violence, the suicide rate is extremely high, and firearms are a commonly used method. These are the issues we need to seriously examine. We all agree on background checks.

As for the issue of retailers keeping records, the opposition wants to portray this as a backdoor registry. Let me be clear. Such records have been kept in the United States for a very long time, and even in Canada, before the gun registry was created in the 1990s, record-keeping was already required under the law.

As the retailers who appeared before the committee said themselves, every respectable business owner who wants to maintain proper records already does this, for accounting purposes, for example. The bill is only meant to ensure that the few non-compliant businesses—which is a very small minority, I might add—are brought into line. The records also need to be standardized, to make it easier for police officers to do their jobs, which is central to this matter.

When the registry was abolished in 2012 by the Conservative government, there was one witness in particular whose testimony stood out to me. Calgary police chief Rick Hanson, who was brought to committee by the Conservative members, spoke in favour of abolishing the registry. He pointed out two things. The first was that while he was favourable to abolishing the registry, there needed to be more robust PAL verifications, which included background checks. The second was that when one firearm owner is transferring to another, whether through a private sale or otherwise, and I will come back to that in a moment, because that is part of Bill C-71, he stated, “We must reinstate point of sale recording. This existed prior to the gun registry”, which is an important distinction, not that it is another registry but existed prior to the gun registry, “and was useful for two reasons. The first is that it allowed for proper auditing of gun stores to ensure that they are complying with the law requiring them to sell only to those with proper licences. That is a starting point should that gun be identified as being used in a criminal offence.”

One element that someone playing devil's advocate to this point might want to raise is to ask about the costs imposed on a business by doing so. The fact of the matter is, to go back to a point I made earlier and a point that everyone in the House should agree on, all reputable businesses already do this. Apart from some minor tinkering, as the process goes forward through regulation for ensuring that the record-keeping is uniform, for all intents and purposes, any costs associated with this change to the law will be minimal, particularly considering that the law already required this prior to the creation of the gun registry in the 1990s.

This is very important. The police officer I quoted earlier emphasized that. When representatives of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, they made it very clear that this is an important tool in the work they do. They said that when retailers maintain standardized records, they feel a little more confident when they have to go and talk to a retailer as part of a criminal investigation for a crime involving a firearm.

That brings me to the next point, the question of transferring from one firearm owner to another, in a private sale for example, and the need to verify that the person's licence is valid. One of the concerns that was raised in committee was the generation of more than one reference number during such a transfer, so a reference number for each firearm transfer. For example, if individual X is transferring to individual Y, each firearm would generate an individual reference number. When one read the legislation as it was originally drafted, before being sent to committee, the plural was used. Officials comforted us by saying the plural was always used in drafting legislation and, unless otherwise specified, could mean the singular and therefore only one reference number.

Putting aside all that technicality, I proposed an amendment so that only one reference number would be generated per transfer, regardless of the number of firearms being transferred from one individual to another. That amendment was adopted unanimously by all members of the committee.

To create greater certainty in law, it is not a question of registering the reference number to ensure the individual is respecting their moral and public safety obligations, but now also an obligation under the law to simply verify the validity of another individual's licence. I would argue 99.9% of responsible firearm owners in Canada already do that anyway. It is to make sure that the reference number is not portrayed as some kind of bogeyman, it is simply a tool used by the chief firearms officer to ensure that individual is respecting the law. That amendment is extremely important to make sure we have that certainty and that the intention behind the generation of that number is extremely clear.

Some proposed amendments regarding authorization to transport firearms were not adopted. This was a highly controversial issue. We realize that in the bill that the Conservatives introduced at the time, automatic authorization was almost always a problem. Police forces and other stakeholders brought up these problems.

