Mr. Speaker, I must slay the hon. member's beautiful hypothesis with a brutal fact. Yesterday the Canadian Police Association, representing some 35,000 frontline police officers, endorsed every element of the government's firearms package.
I shall be happy to share with the hon. member a copy of the resolution. It endorsed the government's prohibition on small calibre handguns. It endorsed the government's prohibition on assault weapons and it endorsed registration of all firearms.
In respect of the specific registration system proposed in Bill C-68, the Canadian Police Association endorses it subject only to two points, that the costs would not be taken from the operational budgets in place at present for the police, assurance of which I gave readily yesterday, and that some means be found by which first offences for non-registration could be dealt with on a regulatory rather than a criminal basis.
In respect of the second point, I expressed concern about achieving compliance. The response given by the police association was that perhaps instead of a criminal offence, if someone does not register, the first time around their gun should be confiscated. My response was that based on that approach perhaps we can do business.