Madam Speaker, it has been clear since the bill was first introduced that the Conservative Party had no interest in advancing this transformational legislation. Rather than asking relevant questions of officials, last week Conservative members of the committee spent over three hours of the committee's time parroting the speaking points of the gun lobby. In addition to their previous obstruction tactics, this made it clear that the committee was going to be bogged down with unnecessary delays and that it would take not months but years, at that pace, to see the bill reported back to the House.
In fact, the NDP member for asked twice for unanimous consent to add 20 hours to the clause-by-clause study of the bill and was twice denied by the Conservative Party. I did the calculation. We are meeting for three hours at the public safety committee tomorrow. In this motion, we are seeking eight and a half hours for two days, which is the equivalent of the committee meeting until June 15 if we were to hold regular meetings.
Non-partisan government officials received death threats due to their appearance at committee as they provided technical advice on the bill, which underscores why it is critical to complete clause-by-clause promptly.
That is why this motion is important today. When I talk about death threats and intimidation, that is something I have been subject to from the gun lobby since 2019, when I first spoke out during the debate on Bill . I have received threats and intimidation, and these are a lot more than “mean tweets”, as the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights calls them. Twice my riding was targeted by the gun lobby, when it visited my riding in 2019 and 2021, and twice the constituents of have stood up for gun control and the work that we are doing in this House and sent me back to Ottawa in spite of the intimidation tactics that the gun lobby has tried to use against me.
Working in this place as an MP is a privilege I do not take lightly. I have had the opportunity to work on many issues since I was elected, and one that I am most proud of is the actions our government has taken to prevent gun violence. I was elected to this place for the first time in 2015. When one is elected as an MP, a number of things happen very quickly. One learns about the functioning of the House, as one of 338 Canadians who have the privilege to take a seat at the centre of democracy. I was not expecting to be placed on the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, but I am grateful every day that this is where the whip chose to put me. I have worked hard to learn the file and advocate on difficult subjects, knowing that the issues the public safety committee deals with are ones that fundamentally shape our country, and that our work on it is fundamentally about building a better, safer and fairer Canada: questions surrounding systemic racism and the oversight of law enforcement; how to build a corrections system that upholds human rights and prioritizes rehabilitation; implementing needed safeguards to protect our national security from hostile foreign actors; and, yes, gun control.
Today, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security since 2016, I would like to share the context of where we were, where we are now, where we can go with the passage of Bill , and why it is important to expand the scope of the bill and pass it in a timely matter.
In 2019, Bill , an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms, received royal assent. Through Bill C-71, our government introduced mandatory lifetime background checks for anyone who applies for a licence to purchase and own firearms, increasing the previous regime from a five-year background check. It also updated the Firearms Act to the modern age by requiring the chief firearms officer to look at a firearms licence applicant's online behaviour for signs of violence when making a determination on whether an individual is eligible to hold a licence. The legislation also required people in businesses to have proof that they are selling non-restricted firearms only to those who are lawfully licensed to possess one. It ensured that when a court issues a prohibition against a person from owning a firearm, the weapon is forfeited to the Crown, instead of giving an individual the ability to give the firearms to a friend or family member. This ensures that those who should not have access to firearms do not.
These measures improved public safety and ensured that those who enjoy the privilege of firearm ownership meet the test of a rigorous licensing regime. At the time, the Conservatives delayed the bill at committee and eventually voted against it in the House.
While many refuse to talk about it, gun control is a women's issue. The Canadian Women's Foundation notes that the presence of firearms in Canadian households is the single greatest risk factor for the lethality of intimate partner violence. Access to a firearm increases the likelihood of femicide by 500%. The Ontario coroner's death review panel said that 26% of women who were killed by their partner were killed using a firearm.
In speaking with groups like the Lethbridge YWCA, they have told me that every single woman who came to their shelter had been threatened by a partner with a firearm. These are among the nearly 2,500 women victimized in this way over the past five years. Intimate partner violence accounts for nearly 30% of all police-reported violent crime in Canada. That number has risen during the pandemic. In my riding and across the country, local organizations like Halton Women's Place are helping shine a brighter light on the dangers of gun violence.
Over the last eight years, we as a country have also become more aware of the role that coercive control plays in abusive relationships. When we add firearms to the mix, it is a recipe for continued physical, emotional and psychological abuse. In fact, coercive control, when a man uses a gun to control women without ever pulling the trigger, is real and happening right now.
