Thank you, Chair.
I notice some levels of frustration from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, because.... Well, I don't understand why, because there are two sides to this issue.
There is the issue of what our intended goal is here, and that is to ensure that we have public safety. The other side of this, very clearly, is to ensure that while we're trying to address public safety, the interpretation of this as we move forward is going to be consistent. Right now this language is too subjective to ensure that we have consistent interpretation and then application of this moving forward. That will harm the other side of the argument, and law-abiding, gun-owning Canadians will potentially be adversely affected by a wrong interpretation of us trying to get public safety right.
As I've indicated before, getting this right is paramount not only to public safety, which is the purpose of our committee, but also for those who really don't pose a threat to public safety: law-abiding gun owners who could be caught up in a situation where interpretation could be an issue. That's where and why I'm concerned about some of the language that exists here with previous orders. I think that's too broad and open to interpretation.
Perhaps I can go to new proposed paragraph 5(2)(f) just for a second. Where it says “for any other reason, poses a risk of harm” to anyone, there are some very subjective and undefined parameters that we already cover off in proposed subsection 5(2). Even if we accept the “threatening conduct” portion of new proposed paragraph 5(2)(c), and we add some of (d)—(e) has already been covered off in previous firearm legislation on intimate partner violence—the interpretation of this concerns me.
Again, no one around this table is not concerned about public safety or is trying to completely ignore that, but it's a bigger issue in terms of interpretation. We've all seen legislation with multiple levels of interpretation, depending upon who you speak with. Providing clear, clean, distinctive language that is not left to interpretation by anyone.... In Alberta the CFO could have an interpretation of this that potentially would be totally different from that of someone in Ontario. We can't have that happen. We need to ensure that we have language that doesn't let it happen.
Mr. O'Reilly, Mr. Koops, and Ms. Clarke, I would certainly ask you to weigh in on that thought in terms of how we can clean up this language. I know you had a part in making this language already, but is it possible—I think it is possible—that it's...? Well, it's going to cause issues where issues don't have to be created, in my opinion.
Maybe I'll start with you, Ms. Clarke, because you've been interacting and helping us out with this already.