Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to my colleague's private member's bill which I support fully. Before going directly to the bill I think we should pass out some warnings.
On December 1 Bill C-68 will come into effect. We want to send a warning to all smugglers. Bill C-68 is coming in, so all smugglers beware. As of December 1 they can no longer smuggle guns as Bill C-68 will be in effect. But wait a minute. I thought smuggling was against the law long before Bill C-68 came in. This is what is so hilarious about this government. Suddenly it has come up with a bill that is probably going to cost $1 billion to implement. It is going to stop such things as smuggling.
We should send a warning out that effective December 1 all smuggling will cease. Mind you, we do not have any officers at the borders to prevent a lot of the smuggling from happening. We do not have money for that. We cannot supply any more police officers to enforce this because they are going to be very busy with the paperwork. They have to register all these guns that are causing such a problem. And according to their statistics that was totally false. The head of the chiefs of police was quite concerned that they supported this bill on false information put out by this government. He has been quoted from his letters to the justice minister as stating his disappointment about this false information being presented.
The idea that smuggling is going to be stopped because of Bill C-68 is just another farce. I imagine smugglers are having a good time laughing about that one. At no time has this Liberal government taken any initiative to put a stop to smuggling.
Standing on the bridge at Port Erie I watched the traffic coming and going across the border. I watched boats going across the river. I asked how they knew what was on the boats as no one was checking them. They said “We watch from the bridge. If they are like this, it is probably cigarettes; if it is like this, it could be booze; if it is like this, it is probably guns; and if it is like this, it is probably people. So if it is like this, maybe we will go after it”. They do not have any manpower. I asked what was on a truck that was going through the line and they said they did not know. I ask if there was somebody in pursuit and they said no, they did not have the manpower for that.
The government comes out with this huge document giving Canada's justice minister all kinds of power and authority through order in council to change things, that it will make a difference.
Two people were shot with shotguns in my riding. The people who did that are really going to be in trouble. They are going to face the Liberal law. They will probably get a life sentence, although wait a minute, they will be paroled in 25 years. I think that is mandatory. But who knows, even with Liberal justice, under section 745 of the Criminal Code, they could be out in 15 years. Yet we are getting tough with Bill C-68. Under Bill C-68 they will still get life and will have to be paroled in 25 years and they will still have the opportunity for a section 745 hearing. That is Liberal justice. And they wonder why people laugh.
In 1993 this government was elected and it was going to do something with the Young Offenders Act. It is almost 1999 and nothing has happened. The attorneys general across Canada are asking the Minister of Justice “When are you going to do something with that act?” Of course she is having a difficult time doing anything about it. I understand her caucus is not in agreement with it, but then I think she is glad they are balking about changing the Young Offenders Act. After all, it is a wonderful old Liberal document. It was enacted in 1984. Since then youth crime has escalated like we would not believe and it still is going up.
There are cries all across Canada. There is a member yapping off on the other side of the House. People in his riding are saying do something about youth crime. Since 1993 the Liberals have done absolutely nothing. But we have Bill C-68. According to the auditor general it is going to cost probably $1 billion to bring it into force. That is the auditor general's figure. We have already spent several hundreds of millions of dollars.
Let us look at another thing. In 1993 the government announced that there were over a million young people starving and in poverty in this country. Guess what it will announce in 1999. There are a million young people still living in poverty. Why does the government not take the money it is wasting on such things as Bill C-68 and do something for the needy? Why does it not take hundreds of millions of dollars and do something for them, instead of wasting its money on a document that will not have any effect?
Going back to those two people who were shot by shotguns in my riding, the next sometime somebody shoots somebody with a shotgun it will be registered. That will make the victims feel much better. I am sure a husband or a wife will be very glad that their spouse was shot with a registered shotgun. And the government wonders why people laugh at what it says. Liberal justice is a joke and people laugh at jokes.
There was an incident in Saskatchewan. Mrs. Lorraine Dewetter's husband was out in the field and his half-ton pick-up got stuck. He died in the field from a heart attack. The police discovered the fellow had a .410 gauge shotgun in the pickup. They picked the shotgun up and rightfully so. They went to the house to inform Mrs. Dewetter that her husband had died from a heart attack in the field. While they were there, they searched the house and confiscated three more weapons: a .22, another shotgun, and I do not know what else, all because of such things as Bill C-68. That is what those things bring in.
If we want to look at the history of registration it is not too difficult. Look at it. The main purpose of registration, regardless of what the Liberals say, is confiscation. That is the final result. That is the purpose of it.
When the Minister of Justice is given the authority by order in council to declare which things are illegal and which are not, it is pretty easy to do. Just start snapping fingers and they will make things illegal as they go along. And then we are doing a great job of attacking the wrong people, the law-abiding people of Canada.
All the criminals must think this is funny. Sixty years of registration of handguns and we do not see much change. In fact it has gotten worse. It did not solve any problems. Then we heard from the parliamentary secretary. I remember. She had a great statement. It is really important to get these registrations done because if we find a stolen gun, then we know to whom to return it. That is worth a million or so. It is worth spending lots of money on documents and using up a lot of police time to make sure that happens.
I do not know what kind of a world the Liberals live in when they talk about justice. People across this land are not happy at all with Canada's justice system. They want it changed. If, as I just heard, somebody would say to hang them, I would certainly believe there are those who probably would do just that. Maybe we should ask the 11 or 12 families of the victims of Clifford Olson whether or not that should be the penalty. Maybe we should take a little more seriously how people feel about the justice system, but the Liberals do not.
The government came up with Bill C-68 which will not change anything. I have carefully gone through the present Criminal Code. We have a safe storage law. We have laws against the criminal use of firearms in the commission of a crime. All those things are covered. The only thing that is not covered is registration, and the government had to write a huge document full of gobbledegook which does not change anything except the registration of firearms. It spent over a billion dollars, according to the auditor general.
When children are still facing poverty, when we have poverty on Indian reserves and on city streets it is a shame that we are spending money for things that will not be effective.