An Oakville resident sent me an email that stated, “Let me just say that you can endure the physical and emotional abuse, but when he pulls out a double-barrelled shotgun, loads it and tells you he is going to kill you, then you know true terror! Thank you for looking out for the victims before they become statistics.”
Our government has been advocating, and will continue to advocate, for women, and through Bill , we would be taking additional steps to support survivors of intimate partner violence who have been threatened with or on the receiving end of violence with a firearm.
Bill would introduce new red and yellow flag laws, allowing courts to remove guns from and suspend the licence of people who pose a danger to themselves or others and would ensure that those individuals subject to a protection order have their firearms licence revoked. Bill C-21 would mark an important next step in removing guns from the hands of abusive partners.
In addition to the creation of these new red flag provisions, Public Safety Canada will establish a program to help raise awareness among victims about how to use the newly proposed provisions and protections. A guide about how to submit an application to the courts and the protections available could be developed, and the program could fund services to support individuals' applications throughout the court process. It would support vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, people with mental health issues, indigenous groups and other racialized communities, to make certain that the red flag laws would be accessible to all, particularly those who may need it most.
The government will make available $5 million through a contribution program to ensure support and equitable access.
Enhanced licensing and the creation of additional tools for survivors of intimate partner violence is just one way our government would implement stringent gun control that prioritizes public safety, while still respecting those who own and use firearms.
I would like to take a moment to take us back to April 2020 and the tragedy that unfolded in Portapique, Nova Scotia, where 22 innocent lives were lost over the course of a weekend rampage. We were all shocked and heartbroken. As we learned the identities of the victims of these terrible crimes, we were reminded of the tragic impact that gun violence could have on all of our communities, urban and rural, from coast to coast to coast. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours were taken from us in a terrible violent way, and far too soon.
Gun violence is not a new thing in our society, but it is made all the more deadly with the proliferation of firearms that are more powerful than ever before. Assault-style firearms, those that were not designed for hunting or sport shooting, have become more and more prevalent in our Canadian retail market. For as long as these guns have existed, they have been capable of inflicting tremendous damage when they fall into the wrong hands.
For decades, chiefs of police, advocacy groups, grieving families and everyday Canadians have called for a ban on these types of firearms, guns that were designed to kill people, intended in their purpose to kill people in the fastest time, and have been used in Canada to kill innocent people.
Canadians have been calling upon successive governments for reform, for stronger gun control. In May 2020, we took additional action through an order in council to ban over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms, including the AR-15.
As retired U.S. Major General Paul Eaton has said, “For all intents and purposes, the AR-15 and rifles like it are weapons of war.” These weapons were designed for the battlefield and have no place on Canadian streets.
Through Bill , we are building on the work done in 2020 to offer a prospective technical definition to ensure that in addition to the weapons banned in 2020, no future similar weapons would ever be able to make it into the Canadian market. It responds to recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission.
Doctors for Protection from Guns called the definition “A victory for science, public health, and Canadian values...to permanently ban future models of assault weapons.”
Dr. Najma Ahmed said, “As a trauma surgeon I can say there is no greater damage done to the human body than that from semi-automatic assault weapons. I invite any Member of Parliament who denies this reality to join me in the operating room.”
This scoping motion before us today would ensure that this technical definition could be included in Bill .
That brings us to where we are today. Bill puts forward some of the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years. These new measures include implementing a national freeze on hand guns to prevent individuals from bringing newly acquired hand guns into Canada and from buying, selling and transferring hand guns within the country, a freeze which through regulations has been in effect since October 2022; taking away the firearms licenses of those involved in acts of domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking; and fighting gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools for law enforcement to investigate firearms crimes and strengthening border security measures.
Over 75% of firearm deaths in our country are by suicide, and there are provisions in the bill to help medical professionals and others ensure that firearms do not remain in the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others.
The new amendments that are outlined in the scoping motion before us include tackling ghost guns, guns that are privately manufactured, or 3-D printed. This is probably one of the most important things we can do for law enforcement in Bill to support them with the emerging prevalence of ghost guns.
Members of the public safety committee visited the RCMP gun vault and were able to see how quick and easy it was for criminals to 3-D print firearms illegally. Police services across the country have told me how worried they are about ghost guns infiltrating our communities.
Investigators like Michael Rowe of the Vancouver Police Department, who appeared at our committee during our study on guns and gangs, emphasized the need to create legislative solutions to address this gap so police would have the tools to apprehend those creating these ghost guns.
