That, in the opinion of the House: (a) Canada already exceeds all the standards listed in United Nations resolution 55/255 concerning firearms (the resolution); (b) the regulations envisioned in the resolution would do nothing to enhance public safety, and would serve only to burden the law-abiding firearms community; and therefore, the government has already surpassed its obligations with respect to the resolution and is not required to take any further steps.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to speak to the motion that I have introduced in the House. Some may wonder what United Nations resolution 55/255 does and how it impacts on law-abiding Canadian firearms owners. The basics of the resolution is the criminalization of the trafficking of firearms, the establishment of a framework for marking firearms, the criminalization of the altering of those markings, and the registration of all firearms and all ammunition.
Canada has measures in place to protect public safety that are far superior to this. The difference is we operate with good old-fashioned Canadian common sense. Trafficking firearms is subject to a three-year mandatory prison sentence for a first offence under section 99 of the Criminal Code. Altering the serial number of a firearm is punishable by up to five years in prison, as per section 108 of the Criminal Code. We saw how the wasteful and ineffective the long gun registry did nothing to stop crime.
We have our own Canadian approach where law-abiding gun owners must adhere to a very strong set of rules, and it is working. According to Statistics Canada, the firearms homicide rate in Canada is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years. There has been a 30% decline in the rate of handgun homicides since 2008.
Our Conservative government is committed to protecting Canadians. At the same time, we are committed to standing up for law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters.
I firmly believe the UN has no business dictating that Canadians once again be subjected to what can only be described as a backdoor registry. Our government kept its 17-year-old promise and ended the last wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.
My intention in tabling this motion is to ensure that any door that could reopen the long gun registry remains firmly closed.
Darryl Kroeker, head of conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited Canada's B.C. Peace Region, where I am from, wrote to me following the tabling of my motion. He said, “The Conservative government has successfully eliminated the long gun registry, saving millions of tax payer dollars, and the UN resolution would be a step backwards, imposing additional costs and documentation on taxpayers' shoulders.” I could not agree more.
That brings me to the provision in this UN resolution regarding firearms and markings.
This resolution proposes that all firearms made or imported into Canada be marked with a specific code identifying Canada, the year of manufacture, the year of import, the name of the manufacturer, the serial number, as well as other details about the firearm. This goes well above and beyond the standard practice of the firearms manufacturing industry and would impose a prohibitive cost on importers. As we all know, that cost would be passed on to our consumers seeking to legally purchase firearms. Some estimates that I have heard are as much as $200 per firearm, and would possibly limit firearms of a certain brand coming into our country. I cannot see the public safety value in adding all of these markings.
Liberals lauded this resolution when they were in government, when they brought forward regulations to give it teeth. They said that this resolution somehow would improve the ability of law enforcement to trace firearms. I disagree.
I have discussed this issue with front-line law enforcement officers, and they consistently tell me that the only necessary piece of information for effective firearms tracing is a serial number. Therefore, I cannot see how any of these firearms marking regulations as drafted by the previous Liberal government are at all necessary.
I would encourage the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal the needless portions of those regulations and only keep the serial number.
I am hopeful that this will happen in the near future, because our Conservative government has consistently taken action to stand up for law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters.
As I have said before, we ended the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. We repealed the needless Liberal gun show regulations. We have brought forward the common sense firearms licensing act to get rid of the paperwork around authorizations to transport, limit the arbitrary powers of the CFO, and to restore the Swiss Arms family of firearms and the CZ858 to their non-restricted classification.
We are clearly the only party that will stand up for the rights of law-abiding firearms owners.
At its core, the motion before us today is about Canadian outdoors culture, whether it is hunting, target shooting, skeet shooting, cowboy shooting, three-gun competitions or any other activity with firearms. These are enjoyable activities that bind us together as a proud part of our shared Canadian heritage. Over two million Canadians participate in these activities. I and my family members are among them. However, it seems that the NDP and the Liberals continue to believe these activities are not Canadian.
I will quote Greg Farrant, of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, who said before the public safety committee:
Firearms owners in Canada are judges, lawyers, farmers, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, accountants, even federal politicians [who] live in and represent urban ridings. They are not criminals. They are not gang members. Rather, they are lawful firearms owners who obey the law.
However, it is clear that the message has not sunk in across the aisle. Some members of the Liberal Party and the NDP have taken the debate on firearms issues as an opportunity to engage in a drive-by smear of outdoor enthusiasts by saying that those who want to obey clear rules are part of the American-style gun lobby or are advocating for a return to, as one NDP member from Quebec said, “wild west” gun laws. That is patently ridiculous and it is offensive to the millions of law-abiding Canadian gun owners.
It is clear that this UN resolution, and any subsequent regulations drafted to enforce it, is only designed to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding Canadians. That is why I encourage the government to repeal those regulations, and I encourage all members of the House to send a strong message to support my motion.