The government made a change to stop the automatic authorization for every case, even though it still happens in some cases. One important point came up. Currently, there is automatic authorization to transport a firearm from the store to the location where the firearm will be stored, for example, the owner's home. An authorization would also be automatically issued to transport the firearm to a shooting club or range, so that the owner can practice shooting. One important point is missing, which is the transportation of the firearm from the location where it is stored or the shooting club or range to a government-approved businesses that services firearms. This is extremely important because, as we heard, a damaged weapon can be a safety hazard and can be dangerous.

We were told it is important to be able to transport a firearm from the place where it is stored or used legitimately, such as a gun club, to the place where it is to be repaired. Interestingly, an amendment was proposed by a Liberal member, an associate member of the committee who was not present for our deliberations. The New Democratic Party, represented by me, and the Conservative Party supported the amendment, but unfortunately, the Liberals rejected it. That is one aspect of the bill that still needs work.

I want to emphasize that there is an extremely important public safety element here, one we have to take very seriously. I mentioned it earlier in my speech when I talked about tragic situations related to street gang violence and horrific experiences that victims shared with the committee. PolySeSouvient was formed after the horrifying events at École Polytechnique, and in the years since, it has taken on the tremendous task of making sure elected representatives understand the importance of implementing appropriate rules for the use of firearms.

A retired RCMP officer told us the story of her daughter, who was murdered by her ex-spouse. His campaign of harassment turned violent, and a gun was used to commit the crime.

In those situations, it is important to be respectful of those victims and to understand the advocacy work that they are doing to make sure that the gun control that we adopt as legislators is appropriate, ensures public safety and achieves those objectives.

At the risk of repeating what I said at the outset of my speech, for too long there has been a division. Different political parties, which have been in power at different times, have put into confrontation the needs of these victims for better gun control to ensure public safety and the advocacy work they are doing against the advocacy by law-abiding firearms owners, who are simply trying to make sure that the regulations and laws that are adopted do not create an overbearing burden and a cumbersome system on sports shooting, hunting or the different activities that take place in our constituencies. This is not just in rural constituencies, but even in suburban areas such as mine where individuals who will not necessarily be hunting in the riding, but who will go to other areas to engage in sports shooting.

It is important that we stop putting these two groups as being in constant confrontation, that we stop trying to exploit one group or another. If we really want to adopt good public policy and ensure public safety, we need robust background checks to make sure that individuals who have serious mental health issues, those with a history of violence against women and who make misogynous threats of awful violence, do not obtain firearms. We must also listen to individuals who respect the law and are willing to work with government and elected officials to make sure that we are adopting good, sound public policy that does not go in one direction by creating a specific burden that does not enhance public policy. We need to create awareness among elected officials that we are not constantly fighting with one group or another and that we recognize as elected officials that none of that is achieving the objectives that we all say we want to achieve.

We will vote in favour of Bill C-71 for the simple reason that most of the provisions it introduces were already part of the legislation before the registry was created, including provisions on record-keeping by retailers. As far as background checks are concerned, we are simply codifying what is already being done. Lifetime background checks are already being done in some cases. They go back further than five years if there are any red flags. We can support that part of the bill, since these are good measures and they are not that onerous.

However, to truly address the problem of gun violence committed by street gangs or other individuals in major cities and in our communities, such as Toronto and Surrey, we have to acknowledge that a lot remains to be done. We also have to do more to address the suicide rate, which is extremely high, especially since suicides are often committed with firearms. One suicide is one too many. Even though we support Bill C-71, it does not go far enough in that respect.

I urge the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Prime Minister to acknowledge that there is a lot more work to be done and to work with us and all stakeholders on ending the partisanship that has marred this debate for far too long and prevented Canadians from having a healthy debate on the issue of firearms. That would allow us to adopt effective public policy to ensure public safety.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Madam Speaker, I represent the riding of New Brunswick Southwest, a riding with many gun owners. We have at least 30 gun clubs. We also have one of the busiest gun dealerships in Canada.

For owners, guns can mean recreation and, sometimes, a way to put food on the table. For the clubs, sports shooting enhances socializing among those who admire craftsmanship in weapons and accuracy in targeting. For the dealerships, guns provide jobs.

