Mr. Speaker, I strongly support the motion that is on the floor, which is to have the Standing Committee on Public Safety travel as part of its consideration of Bill C-71. This legislation is deeply flawed, and therefore it would serve the committee very well to travel across the country to talk to everyday Canadians. The government claims that this legislation is in the interest of public safety, but the reality is quite different. I would like to outline that for the House.
This legislation would create a bunch of useless red tape that will not make Canadians safer. In fact, this bill shows classic Liberal logic. The current government is saying that it wants to keep Canadians safe and prevent gun violence, but this legislation would do absolutely nothing to accomplish this end. Instead, it would target or go after firearms owners who have already gone through extensive background checks and safety courses in order to possess their guns and use them lawfully.
In addition, it would create the failed long-gun registry that cost Canadians $1 billion, and then was scrapped because it was so wasteful and ineffective. Bill C-71 would force retailers to keep transaction records for 20 years on every single person who buys a gun. This would increase the cost that would then be passed on to the consumer, not to mention that it would also make a great shopping list for criminals, should they get a hold of that list and then acquire those firearms based on where they are.
Furthermore, this legislation would remove the ability of licensed firearms owners to transport their registered firearms between their houses and a gunsmith or a trade show, even though they are allowed to transport their guns between their houses and gun ranges. In addition, the legislation would unfairly turn thousands of Canadians into criminals overnight by reclassifying their non-restricted or restricted firearms as prohibited altogether. I am talking about firearms that have been legally imported and sold in Canada for the last 12 years.
There is not a single one of these measures I have listed that would take guns out of the hands of criminals. At the end of the day, criminals do not purchase their guns by going down to Canadian Tire or Cabela's; instead, they get them off the street through illegal means. Through Bill C-71, the government is simply painting law-abiding gun owners—we are talking about farmers, hunters, and sports shooters—as if they are all evil and deserve punishment.
The Liberals' firearms legislation would do nothing to improve the safety of Canadians. There are no concrete measures to combat gang violence or to address the catastrophic increase in rural crime in Canada. Bill C-71 is a flawed bill that would crack down on law-abiding firearms owners and would do nothing to punish criminals who illegally use firearms to commit crimes. This legislation would create a backdoor long-gun registry, requiring an electronic record of the sale of every firearm in Canada. Furthermore, this legislation would remove the ability of licensed firearms owners from transporting restricted firearms to a gunsmith or trade show.
Instead of treating hunters, farmers, and sports shooters as criminals, the Liberals should be focusing their energy on the real criminals, those who actually commit crimes and use their guns illegally. This would be a common-sense approach and the right approach, but the Liberals are not interested in making a positive difference. Instead, they are simply interested in optics. They want to be seen as if they are protecting the Canadian public from gun violence, but in actuality the legislation before the House would do absolutely nothing to this effect.
The Liberals would in fact be making life a whole lot easier for criminals. I will talk about the legislation by which they are doing this. It is Bill C-75. The Liberals are reducing penalties for a massive list of extremely serious crimes, and I will list a few: participating in a terrorist group, trafficking women and children, committing violence against a clergy member, murdering a child within one year of birth, abducting a child, forcing a marriage, advocating for genocide, participating in organized crime. The sentencing for all of these heinous crimes that take place in Canada would be reduced. Those criminals will get off. Meanwhile, the individual who properly owns and registers his or her gun would be punished by Bill C-71, the legislation before the House. That is wrong.
The rights of victims and communities must always come first. A young person in my riding, who has the ability to see the smoke and mirrors in Bill C-71, asked this: Why is the government sending the message that it is okay to punish law-abiding citizens instead of going after those who actually commit crimes?
Canadians are rightly concerned about Bill C-71 criminalizing innocent people.
I have the privilege of sponsoring e-petition 1608, which is currently open for signature by Canadians, and I encourage them to sign it. This petition was started by a gentleman by the name of Ryan Slingerland, who is 16 years old and lives in my riding. He was incredibly upset about the negative impact this legislation would have on his family members who hunt. He was incredibly disgusted by the fact that Bill C-71 would do everything to hinder their ability to be law-abiding citizens and use their guns effectively, and do absolutely nothing to go after rural crime in our area, which is skyrocketing.
Since launching this petition, it has gathered national media attention and my constituent, Ryan Slingerland, has done an incredible job fielding those questions. In fewer than two months, this petition has become the second-largest e-petition in Canadian history, being signed by nearly 79,000 Canadians from coast to coast. Twenty-three thousand of these signatures come from Ontario and 5,800 from Atlantic Canada, thus showing that this is a concern of Canadians from coast to coast. It is not just regional.
When I was in Nunavut this spring, I heard the concerns of Inuit hunters about the potential implications of this legislation. Furthermore, at the public safety committee, indigenous leaders were coming to the table and threatening potential legal action because they argue that the bill would infringe their constitutional rights.
It is important for the Liberal government to recognize that it does not understand the impact this proposed legislation would have on Canadians, which is why the public safety committee needs to travel to talk to Canadians from coast to coast. It is the right thing to do.
I am proud to represent a southern Alberta riding. There are many families who enjoy our heritage of hunting and sport shooting. When I talk to my constituents, they are deeply concerned about this proposed legislation. They want to know why the Liberal government is targeting law-abiding, licenced firearms owners and not going after criminals who are using their guns illegally.
I sat down with my youth advisory board members and got their feedback on the bill this week. They asked that I communicate their views to the Prime Minister. First, they wanted to remind the Prime Minister that he is the leader of the country in which they live, and not the leader of a high school drama classroom. They want him to lead with honesty. They want him to function with integrity. They want him to stop attacking those who own firearms legally. They call upon him to use legislation in a way that is common sense, not nonsense. They ask that this proposed legislation not be used as an emotionally charged response to a problem in the United States that unfairly punishes Canadians who rightly own and use their firearms. They ask that I speak out on their behalf and to ask in particular, why is the Prime Minister skewing the facts and telling mistruths in order to pass this legislation that punishes those who lawfully own firearms?
The fact that indigenous people in this country, the fact that young people in this country, the fact that law-abiding citizens from coast to coast in this country are asking the Prime Minister to sit up and listen to their concerns, the fact that they are begging him to this, and the fact I have a petition that is signed by nearly 79,000 Canadians are all facts that say that this proposed legislation is ill placed. They see that this proposed legislation needs more time. They say that the right thing to do would be for this committee to travel and to listen. It is simply good governance, listening followed by action.
Therefore, I am calling upon the House to take this motion into consideration and to vote for it, not for my sake, but for the sake of Canadians from coast to coast who deserve to have a voice on this topic, who deserve to be treated as law-abiding citizens first and foremost. This proposed legislation, in its current state, would not do that, and we can do better.