During his appearance at committee, Inspector Rowe said:
...one of the trends we're seeing out here in Vancouver right now is the use of privately made firearms or “ghost guns”. During the gang conflict, we're seeing more ghost guns, specifically in the hands of people who are involved in active murder conspiracies or people who are believed to be working as hired contract killers. Ghost guns can be 3-D printed or modified from what's called a Polymer80 handgun...
Modern 3-D printing materials can produce a durable firearm, capable of shooting hundreds of rounds without a failure. For example, one of my teams recently completed an investigation in which we executed search warrants on a residential home. Inside this home, we located a sophisticated firearms manufacturing operation capable of producing 3-D printed firearms. They had firearm suppressors and they were completing airsoft conversions—converting airsoft pistols into fully functioning firearms.
The amendments before us in Bill are in direct response to Inspector Rowe's ask, which was:
...I'd respectfully like to submit that a potential solution would be to bring in legislative remedies to regulate the possession, sale and importation of firearms parts such as barrels, slides and trigger assemblies. This type of legislation would give us, the police, the necessary tools to be able to seize these items, get active enforcement action and more effectively target the manufacturing of privately made firearms.
Our proposed amendments to Bill would do just that.
Police services across the country are sounding the alarm on this problem, and the amendments we are introducing to address ghost guns is another reason Bill C-21 is such an essential piece of legislation that would increase our public safety.
I would like to share the words of Noor Samiei. Noor was there that night at the Danforth shooting. She lost of best friend, Reese Fallon. Noor, Reese and their friends had graduated high school and were out to celebrate Noor's birthday with friends.
Here are Noor's words:
“What started off as a night of excitement in celebrating my 18th birthday ended in sheer horror and misery. It has been almost five years since the Danforth shooting, and I still struggle to find the words to speak about what my friends and I experienced that night.”
“There will never be enough words to adequately convey how beautiful Reese was. As cliche as it sounds, she was unlike anyone I've ever met before.”
“Another word for friendship is love. Friendship is one of the sweetest and most purest forms of love. Reese was love personified. She radiated so much light and shined so bright in any room she stepped foot in. She had a love so strong that nothing or no one could take that away.”
“While some may argue we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, it does not take away from the fact that it was a legally imported handgun that was later stolen from a gun shop in Saskatchewan. That's why legislation is vital and crucial.”
Canadians are calling on us to take action.
Bill would save lives, because the status quo is not good enough for Canadians. The status quo led to people like Reese not being here today. The status quo led to the slaughter of women at Polytechnique, the shooting rampage in Nova Scotia, the devastating taking of life at Dawson College and the mosque in Quebec City. The status quo has led to firearms deaths from coast to coast to coast.
In my religion, we are taught that the gift of grace has been given to us by God so that we may give it to others, even if we do not think they deserve it.
We do not deserve Noor's grace, but we are given it anyway.
Let us do something with that gift. Let us pass this motion before us, so we can efficiently deal with Bill in committee and the House and save lives.
Madam Speaker, I am very happy to be talking today. I take that back, I am not very happy to be talking today in the House of Commons on the circumvention of the democratic process and the very important discussion we are having on Bill . I have a lot to say about the many amendments that were being discussed on Bill , and I may not have the right to talk about those, other than in a very limited way at committee, if this time allocation motion passes today.
I want to put on the record what we are really talking about.
The has made his true agenda very clear to Canadians very recently, in the last four months, while we have been having this discussion on Bill and the Liberal effort to expand it to be the largest hunting-rifle ban in Canadian history. When the was pressed about this after enormous backlash from the hunting, sport shooting, farming and indigenous communities, he did admit that taking hunting rifles away was the goal when he said, “Our focus now is on saying okay, there are some guns, yes, that we're going to have to take away from people who were using them to hunt”.
The said it himself. He has let Canadians know what his true intentions are, and so no matter what the Liberals talk about, no matter what slogans, quick words or terminology they want to use, make up or pull out of thin air, he has made it very clear that the Liberal government, in partnership with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, are going after firearms used to hunt by Canadian hunters, farmers and indigenous Canadians. There is a lot to talk about today, but, again, I would underline what the motion would do if passed.
The discussion at committee that we are having about Bill , now that the Liberals have let us resume the process on Bill C-21 discussion at committee, is proceeding quite well. We have done almost half the amendments, and there are many amendments, in just two meetings. Considering how contentious this is, that is record time.
