Mr. Speaker, it gives me real pleasure to speak on this matter. The motion put forward by the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville is a very important one and one that should cause a great deal of concern on all sides of the House.
Obviously there is a great deal of information that has come to light in recent days, the correspondence that has been read into the record, the references to the fact that the RCMP commissioner and members of the RCMP are questioning the validity and the accuracy of the statistics, the very statistics used for the justification of this bill.
This bill was contentious without any of this new information that has suddenly come to light. Equally troubling is that representations were made by the Department of Justice to the Alberta Court of Appeal. Four provinces and two territories are currently debating the constitutionality of Bill C-68.
I take the hon. member's reference to the six times these statistics were referred to in the pleadings at the Alberta Court of Appeal. The mere thought that members of the justice department may have knowingly made reference to these statistics alone is cause for us to slow down and take a second look before this proceeds any further.
This is an incredible revelation to think that this could have knowingly occurred. If the RCMP made reference back in July to the department, the commissioner took the time and effort to write to the minister or the deputy minister bringing this to their attention, telling them that he in fact did not in essence want the RCMP's name associated with these statistics.
Let's face it, the RCMP's name being associated with these statistics and the weight that was placed on that by the Department of Justice in justifying its position on Bill C-68 could be one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated on the Canadian people.
This is a very serious allegation and we cannot go any further until we get to the bottom of this.
The Minister of Justice has suggested that there is a methodological approach that would explain this difference and how these statistics were spun by the department and that this would somehow counteract the RCMP's contention that there is a real discrepancy here. It does not take a great deal of in-depth knowledge of criminal law to see that the discrepancy here cannot be accounted for by a minor methodological approach in the explanation of the use of long guns in violent crime.
Statistics are available. The RCMP is questioning these statistics. It is now saying that it accepts the process that may have taken place, but the process is yet unknown. We have not heard from the Department of Justice on what has transpired specifically between the RCMP and its department to explain the difference in the figures. I believe this is where we have to go next before we proceed any further with this very contentious piece of legislation.