An Act to amend the Criminal Code (possession of unlawfully imported firearms)

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.


Bob Saroya  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Second reading (House), as of Feb. 27, 2020
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide that a person who is charged with an offence in respect of the possession of a firearm that is alleged to have been unlawfully imported into Canada is required to demonstrate that their pre-trial detention is not justified. It also increases the mandatory minimum penalty for the possession of such weapons.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Jan. 27, 2021 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-238, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (possession of unlawfully imported firearms)

May 17th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
See context


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The fact that the Liberals are repealing mandatory jail time in respect to this particular Criminal Code section, which deals with mandatory jail time for not first-time offenders, as Mr. Moore, Mr. Brock and Mr. Morrison have pointed out, but persons who were convicted twice and subsequent times of a serious firearms offence, means that Bill C-5 is not as advertised.

The Liberals had advertised this bill as being about first-time offenders, people who make a mistake and might have been caught in the wrong set of circumstances. In those cases, rehabilitation and seeing that such persons are not incarcerated might be a better course, but, Mr. Chair, that isn't what this section deals with. This section deals with mandatory jail time for a serious offence of persons who were convicted more than once. It's not a case of a one-off. It's not a case of someone just making a mistake. It's not a case of someone who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a case that provides for mandatory jail time for recidivists.

It's interesting, on this theme of Bill C-5 not being as advertised, with the Liberals saying one thing and doing another, we have a government that likes to talk a lot about firearms. They obsess about firearms. There's good reason to be concerned about firearms being used out on the street by people involved in gangs and organized crime that have impacted and undermined the safety and security of our communities.

One would think that if one is concerned about public safety that one would go after folks who go out and commit serious firearms offences, who commit crimes with guns. The Liberals take exactly the opposite approach. Their approach is to go after law-abiding firearms owners while giving those who go out and commit crimes with guns a free pass. That's what this rollback, this repeal of this particular section of the Criminal Code with respect to the mandatory jail time provided for in it, would do. It would give criminals a free pass.

There is some level of consistency with the Liberals. In the last Parliament, my former colleague Bob Saroya introduced Bill C-238. Bill C-238 would have increased mandatory jail time for criminals convicted for being in known possession of smuggled firearms. We hear about the fact that most of the firearms that are used in the commission of firearms offences are smuggled, illegal firearms from the United States—around 80% or so. Bill C-238 would have demanded increased accountability, but the Liberals defeated Bob Saroya's legislation.

I think some are newer members, but others are not. One thing about Bob Saroya is that he always was a tireless advocate for his constituents. He represented a part of Toronto that had experienced serious issues with firearms-related crime. He put forward a common-sense bill to hold criminals accountable—criminals who are knowingly in possession of smuggled firearms—having regard for the fact that smuggled firearms are really the root of the problem when it comes to firearms crime.

What did the Liberals do? Being soft on crime, they voted against it. Now, consistent with that soft-on-crime approach, they want to eliminate mandatory jail time for those who are in knowing possession of an unauthorized firearm, for criminals who are convicted not on their a first offence but on their second and subsequent offence.

It underscores, Mr. Chair, just how misplaced the priorities of this Liberal government are and how their rhetoric doesn't align with their actions. They talk a good game and a lot of Canadians buy into it. When one actually looks at what they put forward in the way of legislation or how they respond to legislation introduced by then-Conservative member of Parliament Bob Saroya, it's very different from what you would think they would do based upon what they portray in public, on the campaign trail and in their talking points.

Mr. Chair, again, it's a case of a bill that is not as advertised. It's a further example of how misplaced the priorities of the Liberals are.

We as Conservatives believe that firearms aren't the issue, but those who go out and commit crimes with firearms are the issue. That was repeatedly emphasized at committee by law enforcement. Several witnesses were asked that question and in every instance they said that was the problem, but the Liberals want to go after the people who obey the law. They're not really interested in dealing with those who are recidivists, who commit offences and who intentionally and knowingly possess smuggled or unauthorized firearms.

Mr. Chair, I'm hopeful that the members opposite will spend some time and really reflect on what is happening. I would encourage them because I don't think we're going to get through the clauses in the 25 minutes that we have left today. I would really encourage the members opposite to spend some time going through the testimony of what some of our witnesses who came before the committee—from law enforcement and victims—had to say about the impact that firearms-related offences have. Then they could ask themselves how eliminating mandatory jail time for criminals who commit two, three or four offences helps and makes sense.

I would be very interested in hearing how they would say that does make sense and how it squares with their false advertising that this bill targets people who were caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time and who made a one-off mistake. This specific rollback mandatory jail sentence in terms of subsection 92(3) is not an example of that. It's quite the opposite.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

December 16th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
See context


Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Thank you, Minister.

A message from my constituents.... In your opening remarks, you said that there is one common denominator for all of these crimes and that's a firearm. Well, you're missing the obvious thing, Minister. The other obvious common denominator is the criminals themselves, and it's time to focus on the criminals in this matter.

You also claimed in your statement that you want to increase penalties on gun smugglers, yet Bill C-5, your government's policy, is seeking to reduce mandatory minimum sentences. In fact, in the last Parliament, when our Conservative colleague Bob Saroya brought up Bill C-238 to increase penalties for the possession of smuggled firearms, you and your party voted against that policy.

Why do your actions not match your words, Minister?

Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
See context


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did put forward a recommendation. It was that we would support legislation like the bill introduced by my former colleague Bob Saroya, Bill C-238, to increase penalties for gun smugglers and those who are in knowing possession of smuggled firearms. Also, we have advocated for increasing funding for the CBSA. It is vital, and it was in our platform.

Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2021 / 5 p.m.
See context


Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

In the six years that I have been a member of Parliament, I have never seen a greater disconnect between how a bill has been advertised and what is in the substance of the bill. The Liberals today have been doing a good job of patting themselves on the back, touting Bill C-5 as landmark progressive legislation. The bill has been advertised as legislation that addresses systemic racism. The Liberals claim that it would help address Black, indigenous and marginalized groups that are caught up in Canada's criminal justice system. They claim that the bill would help persons who are suffering from drug addictions to stay out of jail and get the help they need. If, in fact, the substance of the bill did what the the Liberals have advertised the bill to be, it would be a supportable bill and it would be a laudable bill. The problem is that the bill would do none of those things. Simply put, Bill C-5 is not as advertised.

