House of Commons Hansard #317 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-71.

Topics

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of my colleague's speech he talked about this being a registry, and we have heard this time and time again coming from the opposition. I would offer to the House that is nothing more than a red herring.

The Conservatives do not have an argument and do not have a solid position on this issue. Time and time again they suggest that this is a registry when they know full well that it is not. Do not take my word for it though. Let us return to the member for Red Deer—Lacombe who said in committee, “everybody at this table agrees that this is not a registry”.

In the context of being in committee where people can talk freely and have a discussion about this, members of the Conservative Party are saying that and then they come into the House and insist it is a registry.

Is the member now suggesting that the member for Red Deer—Lacombe was incorrect and that he was wrong when he said it is not a registry? Or are the Conservatives just coming here with their talking points because they have no other argument against this legislation? Is that the more plausible thing?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was dreaming of this question. I thank the member for asking it. Typical for the Liberal Party, that quote was taken completely out of context. I was right beside the member for Red Deer—Lacombe. It is a quote.

What is really interesting is that the Liberals can say whatever they want in clause 2 of this act, and then throughout the rest of the bill, they continue to act as if the bill is a registry. They keep reference numbers there. They keep the whole context of “registrar” and “registry”. It is not what we think. Tens of thousands of Canadians, who have already voiced their disapproval of this bill, still consider it to be a gun registry. Canadians have heard the rhetoric of the Liberal Party before. They could not be trusted before, and they certainly cannot be trusted now. We will wait and see.

This bill is pointless. It has nothing to do with the real issues of guns and gangs. We do not need any lessons from the Liberal Party on what Canadians know is best for them when it comes to gun legislation.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed, because I found the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner so reasonable in his approach when we were at committee working on clause by clause. However, I find the ramped-up partisan rhetoric on this bill to be really dispiriting.

This bill was never intended to take on gangs. Gang violence is another issue. It is related, but it is not the same thing. We have talked at committee about my own experience. It happens that a member of my family is very involved in this and is actually a prosecuting lawyer within the B.C. task force on organized crime and dealing with gang crime.

This is about tightening up the restrictions on who can own a firearm. This is a fact. It is not an invented thing at this hour of debate. It is clear that this bill extends the background check from five years to a lifetime. I think the hon. member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner sees the sense in that. It is really important that we actually look at a history of violence, even if it goes back more than five years, that we look at the risks to intimate partners if someone has ever had access to a gun or made a threat that falls short of what is currently in the act.

He is right. What is in the current firearms act covers a lot of things, but it does not cover when an intimate partner has had to get a restraining order against someone who has threatened his or her life. Therefore, I ask the hon. member to be honourable and to admit that this bill has benefits for public safety.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the hon. member's accuracy at committee as we were going through amendments.

The reality is that currently, before Bill C-71 came along, criminal record checks and background checks for people applying for a licence did not go back five years. We heard from those who actually do these checks that they go back over the lifetime of the individual when they apply for a PAL. The suggestion that they only go back five years is mistaken.

Is there a need to improve the inability of people to access firearms who have a record or mental health issues? Absolutely. It was the Conservative Party that was the first to bring in prohibitions, the removal of licences, and the removal of firearms from those who are convicted or accused of domestic violence.

I appreciate the hon. member's question. The current legislation is void. There are some steps to be made. I think, however, that this bill does not do it, as required by Canadians, for public safety.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a popular reference to William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague and that he is a Montague himself. The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are. Juliet compares Romeo to a rose, saying that if he was not named Romeo, he would be just as handsome and would still be Juliet's love.

In the case of Bill C-71, a gun registry by any other name is, well, a gun registry.

At committee stage, the Liberals passed one of the CPC amendments, which has been often quoted. It stated, “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to permit or require the registration of non-restricted firearms.”

When the Liberals adopted this amendment, we expected that they would also support changes that would remove the elements that essentially created a gun registry. Unfortunately, they did not. They kept the registrar tracking of the transfer of firearms, keeping a centralized government record, and that is a registry by another name.

It is very cynical and disingenuous of the Minister of Public Safety and other Liberals in the House to try to skew this as support for the language of the bill. It was much like watching the President of the Treasury Board the other day defending the Liberals' slush fund in vote 40 in the estimates by quoting the current and the past PBO, pretending these gentlemen were in support of the Liberal slush fund. However, Kevin Page, the former PBO, said that there is no way it is an improvement, and the current PBO said that their incomplete information will lead to weaker spending controls.

