Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for St. Albert.
Mr. Speaker, first of all I congratulate the government for demonstrating, in actions, a contempt and display of arrogance through the $1 billion Liberal gun registry that we in the official opposition could never put into words. There is the out of control spending, the blatant disregard for Parliament, so blatant that even members of the government party are pulling at their leashes because of the abuse the party puts on them, the abuse of the Commons using the Senate for a money bill, and the times that closure has been used. The list goes on and on.
Now I know why the government has been slowly disbanding our military. It fears the soldiers will join the protestors when the revolution finally comes, which brings us to the purpose of the Liberals' gun control policy, which is to disarm law-abiding citizens.
I shake my head in disbelief at the parliamentary proceedings before us today. The government is driven to trample on the rights of ordinary Canadians. There are no cost savings in BIll C-10A.
The government has admitted that the gun registry is not about cost. If it were, it would not be planning to throw another $1 billion, $2 billion, or $3 billion-plus down the same hole that it threw the first $1 billion. This is not a gun control issue; it is a government out of control issue.
Bill C-10A is being proposed as a partial fix to the severely flawed Bill C-68. The problems with the gun registry are beyond fixing. The gun registry must be scrapped. Try as the Liberals might, this issue is not going to go away.
In February I hosted a gun rally at a town hall meeting. It was to give information to the public on the gun registry. With minimal advertising and scarcely a week's notice, word spread quickly in a rural riding that relies on personal contact to spread the message. I stood in awe as the huge Renfrew armouries filled with people from Arnprior, Calabogie, Hardwood Lake, Quadville, Wilno, Griffith, Barry's Bay, Foymount, Eganville, Douglas, Renfrew, Pembroke, Beachburg, Palmer's Rapids, Cormac, Combermere, Dacre, Killaloe, Westmeath, Golden Lake, Madawaska and every place in between.
Hunters represented their camps, which means they went back to the 12, 15 or 20 members of their group to report on the meeting. Just that one meeting represented thousands and thousands of Canadians. With the hon. members for Yorkton--Melville and Blackstrap in attendance, we witnessed grassroots democracy as the crowd swelled. Angry citizens were upset with the tired and out of control Liberal government that insists on treating law-abiding citizens as criminals.
Speaker after speaker got up to vent their frustrations with a government that attacks rural Canadians and our way of life. Rural people are smart. We see right through shallow people and we will not forget. The Sam Slick, fast talking Liberal city slickers may be able to fool the docile urban herds about the government's gun registry, but rural Canada is not buying their story.
Guess what? Urban Canadians are waking up. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the national identity cards with which the government plans to register all citizens. It will be interesting to see the shoe on the other foot. Only then will they realize what rural Canadians have had to put up with regarding the gun registry.
I do not feel sorry for the justice minister. If he had dealt with the mess left to him by the first two ministers in a forthright manner, Canadians might be forgiving. It used to be that the justice portfolio was considered to be the glamour portfolio. Now the justice portfolio is the kiss of death. Just ask the health minister and in particular the industry minister what it has done to their political careers.
Speaking of dashed political careers, ask the former MP for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke what his docile, slavering defence of Bill C-68 got him. Defeat. Defeat will come to the rest of the Liberal caucus on this issue too. Rural people are smart and we do not forget.
The industry minister has given rise to a new political phrase that should be added to the dictionary in its next revision. It is called gun registry math. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the definition of gun registry math is where a government program is stated to cost one amount when in fact it costs 500 times more. When the term gun registry math is used, it will apply any time the government makes a promise on the cost of a particular program. When looking up the meaning of gun registry math, people are advised to look under the section government screw-ups.
Our town hall meeting asked me to take a message to the Liberal government in Ottawa. It asked me to deliver it loud and clear: scrap the gun registry.
Government members in rural ridings in Ontario, such as Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, Parry Sound—Muskoka, Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Nipissing, Leeds—Grenville and Prince Edward—Hastings should take note that their constituents called me about the rally. Those who were not able to attend begged me to arrange a town hall meeting in their ridings because their own members refused to speak out against the gun registry. They assured me that anywhere I went across rural Ontario, and this is particularly true in northern Ontario, huge crowds similar to the one we had in Renfrew would come out to protest the Liberal gun registry.
Constituents will be watching the gun registry amendment vote very carefully. A no show for the vote will not cut it either.
The Minister of Justice and his colleagues want to push the fantasy that opposition to the gun registry is being driven by the official opposition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Opposition to the Liberal gun registry is being driven by the people.
If I am not speaking against Bill C-68, I receive hundreds of calls urging me to speak up on it again. On no other issue do I receive more encouragement to fight the government than on the issue of the $1 billion wasted on the gun registry. We are listening to Canadians.
Recently the Solicitor General visited my riding to attend a party function. He was warmly greeted on a frosty valley night by a spontaneous demonstration. The protesters outnumbered the party supporters 10 to 1. They let him know how they felt about him, his party and his leader: scrap the registry.
The Solicitor General even had the nerve to tell some of the demonstrators that he agreed with them on the registry, that it was a colossal waste of money, but he refused to say what he would actually do about it.
Honour and integrity mean saying the same thing in public that one whispers in private. If the government truly feels it has the support for the registry, it should prove it by allowing a free vote. Let the power of logic rather than the threat of the whip determine the outcome. Above all, do not bully the members on how to vote.
Members of the government party are many things but they are not tools of the opposition. Why is it so hard for the government to believe that its own members' opposition to the registry is genuine and heartfelt? Members of Parliament were elected to take a stand on the issues of the day and I look forward to the vote.
While the government House leader will bluster and push the gun registry amendments, I hope he realizes that the people of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell hate the government's gun registry as much as rural Canadians in the rest of Ontario and Canada do.
I am truly surprised that the Prime Minister has taken such an ideological stance on this issue. In the past he has been quite adept at stealing Canadian Alliance policies when it suited his purpose, as adept as he has been at stealing the woolly headed ideas of the NDP. A pragmatic politician would have dropped the registry long ago.
I have to thank everyone who has called, written, come to the rallies and otherwise let their opposition be known to the Liberal gun registry. We will continue our opposition. We will have as many rallies as it takes to scrap the gun registry.