Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety refused to say how much the firearms program would cost to fully implement and how much it would cost to maintain. Twenty-five times we have asked this same question and 25 times the government has failed to answer. That is two years of keeping Parliament in the dark, the very thing the Auditor General chastized the government for in her December 2002 report.
I also asked the minister why she was pumping $120 million into a completely ineffective firearms program this year while more than 1,700 DNA cases were backlogged in the RCMP forensic laboratories. She also ducked that question. I asked her a more pointed question in committee yesterday but rather than answer the question she said that she would answer my question in writing.
Tonight I am going to give the minister another chance to answer my question in Parliament.
Our sources in the RCMP tell us that in the year 2000 the DNA case backlog in the RCMP forensic laboratory reached a low of 330 cases, but on October 2003 the backlog had risen to more than twice that, 683 cases. In the last year alone, this backlog has risen from 683 to 1,733 cases, doubling once again.
The minister's new department is not improving public safety. She is letting criminal suspects roam free because she will not give the RCMP labs enough money to analyze DNA samples. The 2004-05 evidence recovery and biology services business plan called for increased investment by the RCMP in order to deal with the DNA backlog situation but its request was denied. Why?
In July the RCMP issued a news release announcing the following, “On June 29, 2004 the DNA data bank recorded its 2,000th successful DNA match linking crime scenes to convicted offenders”.
All parliamentarians need to know what percentage of the 1,733 backlog DNA cases in the RCMP forensic laboratories would result in a successful match with a convicted offender or, in other words, how many criminals are walking around free because of the lack of adequate funding for the RCMP labs by the Deputy Prime Minister and her government?
Given the DNA data bank's fantastic success rate of matching convicted criminals to crime scenes and the gun registry's fantastic flop, it defies all logic to starve the RCMP forensic labs while the flop of a firearms program eats up $120 million a year.
The minister has her priorities all wrong. She has dolled out hard-earned taxpayer dollars based on her party's political priorities, not public safety priorities. After nine years $1 billion has been wasted on the Liberal's firearms fiasco. One can just imagine what the police could have done with $1 billion to fight real crime and chase real criminals.
Instead of tracking 310,000 criminals with outstanding Canada-wide and province-wide warrants, and instead of tracking 176,000 convicted criminals with firearms prohibition orders against them, and 37,000 dangerous persons with court restraining orders, the minister and the Liberal government have wasted $1 billion tracking and harassing 2,000,000 completely innocent hunters and recreational shooters.
My question for the 26th time is: How much will it cost to fully implement the program?