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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for Selkirk—Interlake (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of the House March 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, at the conclusion of debate on Bill C-280 all questions necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill be deemed put, a recorded division requested and deferred until the end of government orders on Wednesday, March 26, 2003.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of quick questions. I saw in the spending estimates of the departments that the chiefs of police received $100,000 from the government for some program or the other that in essence really was just a contribution to their association. I do not doubt that the same thing is happening with the Canadian Police Association. The executive needs the money from the government. The payment may be hidden in some kind of a program but that is what it is really for.

Then the member mentions the Liberal ladies club that got this thing going. That is fine and dandy for the Liberal ladies. I was never in politics before 1997. I joined the party, and the reason that I was asked to join and to run as the member of Parliament for Selkirk--Interlake was because our member, Jon Gerrard, the current Liberal leader in the province of Manitoba, was in favour of gun control and our election was fought strictly on gun control. That member, Jon Gerrard, lost the election. I would suggest that Canadians are not universally in favour of this as the member is saying.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I would like to talk about the cost, the user fees and the fees that are applied for registering a firearm or transferring it. I have heard the government members talk today about who should pay the cost, whether it is the federal government, the provinces or the police force. These are all funded by one person: the taxpayer of Canada.

Unfortunately, firearms owners are paying twice because firearms owners have to pay when they register a firearm or when they transfer one. In my riding, a lot of people on some of these farms and in other low income situations, or, in many cases, no income, are going to find this an onerous cost to their operations. As a result, some of them will just not register because of the cost.

The user fee is not for the firearm owner. The user fee is for Canadians generally, if we listen to the government's argument. It would seem strange why firearm owners are being penalized twice. It looks to me as though the real purpose of the legislation is to get rid of all the firearms in this country and get them out of the hands of private citizens.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I think we need to deal a little with the equality issue and the sentencing issue when firearms offences happen.

I have 10 first nation reserves in my riding and I know the member does as well. We had one case three years ago in Winnipeg when Chief Louis Stevenson from the Paguis First Nation was involved in pointing a firearm and subsequently shot a garbage can in a bar. He was convicted and received a fine. I heard other members talk about how they would be putting people in jail, but we seem to have a double standard happening here. Whether it was his political support or whatever, I am not sure why the sentencing was done like that, but that is a fact.

There is every reason to believe that Nunavut and the first nations across the country will not register. They already have special rules under the Firearms Act. Some things apply to non-natives and some things apply to natives. If, which seems likely, Nunavut will not have to register in the future or there will be new rules created that will give exemptions or whatever the government decides to do, this will further split and divide Canadians.

I believe the government is stirring up a hornet's nest when it does not treat Canadian equally, when it comes to what it proclaims is a serious law, like registering all the firearms in the country.

The member may wish to make additional comments in regard to that question.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, most of the provinces and territories still do not support this registry system. They want changes to it. I speak in particular of the Territory of Nunavut. Nunavut is represented in the House by a Liberal member of Parliament, and I will leave that member to speak for herself. Nunavut has a court challenge currently going through the courts, saying that in Nunavut they do not have to register their firearms.

I remember hearing the member from Scarborough talking earlier about how the court cases had driven up these costs of this system. The court cases are not going to end. Nunavut, and possibly other provinces, will once again challenge this, so that will drive up the costs. No law-abiding firearms owner is going to plead guilty to the charge of an unregistered firearm, so there is going to be a court case on each and every one of those charges. The government does not seem to understand that this quagmire of expense is going to continue on and on. I wonder if the member has any thoughts in regard to the Nunavut court challenge and what effect that will have on driving the costs up. What are the effects, in that it is against the property rights of all Canadians, including the rights of natives, to have to register their rifles?

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, it is hard to deal with everything of course. Time is very short so I just have a couple of comments.

The member talked about the handguns used in murders. They certainly have been. The majority of them are illegal handguns that are not registered, and of course that system has been in for the last 50 or 60 years.

