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

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-71.

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

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2018 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will use one of the member's own positions as a good example. He was opposed to the last Liberal long gun registry, which was subsequently struck down by a previous Parliament. I think he supports the new backdoor registry through Bill C-71. However, I would suggest to him that if a court would make a determination on the property rights of someone impacted by Bill C-71 that would not be inoculated by the fact there was a charter statement.

I know my friend from Parkdale—High Park, who is a bright young lawyer and will be returning to his full practice after the 2019 election, wants to make hay over some of the losses of the previous government in the Supreme Court of Canada. However, I would suggest to both members that is how the system works. One cannot get a seal of approval from an adviser within the department saying “It is all good here. There is nothing to look at.” Actually, Canadians have the charter right to challenge legislation in the Supreme Court through the Oakes decision. It has set the stage for that since 1984. Since the time of the father of the Prime Minister, there have not been charter statements because we respect the role of the court.

I hear lots of criticism of the past, but I have yet to hear a substantive contribution on why that is necessary or how it adds to the legal rights and protections of Canadians.

November 29th, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

We did it on Bill C-71 as a way of highlighting an issue. In that case in particular, it was on provincial issues, but this is for something that we feel strongly enough about to bring to corrections. There's no obligation for them to do anything—

FirearmsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 28th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present yet another petition signed by constituents from my beautiful riding of Haldimand—Norfolk who are deeply concerned about the Liberal government's Bill C-71. They are concerned that all this bill would do is recreate the ineffective long-gun registry and punish law-abiding gun owners. Instead, they ask that the government invest more money in our front-line police forces to help them tackle the true sources of firearms violence.

November 27th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Well, far too many communities have felt the sting and the pain of gun and gang violence. The whole purpose of changing the law through Bill C-71 and making the investments we have made—$327 million—available to provinces, local communities, municipalities and law enforcement is to try to put the communities in a better position to be safe and to make sure that people in your community know that they live in a safe and secure society and that we're all working together to make it even safer.

November 27th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

I'm prepared to look at any reasonable and enlightened idea to deal with the illegal use of firearms. I think we've made a very good start in Bill C-71, and a very good start with the guns and gangs initiative, which will invest in local communities and local law enforcement as well as the RCMP and CBSA. If others have other ideas to suggest, we'll take a look at the suggestions. Our objective here is to keep Canadians safe.

November 27th, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

I'm very glad to have the question, Mr. Motz, and to clarify any uncertainty you might see.

In the original announcement of the funding for the guns and gangs initiative, which was coupled with Bill C-71, there were two parallel initiatives. One was the legislation; the other was the funding. The legislation has proceeded forward, and we're now moving forward on the funding. The original announcement was for $327 million over five years beginning in this fiscal year. At the end of that fiscal year, the amount would be $100 million per year every year ongoing into the future. As we ramp up the initiative, it will be $327 million over five years, and then $100 million a year ongoing indefinitely into the future.

Now, of the $327 million, approximately $214 million will be transferred through intergovernmental agreements from the Government of Canada to the provinces. We have—

November 27th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you, Minister, for being here.

I'm glad you started speaking on Bill C-71. It's interesting that you talk about the investment in gang and gun legislation and all the money that you're going to put into law enforcement to deal with gangs and guns, yet the announcement was $500 million initially, and then it was reduced to $327 million. The numbers keep changing. It's tough to find out which number is going to get paid.

Right now, the last I heard, Minister Blair has a document that he signed that says that not a dime has been spent yet of the $327 million that you have promised. It's interesting that it's not having any impact. Your legislation, Bill C-71, has zero reference to gangs or gun violence, and quite honestly, the Canadian Police Association spokesman may have said that they agree with it, but the individuals I have spoken to across the country have a different view.

We know that the whole gang violence issue in this country occurs in municipalities policed predominantly by municipal departments. Most Canadians are policed by municipal police services in this country. I see that money is going to the RCMP for gang violence, and I see you just indicated that $200 million over five years is going to the provinces. I'm just kind of curious to know when you anticipate this money rolling out to municipal agencies so that they can start dealing with the gang and gun issues that their communities are faced with.

November 27th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

In my view, that would be very much a regressive step. It would, for example, eliminate all the work that has been done very conscientiously on all sides of the table with respect to background checks.

Very often, legislation with respect to firearms can be controversial. It can be divisive, but I note in the debate, both in the House and at this committee, the issue of background checks. There was near unanimity on the value of the provisions that were put into Bill C-71, and indeed the committee worked very hard to strengthen those provisions to make sure that the background checks were effective.

