Evidence of meeting #115 for Public Safety and National Security in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was number.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Rod Giltaca  Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights
Tracey Wilson  Vice-President, Public Relations, Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights
Steve Torino  President, Canadian Shooting Sports Association
Tony Bernardo  Executive Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association
Wendy Cukier  President, Coalition for Gun Control

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Because of the suicide issue.... I'm skeptical, because I do believe that most people who want to kill themselves will eventually find a way. I don't want anybody to die by a firearm. Do you think there should have been something in this bill to tie the provincial mental health act to Bill C-71, as an opportunity to improve safety when it comes to suicides?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Please answer very briefly.

12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

We're recommending broadening the criteria. As I said, we've also recommended that the government look at mechanisms to work with the provinces to require mandatory reporting by health care professionals of people who ought not to have access to firearms.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you.

Ms. Damoff, you have five minutes.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Thank you, Chair.

When I knew this bill was coming before our committee, I contacted the Halton Regional Police domestic violence unit and she referred me to the Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, which does an annual report. The most recent was released in September 2017. It was the annual report for 2016.

I want to clarify that it was suggested earlier that the 26% number was made up. That actually comes from that report. It says, “shooting (i.e. handgun, rifle, shotgun or gun not specified) was a death factor in 26% of the deaths”. Those are domestic violence deaths. To be clear, over a quarter of women who are dying at the hands of their partner are dying because a gun was used.

One of the things that hasn't been talked a lot about in this bill is a provision that will see that the guns will be forfeited to the crown when there is a prohibition order. When I mentioned that to the police, they were quite pleased with that. I'm aware of a situation in my community where the guns were actually released to a brother. The person in a domestic violence case was prohibited from having firearms. I said to the officials that it doesn't really matter if they're prohibited or not if they get their hands on the gun.

Do you think that's an important provision, that those firearms are forfeited to the crown, rather than the possibility of being given to a friend or a family member?

May 24th, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

To be perfectly honest, I haven't looked at that in detail, so I would hesitate to answer.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

That's fine

12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

In general it makes sense. To be fair, General Dallaire was not prohibited from using a firearm. He voluntarily surrendered his. There are instances, though, where you might want to encourage someone to surrender their firearm. It might be that somebody could be a recipient and would be responsible for that firearm.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

But this is a case where they're being prohibited from owning the firearm, right?

12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

The police told me they thought it was a huge help in their work in domestic violence.

12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

Yes. I think it depends on the specific circumstances. That might be a case where you want discretion, or where it says “will generally”, you use the words that suggest that the norm is that they forfeit them. There could be exceptions that I can't think of right now. There might be.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

One thing you brought up a few times—you held up the report—was the B.C. report that was done on illegal firearms, specifically looking at guns and gangs and why we're getting so many illegal firearms in British Columbia. I read the report and the recommendations in there. You mentioned the stats, but it talked about these straw purchases, where the Hells Angels, for instance, will get someone who can go and get a licence and purchase 49 weapons. Those guns will in turn find their way to the Hells Angels.

One of the recommendations was to do exactly what we're doing in terms of keeping records of the sales.

Do you happen to have that there?

12:50 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

Yes, I have that. The stockpiling issue, which John Tory also mentioned and cited a number of cases for, is also an issue when it comes to political violence. As some of you are aware, there have been issues historically of certain kinds of extremists stockpiling weapons.

The verification process with licensing is critically important, first of all, as is trying to trying to figure out if there are mechanisms that can be used—not just for restricted and prohibited firearms sales but also for unrestricted firearms sales—where a flag goes up. For instance, there used to a “one gun a month” law in the U.S. I don't know what the threshold is, but certainly if somebody who is not a dealer is buying 75 guns, one might want a flag to go up and an investigation to see why.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Thank you very much.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Mr. Zimmer, you have the final four minutes.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I think we're talking about two different groups in Canada. We're sent to Ottawa to represent firearms owners and we're also sent here to represent the people who don't own firearms, who maybe even are concerned about firearms ownership. But I think in the argument that we have, we still need to have a rational argument about what is safe to use and what Canadians expect to have the ability to use.

I want to ask you this question: do you think anyone in Canada needs a firearm?

12:55 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I don't know how you define “needs”, but I grew up in a community where lots of people were hunters and target shooters. I don't have a principled objection to gun ownership any more than suggesting that having controls over drivers in vehicles is part of an international conspiracy to get rid of cars.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

That leads me to my next question. We're talking about Bill C-71. We've gone over whether we'll debate whether it's a registry or not. I think what's key for me especially in the debate about a registry isn't just the fact of it being a registry or not. Some care that their name is in a registry. Personally, I own firearms. My name is in a registry because I have restricted firearms. It doesn't bother me. I think it's the use of money in the right place, let's say, because this legislation is supposed to combat gangs and guns. The former registry cost $2 billion.

I want to pose a question. You don't need to answer it. It's just for thought. If we were able to put $500 million into extra border security at the U.S.-Canada border to look for exactly that, gangs and guns activity, would you spend it?

12:55 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

Again, we see that this is not the principal source of guns.

I'll just get a correction on the record. The registration of rifles and shotguns did not cost $2 billion, just to be clear.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

We can debate that.

You just made a statement that I think is incorrect. You just said that guns coming across the border is not the problem, but your earlier testimony spoke to the fact that guns are coming across the border.

12:55 p.m.

President, Coalition for Gun Control

Wendy Cukier

It's no longer the principal source of crime guns in Canada. The principal source of crime guns in Canada, according to the Toronto police and the B.C. police, is the diversion of legal guns to illegal markets.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Again, specifically what we're talking about, from our perspective.... We all don't want to see people using firearms in the wrong way. I don't want anybody to obtain a firearm to either hurt themself or hurt somebody else.

The mental part of this and the extension to 10 years doesn't bother me at all either. Again, if something is in somebody's history that is going to possibly make them use a firearm in the wrong way, I want that to be known and to be used. That's where I differ with some opinions.

The premise of it, though, is that resources can be better spent elsewhere, rather than putting more regulation on lawful firearm ownership in Canada. That's the principal difference between us as a party and the party opposite. I would rather see the money go toward actually combatting gangs and guns as opposed to just layering more regulations on lawful firearm ownership.

That is a finishing statement that I'll make, and I'd like to finish up with it.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal John McKay

Thank you.

Thank you, Ms. Cukier.

I appreciate your coming as a witness. It's unfortunate that you didn't have a co-panellist, but it is what it is. Hopefully we will, somehow or other, get....

Before I conclude this meeting, colleagues, you have two budgets in front of you.

The first budget is with respect to this project, this study. The request is around $24,000.

Is there any discussion about this budget?

I need a mover.

1 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

I so move.

(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])