I have discussed this legislation with owners, club members, dealers and other citizens all over my riding of New Brunswick Southwest. I also studied and completed a two-day course in firearms handling. I am proud to say that I now hold a firearms possession and acquisition licence.

I also talked with women's organizations, survivors of gun violence and law enforcement officials. I spoke with the Minister of Public Safety. I brought his parliamentary secretary to my riding to speak directly with gun club presidents.

Along the way, I discussed the bill with a good many members opposite. I enjoyed going to a shooting range near Ottawa with the outdoors parliamentary caucus. I have worked hard to fathom out this legislation and what it means for my constituents and other Canadians.

I conclude the following. I support responsible gun owners. I cannot see that Bill C-71 hurts them. Therefore, I support the legislation because it helps protect gun owners, as it does all citizens.

My riding, with its good, responsible gun owners, is considered a safe area. However, Fredericton and Moncton were also traditionally considered safe areas, too. We all remember the headlines about the tragic shootings in Fredericton in August of this year, and in Moncton in June 2014. It can happen so quickly when guns fall into the wrong hands.

Responsible people should be able to keep their guns without undue hindrance, but good people should be able to live freely in cities, towns and villages without undue risk from gun-carrying criminals or people who have threatened or inflicted harm on others.

Let us all remember the shocking number of tormented souls among us who, even though they were showing signs of mental difficulty, got hold of guns and committed suicide. Whether it is mental health, criminality or threatening behaviour, we should be able to double-check for dangers.

The bill is not a new handgun ban. It is not a long gun registry. In large part it is not new. There is a commitment in this legislation not to reinstate the long gun registry. A number of its main features existed before. We lived with those regulations for a long time, and they protected lives.

Then the previous government took them away. Since that time, for various reasons, gun-related deaths in Canada have sharply increased. So has the number of female victims of violent crimes with a firearm present.

Recreating and strengthening sensible legislation can put us back on a better track. For example, authorities will once again be able to require a permit for transporting restricted and prohibited weapons. This does not affect ordinary guns, only those on the higher side of danger.

In another restored regulation, the seller of a firearm will need to verify the purchaser's possession and acquisition licence. This will take a brief phone call. Responsible sellers and buyers will not object to that. Nor will they protest legislation that, as in decades past, required firearms vendors to record what they sold.

The existing law already enables those granting a firearms licence to consider an applicant's criminal offences or mental illness associated with violence or other history of violence, but only for the last five years. Bill C-71 allows taking account of the person's earlier history. That is a sensible change. It derives from a private member's bill put forward by a former Conservative MP.

The legislation incorporates other amendments from other parties in the House.

I hope we can continue to put public safety over partisanship. I am sure none of us want to hurt good people who own guns, but neither do we want guns in the wrong hands to hurt good people.

When all is said and done, this is a good bill for responsible gun owners. At times, strident voices from here and there have tried to paint too many responsible gun owners as villains. Sensible legislation can reassure the public that we are taking reasonable measures to keep guns in good hands and that common sense is prevailing.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Oakville North—Burlington, and I support this proposed legislation.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, in my area I have a number of farmers who need to use guns. I have hunters and sport shooters. The sport shooters obviously go to the shooting ranges, and so this summer I decided to go to two of the shooting ranges in my area and learn about sport shooting. I have a PAL myself, but did not know much about sport shooting. When I went there, I was impressed with the attention to detail that these clubs give to following the rules, safety guidelines, and being 100% sure that people who use these guns are adequately trained.

