Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the comment of the hon. member for Saint-Hubert on the ease with which an FAC can be obtained under the new legislation.
The problem I have to deal with the most in my constituency and the greatest single source of complaints I am getting is in the difficulty and the delay in getting FACs under this new act. I get more on that than I do on UIC, on income tax, on just about everything else put together. It is taking, believe it or not, up to five months to get an FAC which is supposed to be available in 28 days. When these people phone the authorities concerned, they simply say that there is a backlog and they cannot do it.
The other problem which is going to arise very soon is this question of the tests that have to be taken to determine whether or not one is suitable to have an FAC.
Most people in my part of the country own firearms, or have owned firearms from the time they were about 12 years old and they are quite expert and experienced in their handling and use. Yet anyone of those people will now have to go to some bureaucrat who probably knows less about firearms than they do and take a government sponsored course which will cost them a few hundred dollars before they will be able to get a new FAC. This is absurd.
When anyone tells me that this new law is working well, I have to from my experience take a lot of issue with that.
The other thing I would like to mention perhaps is more philosophical. The hon. member does have a certain mindset which is very common in this country, particularly in urban areas, with respect to the restriction of owning firearms by common citizens.
I spent many years of my life in Third World countries. This is basically the way it is done in the Third World. The only people who own firearms or who can easily get permission to own firearms are criminals and agents of the state and it sometimes is difficult to distinguish between them, but that is the way it is.
I would rather live in freedom in a country in which we do not have big brother looking over our shoulders at every respect than to live in one of those peaceful paradises that I have in which the ordinary citizen really does not have the right to that most basic of all human rights: to own arms to defend himself and his family.