The bill before us would remove the reference to the five-year period that applies to background checks on licence applications, thereby eliminating any temporal restrictions on such checks. It would require that whenever a non-restricted firearm is transferred, the buyer must produce a licence, and the vendor must verify that it is valid, which would require a registrar to issue a reference number for such transactions. The bill would require commercial retailers to maintain records of their inventories and sales, and such records would be accessible to the police. It would put the power to classify weapons in the hands of the RCMP bureaucrats and take it out of the hands of parliamentarians, and it would amend the Long-gun Registry Act to allow a province to keep its gun registry records. It sounds like a registry.

What is missing from Bill C-71 is any reference to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs.

What bill does mention gangs and organized crime? Bill C-75 does, but only in relation to lighter sentences. What does Bill C-75 do? It lessens sentences to as little as fines for those participating in the activity of a terrorist group, much like the returning ISIS terrorist wandering around the streets of Toronto. If the government ever gets around to having him arrested, maybe we will hit him with a fine.

The penalty for administering a noxious drug, such as a date rape drug, can now be reduced to a fine. The penalty for advocating genocide is now reduced. It is somewhat ironic that the Liberals would use the word “genocide” in Bill C-75 for reducing the penalty, when they could not bear to say the word in the House to describe what was happening to the Yazidis overseas. The penalty for participating in organized crime would also be reduced in Bill C-75.

To sum up, Bill C-71 would go after law-abiding gun owners, and Bill C-75 would go soft on crime. Maybe we will set out some tea cozies and ask returning ISIS fighters to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya together.

To make the streets safer, I have to ask why the Minister of Public Safety does not just get up from his seat, walk about seven benches down, and tell the Minister of Justice to do her job and appoint some judges to the judiciary. In the Jordan ruling, people have a right to a timely trial, but the Liberals have not appointed enough judges, so we are letting accused murderers go. I want to talk about some of them.

Nick Chan, from Calgary, walked free this week. Who is Nick Chan? He was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and instructing a criminal organization. If the Liberals want to get guns off the street, why do they not appoint judges so that we can keep people like Nick Chan in jail? He has also been accused in the past of murdering three other people and has been charged with firearm offences. Here we have Bill C-71 going after law-abiding gun owners, and we let someone like Nick Chan, who is charged with illegally possessing guns, go because we have not appointed judges.

James Coady, in Newfoundland, facing drug trafficking and weapons charges, was let go because there was no judge and he could not get a timely trial.

Van Son Nguyen was released in Quebec, the third accused murderer released in Quebec because he could not get a timely trial.

Lance Regan was released in Edmonton because, again, no judges.

However, let us focus on Bill C-71. Here is the worst one. A father was accused of breaking his two-week-old baby's ankles. He had his criminal charges stayed because he could not get a timely trial. The grandmother of the poor kid said, “We were angry, we were crying, we were outraged that he was able to get off with this (ruling).”

However, the Liberal government is tying us up with Bill C-71, going after law-abiding gun owners and ignoring its duty to appoint judges, letting murders go free, letting someone who breaks the ankles of a two-week-old baby go free. This is the priority.

In a television interview, the parliamentary secretary for justice said, “We border the largest handgun arsenal in the world.” I assume he means America. However, this bill would do nothing to address that issue.

The Minister of Public Safety says, “it's the drug trade, in particular, that is an intrinsic part of gang culture and gang-related violence and arguably causes the most harm in our communities” and that it is made worse by the “opioid crisis”. What do we have? Vote 40, the slush fund, which is supposed to get money out the door faster, has $1 million to address the opioid issue.

I want to talk about the departmental plans. Departmental plans are plans that every department has to put out. The departmental reports describe departmental priorities and expected results.

I will go to the Minister of Public Safety and see what his plan says, “If we can find a way to intervene early before tragedy strikes, we should.” Here is a hint for the Minister of Public Safety. He should walk down the row and tell the justice minister to appoint some judges and then maybe we can intervene before tragedy strikes.

He talks about safer communities being central to Public Safety Canada's mandate. He invites all Canadians to read the Public Safety Canada 2018-19 departmental plan to find out how it is keeping Canada and Canadians safe.

I have read the plans. I do not think anyone from the other side of the House has, and I am pretty sure the Minister of Public Safety has not read his own plans that he signed off on.

Under the section on national security and terrorism, it sets out four different targets. Departmental results indicate that the first one is Canada's ranking on global terrorism. I am surprised the government has not even set a target to compare things to. The next is Canada's ranking on cyber security, but there are no past areas to compare it to. Then the percentage of the population thinks the right mechanisms are in place for them to respond to terrorism. Once again, there is no target set. It goes on and on.

Under community public safety, and this is great, there are seven targets, three of them have no past targets to refer to. Therefore, the government is pulling a number out of the air as the target to achieve. For the percentage of stakeholders reported consulting public safety, the target is set at 60%. However, there is nothing in the past to compare it to. For stakeholders reporting good or very good results on projects funded through Public Safety, it is 80%. Compared to what? Nothing, everything is not applicable. Here is a great one. The crime severity index is going to go up. This measures, as it says, the severity of crime in Canada. This actually goes up over last year and up over the Harper era.