Also, considering the Liberals reintroduced a so-called “new definition” to the previous version, which is almost the same, really put shockwaves through the firearms community in Canada. Members could imagine that our scrutiny as opposition parties is very high, and so it is quite miraculous that we have actually managed to get through that and half of the amendments for Bill , which amounts to inches of paperwork. The bill would impact 2.3 million gun owners, their families, their communities, hundreds of millions of dollars in our economy and tens of thousands of jobs, not to mention centuries of culture and heritage in Canada. It is surprising that the parties worked so well at committee, and we have gone over almost half of the amendments in only two meetings, which is quite surprising. So, why the need for the motion before us?
Well, it is very interesting. Part of the work that we have been doing at committee is to, of course, heavily scrutinize Bill , and the very sneaky and underhanded amendments that the Liberals introduced at the 11th hour of committee back in, I believe, November 2022, which was when everything blew up about Bill C-21. Hunters, farmers and indigenous Canadians saw the true feelings of this government, which is that it would come after hundreds of their firearms.
Remember, Bill is supposed to be the so-called “handgun ban”, which it is not really, but the Liberals expanded it to banning hunting rifles and many hundreds of long guns. Of course, Conservatives, right off the bat, said, “Well, that is not in the scope of the bill.” We went to vote at committee to rule it out of scope and to kick this part out of Bill C-21 for good. However, the NDP teamed up with the Liberals and voted down that out-of-scope vote. We could have stopped this right at the beginning if not for the NDP. Of course, its members are working very closely with the Liberals and their true agenda to take away firearms from hunters, sport shooters, farmers and indigenous Canadians.
Then, I think the NDP was having some remorse. Obviously, in their rural and northern communities, there was significant backlash. I know for a fact that the NDP member from northern Ontario got a lot of backlash. The NDP sort of moved to almost wanting to rule this out of scope, which we appreciated and the hunters appreciated. Now they have completely backtracked, despite almost the exact same definition coming in, but it is actually much worse, which I will talk about in a minute.
Again, Conservatives, in our diligence, at committee last week moved to rule this out of scope again, because the bill is not about long guns, it is not about banning hunting rifles. Yet, the Liberals, working with the NDP, are trying very hard to make that within the scope of the bill. They voted that down yet again. So, it is very convenient to have today's time allocation motion, which is very long and talks about a lot of things.
In essence, what is really important to remember is that this will expand the scope of the bill. They are retroactively expanding the scope of Bill so that we cannot have it ruled out of scope. Of course, as a last-ditch effort there was a parliamentary procedure we could have tried. That would have been to go right to the Speaker to rule this out of scope of Bill C-21. Considering he represents a rural riding with tons of hunters, sport shooters and farmers, I would imagine he would have considered it, especially considering that we are right and it certainly is outside the scope. I find it very convenient that that is part of the objective of today's motion. It is within the scope. That eliminate all options for us to have it ruled out of scope. No longer do we have any parliamentary procedure left to have this ruled out of scope. It is very important for people to understand that.
This is a nuclear option. This is what happens when committees go awry and there are hours of filibusters with nothing moving. That is all that was happening at committees last week. We went through half of the amendments in a highly contentious bill at only two meetings; two meetings, which is pretty impressive by every measure that I have seen in my time as a parliamentarian. There is no reason for this at all. In fact, the NDP member at committee has spoken more than almost anybody in the last two meetings.
It does not really make sense why the Liberals are trying to forcibly limit debate the way they are doing it. If this passes at committee, we will only have five minutes to ask any questions about each clause. If people ever watch me, which I know a lot of people interested in this have, we have to ask the officials questions and ask for clarification.
Again, this impacts 2.3 million gun owners, their families and hundreds of millions of dollars of the economy; tens of thousands of jobs, centuries of culture and heritage in Canada, so the idea that we would limit debate so severely is very concerning to us, especially since we have been enacting in good faith and have gone through half of the amendments in two meetings. I cannot stress that enough.
I was very surprised to see this over the weekend. I have to be honest that it was a real slap in the face to the work that we have been doing at committee. If we wanted to drag it out, we could still be talking about that definition. There are so many ambiguities in that so-called new definition we could easily be talking about that still, yet we had our questions. We recognized that there are other things to talk about at committee. It is the public safety committee and we are in a public safety crisis in this country because of repeat violent offenders that the Liberals keep letting out of jail. I will talk about that later.