Let us unpack that for a moment and in that regard, let us look at the issue and the claim that the bill supposedly would help persons suffering from addictions.

I could not agree more that it is important to help persons suffering from addictions to get treatment, to rehabilitate so they can become happy and contributing members of society again. I certainly agree that when it comes to minor possession, it is not appropriate in most circumstances to prosecute. Indeed, it historically has been rare for persons found with minor possession of drugs to be prosecuted solely on that minor possession.

Today, those prosecutions do not happen because of a directive issued by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, which provides that in cases of minor possession, prosecutions shall not proceed except where there are public safety concerns. This bill would not change that. It is true that the bill would codify that in law, and that is fine. It is probably the only reasonable aspect of the bill. However, it would not change the status quo, namely that today in Canada persons are not charged and are not prosecuted for minor possession. The question then becomes this. What exactly would the bill do for persons who are suffering from issues of addictions?

When one actually reads the text of the bill, one would be surprised that the Liberal solution to helping persons suffering with addictions is to help criminals who prey on persons suffering from addictions. The bill would roll back sentences for some very serious drug offences. It would roll back mandatory sentencing for drug trafficking and it would roll back sentencing for the serious crime of importing and exporting drugs.

Any reasonable person can distinguish, very clearly, between drug trafficking and importing and exporting drugs compared to that of a vulnerable person who might be suffering from mental health issues or other issues who happens to be caught with a small amount of drugs. There is a world of difference, and yet for such marginalized people, the bill would do nothing to help them, but it would help drug dealers and drug pushers. Remarkably, one of the offences that is rolled back in the bill is with respect to producers, manufacturers of schedule 1 drugs, including hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin as well as fentanyl and crystal meth.

We have an opioid crisis in Canada today. Every day, approximately 20 Canadians lose their lives to an opioid overdose. It has increased by 88% since the onset of COVID, 7,000 Canadians a year. The Liberal government's solution is to roll back mandatory sentencing for the very people who are putting this poison on our streets, endangering lives and killing 20 Canadians a day.

If I were someone who was suffering with a drug addiction issue and that was a solution the Liberal government had to help me, I would tell it that I did not need its help, that I did not want its help because it would be completely counterproductive. It is completely the opposite of what the government claims the bill is about. When it comes to supporting persons who are suffering from drug addictions, simply put, Bill C-5 is not as advertised.

What about the claim that the bill would tackle systemic racism, that it would really help Black, indigenous and marginalized groups of Canadians? I know the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice spent some time on that topic this morning. There is absolutely nothing concrete in the bill to tackle systemic racism. There is absolutely nothing in the bill for Black, indigenous and other marginalized groups of Canadians.

What there is in this bill is the rolling back of some very serious firearms offences. What kinds of offences? We are talking about robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm with the intent to injure, using a firearm in the commission of a crime and many other serious offences that the bill would roll back. How does that help address systemic racism? How does that help Black, indigenous and other marginalized Canadians? The answer is that it would do nothing.

It is outrageous, beyond shameful, that the government has used vulnerable Canadians, marginalized Canadians, as cover for the real objective of the bill, which is to pursue a Liberal ideological agenda of going soft on criminals. It is also ironic because we heard, during the very recent federal election campaign, a lot of rhetoric from the Liberals about how firearms posed a significant threat to public safety and the security of our communities. Then, within three and a half weeks of the House reconvening following the election, what does the government do? It introduces legislation not to get tough on firearms offences, but to help people who use firearms and put the lives of people at risk to stay out of jail and in the community.

It is hardly a surprise given the record of the government. In the last Parliament, my former Conservative colleague, Bob Saroya, introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-238. That bill would have increased penalties for persons who were convicted of knowingly being in possession of a smuggled firearm. Why was that an important bill? If the government were serious about tackling firearms crime, it would recognize that 80% of firearms offences in Canada are committed with a smuggled firearm. It would logically follow that a bill like Bill C-238 would be welcome, but instead, one by one, the Liberals, with the help of the NDP, voted to defeat that bill.

It shows that when it comes to actually coming up with solutions to tackle firearms crime, the government is just simply AWOL. However, when it comes to firearms, I have to give it some credit, perhaps backhanded credit, for being consistent. The Liberals have been consistently tough on firearms, tough on law-abiding firearms owners. That is when they really get tough. However, when it comes to people who commit crimes with firearms, it is a whole different story. The Liberals in that case are more interested in giving criminals a free pass. It really highlights what a misplaced set of priorities the government has.

We hear a lot of rhetoric over there about evidence-based decision-making. Going after law-abiding firearms owners while at the same time rolling back sentences for people who commit crimes with firearms is ideological decision-making, not evidence-based decision-making.

Again, when it comes to helping marginalized and disadvantaged Canadians, Bill C-5 is simply not as advertised.

The Minister of Justice, in the press release he issued announcing the introduction of Bill C-5, was noted as saying that serious criminals should face serious punishment and be separated from our communities. I could not agree more with the Minister of Justice with respect to his comment. However, consistent with a bill that is not as advertised, when one opens up Bill C-5, one learns that it does exactly the opposite of what the minister claims to be concerned about. He says that we should keep serious criminals out of our communities, but the bill drastically opens up conditional sentencing orders for serious crimes, including kidnapping, kidnapping a minor, human trafficking, arson for a fraudulent purpose and aggravated assault with a weapon. What this bill means is that those convicted of these serious offences may not have to spend a single day in jail. Instead, they will have an opportunity to serve their sentence in the community and maybe even next door to their victim.

The minister talks about the fact that serious criminals should face serious punishment, but does he not consider arsonists, kidnappers and persons convicted of sexual assault to be serious criminals? I challenge him to say that, because I think any reasonable person would say that such criminals are serious criminals. They pose a threat to public safety and they should be doing time behind bars, not out on the streets.

Despite all the ways the government has tried to sell this bill, what is completely lacking is any support for marginalized Canadians. This bill does nothing to provide training, counselling or other supports. We on this side of the House strongly believe in reducing recidivism. It was, in fact, a Conservative member of Parliament, the hon. member for Tobique—Mactaquac, who introduced Bill C-228 in the last Parliament, a framework to reduce recidivism. Bill C-5 offers nothing in that regard.