For the percentage of Canadians who think that crime in their neighbourhood has decreased, the goal for next year is to have it worse than it was in previous years. For crimes prevented in populations most at risk, it shows a drop in results. For the percentage of at-risk populations, there is no target. For the difference between police reporting in first nations communities, again, it shows a drop in results. The three-year plan actually shows 23% in funding cuts to community safety.

This shows the Liberal priorities. Instead of going after terrorists, instead of going after criminals, instead of going after gangs with guns, their priority is to prey on law-abiding gun owners and re-establishing a registry. It is a shame.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his very passionate and fact-filled speech on Bill C-71. One of the interesting aspects of this that has been touched on many times today as we have debated the bill is how little mention there is, in fact zero mention, of guns and gangs in the bill, but the words “registry” and “registrar” are mentioned many times. In fact, I think it was 38 times in this legislation.

Why does my hon. colleague think that is? Why are there so many mentions of registrar and register, yet zero mention of guns and gangs? Is this in fact a registry?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. A registry by any other name would still be a registry. If we look at the definition of the word “registrar”, it says the official responsible for keeping a registry for official records. It is very clearly a registry.

The member also talked about the lack of addressing crime. In the Liberals' budget, they stated they were going to put aside $253 million immediately for addressing gun crime and then $100 million a year after that. That money does not show up in the estimates. When we look at the promise for Statistics Canada, the Liberals are spending just as much to reinstate the long-form census as they stated they were going to spend on preventing guns from getting into the hands of criminals.

Again it goes to the Liberals' priorities, a long-form census and another form of registry are more important than actually keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. It is all very liberal.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today and the hon. member spoke about Bill C-75 in conjunction with Bill C-71 and the fact that the Liberals are limiting the ability of judges and giving the option of imposing lesser sentences for some of the most egregious crimes in this country. Can the member comment further on how that is going to impact Canadians?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil for his hard work on the file. I talked earlier about the failure of the Liberal government to appoint judges. We have had over 200 serious criminal cases across—

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I am glad my colleagues across the way find releasing murderers very humorous. We on this side do not think it is a laughing matter.

We have had over 200 serious cases of criminals being released because the Liberals had not appointed judges. On top of this, look at Bill C-75 lowering the penalty for being involved in a gang, lowering the penalty for using date rape drugs. It is a disgrace. The government needs to set its priority at looking after Canadians and not being soft on crime.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a trifecta. I am almost like the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

I want to address an issue that the legislation fails to address and that is the issue of guns and gangs. There have been high-profile incidents. Does the hon. member think this piece of legislation is going to solve those guns and gangs issues that we saw recently in Toronto and in Surrey?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his third question and his hard work on the file. He is right in his comments. Nothing in Bill C-71 is going to address the guns and gangs issue.

I am a former gun owner. I had a couple of handguns. I belonged to a gun club in Edmonton. It is very ironic. The name of the gun club was Phoenix. It has, like the Liberal Phoenix fiasco, actually gone under. I spent a lot of time at the Wild West Shooting Centre in West Edmonton Mall. Gun owners are the most conscientious, law-abiding group and again Bill C-71 focuses on those who are following the law and it does nothing against those who are breaking the law.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is the House ready for the question?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The question is on Motion No. 1. A vote on this motion also applies to Motions Nos. 2 to 28.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed will please say nay.

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9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

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9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 20, 2018, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions. The recorded division will also apply to Motions Nos. 2 to 28.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, following routine proceedings on Wednesday, June 20, 2018:

(a) Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(b) Bill C-62, An Act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other Acts, be deemed concurred in at the report stage on division and deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(c) Bill C-64, An Act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations, be deemed read a third time and passed;

(d) Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(e) Ways and Means No. 24 be deemed adopted on division, and that the Bill standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Minister of Finance entitled, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be deemed read a first time;

(f) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Justice, be deemed adopted on division;

(g) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing), standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, be deemed adopted on division;

(h) the 64th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled, Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons: Sexual Harassment between Members, presented to the House on Monday June 4, 2018, be concurred in;

(i) the following motion be deemed adopted on division: “That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2) and in accordance with subsection 79.1(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1, the House approve the appointment of Yves Giroux as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a term of seven years”; and

(j) the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 17, 2018, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22, 2018.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to make sure what the government House leader said is clear. In paragraph (f), in the part that says “other Acts, standing on the Notice Paper”, in fact, I have “Order Paper” on my sheet. I just want to clarify that.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Members have verified that everything is okay.

Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?