Mr. Speaker, if I have any extra time, I want to share it with the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.
The member for Scarborough—Rouge Park talked about the number of mothers in his riding and other Canadians who have been fundamentally affected by gun violence. He must be bitterly disappointed in the bill that has come forward, because it never mentions the words “gangs” or “criminal organization”. These words never come up in the bill and yet he is talking about how he wants to see those kinds of things being impacted.
He is not the only one on the Liberal side, I am sure, that is disappointed with the bill. The members of the Liberal rural caucus have failed to protect their constituents one more time.
Here we are talking again about a Liberal-imposed gun registry. The Liberals' commitment was to deal with guns, with gang violence, and with illegal activity. This legislation would not deal with any of that.
Some familiar patterns are taking place here. Over the last while, Liberal members have been playing it easy. They want to take the easy way out. They take an initiative and when the pressure is on, they drop it. We saw that with electoral reform. We saw it with tax hikes on small businesses. They often make up phony statistics to try to make things more palatable to Canadians.
We also see them deliberately dividing Canadians in the hopes of getting some political gain. We have watched them try to isolate small groups to get some advantage. We saw that in things like the carbon tax and recently the summer jobs program. They use selective or misleading information to try to create an opportunity to advance their issues.
The Liberals want to go easy on the laws that they do not want to actually enforce. We have seen that through bills such as the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. We have seen it on immigration, where they ignore the rules and will not enforce the rules as they are put in place. We saw it again obviously with respect to the payment to Mr. Khadr, when they jumped ahead of the court and decided to make a payment because the Chrétien government would have looked bad if they had not done that.
It looks like all of those bad habits have come together in Bill C-71. The Liberals are trying to manipulate the Canadian public. They are trying to work PR angles on this with information that they know is untrue. They are using this to divide Canadians one more time. They are taking the easy way out by avoiding the real issues, which are gang violence and illegal gun activity. The Liberals are doing what they said they would not do, which is setting up the basics of a renewed long gun registry.
The way this bill was introduced showed us that the Liberals are deliberately trying to set up legitimate firearms owners as the fall guys. Someone mentioned the Prime Minister's tweet a few minutes ago. The press release that came out with the bill is another example. Part of it declares that in Canada, restricted firearms are made up of “handguns, certain rifles, and semi-automatics”. I do not know if members know about firearms laws in Canada, but this is inaccurate. It is a complete fabrication about semi-automatics. This may be the goal of the government today but that is not what the legislative reality is. Canadian firearms owners need to pay attention to this early misinformation.
That is not the only misinformation that was presented. CBC, of all organizations, did an analysis of the statistics used by the Liberals in their press release and their communications. The Liberals focused on 2013. CBC reported that 2013 saw Canada's lowest rate of criminal homicide in 50 years, the lowest rate of fatal shootings ever recorded by Statistics Canada. Every year since 1966 has been worse than 2013. The Liberals took a year when all the stats were lower than they have been for decades and they used that to compare to today, and today is still below the 30 year average. Just a few minutes ago a Liberal member actually used those statistics again.
The CBC report goes on to talk about Canada's homicide rate. It said that the rate in 2018 is similar to or lower than it was in 2008 or 1998. It is well below 1988 and 1978. It is similar to what it was in 1968. The rate today is very close to that in 1928. It goes on to say that if one were to ask how 2016 compared with the decade before, one would find the rate of firearms homicides remains boringly unchanged, including the rate of homicides with handguns. I am sure some members have been taken with that article and have read it through as well.
The CBC report concluded that none of this constitutes as they call it a “steady increase”. The CBC said that this is what a statistician might reasonably call a steady decrease.
It is not accurate to say that offences involving firearms have become more prevalent, especially since 2013.
That is not the only place where the Liberals have been misleading Canadians. There is a second media report. The CBC, after the government briefing I assume, stated, “Police will be able to determine who exactly was the last licensed firearms owner to purchase a particular gun.” If the government has the capacity to track the last legitimate owner of every firearm in Canada, that actually accomplishes the goals of a firearms registry.
Are the Liberals setting up a gun registry or are they not? They have given up on gangs and they are ganging up on Canadians. In this process they need to distort the facts or they know that Canadians will not accept that. The bill itself is a lot of nothing and what is there for the most part is targeting legitimate gun owners and business people as it lays the foundation for a new registry.
Again, the CBC article says that every firearm will be tied to its owner. That is not possible unless the government uses a new reference number system, which we will talk about in a couple of minutes, to track individuals and their firearms. People need to pay attention to this. This is the foundation for establishing a registry. It lays out the components of a registry. There is a front door registry by returning all the data to Quebec.
Canadians also need to ask if any other data exist, because in the legislation it says that the changes that we made will be designated to have never existed. If there is other data that exist, are the Liberals going to bring that back and use that across this country? We need to know that. Some people should start taking a closer look at this.
It sets up a backdoor registry. In the past when people purchased a firearm they had to verify that the other person had a licence. Businesses have put that number on file and everyone I have ever dealt with has done that. Adding new requirements, such as the reference number, the serial number, the buyer and a 20-year hold, allows for the establishment of a gun registry. The reference number for private transactions is even more interesting because it actually makes no sense. It will not be one single bit effective unless it is the first step in requiring the private registration of firearms. Again it is a registry.
This needs to be understood. It has a pile of consequences. It has consequences regarding the invasion of privacy, the question of financing the register, and the entire reference implementation and how it is being put together.
I talked to a friend who has been involved in this for a while and he said this new set-up is going to require hundreds of employees in order to handle these reference numbers. I would like to know what the budget is. Is it perhaps $2 million like the last one? What number will that grow to? We need to know that quickly.
The provision on background checks requires the examination of extended time periods on the application process. It is okay, but is it really effective? Those background checks are already very thorough.
I want to wrap up by saying that this bill divides Canadians on bad assumptions. The manipulated data make it look like there is a growing problem when there is not one. The legislation targets only legitimate firearms owners and marks them. The Liberals have avoided the hard work because gang issues are hard to deal with. Regular Canadians are a lot easier to beat on.
The Liberals have come forward with a phony piece of legislation. It sets the groundwork for a front door registry and a backdoor registry. It uses deliberately distorted statistics to scare people. None of us knows what it will cost. It will make it more expensive and inconvenient for honest people. It will lay the groundwork for the registry in Quebec and the foundation for a registry across this country. It picks out legitimate firearm owners and does not deal with the problems the Liberals claim they are trying to address.