Mr. Speaker, none of us has had a chance to read the two consultants' reports that have just been released. They seem to indicate an attempt to whitewash a billion dollar boondoggle and absolve the minister and his senior bureaucrats for their incompetence. All the minister confirms today is that they really did waste a billion dollars.
On January 8 the minister's news release stated the review by KPMG was:
...to verify the adequacy and appropriate application of the CFC's financial systems and controls. This will also assist in confirming the validity of the Program's financial statements
Today the minister reports that KPMG found exactly what he told them to find. With respect to Mr. Hession's report, the minister says Parliament now has to wait another few weeks while the minister prepares an action plan.
Why does Parliament have to wait a few more weeks? Have the minister's bureaucrats been doing absolutely nothing for the last several months? The minister tabled estimates in March 2002 saying, “Everything in the gun registry is fine. Give us another $113.5 million”. Why did he not know the program was in trouble then?
The minister tabled supplementary estimates in October saying “Everything in the gun registry is fine. Just give us another $72 million”. Why did he not know the program was in trouble then?
The minister had the Auditor General's report for weeks before it was released on December 3. Why did he wait for the media to make a big story out of it before he acted? Why did the minister wait for eight provinces and three territories to demand the review of the program before he acted?
The minister demands that Parliament pass Bill C-10A and that these two year old amendments are needed to fix the problem, when even his own user group on firearms admits they fall far short of fixing the myriad of problems in the gun registry. If Parliament is going to amend the Firearms Act, let us do it all at once.
Finally, the two reports that the minister tabled today still keep Parliament in the dark. They do not say how long it would take to fully implement the registry or how much it would cost. Worst of all, Parliament and the public would have to wait years before the Auditor General confirms that the program is totally ineffective at controlling the criminal use of firearms.
This is no longer a gun control issue. This is a government out of control issue.