The same, I think, can be said with respect to many of the other provisions in Bill C-71, and I note that the committee took the perhaps unusual step—but I think the important step—of inserting into Bill C-71 a clarifying amendment that made it abundantly clear that nothing in that legislation could ever be interpreted as a backdoor long-gun firearm registry, which has been a concern for some people.

With that clarification now in the law, that nothing in Bill C-71 could ever be interpreted in such a way as to create a long-gun registry, the other provisions in Bill C-71 are, I think, very valid. They make legitimate contributions to public safety, and again I recall the words of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which said that this is very important legislation that will assist them in fighting crime and in keeping Canadians safe.

November 27th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Thank you, Minister.

I was going to ask Minister Blair this question, but I think I'll ask you. We passed Bill C-71 here at committee. One of the provisions in the bill was that when someone has a prohibition order and they're prohibited from owning firearms, those firearms are now forfeited to the Crown. That's new. In the past, if someone was prohibited from owning firearms, those weapons could go to another person—a gang member, a friend, a family member—as long as that other person had a firearms licence.

In my particular instance, I knew of a domestic violence situation where that would have been very helpful. That's something really important that was put in by our government.

The opposition leader has come out with a guns and gangs policy. One of the things he has talked about is repealing Bill C-71. In terms of that provision, then, the firearms would no longer be forfeited to the Crown, but he has included a lifetime firearms ban. Well, you can ban gang members from owning guns, but they just pass them off to their brothers.

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that aspect of repealing Bill C-71.

FirearmsStatements by Members

November 21st, 2018 / 2:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has proven time and time again that they are soft on crime and do not prioritize the safety of Canadians. Rural crime in communities across Canada has been steadily increasing, and law enforcement has been unable to mount an adequate response.

With Bill C-71, the Liberals doubled down by going after law-abiding firearms owners while doing nothing to make communities safer or to reduce gun violence. Now they are proposing a blanket handgun ban, which will do nothing to curb gun violence and will instead only make criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners.

Yesterday the leader of Canada's Conservatives committed to getting tough on criminals who use guns to commit violence, while respecting law-abiding firearms owners. This Conservative plan will get illegal guns out of our communities and put criminals behind bars for a long time. These common sense proposals—tackling straw purchases, creating a firearms smuggling task force, having a firearms ban for violent and gang criminals and giving more tools to police to solve gun crime—will make a real difference in our communities, both rural and urban.

Unlike the soft-on-crime Liberals, the Conservatives have a real plan for a safer Canada.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak at third reading to Bill C-75. I had the opportunity recently to speak on another bill that also sought to amend the Criminal Code, Bill C-375. In that speech, I drew attention to the Liberals' alarming track record on criminal justice. I would like to continue with these thoughts today in the context of the bill before us.

Bill C-75 continues a disturbing pattern from the Liberal government. Where previous governments of all stripes sought to protect victims of crime, the Liberal government seems to favour the protection of criminals instead. From their first days in government, the Liberals have used the levers of power to shield and protect criminals while leaving victims and their families in the cold.

We have seen this time and time again, with the Liberals' $10.5-million payout to Omar Khadr and their subsequent snubbing of Tabitha Speer, their shocking response to Terri-Lynne McClintic's transfer from a secure prison to a healing lodge, their abysmal response to gang crimes through Bill C-71, along with countless other examples.

When Canadians dared to raise their concerns, the Prime Minister labelled them ambulance chasers. Perhaps the most tangible examples of the government's disordered protection of criminals have come in this bill. When Bill C-75 was introduced, it reduced the penalties for advocating genocide and participation in terrorist activities to possibly as little as a fine. It was only at the insistence of my Conservative colleagues at committee that these clauses were removed.

I am glad the Liberal members on that committee saw the folly of the original text, but it begs the question: how could the government have thought those clauses were in any way appropriate in the first place? Unfortunately, I believe that this is not a one-time occurrence, but as I said, a disturbing pattern regarding terrorists from the government.

As I already mentioned, take the case of Omar Khadr which resulted in a convicted terrorist becoming a millionaire at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, and this is just one example. Recall that long before the Liberals tried to use Bill C-75 to lower the penalties for engaging in terrorist activities, one of the first items on the Prime Minister's agenda was to pull our air force out of the fight against ISIS. This was a backward decision at the time and in retrospect, almost indefensible.

Just days ago, a mass grave holding the remains of more Yazidi victims of ISIS was discovered in Kar Azir town. This is the 71st mass grave found in the area. The men, women and children in these graves were slaughtered by members of ISIS, some of whom are from this country. These ISIS terrorists stoned women to death for the crime of being raped. They killed families for believing in their own God or being the wrong ethnicity. They burned men alive for refusing to join their evil cause or threw them off buildings for being gay.