There are so many things we should be talking about at the public safety and national security committee so we are moving along. This is what we get; a real lesson to me about working together at committee. I have learned my lesson today about giving any benefit of the doubt or acting in good faith at all. Obviously, it is upsetting because we have been working hard at committee and doing our due diligence. This is what we get: forcing the elimination of proper debate and scrutiny on Bill amendments that impact millions of people. I think I have harped on that enough. Maybe I will come back to it later.
Let us talk about this new definition. It is really not new. It is just almost like lipstick on a pig, for the lack of a better expression.
I will outline the old definition. It said a firearm that is “a rifle or a shotgun that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and that is designed to accept a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity greater than five cartridges of the type for which the firearm was originally designed." That was the original definition. That was clause G4. If folks have heard of G4, that was G4, along with a number of other things from the May 2020 OIC, which we are all very familiar with. It was also provided in a very short order, in a very sneaky, underhanded way, with clause G46, which folks will remember was hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages long and looked to ban an additional, almost 500, long guns. That is where the infamous SKS is found, which is very popular with hunters and indigenous. Again, that list was massive. It was about three inches thick. They dropped that in a very sneaky and underhanded way, along with this definition.
Months went by. There was a massive uproar with hundreds of thousands of phone calls, letters and social media posts from the firearms community across Canada. The Liberals, for once, relented and withdrew G46 and G4. I have never seen that before. That was actually quite shocking. I have never seen them back down on anything before. That was round one, as we found out.
Round two, here we are yet again with almost no change. Actually, I would argue that it is worse now. I will tell the House why.
I just read the old definition. This is the new one. The definition includes a firearm “that is not a handgun that discharges centrefire ammunition“, which was mentioned before, “in a semi-automatic manner”, which was also mentioned before, “and that was originally designed with a detachable magazine with a capacity of six cartridges or more.” There are weasel word changes there, but they are very subtle. The reason they mention a firearm that is not a handgun is interesting.
There is more weaselling manoeuvring here. The French translation for what they originally had was “fusil de chasse”, which means “hunting rifle”. That was the direct French translation of what the Liberals were trying to ban late last year, but of course there are tens of thousands of hunters, sport shooters and farmers in rural Quebec, which the Bloc forgets, but there are, and they were in an uproar, obviously. Therefore, the government has worked it out so that at least it does not say “hunting rifle” in French, but that is the translation of what it was trying to ban just in November. Let us just be clear about that. The government just switched around the words a bit, which is very interesting.
What is very problematic about this is that the government has mostly boasted or talked at length about how it is not bringing forward the big list, not to worry about the big list and the government is not going to ban those in legislation. That was what the public could scrutinize. There were almost 500 additional rifles and shotguns in there, many of which are very commonly used hunting rifles. There were a lot of them in there and the public could at least see the list. People did see it, and they were shocked at the number of hunting rifles being banned. The government said not to worry, and that it was not bringing forward the list again, just the definition.
However, what the government is doing in a very sneaky, underhanded way seems to be a theme for the government when it comes to banning hunting rifles, which is by doing it through the back door. The Liberals are bringing forward a firearms advisory committee, and they keep referring to it. When asked about the SKS, for example, which does not technically fall under this definition but was on the original list, the Liberals have as much as told us that the firearms advisory committee will look to ban that. The minister has said that and the parliamentary secretary has referred to that. Immediately, when asked about the SKS, the answer is that the firearms advisory committee will be looking at that.
What is this firearms advisory committee? The Liberals are saying it is a non-partisan group of experts they are putting together. We have heard that before. The Liberals have had similar advisory committees for firearms, and they have had some of the biggest anti-gun groups in the country on the so-called advisory committee they had before, in a previous iteration. Therefore, I do not trust for one minute that there are going to be advocates for lawful firearm ownership for hunters, sport shooters, farmers and indigenous Canadians in this regard and from this perspective on that committee. Not for one minute do I trust that this is going to be the case.
The Liberals keep referring to that committee whenever we ask about the SKS. Therefore, to me, it is very clear. In the language that was used just today in the House was very telling. The member said that they will take a look at that, referring to the SKS, and the 482 firearms to decide which ones to move forward with. When the member was asked about the SKS, she would be referring to the firearms committee. She was talking about deciding which ones to move froward with banning.