They are more than happy to follow the rules and make sure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands and to make sure that the background checks are done. However, they object to something like Bill C-71, which would create an extra burden on legitimate firearms owners. They are happy to accept the burden if they could be assured that it would actually increase public safety, but they are convinced that Bill C-71 is a public relations exercise intended to convince the public that this would somehow increase safety when in reality all it would do is target legitimate gun owners and do nothing against violent criminals and gangs.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to provide some context for the misinformation in the member's speech, as well as the rampant rhetoric from the other side. First, no evidence has ever been produced, and I have asked for it, on risks associated with the authority to transport, the ATTs. Not one case has ever been presented, and I have asked repeatedly for this information, showing that when law-abiding gun owners transport their firearms from a gun club to gun shop or to sporting competitions, or anywhere else, it has ever presented an issue. Second, the five-year background checks are not limited to five years but currently go the entire history of an individual.

I went to the member's riding in the summer and spoke to the same people she spoke to. I heard very loudly and clearly that they are not in favour of this proposed gun legislation. I wonder what the member has heard from her community at large in regards to Bill C-71 and their disapproval of the proposed legislation, which does not target criminals.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to participate in this debate on Bill C-71. The bill comes at a time when trends relating to violent firearms crime are rising at an alarming rate, making it crucial for all members of the House to support this legislation. The bill also deals with aspects of gun violence that are often overlooked: gender-based gun violence and suicide.

As legislators, we must do more than simply acknowledge a problem. We are here to pass legislation that will help to address those problems. Bill C-71's balanced and practical reforms would do just that. One of the aspects of this bill that I am proudest of is the introduction of mandatory life-history background checks that would expand the current timeline for background checks from five years to life.

I am pleased to see that the government has advanced the amendment that I made to Bill C-71 in committee, which should help to address the issue of intimate partner violence and suicide involving a firearm. The Toronto Star published an editorial this week entitled, “Gun control is a women's issue”, which stated that “Access to a firearm by an intimate partner increases the likelihood of femicide by 500 per cent.” The amendment puts a greater focus on intimate partner violence, and for the first time would explicitly require the chief firearms officer to look at a firearms licence applicant's online behaviour for signs of violence. I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her assistance with this amendment. Public online behaviour is a red flag for violent behaviour. The members of the public safety committee clearly agreed, as the enhanced background check amendment I just mentioned passed, although some members of the Conservative Party abstained.

Yesterday I watched the Leader of the Opposition stand with the member for Lethbridge, his status of women critic, and state that he would repeal Bill C-71. He would repeal enhanced background checks and protections for women; he would repeal a provision in Bill C-71 that firearms are forfeited to the Crown when the courts prohibit firearms ownership. Instead, the Leader of the Opposition would support these firearms being given to a friend or family member who has a firearms licence.

Another amendment that I was pleased to see passed unanimously by the committee was put forward by the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, which read, “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to permit or require the registration of non-restricted firearms.” This is an important amendment because, as we know, during the election campaign the Prime Minister promised to deliver effective, common sense firearms legislation and also promised that we would not bring back the long-gun registry, and we have not. The amendment put forward by the Conservatives would ensure that every Canadian who read Bill C-71 could see that it clearly is not a long-gun registry. That sentiment was echoed by the Conservative member for Red Deer—Lacombe, who later that day told the committee, "everybody at this table agrees that this is not a registry". The Leader of the Opposition should perhaps consult with the members of his party sitting on the committee.

Other than that one amendment, the Conservative members put forward amendments that could not be supported. The vast majority of their amendments were nonsensical. Let me provide just one example of a Conservative amendment. Conservative amendment 40.2 read:

The act is amended by adding the following after section 11:

112. Despite sections 109 and 111, no person guilty of an offence set out in those sections is liable to imprisonment if, in the commission of the offence, the person causes no bodily harm to another person.

Let us see what kinds of offences are referred to in sections 109 and 111 of the Firearms Act, which the Conservatives would not like to see punished. One of those offences is deliberately lying in order to get a firearms licence. The law says that one knowingly has to mislead in order to be convicted. The Conservatives wanted there to be no punishment for that. Another one is tampering with a firearms licence or registration certificate, or operating an illegal firing range. The Conservatives wanted no punishment for that. Another is how to store prohibited weapons. The Conservatives wanted to remove the penalties for people who just leave a fully loaded automatic handgun sitting around. The Conservatives also wanted to remove the penalties for lying to a customs officer about a firearm or for falsifying a customs officer's confirmation document, in other words weapons trafficking. They wanted to remove the penalties for cross-border weapons trafficking.

