Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today, albeit for three minutes, and speak to this very important legislation.
The bill is about accountability. We have a duty as elected representatives of the people of Canada to be accountable for the safety of our loved ones. We have a duty to be accountable with the taxes we receive. We have a duty to be accountable with the freedoms we have. We also have a duty to be effective. We need to ensure the bills we pass, the laws we implement and the programs we establish are effective.
This leaves us with a role that we must play wisely and carefully, so I would request that when examining and debating Bill C-21, we do so while remembering the importance and duty we have to be accountable and effective for all of Canada.
Gun crime is a serious issue in Canada; there is no doubt about that. There have been a number of recent incidents in my city of Winnipeg.
On Friday, May 25 of this year a 22-year-old man was shot early in the morning in Winnipeg's Spence Street neighbourhood. The man was out walking around 1:30 a.m. when he was approached by a pair of teenage boys. They reportedly made comments related to gang involvement before shooting the man in the upper body, police said.
Just this past weekend a 20-year-old man was gunned down on an inner city street. He died after being taken to hospital in critical condition.
Just an hour before in a separate incident, a 15-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man were shot and taken to hospital. The residents in the area where the shootings occurred were frightened and would only suggest the shootings might be gang related and they were fearful of repercussions.
The residents in my city of Winnipeg should not be afraid. They should not have to live in fear. We need to protect these citizens in an accountable and effective manner. That is why our government is taking steps to strengthen gun control by making it effective. We want to tackle the criminal misuse of guns, not hunters and farmers.
Bill C-21 will address the concerns of legitimate hunters and farmers as well as the legitimate concerns of the public for their safety and the rising gun crimes.
Bill C-21 will refocus our gun control efforts on what works in combating the criminal use of firearms by repealing the requirement to register non-restricted long guns and requiring firearms retailers to record all sales transactions of non-restricted firearms.
It is clear that requiring legitimate long gun users to register their guns is not a way to prevent gun crimes. Hunters and farmers are not criminals and should not be treated that way.
Long guns are not commonly used in gun crimes. In fact, there are over seven million registered long guns in Canada. However, as I said earlier tonight, of the 569 murders recorded in Canada in 2003, only two were committed with long guns known to be registered. That is only .3% of all the murders in 2003.
I would like to point out that it is not only the government side of the House that feels the long gun registry is ineffective. There are many members in the official opposition who feel the same and want to ensure that legitimate gun users are not penalized. I feel it is important to recognize their wisdom on this issue. The deputy leader of the Liberal opposition--