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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Ending the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting observation about the province of Quebec. I would suggest that there is a wide variety of reasons why people choose to vote for the Conservatives, the Liberals or New Democrats. For a number of reasons, all sorts of factors, the numbers came in the way they did. Did the gun registry play a role? I suspect it might have played a role in some constituencies and in others not as much. At the end of the day, I look at it this way. As opposed to basing a decision strictly on electoral success, we should base decisions on what makes sense and fact.

Ending the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, if the members across the way wants to talk about evidence, I sat in on the hearings and there was only one person, the police chief from Calgary, who said that maybe this should be a provincial responsibility and that there should be no cost. That was the only thing we heard against the gun registry. Every other group, whether police chiefs, police association of Canada, mental health experts, one after another said that it served a purpose. They all supported the gun registry.

Does he believe the government is doing a great disservice when its says that this will not stop gangland gun offences. No one said it would, but it would stop domestics, it would have an impact on suicide, it—

Ending the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Winnipeg North, a 30 second response only please.

Ending the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has raised an excellent issue. At the end of the day, Canadians want to see a government that will be tough on the causes of crime. We want to prevent crimes from happening. The gun registry has been something on which the government has long been too focused. If it really wants to do Canadians a service, it should listen to what the stakeholders actually have to say and start to take action so we can prevent some of these crimes from taking place in the first place.

There are so many other things we could be doing and I suggest the government would do well by listening to my colleague.

Ending the Long-gun Registry ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand and add my voice to the debate on this important piece of legislation, the ending of the long-gun registry act.

Today we are speaking on behalf of Canadians in rural and remote parts of our country who have been unfairly targeted for the simple and legal act of owning a long gun. I want to talk to that issue briefly.

I grew up in a city and probably would not have understood this issue, but in my mid-twenties I moved to a rural community, and my understanding became much more robust. I hit a deer on the road, and a hunter was able to put the deer down. My children played, but there were cougars in the area, and we came to count on these tools. I also came to appreciate how important this issue was for the farmers and hunters.

Who are these Canadians? They are our friends and family members. They are responsible, law-abiding individuals who use rifles and shotguns to legally hunt for sport or sustenance or both. They are athletes who participate in sharpshooting events, such as biathlons and skeet shooting, and who are internationally recognized for their impressive conditioning and skills. They are hard-working farmers protecting their livestock and their livelihood in the same manner as those who worked to settle in the west did for generations before us. For many of these individuals, their rifles and shotguns are simply the everyday tools of their trade.

Each of these firearm owners has had to undergo proper steps to obtain a firearm licence before acquiring their gun. The wasteful and ineffective long gun registry simply adds another layer of red tape to this process. It also carries with it the uncomfortable stigma that makes these long gun owners feel like criminals. In fact, it is putting more burden onto legal long gun owners while having zero impact on criminals.

Are we really to believe that violent criminals are going to register their long guns and firearms? It is not likely. Therefore, we are left to draw the obvious conclusion: the long gun registry is a waste of time and money.

I will take a moment to say that our government is not against investing in effective measures that take the bite out of crime. It is entirely the opposite. For example, we are proud of our efforts to augment and strengthen our police forces. We have committed $400 million for the police officer recruitment fund to assist provinces and territories in hiring additional officers and in addressing their unique public safety priorities and policing needs. This is a significant federal contribution to policing costs over a five-year period, and it is helping the provinces and territories in their efforts to recruit new police officers and make their communities safer. In this way, since just 2009, our government has contributed to the addition of over 1,800 police officers across Canada.

We are also investing in policing through other partnerships with the provinces and territories and the first nations policing program. To help encourage new recruits, our government has also provided crucial funding for RCMP cadet allowances and for improvement to infrastructure at the RCMP training academy, depot division. These are all worthy investments in our front-line law enforcement.

Another key piece on reducing crime, and another area worthy of investment, is our effort to prevent crime before it happens. This includes supporting community-based crime prevention programs that help at-risk youth make smart choices and avoid criminal activities. Last year alone, our government funded 160 community-based crime prevention programs through the national crime prevention strategy, which had an impact on the lives of nearly 10,000 youth at risk.

We are proud that the next phase of Canada's economic action plan includes $7.5 million annually towards the youth gang prevention fund. These are investments that are making a tangible difference in the lives of at-risk youth. We are proud to support efforts to steer them in the right direction. Every youth who decides to go to school instead of joining a gang has taken a positive step in the direction of success instead of violence and guns.

We make no apologies for these investments because we know that the cost of crime to victims and to society is far higher. According to the Department of Justice, the cost of crime, including everything from property damage to the emotional impact on families and victims, totals nearly $100 billion every year. In the face of this statistic, we stand firmly behind our decision to invest in effective crime prevention and appropriate reforms to law and justice sectors.

