Madam Speaker, on September 6 the Minister of Justice amended the firearms fees regulations by order in council waiving the fee for registering firearms under certain conditions. I give reference to the Canada Gazette , Part 2, Volume 135, No. 20 SOR/2001-336.
In making these amendments the minister bypassed parliament and avoided using the laying of proposed regulations stipulated in section 118 of the Firearms Act. She did so by using the authority granted her under section 119(3) of the act which states in part:
--if the federal Minister is of the opinion that the making of the regulation is so urgent that section 118 should not be applicable in the circumstances.
Section 119(4) of the Firearms Act states:
Where the federal Minister forms the opinion described in subsection (2) or (3), he or she shall have a statement of the reasons why he or she formed that opinion laid before each house of Parliament.
The minister has had six weeks to explain to the House why it was so urgent to bypass parliament with the regulations. To date, the minister has failed to comply with section 119(4) of the Firearms Act. I appeal to the Speaker to ask the minister when her statement of reasons will be tabled in the House.
I realize that the Speaker does not normally rule on matters involving constitutional law or the common law. However in cases where the constitution or common law contain procedural requirements I believe it is the Speaker's duty to ensure that they are enforced.
The House, through the enactment of section 119(4) of the Firearms Act, ordered the minister to make a statement of reasons and table it in the House of Commons. She has failed to do this, once again showing disrespect for parliament.
I refer the House to Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada , page 14, which states:
--the Senate and the House of Commons have the power or right to punish actions that, while not appearing to be breaches of any specific privilege, are offences against their authority or dignity. These may include disobedience to their legitimate commands--
The minister is in danger of being in contempt for a third time. Not only that, she expects gun owners in Canada to obey a law she herself has not complied with.