What is worse, when the Conservatives asked an official from the Department of Justice during the meeting about the effect of the amendment, he told them very clearly that the amendment would remove the punishment for all of these offences, including weapons trafficking, and they still voted for it. We, of course, defeated the amendment.

My colleagues in the chamber might think that maybe the Conservatives went a little bit rogue in introducing this amendment at committee. In fact, this amendment was introduced deliberately. The amendment was drawn directly from the leadership platform of the leader of the Conservative Party, a platform that happened to be taken down from the Internet just hours after he became the Conservative Party leader.

Let us return to the committee deliberations. The Conservative member for Red Deer—Lacombe told the committee members that this amendment was about helping prevent people from becoming paper criminals. Specifically he said that "what I'm proposing—and I'm hoping my colleagues will see it—is that in the event that somebody finds themself offside with the law in the sense that it's only a paper crime...”.

Let me read from page 10 of the leader of the Conservative Party's leadership platform in which he made seven distinct promises on firearms. The sixth commitment was to “Decriminalize administrative infractions”, which he said were “a complete waste of government and police resources.”

Anyone who has been around this place have heard Conservative MPs talk about how people should not become paper criminals for having committed an administrative infraction. Conservative amendment 40.2 may seem nonsensical to most people. Why would anybody remove penalties for people who lie to customs officials to traffic weapons into our country? However, it was in the platform of the leader of the Conservative Party and the Conservative members of the committee were merely trying to implement what their leader had promised Conservative party members in order to win the leadership of the party. As I said, Canadians should be very concerned about this.

The Conservative Party leader's other platform commitments included things like eliminating the prohibition against handgun magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets. What transpired at committee shows that he intends to keep his leadership election promises. Indeed, just yesterday, the Conservative Party leader held a press conference, standing alongside one of my Conservative colleagues on the status for women committee, the member for Lethbridge. At it he vowed to repeal this legislation should Canadians choose to elect a Conservative government in 2019. Personally, I find it disturbing that the member for Lethbridge, who is also the status of women critic for the official opposition, would support repealing a bill that strengthens protections for survivors of domestic violence.

On this side of the House we do believe that someone who deliberately lies to get a firearms licence should face a penalty. We believe that someone operating an illegal firing range should be punished, not only because it is dangerous but also because it takes business away from properly licensed owners of legitimate shooting ranges. We certainly believe that you should not be able to lie to a customs official to traffic weapons across the border and get away with it, and we believe that women deserve protections.

In fact, coercive control, such as when a man uses a gun to control women without ever pulling the trigger, is real and happening right now. An Oakville resident sent me a note that states, “let me just say that you can endure the physical and emotional abuse but when he pulls out a double barrel shotgun, loads it and tells you he is going to kill you then you know true terror! Thank you for looking out for the victims before they become statistics.”

Our government is speaking out for women like this, while the Conservatives continue to ignore them. We are taking into account domestic violence and suicide when we are looking at Bill C-71 and not ignoring those important issues for Canadians. That is why I encourage all of my colleagues in the House to support this bill at third reading

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2018 / noon
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the question was. However, I do recall that when I brought up this amendment in the House back in June, the member opposite did not even remember introducing it.

Hopefully, my colleague remembers the government official looking at all three Conservative members of the committee and saying that the inclusion of that amendment would, in fact, include trafficking in weapons. They still chose to vote in favour of their amendment. None of us did on this side of the House, nor did the NDP members, because we knew that there need to be penalties for trafficking, for lying to customs officers and other important issues, which would have been removed from Bill C-71.