What we will not do is allow our scarce resources to continue to be funnelled into an ineffective long gun registry. We will not focus our efforts on laws that are not having an impact on reducing gun crime.

We know that most homicides committed in Canada do not involve rifles or shotguns. We know that in 2006 alone, three times as many homicide victims were killed with handguns than with rifles or shotguns. In 2009, we saw that two-thirds of homicides committed with a firearm were carried out with handguns, not rifles or shotguns.

It is obvious that the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry is not worth the billions of dollars already spent on it. It is nothing more than a bureaucratic database with questionable benefits. In a time of a fragile economic recovery, that money could be diverted to more effective programs that prevent gun crime and protect our police officers. That money could better be utilized in our efforts to strengthen our border enforcement and crack down on illegal smuggling of firearms across the U.S. border, which is where most of the firearms that are illegally smuggled into Canada come from. To those who argue that ending the long gun registry will weaken our gun control legislation, I reply that it does nothing of the kind; rather, it will free up resources to reinvest in programs that actually work.

We will also ensure that all data currently contained in the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry is destroyed. We will not stand for the creation of backdoor registries.

Equally as important as what the bill will do is what it will not do: it will not remove the requirements for Canadians to have a licence in order to use long guns; it will not undo the requirement to pass a background check and complete a safety training course. In addition, Bill C-19 will not make changes to the current requirement for owners of restricted and prohibited firearms to register these firearms through the Canadian firearms program.

These are reasonable and fair measures. I therefore call on all hon. members to support the speedy passage of Bill C-19.

Insurance IndustryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, today members of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association are in Ottawa to meet with parliamentarians to discuss critical issues such as pensions and health care. These issues impact the lives of all Canadians.

In my riding Equitable Life, Sun Life, Manulife and FaithLife Financial are major employers and boost our local economy. They are also strong and dynamic partners that give back to the community through volunteer and public service contributions.

Across Canada the insurance industry plays a vital role in our economy and our society, providing financial protection and security to over 26 million Canadians. They also provide leadership on social issues, demonstrating a commitment to enhancing the well-being of families and communities.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry is a solid and successful partner in our strong financial system, and I thank it for contributing to our prosperity.

Benoit SimardStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour to officially present the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation insignia to a very courageous man, Corporal Benoit Simard.

The unit commendation is awarded in recognition of an extraordinary deed or activity performed in extremely hazardous circumstances. The 1st Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group, of which Corporal Simard was a member, received this commendation for opening the airport in the besieged city of Sarajevo in July 1992. Surrounded by warring parties, with fire coming from all directions, the members of the battle group were able to help flights bringing humanitarian assistance land so that essential aid could be distributed to the people of Sarajevo affected by the war.

The battle group's extraordinary efforts also contributed to promoting the United Nations as a vital force in maintaining peace and security throughout the world.

I am both pleased and proud to pay tribute today to the bravery of Corporal Benoit Simard.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, over 17 years ago the government of the day was promoting gun control in the form of Bill C-68.

After receiving a challenge from my constituents to look at the facts, I realized that the legislation did nothing to stop crime and protect Canadians.

To date, the long gun registry has cost taxpayers over $1 billion. This money could have been, and should have been, used to crack down on real criminals, not law-abiding Canadians. The long gun registry unfairly targets farmers, hunters and sport shooters, not criminals.

I am very proud to be part of a government that, after working for so long on this important issue, is making good on its commitment to end the long gun registry. Bill C-19 would reward those law-abiding citizens who have been patient and supportive. This legislation is a step in the right direction as we bring a bit more common sense to our laws.

We thank the thousands of Canadians who took the time to share their stories and their opinions that the registry should be scrapped. It has been a long haul, but in the end they have made a difference. Bill C-19 is proof of that.

Food BanksStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, Food Banks Canada released its annual hunger count today. It is clear that the economic recovery has left far too many Canadians behind. Food bank usage has gone up 26% since 2008. Each month, 851,000 people use a food bank. Of those, 322,000 are kids.

Even people with jobs are having difficulty. One in five working families uses a food bank.

In my own province of Prince Edward Island, poverty and food bank usage are also on the rise.

We can do better. We need to invest in affordable housing so that Canadians do not have to decide between paying the rent and feeding their families. We need to modernize employment insurance to better support older workers who have lost permanent jobs. We can no longer pretend that all is well. We need a national poverty reduction strategy, as suggested by both the Senate and a House study last year. We need government to show some leadership, because so far, we have seen little.

Association of Consulting Engineering CompaniesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament on both sides of the House, today I rise to greet the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of Canada, which is here today in Ottawa for the annual Parliament Hill Day and Awards Gala. It will be presenting awards for the best engineering projects in Canada over the past year to some outstanding engineers.