In the City of Toronto, near Peterborough and Scarborough, murders are often committed with handguns by various criminal elements and the registry has not stopped that. In fact police resources are being used to register guns. The victims of crimes in Toronto are afraid to make complaints to the police. The police find out about it, they go to the victims, or the victims' family or whoever and ask if they would come in and testify, and they say no. They are terrified of the criminals.

The police cannot protect them because they do not have enough resources. The police are off registering guns and making 2,000 inquiries a day. I do not know why they are sitting in their offices or in their cars making these inquiries. One would think there would be some arrests. However that is the truth of life in Toronto. People are more terrified of the criminals than they are confident of getting help from the police. Could the member talk to that for a minute?

Supply March 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, he did not answer my question.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance position is 100% clear. We support the control of the criminal use of firearms. We support legislation that keeps a fully automatic firearm out of the hands of anybody in the country. Prohibit it. We support the fact that one cannot carry a concealed firearm such as a concealed handgun around.

What we do not support is the Liberal program which has in it a massive waste of money with no effect on crime. That is what Bill C-68 did, the Firearms Act. Bill C-10A that we will be voting on perpetuates that mammoth and ineffective misuse of taxpayer dollars.

The government is trying to misconstrue the Canadian Alliance position as being against any type of firearm legislation when in fact we are very strong on strong legislation that will actually reduce crime. The member can answer that generality.

He said that to him the saving of one life is worth the passing of the legislation and the perpetuation of the bill and we should just keep dumping money into it. In Manitoba last year there were three heart patients whose heart surgery was rescheduled and while they were waiting to get on the schedule again, they died. I can prove that 100% because it is in Manitoba's medical statistics. The federal government cannot prove the saving of one life because of this legislation.

For 30 years I was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and we had plenty enough legislation. We could take firearms away from someone we believed was going to commit a crime, or someone in a spousal abuse situation. The courts could prohibit people from having firearms. The smuggling of guns over the border was always illegal.

The point is that the legislation that has been brought forward is so bad and that is why we are opposing it. Let us have sensible legislation. I would ask the member to respond to that.

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, the Solicitor General asked us a really good question of why we would oppose Bill C-10A.

Bill C-10A perpetuates bad legislation that was passed back in 1995. That is what is wrong with Bill C-10A. It is continuing along with the path of Liberal gun control. It is not along the path of Canadian Alliance sensible firearms legislation.

Before Bill C-68, the Firearms Act, was passed, and I am saying this having been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 30 years, we could seize firearms from somebody who was going to commit a crime. We could seize firearms when a criminal was intending to use them or had used them. All the law-abiding citizen had to do was get an FAC, a firearms acquisition certificate and get checked out by the police. The Canadian Alliance supports that.

We support firearms legislation that is cost effective and effective at reducing crime. That is the difference. That is the question. The Liberals on one side have a mammoth system which is hugely expensive and which does not reduce crime with all that added expense. The Canadian Alliance wants to spend money on firearms legislation but it will be an effective one where we go after criminals and not after the law-abiding citizen.

Does the minister not see the difference, that the firearms registry targeted at law-abiding citizens is not doing the job to reduce crime? He has not been asked yet whether he would be willing to produce a cost benefit analysis substantiating the spending of that money. Will the Solicitor General provide to the House that cost benefit analysis?

Supply March 25th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I would just like to say quickly that I spent 30 years in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with 14 years on uniform duties and 16 years on plainclothes work, dealing with the proceeds of crime, the financial drug business, so I know a little bit about the subject. My friend from Provencher was the attorney general of Manitoba, a justice minister, so over here we have the expertise to make a proper assessment.

I supported and support the firearms acquisition certificate program in Manitoba. I am a holder of an FAC, now of course a licence to possess and acquire firearms. My expertise is in the area of justice. What I have recommended to my party, and the reason that we support the licensing of individuals, is that the registry has absolutely zero use in fighting crime. I know that from personal experience. The statistics that are coming out today, if we look at what the police are putting forward, show that in most instances it has nothing to do with the registry and has a lot to do with other criminal activities.

Right now police resources are being wasted on the firearms registry. What we need is to have more put into the child pornography fight, which is something that could use $1 billion.

I would ask the member, based upon his experience as a justice minister, is there not a better use for this money than this stupid registry?