As I previously pointed out in this place, the Minister of Foreign Affairs could not even bring herself to call these monsters terrorists--

November 20th, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, NL

Thank you, Chair, and thank you to both of you.

Ms. Baird, in your speech, the key words you have are “timely, clear, objective, factual and non-partisan”. Can we just focus on the word “timely” for a moment? I understand the mistake of this, implying that a legislation has passed when it has not, but I do believe that all government departments must exercise due diligence to anticipate this type of thing.

I compared this situation of Bill C-71 with Bill C-76, which is about the election. Of course, Elections Canada has to get its act together, as it were, before legislation is even passed. Otherwise, it would not work. The coming into force is taken seriously, and so on and so forth.

I understand how some departments can rush ahead with something that was not given sober second thought, if I could steal that term from the other chamber, but in this particular case, you talk about your communications both outward and inward. Although the mistake was the result of something that happened in Public Safety that was an outward mistake, it's the inward mechanisms by which it could have been solved.

This doesn't pertain to your department, but how do you take responsibility for this, and how do you fix it as an inward communication exercise among the other departments?

November 20th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
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Clerk of the House of Commons

Charles Robert

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Members of the committee, I am pleased to be here with you to help the committee with its review of the question of privilege raised by Mr. Motz, the member from Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, concerning the documents published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website on the subject of Bill C-71.

When questions of privilege are referred to the committee, they are an opportunity to study in detail an issue put forward by the members themselves and to issue recommendations that will benefit everyone. It is through your committee that witnesses can be heard, documents obtained and concrete action taken, if that is the will of the committee, of course.

Respecting the dignity and authority of Parliament is a fundamental right which the House takes very seriously. The mission of the Speaker as a servant of the House is to ensure the protection of the rights and privileges, not only of every member, but also those of the House as a whole. In that sense, any affront to the authority of the House may constitute contempt of Parliament.

As its states on page 87 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition:

There is [...]no doubt that the House of Commons remains capable of protecting itself from abuse should the occasion ever arise.

In his ruling on June 19, 2018, the Speaker of the House of Commons summarized the facts surrounding the publication of information about Bill C-71 on the RCMP website. While the bill in question was following the normal legislative process, the information published on the RCMP website suggested its provisions would necessarily be enacted or had been already.

The Speaker reminded the members that Parliament's authority in scrutinizing and adopting bills remains unquestionable and must never be taken for granted. He then added, “Parliamentarians and citizens should be able to trust that officials responsible for disseminating information related to legislation are paying attention to what is happening in Parliament and are providing a clear and accurate history of the bills in question.”

When questions similar to the one before your committee were raised by members in the House, previous Speakers have repeated that situations such as this should never occur and have urged the government in various departments for which they are responsible to find solutions. Indeed, the Speakers of the House have always taken great care to act as defenders of Parliament's authority. An affront to that authority constitutes a transgression or a lack of respect for the House and its members. As Speaker Sauvé said on October 17, 1980, the publication of information harmful to the House may, for example, turn into a contempt of Parliament.

In the current case, the Speaker noted the careless attitude the RCMP displayed to the fundamental role of members as legislators. For him, parliamentary authority with respect to legislation cannot and should not be usurped. The Speaker explained the matter well when he said, “As Speaker, I cannot turn a blind eye to an approach by a government agency that overlooks the role of Parliament. To do otherwise would make us compliant in denigrating the authority and dignity of Parliament.”

I thank you once again for this invitation to testify.

I would now be pleased to answer your questions.

November 20th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 132nd meeting of the Standing Committee of Procedure and House Affairs as we continue our study on the question of privilege related to the matter of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police publications respecting Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms.

We are pleased to be joined by Charles Robert, the Clerk of the House of Commons, as well as by the following officials from Treasury Board Secretariat. We have Louise Baird, Assistant Secretary, Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs; and Tracey Headley, Director, Communications and Federal Identity Policy. Thank you for making yourselves available today.

We'll begin with Monsieur Robert's opening statement and then Ms. Baird. Please go ahead, Mr. Robert.

November 20th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

I appreciate that. I just want to come back to some of the questions that we've been having.

As you know, we've had a number of recommendations that have come to the committee from Jean-Guy Perron, as well as from the Quebec bar association. To follow-up on some of the other questions that we've had here, there's a lot of concern around the issue in Bill C-77 regarding disciplinary infractions versus service infractions. When you compare C-77 to the old C-71 that was tabled back in 2015, is there any evidence that we need to lower service infractions to such a level versus the way we used to treat, and currently treat, those types of infractions today through summary trial?