Whether it is a bridge or a building, if people have been on it or in it, it is probably designed by one of the finest engineers in world. These are Canadian engineers. Tonight they will be honouring the best of the best.

It is absolutely wonderful that we in Canada have some of the best professional engineers in the entire country. Those in the past built this country. Those today are building this country. What they are asking is that all parliamentarians work together to improve the infrastructure fund past 2014 so that these engineers can do what they do best--that is, build the best country in the entire world.

Winnipeg Chinese CommunityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre is celebrating an exciting event. The community centre will be unveiling significant renovations to its kitchen and boardroom facilities, as well as officially launching a commemorative book entitled Celebrating 100 Years—A Remarkable Achievement.

This book was commissioned by the community centre in 2009 to commemorate Winnipeg's Chinatown's centennial year. After much hard work by the dedicated late editor, Philip Chang, and a group of community authors, it is finally off to the press.

Renovations to the centre will ensure that it remains a vibrant cornerstone of the Chinese community. By investing in projects like this, our government is following through on the commitment to fully implement our infrastructure stimulus package. These investments are creating jobs now, when they are needed most, and are positioning Canada for long-term growth and prosperity.

I ask the House to join me in applauding the community centre on its achievements and hard work in support of Winnipeg's vibrant Chinese community.

VeteransStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, on this first day of the eleventh month, as we prepare our hearts for the eleventh hour of its eleventh day, I would like to share a story of remembrance.

Ray Hoffman is 87 years old and lives in Cochrane in my riding of Wild Rose. He was still a teen when he went overseas to defend Canadian freedoms in World War II. Mr. Hoffman was an infantry machine gunner with the Calgary Highlanders. Once, while running supplies to the forward positions, his driver was killed in a German ambush that he survived by shooting his way out. He was in the Highlanders' final battle of the Second World War in Oldenburg on VE Day in 1945.

Last month, Mr. Hoffman returned for the first time to tour the battlefields where he so valiantly fought. He revisited the places that he remembers, where his friends and comrades died.

This month and at all times, our debt to veterans like Ray Hoffman demands that Canadians remember the great sacrifices made for our freedoms.

Price of PeaceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, we pause today to reflect on the price of peace. Since Confederation, two million Canadians have served in uniform, 115,000 have paid with their lives, and hundreds of thousands have suffered lifelong grievous injuries to self and soul.

In Ortona's Piazza del Plebiscito is a poignant memorial of two soldiers, one lying dead and one bent over in grief, created by Ottawa artist Robert Surette.

Entitled “The Price of Peace”, it speaks of the supreme toll in the “Stalingrad of Italy”, the battle for Ortona, and for all who have faced their soul in the finality of the theatre of war.

Flowers are laid daily by citizens who know too well the price paid by Canada for their peace. Fourteen hundred sons of Canada rest in nearby Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, never to return home.

The price of peace is paid in war. We ought never to forget those that serve, those who truly pay the price of peace.

Algerian WarStatements by Members

November 1st, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great emotion that I rise today to commemorate the date of November 1, 1954. Today, in many countries, including Canada, Algerians are remembering and paying tribute to fallen heroes. November 1 is not a celebration so much as the commemoration of a day that marked the beginning of the last Algerian war, which was a heartbreaking conflict that would last eight years.

A few minutes ago, at the Algerian embassy, two colleagues and I took a moment and paused to remember. Canadians of Algerian origin are proud to be Canadian, proud to be part of the cultural mosaic we live in and proud of their contribution to Canada. They are also grateful to those who welcomed them. In the election on May 2, 2011, Canadians chose three Algerian-Canadians to represent them in this House.

I invite all members to join me in recognizing this important date in Algeria's history.

Aboriginal VeteransStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal Canadians have demonstrated time and again their great service and sacrifice for our country through their participation in Canada's military, particularly during times of conflict.

As Veterans' Week approaches, we are reminded of the many aboriginal Canadians, including my grandmother, who joined in the fight to protect the values and freedoms we enjoy today. First nations, Inuit, Métis and non-status aboriginal people served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

That proud tradition of service continues today. Their courage, sacrifices and accomplishments are a source of pride for their families, their communities and all Canadians.

This Veterans' Week, we honour their legacy. This Veterans' Week, we remember.

Prostate CancerStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the first day of November.

It is the day that many of our significant others dread as thousands of men across Canada grow a mo. Movember is a campaign in which men grow moustaches throughout November to raise awareness about prostate cancer and to raise funds for research.

This year the New De-mo-crats are looking forward to doing their part in changing the face of men's health, so every time we see a man with a mo, we should think about a man in our lives and encourage him to get his prostate checked.

Last year New De-mo-crats raised close to $16,000 for movember and this year we will surpass that number.

I encourage every MP to give, and I suggest $228.11, which represents the 22nd day of the 8th month of 2011, the day we lost one of the most iconic mo's in this House. It is a way for us to pay tribute to Jack Layton, who fought this disease.