In closing, Bill C-5 puts the rights of criminals first and the rights of victims last. It endangers public safety while doing nothing to help marginalized and vulnerable Canadians. If the Liberals were honest and advertised this bill truthfully, they would advertise it as the soft-on-crime, do-no-time bill. This bill needs to be defeated.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 23rd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
See context


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for his passion for safety for children, youth and the citizens in his riding, and indeed right across Canada.

I too want to extend my sympathies to those who have lost loved ones, and I share regrets for folks who have lost their lives due to gun violence.

I appreciate that this member stood with Conservatives to support C-238, because it was a common-sense measure that actually attacked gang violence and gun violence in a meaningful way. Bill C-21 does not do that. If it did, we would be taking a hard look at it. We would be supportive of this bill, but as Bill C-21 stands, it will do absolutely nothing to address the violence he is talking about.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 23rd, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
See context


Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege for me to speak to Bill C-21, and I want to thank my colleague, the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest, for sharing his time with me today.

Keeping our communities safe is one of the primary responsibilities of government. Whenever we find ourselves lying in bed or walking in a park, or are at work or in a classroom, every Canadian should be able to live without the fear of violence. To that end, Canada has some of the strictest laws in the world when it comes to firearms.

Indeed, Canadian firearms owners are among the strongest advocates for firearm safety and common-sense firearms laws. To me, that makes sense, but when left-leaning governments want to be seen as cracking down on gun violence and gang activity, law-abiding firearms owners take the brunt of their focus and become the target.

The problem with that approach, of course, is that registered firearms owners are not typically the ones committing any acts of violence. This means that a credible approach to tackling gun violence needs to focus on the criminals and gangs who have no regard for Canada's firearms laws and who use illegal guns in the commission of violence. Any other focus is simply virtue signalling and window dressing.

The reality is that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. At least 80% of the guns used in Canadian gun crimes are illegally smuggled in from the United States. This is not particularly shocking, given that Canada and the United States have the world's longest undefended border. We are also aware that it is considerably easier to purchase firearms in the U.S. This is a reality that we must recognize in any Canadian legislative response.

Bill C-21 does not take these facts into account, which is why I was pleased to support my colleague, the member for Markham—Unionville, who put forward Bill C-238 to amend the Criminal Code to increase penalties for those alleged to be in possession of a firearm unlawfully imported into Canada and to increase the mandatory minimum penalty for the possession of such weapons.

During his speech on his bill, the member shared that he met with community leaders and law enforcement and asked them what steps the federal government ought to take to make the community safer. This was his response:

The thing I heard over and over at these meetings was that organized crime was behind the shootings, and the streets are flooded with guns smuggled from across the border. Mostly they are handguns because they are easy to smuggle, hide and carry. That should not be shocking news to anyone. Our farmers, hunters and sports shooters are not fuelling a crime wave. The shootings are gang-related, with innocent people getting caught in the crossfire.

Bill C-238 was a common-sense bill that would have taken real action to address the serious issue that we are talking about today. However, the Liberals voted against it. They actually helped to defeat it. It was a bill that would have imposed tougher sentences for criminal smuggling and on those who were found in possession of illegal firearms. If the Liberals had wanted to show that they were serious about gun violence, they should have supported Bill C-238.

Then we have Bill C-22 on the heels of Bill C-21. It was introduced by the Liberals only one day after Bill C-21. In Bill C-21, the Liberals claim to be cracking down on gun violence, and in Bill C-22, the Liberals are proposing to repeal minimum penalties for firearms-related crimes such as unauthorized possession of a prohibited firearm or weapon that had been trafficked, discharge with the intent to wound or endanger, and robbery with a firearm. These are all part of what Bill C-22 is proposing to reduce the minimum sentences for.

How disconnected does one have to be to introduce, one day, a bill that would supposedly crack down on gun violence, and the next introduce a bill that would reduce penalties for gun crime?

I speak regularly with local firearms owners. These individuals know and understand the value of well-crafted firearms legislation.

They understand their responsibilities as firearms owners and they respect the rules that are in place, but they do not understand why the Liberal government continues to target them knowing full well that the problem does not lie with them, but with criminals and gangs.

It is not just firearms owners who do not understand this. Law enforcement voices have also raised concerns. The National Police Federation said, “Costly and current legislation, such as the Order in Council prohibiting various firearms and the proposed buyback program by the federal government targeted at legal firearm owners, does not address these current and emerging themes or urgent threats to public safety.”

The head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said, “The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They're very strict.” He added:

There are lots of law-abiding citizens out there who do possess guns for very legitimate purposes. When you look at the steps you have to go through to possess a firearm in Canada, it's actually quite rigorous. Once you do get a license, the actual purchasing, the transportation, the storage…all of that has very strict laws in Canada.

In my province of Manitoba, Winnipeg Police Service inspector Max Waddell said that while a ban on all guns might seem, and I emphasize the word “seem”, like a common-sense approach, banning guns wouldn't necessarily stop gun violence:

I’ll draw a parallel. Illicit drugs are also banned. Yet we see dramatic increases and challenges around methamphetamine... [because] it’s that supply and demand force that causes individuals to obtain these firearms whether it’s to protect their drug trade, prevent harm, to use it for extortion. Whatever the criminal element is needing these guns for.

Further, Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Constable Rob Carver did not mince words at all. He said Bill C-21 “won't make any difference whatsoever.”

Despite the unequivocal evidence that gun violence is perpetrated by criminals using illegal guns, perhaps the most bizarre part of Bill C-21 is that it goes after airsoft guns.

In rural Manitoba, chances are that people have used airsoft guns personally or at least have family and friends who have done so, shooting cans from across the yard or strapping on a pair of goggles for a friendly match. As it stands, Bill C-21 will ban all airsoft guns outright, most BB guns and some paintball models in Canada as well. This bill would destroy a pastime enjoyed by over 64,000 players across Canada and risk an industry worth $100 million to the Canadian economy. Half the businesses in Canada tailored to these harmless hobbies expect to close for good, causing some 1,500 Canadians to lose their jobs in the process. This is silly and does absolutely nothing to address real gun violence in Canada.

Earlier this year, 36,600 Canadians signed a petition to stop Bill C-21's attempt to shut down airsoft and paintball. Among other calls, they simply asked the government to recognize that airsoft and paintball do not represent any public risk, and that banning them would not improve public safety. Signatories hailed from every province and territory, with Ontario and Quebec making strong showings alongside western provinces.

