Mr. Speaker, when speaking about Bill C-47, we must remind ourselves to mention the current regime we have in Canada regarding arms trade control. Since 1947, when Canada adopted such a control regime, the minister has had the ability to prevent the supply of military equipment to countries for a variety of reasons. These reasons include that they are security threats, are involved in internal or external conflict, or are under sanction by the United Nations. We have the ultimate control over the arms trade in Canada, and it is something we have always been proud of and will continue to be.
Canada can utilize a blanket ban on trade with at-risk countries through the use of the area control list. A blanket ban means that we use all the methods we have and all the tools to put tight control on arms and military equipment that can harm innocent civilians. Under the area control list, we have the Export and Import Permits Act. Through the Governor in Council, a country can be placed on this list. At the current time, for example, North Korea is on that list.
Again, our current protocol is very strong, probably the strongest the world has ever seen. On top of that, we already heavily restrict many specific items that may be of concern, including military and missile items and chemical or biological goods, just to name a few. Furthermore, Canada already tracks and records more than what is required under the Arms Trade Treaty. Our arms control system, as I said earlier, is very tight and very strong to be able to deliver beyond any threat that may occur anywhere those arms go, including any country, regime, or army, around the world.
We also know that the Canada Border Services Agency and Statistics Canada collect information on exports from Canada of every single item that may be work-in-progress items or finished goods. We have those protocols in place, and as I said earlier, we are very proud of what we have been able to do.
Collectively, we are left with a process that amounts to little more than a virtue-signalling campaign by the government. It is unfortunate that politics gets into the issue. When we speak about our concerns and when we point out our views on this topic, the first thing that comes from the government is that this is fearmongering by the Conservatives, which, first of all, is not fair. It is not true that we are doing this. We are pointing out facts and logical positions we have taken for years. We have studied what we have and have made comparisons between what we are trying to adopt now and what we had before.
If this process is a total waste of time, then we must say so. We must protest and make sure that Canadians know about it so that at least they can understand what we are discussing here.
Speaking of Canadians, we know they want a strong arms control treaty, but guess what? They have one. It has been in existence since 1947. If we were to ask anyone out there, they would say that Canada has the best arms control regime or protocol in the world already, so why not adapt our existing one rather having to adopt another bill, another treaty, or other controls coming from another party, whether it is the United Nations or others? We represent the finest example of putting controls on such an important thing in the international community. Canadians need that clarification. Our job here in the House, as representatives of our constituents and every Canadian, is to clarify that and to make sure that Canadians know what the government is willing to sign onto in order supposedly to move us forward, and that it not take a backward step, as was said by some witnesses and in some of the consultations we had on our own.
This bill fails to address the potential adverse effects on law-abiding firearms owners. That area was discussed heavily at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. It is definitely an area the government has shied away from, even diminished, when it presented Bill C-47 in its current form.
Going back to Bill C-71, which is supposed to deal with those concerns, we know that when the Liberals introduced that bill, they confirmed that they were not concerned about the rights of hunters, farmers, and sports shooters. I recall at committee that we were trying to improve that area so that law-abiding Canadians would not fall victim to this whole process, but we were not able to achieve a result that would satisfy and take a fair stand when it comes to law-abiding Canadians, whether hunters, farmers, or sports shooters, who want to own firearms.
I have to mention that the former Conservative government requested that civilian firearms specifically be removed from the treaty in order to protect the interests of Canada's lawful firearms community. I recall Conservatives doing that. We did it in the House and at committee, and it fell on the deaf ears of the opposition at the time. It is unfortunate that we had to face that at the time. It is unfortunate that we have had to go through such difficulties. We are asking that it at least be fair. We are not asking for anything more than to be fair to hunters and farmers and, unfortunately, we have not obtained that.
The Liberals have decided to move forward with signing the ATT, with little or no consultation with lawful gun owners. They do not respect the legitimate trade in or use of hunting and sports firearms. Again, it bothers everyone out there, including we politicians, that despite the government's talk and advertizing of consultation, saying that it is now the government that Canadians have been waiting forever for to consult with and ask questions of, we have been left with very little or no consultation.
The irony is that the government always says that it hears people and has consulted, as if it is the only entity doing politics, or working with, or representing, or listening to people. We do listen to people. We receive letters, complaints, and phone calls, and we know that the government is not listening enough. While this is not surprising, it is definitely a continuation of a disappointing pattern of disrespect and disregard by the government.
In short, this bill is unnecessary. The first time I spoke on this bill at second reading, I said it was ineffective, unnecessary, and for sure a step backward. It will never be a step forward. It will basically diminish what we have done for years. Our record shows that we are leaders with our current regime, that we are world leaders in legislating the Arms Trade Treaty. Here we are in 2018, and supposedly we are doing things to make improvements, but this is a step backwards and it is unnecessary and not fair. As I have said, it is unnecessary, unfair, and ineffective.
Upon its implementation, we would be worse off than we are today. For all of the reasons I and many of my Conservative colleagues have mentioned, this bill would not serve Canada, Canadians, and the world as the government is claiming. We will not support it.