With Jack's spirit among us, let us change the face of men's health so we no longer lose the faces of men we know and love.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to address all the glaring factual inaccuracies that the NDP has been spewing recently in the Toronto Star, but let me try.

The NDP has claimed that we are delisting and declassifying firearms. This is completely false. Bill C-19 does not address the process in which firearms are classified as non-restricted.

The process in which firearms are determined to be non-registered was laid out by the previous Liberal government of 1995. Our government has made no changes to that process since coming into office.

Let me be clear: the ending of the long gun registry act does exactly what that title suggests. We are putting an end to the wasteful, ineffective system that has not prevented one single crime. We promised to end the long gun registry, and rather than flip-flopping like the NDP, we are keeping our promise to Canadians.

I would like to call on the NDP to stop its false and misleading statements, get on board and support Bill C-19 when it comes to a vote right here in just a few short hours.

Atlantic Agricultural Hall of FameStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize William Cairns of Freetown, Prince Edward Island, on his recent induction into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Mr. Cairns has made outstanding contributions to the Island farming community, among them being a member of Junior Farmers of P.E.I., vice-president of the Federation of Agriculture, member of Dunk River Dairy Company, and being the lone surviving attendee who pushed ahead with Amalgamated Dairies Limited.

In 1952 Mr. Cairns became the first Islander to be accepted as a Nuffield Scholar, which fosters agriculture leadership through international study. As a result, he became a Canadian pioneer in adapting innovations for the dairy industry.

Mr. Cairns and his son continue to operate Willscott Farm Ltd., which has been in the family since 1852, and is a seventh-generation farm.

Our sincere congratulations to Mr. Cairns. We thank him for his lifelong dedication to agriculture, to P.E.I., and to Canada.

IndiaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Conservative Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, 27 years ago today, following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, thousands of innocent Sikh men, women and children were mercilessly killed in the streets of Delhi and other parts of India.

During this violence, at great risk to themselves, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others sheltered and rescued their Sikh neighbours from the mobs.

As Prime Minister Singh stated in his apology on behalf of the nation in 2005, “what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution...I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place”.

Last year during his trip to Canada, Prime Minister Singh also stated that the perpetrators of these crimes need to be brought to justice, and I agree.

Like Canada, India is a highly pluralistic society known for its tolerance and democratic values. These shared values and our strong people-to-people bonds underpin a strong and vibrant relationship between our two countries.

AsbestosStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a growing number of people oppose the fact that this government, which is completely out of touch with reality, continues to support Canada's deadly asbestos industry. Scientists, miners and ordinary Canadians are calling for a formal ban on asbestos. Even more important is the dissension that exists within the governing party. A former Conservative cabinet minister has come out strongly against the government's position. Chuck Strahl said that for thousands of Canadians, working with asbestos in the past has set them on a deadly course without their even knowing it.

We know that Mr. Strahl is not the only Conservative to take this point of view. Any Conservative members who oppose asbestos have an opportunity here today to support the NDP motion to ban the substance. The Prime Minister should not be muzzling his members and forcing them to protect asbestos, thereby damaging Canada's reputation even further.

White-Collar CrimeStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime, and that is why they gave the government a strong mandate to make our streets and our communities safe. Today, Bill C-21, the standing up for victims of white collar crime act, comes into effect.

The effects of fraud resulting from such crimes as Ponzi schemes, insider trading and accounting fraud are devastating. Bill C-21 will ensure that fraudsters are given sentences in keeping with the severity of their crimes, including a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for fraud over $1 million. The bill adds new aggravating factors that the court may apply to increase sentences, such as the impact on victims and the fraudster's conduct.

We are determined to do everything in our power to ensure that fraudsters face the consequences of their actions and that victims are taken seriously by the judicial system.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing some absurd situations as a result of the Conservatives' irresponsibility when it comes to the firearms registry. For example, owners will no longer be required to register the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14. The Ruger Mini-14 is the weapon that was used in Norway this past summer. It is also the weapon that was used at the École Polytechnique.

If the Prime Minister were a police officer, I would think that before walking into a building, he would want to know whether there was a Ruger Mini-14 inside.

Why destroy all the data? Why endanger our police officers?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the firearms classification system has been around for a long time. We are following the process that was set out a long time ago. There are no changes to that in our bill.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we know where the Conservatives stand. They would rather destroy the data and put the police and the public at risk, but we do not understand why.

Say that in a house there is an armour-piercing gun, a Steyr HS .50, an L115A3 long-range rifle and a TAR-21 assault rifle, but the police do not know because the Prime Minister decided to destroy that data.

Abdicating his responsibilities is one thing, but why refuse to give the provinces the existing data?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government committed to eliminating the ineffective long gun registry and we do not intend to help other levels of government create registries.