Canadians are rightly frustrated with this. Why is the Liberal government's plan to take legal firearms off the ranges and ban toys? We need a bill that addresses gun smuggling. We need a bill that goes after gangs. We need a bill that prevents criminals from getting access to illegal guns, and Bill C-21 is not it. Bill C-21 is a smokescreen. The bill would have no impact on the illicit use of illegal firearms in crime. Criminals do not register their guns. They obtain their guns illegally. Gangs do not register their illegally obtained guns.

The Liberals propose to give municipalities the power to create local firearms bylaws. Why would we expect that this bill would have any impact on public safety?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 13th, 2021 / 1 p.m.
See context


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

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I should let you know that I will be sharing my time with the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.

I am pleased to rise virtually in the House to talk about Bill C-22, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The Liberals want to amend the Criminal Code to repeal certain mandatory minimum penalties, allow for a greater use of conditional sentences and establish other measures for simple drug possession offences.

Bill C-22 is the Prime Minister's attempt to honour his 2015 campaign promise. Unfortunately, every time we examine Liberal bills in committee or in the House, we find major flaws that suggest they never bother to consult people on the ground. That is the case with this bill too.

It is important to thoroughly analyze what the Liberals are trying to do with this bill, in which the Minister of Justice is proposing amendments that will have major consequences for Canadians' safety and well-being. I will point out various elements of the bill that I think are worth a closer look.

Bill C-22 eliminates some of the mandatory minimum sentences set out in the Criminal Code for offences involving weapons, including firearms. For example, the mandatory minimum sentence set out in subsection 85(3) for use of a firearm in the commission of an offence would be eliminated. The mandatory minimum sentence set out in subsection 92(3) for possession of an unauthorized weapon, whether it be a firearm or other weapon, would also be eliminated.

The bill eliminates all the mandatory minimum sentences set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The bill creates new provisions that advise the police or prosecutor to consider an individual's drug use and to refer the person to a treatment program. However, it is important to understand that some provinces do not even have drug treatment courts.

Bill C-22 also proposes to eliminate certain provisions of the Criminal Code related to tobacco, particularly the sale and transfer of tobacco products without an official licence. That is another thing that we are trying to understand. Finally, the bill proposes to eliminate some of the restrictions set out in section 742.1 of the Criminal Code so that more offences are eligible for community-based sentences.

Everything I just said contradicts the Liberals' official position on public safety as it relates to firearms. The message of Polytechnique was well understood, with the Liberals always claiming to be doing a lot and much more. However, the reality is that bills such as this hamper the courts and law enforcement and greatly diminish the significance of crime when the opposite should be happening.

We always have difficulty understanding how, on the one hand, the Liberal discourse is about tougher measures when, on the other hand, their actions have the opposite effect. This is totally inconsistent in terms of public safety and the protection of Canadians.

Today we are debating Bill C-22, but we cannot forget Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments with respect to firearms. There is no consensus on this other bill among gun supporters, such as owners of guns for sport shooting or hunting, or among those who oppose guns and want them to be banned, such as the Polytechnique advocates. Bill C-21 does not do nearly enough, and the Prime Minister is not addressing the real issues.

Bill C-22 would reduce the sentences for violent gun crimes. We are trying to understand why the government wants to reduce sentences for people who commit gun crimes, when we should be doing the opposite.

I remind members that the Conservatives and my colleague introduced Bill C-238, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to possession of unlawfully imported firearms, which would have strengthened the Criminal Code by addressing smuggled guns and gun crimes. However, the Liberals showed their true colours and chose to vote against this bill. They would rather protect criminals than protect law-abiding citizens.

We cannot understand it. We do not understand how the Liberals can be so dishonest with Canadians when it comes to protection, public safety and firearms. The introduction of Bills C-21 and C-22 is not going to do anything to reduce gun crime. It will also not do anything to reduce the number of guns circulating in Canada, and it will simply not prevent criminals from getting their hands on illegal firearms.

That was made very clear two weeks ago on J.E., a 30-minute investigative reporting program on TVA. I encourage everyone to watch it. Those who do not speak French should find a way to get it translated, because it is really good.

The report clearly showed what is happening with firearms in Canada, how illegal firearms from the United States are streaming right across the border. We have land management problems, our customs officers do not have sufficient resources, and the law does not allow action to be taken in certain areas. Aerial images taken by drones showed traffickers bringing in weapons by snowmobile in the winter and by boat in the summer. If members want evidence, here it is.

Montreal is starting to have the same problem as Toronto. It is easy for street gang members to get their hands on illegal firearms with the serial numbers scratched off, and young gang members are taking pride in committing crimes with the guns that are coming across the border.

Not one of the measures proposed in Bill C-21 and Bill C-22 will solve that problem even though that is what we need to focus on. Instead of helping people with drug addiction, the Liberals are reducing mandatory prison time for those producing and trafficking harmful drugs. Instead of tackling criminal gangs, they are reducing mandatory prison time for those in possession of illegal firearms.

No family should ever feel unsafe in their community, in their neighbourhood or walking down their street. The previous Conservative government pledged to change those laws and keep our streets and communities safe. Before the 2019 election, we released our platform entitled “A Safer Canada”, a three-pronged action plan targeting street gangs and arms trafficking, among other things. We covered it all in our platform.

Then the Liberals regained power. It was fortunate for them that they won the election, but it was unfortunate for Canadians because the Liberals are not doing what needs to be done to protect people and fix the firearms problem once and for all.

To read Bill C-22 we can only assume that the Liberals are incapable of discharging their governmental responsibility to ensure our safety. In contrast, the Conservative government always brought in measures to ensure the safety of all Canadians. The Prime Minister claims he wants to help Canadians, but he is doing nothing to ensure that criminals are brought to justice and answer for their actions.

We as Conservatives support our Canadian justice system as defined by our charter and our Constitution, and we do not support a justice system that would favour criminals to the detriment of Canadians's safety and security.

During this difficult time, Canadians need to know that the government is ensuring their safety and security. The Liberal government needs to show leadership and stand up to criminals. Canadians cannot afford for Parliament to get this wrong. This bill is extremely worrying for our children and for the future of our justice system.

We will do the job that Canadians have entrusted us to do: asking the government questions to ensure that the safety of Canadians remains the top priority.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 13th, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
See context


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand once again in this House and participate in an important debate. I plan to address two major themes in my speech. The first has to do with the fact that it seems the members opposite are simply not aware of what is contained in this bill. This bill actually reduces some of the penalties for serious firearms offences. I will get into the specifics of that here in a moment. The second is the larger topic of conversation surrounding being soft on crime and the very troubling trends that we see, not only with this bill, but with some of the larger context of how the government is failing victims.

First, on firearms, I find it absolutely tragic that we are debating firearms in this place in a way that completely ignores the facts. The members opposite will talk about how it is important to ban assault rifles and these military-style weapons, when very few members opposite understand the reality of what they are talking about. The reality is truly a trifecta of misinformation and political rhetoric torqued to the highest extent possible to appeal to a narrow band of political interests that is simply not based on reality.

I have a few examples. The Conservative member for Markham—Unionville brought forward Bill C-238, a bill that was meant to bring many people together to combat a real issue, and that is violent gun crime. However, the Liberals voted against it. How tragic is it that the Liberals, who claim to be targeting law-abiding firearms owners, would absolutely dismiss an attempt by parliamentarians to address some of those issues? It is absolutely shameful.

Second, we see the context of aspects of this debate with last year's order in council banning 1,500 firearms. It was absurd logic. In fact, when I participated in the member of Parliament's briefing for that OIC, the officials who were brought in did not even understand the very basis of the firearms they said they were banning. How absurd is it that we have such a disconnect between the consequences of what I would suggest is a massive overreach of the executive branch, targeting something, and then they torque it up with their rhetoric about how they are somehow taking action on crime? It is shameful, the record of the government.

The members opposite suggest that this somehow does not have relevance to the debate today, which is absurd and again more of their torqued political rhetoric, at a time when they seem to be bent on calling an election in the midst of a pandemic. I would note, as a bit of an aside, that there is a Supreme Court challenge in Newfoundland that has been launched today by an opposition party because of an election there that many would suggest, and certainly this lawsuit suggests, does not have the confidence of the people. It was a Liberal majority, yet the Prime Minister and the government seem bent on stealing power at any cost.

The third aspect of this bill is that it takes the serious criminal offences. Specifically, as I mentioned in the first part of my speech, I want to talk about the firearms side of things. The fact is that they are lessening penalties on serious firearms offences.

The Liberals introduced Bill C-21, literally banning toy guns. They said that was fake news, yet the reality, as we have learned, is that bad legislation creates bad outcomes and does not do what they say they are trying to accomplish. In the same week, they introduced Bill C-22, only a few days later. On Tuesday, they introduced a bill to punish law-abiding Canadians for simply living their lives, in many cases using something that is a tool in many parts of our country.

I come from a rural constituency, where a firearm is a tool like many others. It can be used as a weapon, but so can a baseball bat, a kitchen knife or a van, yet that torqued-up rhetoric based on a blind ideology has labelled so many thousands or millions of Canadians to be somehow criminals.

The same week, only a couple of days later, on a Thursday, the Liberals introduced Bill C-22, eliminating penalties for serious firearms offences. It is absurd that this is what they think they can get away with. Certainly, my constituents see through that absurdity. I hear from Canadians across the country, including the constituents of quite a few members opposite, who are saying they are starting to see through the facade, the political spin that the government is trying to bring on this and how absolutely shameful it is in that regard.

That brings me to the second part of my speech, which addresses some of the other aspects of this bill and the very troubling trend that I would suggest it is setting.

Bill C-22 eliminates a number of those firearms offences and the mandatory prison times, such as robbery with a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent to harm, and weapons trafficking. Those are the problems, not the law-abiding firearms owners.

The Liberals are also proposing in this bill that criminals could serve house arrest rather than jail time for a number of offences, including sexual assault, in the midst of the conversation around sexual assault in the military. I listened to the testimony on the Bastarache report regarding sexual assault in the RCMP and the revelation of how terribly pervasive that is within our society, yet the Liberals, who talk tough, with their woke feminist Prime Minister, are truly being soft and punishing victims at a time when victims deserve an advocate.

There is also trafficking in persons for material benefit and kidnapping. At a time when we are trying to bring awareness to human trafficking, the fact that the Liberals are punishing victims is absolutely absurd and shameful.

There is a series of other offences where the sentences are being reduced. The trends that are being set are very troubling, such as the soft-on-crime approach and ignoring victims. Meanwhile, we have seen, especially in my large constituency in rural east-central Alberta, a massive growth in rural crime and serious offences that have really affected the way of life of my constituents, the ability of Canadians to feel safe in their homes, and so many aspects of the way in which we live.

The Liberals are going to suggest that somehow we, the evil Conservatives, want to punish people for not breaking the law, which is just Liberal spin. It is unfortunate that it has devolved to the point it has, because it is taking away from the seriousness of this debate. It is quite simple. Conservatives are focused on ensuring that Canada's drug laws target individuals who prey on Canadians struggling with addictions through the trafficking and sale of drugs to the victims of what is an opioid pandemic, which is what those drug dealers and gangs deserve. The member for Lakeland, who spoke prior to me, articulated very well the challenges we face regarding drug use in this country. This is not about punishing a victim; it is about ensuring that those who are responsible for those abuses, the gangs, the drug dealers and whatnot, are punished.

The Conservatives have talked about mental health. We believe there needs to be a clear plan on ensuring there is restorative justice and a plan that addresses and helps victims. That is the clear difference here. We have the hug-a-thug mentality from the Liberals on the other side, and we have the Conservatives, who want to stand up for victims. Bill C-22 is incredibly troubling in the context of the bigger picture and the blatant hypocrisy that exists on the firearms debate.

I would conclude by saying that I cannot in good conscience support this. My constituents have overwhelmingly told me that this is a bad bill. I certainly will not be supporting it going forward.

Public SafetyStatements By Members

March 10th, 2021 / 2:15 p.m.
See context


Rob Morrison Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the extent the government is willing to go to divide rural Canada from the rest of the country is concerning, and its latest gun legislation is no exception. Law-abiding gun owners are being targeted while criminals charged with illegal gun offences are being let off the hook with new reduced sentencing measures.

Just yesterday, while the government's back was turned, busy plotting to take legal guns away from law-abiding Canadians, a known criminal smuggled 249 illegal guns into a Quebec town near the U.S. border. Thanks to the government's new legislation, this criminal can now look forward to reduced sentencing. It is shameful the government voted against and defeated Bill C-238, a Conservative bill that would have imposed tough sentences on smuggling guns.

I have received hundreds of messages from law-abiding citizens of Kootenay—Columbia on this issue and they are frustrated. They are speaking out, but the government is not listening. My constituents are growing tired of waiting for the government to start listening to rural Canadians and legal gun owners.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

February 26th, 2021 / 10:30 a.m.
See context


Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have and will always support common-sense firearms regulations that keep Canadians and communities safe and respect their rights.

In Bill C-21, there are some things that the Conservatives have been calling for and can support. However, many things completely target the wrong people and the wrong groups, if the aim really is to improve and protect public safety. Also, crucial areas of concern are not addressed in the bill at all.

The Conservatives have always urged the Liberals to focus on and to target Canada's legislation and enforcement resources toward the primary source of most gun crime in Canada: illegally-smuggled firearms in the hands of gangs and criminals. That is why we support certain measures, like increasing the penalty for gun smuggling, something the Conservatives have advocated for years; authorizing disclosure to Canadian law enforcement agencies when there are reasonable grounds to suspect a firearms licence is used for straw purchasing; improving the ability of the CBSA to manage inadmissibility to Canada when foreign nationals commit offences upon entry into Canada, including firearms-related offences; and transferring the responsibility for transborder criminality from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The Conservatives are committed to actually strengthening and securing public safety through real action to tackle gun crime head-on. The Conservatives have always said that we would increase funding and coordination for border security to clamp down on illegal firearms smuggling, restore mandatory minimum sentences to keep violent gang members off the street and focus on gangs and criminals instead of making life more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners and retailers by ending automatic bail, revoking parole for gang members and new and tougher sentences for ordering or involvement in violent gang crime.

The Liberals do the opposite. They are big on rhetoric but short on real action. In fact, the day after the Liberals announced Bill C-21, they announced Bill C-22, which, incredibly, would eliminate mandatory minimums for unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a weapon obtained by crime, weapons trafficking, reckless discharge of a firearm, discharge of a firearm with intent to wound or endanger a person and robbery with a firearm; so reductions for all of those sentences. Bill C-22 would reduce sentences for a number of other horrible offences, including sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, abduction of people under 14, motor vehicle theft and arson.

The Conservatives focus on outcomes and whether laws will achieve objectives. What Bill C-21 proves is that the Liberals, as always, are more concerned with appearances. They play fast and loose with the facts, make up words to scare and ignore the actual problem. With Bill C-21, they would effectively trade on Canadians' fear and safety for short-term political gain. The reality is that taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally and already do not follow laws, do not get licences and do not care about firearms classifications. This just continues the Liberal government's ongoing preoccupation with taking firearms off of regulated ranges, while leaving illegal guns on the streets in the hands of those gangs and criminals who will never comply.

In June 2019, the former Toronto police chief was asked about banning handguns in Canada. He said:

I believe that would be potentially a very expensive proposition but just as importantly, it would not in my opinion be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we’d still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border

Of course, the former Toronto police chief to whom I am referring is the current Minister of Public Safety.

Bill C-21 would create conditions on federal firearms licences to restrict handgun storage or transport within municipalities that have passed such bylaws. Again, the bylaws would be conditions on licences. Therefore, this proposed measure literally, specifically and only targets lawful Canadians who already have the paperwork and comply with the rules. This section would lead to yet another layer of confusing, overlapping regulations and a patchwork of rules for already law-abiding Canadians within and between communities, while violations could result in two years imprisonment or permanent licence revocations and would do nothing to crack down on illegal gun smuggling, trading and gang crimes with guns.

Many law enforcement officials have already said that this measure would not be effective, including the current RCMP commissioner, the former OPP commissioner, the police chief of Vancouver, the former president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, representatives of the Winnipeg and Halifax police services and police chiefs of Regina and Saskatoon. Provinces are already speaking out against Bill C-21: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, whose premier said, “It's just not going to work.”

In 2019, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police did not support calls for a ban on handguns and the former president, Vancouver police chief, Adam Palmer said:

In every single case there are already offences for that. They’re already breaking the law and the criminal law in Canada addresses all of those circumstances...The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.

Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis says:

This municipal handgun ban is ridiculous...It would only impact legal owners. The gangbangers are already possessing/carrying them in defiance of the Criminal Code and don’t fear police whose hands are tied and weak judicial systems.

Toronto Police Services president Mike McCormack says:

There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who's going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person...

This is a classic Liberal smokescreen. There is absolutely no impact on the illicit use of illegal firearms in crime. Of course criminals and gangs do not carry licences or register their illegally obtained firearms and will not be deterred by municipal bylaws. They do not even care about the Criminal Code.

The fact that at least 80% of guns used in Canadian gun crimes are illegally smuggled in from the states shows that enabling towns and cities to demand handguns from licenced owners will have little to no impact on actual public safety.

In 2016, a father of four for two years, whose children were only six and five along with one-year-old twins, was enjoying a night out with friends in Toronto when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Now a mother of three, carrying the lifetime grief from the loss of her child, his mum, Evelyn Fox, advocates to support at-risk youth and prevent youth involvement in gang activity. She believes that banning handguns in Canada is “nonsense” because “street level wise, they'll get access to the handguns anyways.”. She says, “I also would like to know how it is that penalizing law-abiding gun owners with a gun ban is going to deter gun violence on our streets when 80%, if not more, is coming across the border?” She is right.

In Toronto, despite the new Liberal order in council prohibition of thousands of firearms, there were 462 shootings in 2020, an increase over 2018 when there was no prohibition order. The year 2019 was a record year.

Since 2014, shootings in Toronto have increased 161%. Obviously residents and family are worried about this reality, causing sleepless nights, untold heartbreak and anxiety about security, and whether kids can grow up carefree in peaceful neighbourhoods. How galling that Bill C-21 would do nothing to make it more safe, while the Liberals claim otherwise.

In 2019, Toronto's police chief, Mark Saunders, reported that most guns using crime were illegally smuggled in. He said, “When it comes to the handguns, I believe, 82 per cent...of the ‘crime guns’ in the city are coming from the United States.”

Peel Police Association President Adrian Woolley says, “There are a lot of guns out there and they are not legal ones from target shooters but illegal ones smuggled in from the United States.”

For the 2017-18 year, CBSA seized 751 illegal firearms at the U.S.-Canada border, 696 the next year and 753 for the year after that. The CBSA has already seized 166 firearms for the first quarter of this fiscal year. Canada's border agents should be commended for that good work and lawmakers should support their efforts to improve public safety by getting tougher on gun criminals and gun smugglers when they are caught. That is exactly what our Conservative colleague from Markham—Unionville tried to do when he proposed Bill C-238, which would have cracked down on gun smuggling, knowingly possessing illegally smuggled guns by increasing sentences and making it harder for gun runners to get out on bail. However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against that public safety legislation a week before the announcement of Bill C-21.

When asked why the government is not getting tougher on criminals, the Liberal default is to say that they implemented a prohibition on “military-style” assault rifles. First, the term “military-style” assault rifle is of course invented with no legal definition, but it does sound scary. The reality is that fully automatic fire rifles have been prohibited for use outside of the military since the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that he made a law so people could not purchase firearms without purchasing a licence, but that is false.

Along the spirit of making things up, just last Saturday, the member for York South—Weston told a crowd of gun crime victims and families that his Liberal government's gun grab included “AR-135” submachine guns, except they absolutely do not even exist.

Unfortunately, it is easy to see why lawful, well-intentioned urban and rural firearms owners, collectors, hunters, sport shooters, enthusiasts and retailers, people who enjoy this Canadian heritage, are skeptical of the Liberals, to say nothing of the radical shift in Bill C-21. It would create a one-sided guilty-until-proven innocent-ask questions later regime, focused on Canadians who already did a filing and have the licences under Canada's stringent regulations and vigorous vetting processes for prohibition orders and warrantless search and seizures.

That is ripe for abuse and conflicts while bogging down already backlogged courts and law enforcement resources when right now there are multiple overlapping systems to ensure that law enforcement can respond to urgent situations involving threats to personal and public safety, as they must. The new approach actually may even take longer and could easily have unintended consequences and deliver the opposite outcomes. This pattern of saying one thing and doing another, of literally making things up, of not having the evidence to support the legislation to show it will achieve stated outcomes should make every every single Canadian question and challenge the Liberals to prove that their laws will actually make a difference for public safety, and combat gun crimes, too.

That brings me to the framework for the voluntary confiscation program. A 2018 Public Safety Canada paper entitled “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons” explained why confiscating firearms from lawful licensed owners would be ineffective at reducing gun crime in Canada. The report states:

The vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms....

In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection....

Any ban...would primarily affect legal firearms owners,...

The public safety minister recently said that the government does not know how many firearms will fall under the confiscation program, but claims it is in the range of 200,000 and says that at an average price of $1,300 per firearm, it will cost taxpayers in the range of $250 million to $260 million. Of course, experts say that the Liberals are way off and that this confiscation program could cost as much as $5 billion when all is said and done. The fact is that the Liberals do not have any structure in place because no private sector proponents have agreed to run the program after two public requests for bids. It really does say something when highly reputable major firms look at the government's purported analysis and cost assumptions and decide they will not touch it with a 10-foot pole.

The Liberals still have not been clear on how they will address retailers left holding the bag with inventory they cannot sell or return to manufacturers either. Phil Harnois, the owner of P&d Enterprises in Alberta, says that 40% of his annual sales were of firearms that are now banned and that thousands of dollars of inventory became worthless overnight. The president of the National Police Federation, Brian Sauvé, says that “the evidence is that illegal gun trafficking leads to criminals owning guns, which leads to crimes with firearms.... [W]e need to look at the source of the problem.” The vast majority of gun crime committed in Canada is by gangs and criminals using already illegal guns, most often illegally smuggled in. That needs to be reiterated because Bill C-21 clearly misses the mark.

Sylvia Jones, spokesperson for Ontario's solicitor general, agrees. She says that “As law enforcement experts routinely highlight, it has not been demonstrated that banning legal firearms and targeting law-abiding citizens would meaningfully address the problem of gun violence.” The Liberals have shown, of course, though, that they do not really believe that their list of banned firearms in the hands of licensed law-abiding firearms owners are a real threat either. Otherwise, why is there this confusing step of banning them, but allowing Canadians to keep them in their homes so long as the guns are registered with the government? It is very confounding.

However, what is clear is that Bill C-21 finds a way to create a boondoggle that will result in the creation of another long-gun registry because some of the now-prohibited firearms are long guns and it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars while delivering no concrete results to improve the public safety of Canadians suffering at the hands of gangs and criminals carrying out the vast majority of gun violence and crime in Canada.

Another measure that is glaring in its obvious irrelevance to improving public safety in Canada while also imposing major consequences on everyday people is the prohibition of the importation, exportation and sale of all non-regulated air guns that look like modern firearms. Here is the deal. The Liberals are actually imposing a ban on Airsoft and a partial ban on paintball. Any rational, common sense person can see that toy guns are not responsible for the shootings are causing death in Canadian cities. Criminals and gangs with illegal guns are tragically ending the lives of Canadians. This provision in Bill C-21 would end hundreds of livelihoods, legacies and jobs and outlaw an entirely harmless hobby enjoyed by more than 60,000 Canadians.

Airsoft in Canada says the Canadian Airsoft market is worth $100 million and over 260 businesses in Canada are linked to the paintball or Airsoft community. The Quebec Airsoft Federation estimates that the industry brings in over $10 million per year in Quebec alone. Distributors and retailers are uncertain about what to do with the current stock and stock on order because all of it would be rendered worthless immediately, with no option to offset losses because the bill would prohibit sales. It will not only impact businesses that directly sell hobby and competition practice guns, but also the retailers of protective equipment and accessories, as well as the clubs and owners of sports facilities that have focused their businesses largely or solely around these activities.

This whole industry would be devastated. Matt Wasilewicz, who owns Canadian Airsoft Imports, says that the ban “confirms our worst fears”. Frank Chong, who owns Toronto Airsoft, Canada's largest airsoft retailer, says “It looks like it's doomsday for us at this point". Ziming Wan of BlackBlitz Airsoft in Waterloo says that “We're basically all going to have to shut down.... It's the death of the sport, as we know it”. Joe Kimpson of Flag Raiders in Kitchener says “You'll see the demise of airsoft in Canada”.

Seventy-four per cent of these businesses expect to lose over half their revenue because of Bill C-21 and 47% of them expect to be out of business for good. There are approximately 3,000 employees working in those affected businesses. It is unconscionable that half of them would lose their jobs and not a single life be saved for it.

It is hard to see how the Liberals are materially protecting the well-being and safety of Canadians by banning toy guns, shuttering more businesses and killing 1,500 jobs while Canada's unemployment rate is already the highest in the G7.

Mark from Motium Manufacturing in Lakeland says, “I was given no notice, no warning, no consultation. The hard work I've put in for over 8 years has been erased and my customers wrongfully criminalized. Why aren't criminals being as negatively impacted as my small business?”

A petition called “Stop Bill C-21” is circulating in the hobby community and 30,000 Canadians have already signed it. That is because Canadians know what experts have been saying all along, which is also what the Conservatives have been saying. What is missing from these Liberals is any meaningful emphasis or major legal framework targeting the main source of gun crime in Canada.

It is good to see some measures to help the CBSA and a small increase in penalties for gun smuggling, but those aspects of Bill C-21 appear more like a footnote in what seems to be a broader strategy primarily concerned with targeting already law-abiding members of Canadian society. One would read this bill and assume that the main goal is to be a nuisance to the legal firearms community. It is not at all obvious that the aim of Bill C-21 is to improve public safety.

The tragedy is that for all the big words and tough talk from the Liberals, it is the very real victims of growing gun violence and Canadian citizens and their families who are forced to bear the brunt of these failed Liberal policies and experiments. What is worse is that the evidence is available for all of us to see. Experts, law enforcement and policy-makers all agree that concrete strategies and legislation must be directed at criminals and gangs and supports for at-risk youth.

Conservatives will always support a common-sense approach to firearms legislation with concrete outcomes that protect personal and public safety. Bill C-21 does not get to the bottom of addressing the major cause of gun crime in Canada and all MPs really owe it to the victims of violent crime in Canada, past and future, to get serious about gun smuggling, gangs and criminals.

As Evelyn Fox says, “I see the homicides happen and it’s almost like a retrigger for me to think that another mother has to go through this and another mother has to deal with the fact that they aren’t going to see their children again.” Because Bill C-21 will not actually make any difference to that, Conservatives will strongly oppose it, and if it passes, repeal Bill C-21.

FirearmsStatements by Members

February 25th, 2021 / 2:15 p.m.
See context


Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, a government's number one priority should always be to keep its citizens safe. This is why it is so confusing that the Liberals are attempting to demonize the law-abiding firearm owners in Bill C-21, while simultaneously introducing new measures that reduce sentences for criminals charged with illegal gun offences.

If the Liberals were focused on protecting Canadians, they would not have voted against Bill C-238, which would have imposed tougher sentences for criminals found to have smuggled firearms or to be in possession of illegal firearms.

It is abundantly clear to my colleagues and many of my constituents that the Liberals are more focused on furthering their own ideological agenda rather than protecting all Canadians.

Public SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 25th, 2021 / 10:25 a.m.
See context


Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, I am tabling a petition on behalf of GTA residents who are concerned about the horrific shootings, which are all too common in the GTA.

The petitioners call on the House to support my private member's bill, Bill C-238, a bill that would have made GTA residents safer by keeping dangerous offenders behind bars. Shamefully, the Liberals have already voted down my bill.

Public SafetyOral Questions

February 19th, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
See context


Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, there was a bill that would have tackled gun violence in the GTA. It was my bill, Bill C-238, which the Liberals shamefully voted against. After five years of sitting on their hands, the Liberals have introduced a gun bill that will not make the GTA any safer.

How is the minister not ashamed of Bill C-21?

Public SafetyOral Questions

February 2nd, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
See context


Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, police across Canada have been very clear that smuggled firearms, illegal firearms and criminals are the real problem in this country, not legal gun owners. If the Liberals actually took gun crimes seriously, they would have demonstrated that last week on Bill C-238, but what did they do? The Liberals voted against one of the root causes of gun violence in Canada, which are illegal firearms smuggled into this country from the United States. They did not even want to study the issue at committee.

The government continues to fail Canadians at every turn. Why?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

January 25th, 2021 / 12:05 p.m.
See context


Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is good to be back and to see all members here.

I rise today to urge my colleagues to support my private member's bill, Bill C-238, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to possession of unlawfully imported firearms, a bill that would put the criminals using smuggled guns behind bars for longer and make communities safer by raising the standards on dangerous criminals being released on bail.

This is a bill that all GTA residents need and have been calling for. The numbers do not lie. Since 2015, gun violence has grown in Toronto. In 2018, there were record high numbers of deaths. In 2019, there were record high numbers of shootings.

The year 2020 should have been different, as COVID-19 forced people to work from home, and millions of GTA residents changed their routines. The active nightlife, festivals and events were all cancelled. Once very busy streets were now ghost towns. However, that did not stop the violence at all. In 2020, even with a worldwide pandemic, there were over 450 shootings and 40 deaths.

Gun violence has become all too common in places that used to be considered safe. The stories of people waking up to gunshots or being called about loved ones' deaths are heartbreaking. Those people have been promised action but have not seen any results.

I believe the Liberal government has approached this issue in the wrong way. It has focused on gun bans. For its plan to work, violent criminals would have to suddenly start following the law. We know that criminals are not getting a licence to buy firearms that would require taking a course and having a background check. Criminals are buying smuggled guns, just like they are buying smuggled drugs. A gun ban would do little, if anything, to stop them.

The former chief of police of Toronto stated that 82% of handguns used in crimes are smuggled in from the United States. The Ontario solicitor general put the numbers at 84%. More recently, Peel Regional Police reported that 74% of the guns they seized were from south of the border.

The problem is not just smuggled guns; it is also about how we treat criminals who are caught with these guns. The truth is that when they are arrested, they are released on bail within days. They can have a smuggled gun back in their possession within hours.

We need to target the criminals using these guns. Criminals need to know that the use of smuggled guns is a serious offence and that they will do real time behind bars if they are caught. As I have said before, there is no excuse for criminals to have these weapons. If someone has a smuggled gun, they are a real threat to public safety. When they are arrested, neighbours do not want them to get out on bail. The former chief of police reported that criminals getting arrested and being released on bail is far too common.

No one bill will stop the gun violence in Canada, but Bill C-238 is an excellent first step to making my riding of Markham—Unionville and all Canadians safer. I encourage every member to vote for this bill. It would keep dangerous criminals off the streets and save lives. If there are any concerns regarding Bill C-238, they can best be handled in committee.