Again, it is very sneaky because there is no list we can scrutinize. It is just some unelected body. The firearms advisory committee would be a committee of so-called experts, which we know will be partisan anti-gun groups from the country. They will be coming up with lists to ban, so this is worse than what we had before because now we cannot see the list. It is likely not even going to be announced. It is just going to be a new list added to the OIC or some other version of it, and people will find out somehow down the road what they can no longer own. It is a very arbitrary list, indeed.
I will remind folks that, in May 2020, after the worst mass shooting and worst mass killing in Canadian history, in the hours and days following that, when people had not had the chance to bury their loved ones or properly mourn the people who had been lost by that vile, sick killer, the government was scheming to bring forward the May 2020 OIC. It did, and there were 1,500 long guns that were banned in the cloak of darkness during the middle of the pandemic, as it had hit Canada just a month and a half prior. The government banned that and has subsequently added 400 more long guns to that over the last couple of years. Then, in November, there were another almost 500 added on.
The Liberals are not going to stop. If we were to ask any Liberal if this is going to be the last firearm ban they are going to bring forward, I would be shocked if any of them said yes because, again, this firearms committee is going to be bringing forward tons more firearms to ban. The Liberals keep referring to the committee when we ask about the SKS, which is a ubiquitous hunting gun in this country, so I do not trust them at all.
Again, we have been acting in good faith, and here we are with this time allocation motion to limit democratic debate.
Madam Speaker, I will remind the Liberal member that, if he is looking to throw me off, he is severely underestimating me, just like many a man before him. I have a lot to say, and I will be here for quite some time, so hopefully he is hydrated and fed because he is going to be waiting a long time.
I have more to say on the announcement last week, which was impacted by Bill . The minister at the same time announced the firearms advisory committee, the so-called new definition, but with the old definition, but sneakier.
He also announced that there is going to be something about a permanent alteration to magazines, which we have already, but the way he worded it would signify to me that there is going to be a change in what that means. When we tried to ask about it at committee, we did not get any answers because apparently it was not technically within Bill , but he announced it at the same time he was talking about the bill. The Liberals and officials would not answer our question, but what was taken from that in the firearms community is that the permanent alteration of magazines would go a step further than what is being done now and would impact many a firearm that really is Grandpa Joe's hunting rifle.
For example, the Lee Enfield, is a very popular firearm. It was the British firearm until about the 1950s. It is well made and has been passed down through generations. It is made completely from wood stock and is exactly what we would think of and picture when we think about Grandpa Joe going out to hunt deer. However, one cannot permanently alter the magazine capabilities of that firearm without destroying it. There is no way. Therefore, is the minister now saying that he is going to destroy the Lee Enfield? He will not answer. I have urged people to write to the minister to ask him about that because he will not answer our questions, nor will the Liberals on the public safety committee.
I will also note that the tubular magazine hunting rifle, where the bullet goes right into the tube because there is no magazine, as in the image the Liberals are trying to bring forward, is an old school, 1800s-level technology. For example, the Winchester 1873, I think it is called, is a tubular magazine firearm that holds seven to 14 cartridges or bullets. It cannot be altered in any way, as that would destroy the firearm.
These are heirloom firearms. I am pretty sure my grandfather had one in the closet for when coyotes would try to get into the chicken coop. That is how old school these firearms are. There are hundreds of versions of these in rural Canada. It is owned by collectors, and certainly by hunters and indigenous Canadians. If the SKS is popular in indigenous communities, so too is the Lee Enfield, so why would the Liberals not be clear on what they are talking about with respect to these permanent alterations to magazines? Why are they being so cagey about that? Is it because they do not know? Is it ignorance, or are they hiding something? I do not know.
I have given them the benefit of the doubt before. However, here we are, and they are forcing an end to the democratic discussion and scrutiny that is needed on this bill at committee today, so I really do not trust anything they are about to say on that, if they say anything at all, because they have refused to answer my questions and our questions at the public safety committee about the Lee Enfield and tubular magazine long guns.
While this has been going on, and we have heard so much about this, the Liberals are attacking us, particularly me. I suppose it is because I have been the lead on firearms. They talk about the Conservatives more in their announcements than they talk about the crime that is wreaking havoc in our communities, which they are not doing a lot about.
I want to say that I know this debate is very heated and very personal to people on all sides. I have always done my best to lead this discussion from our perspective, from a professional and authentic standpoint, and what really shocked me was last week, or it might have been the week before, when the minister was announcing phase one of his so-called buyback, which I will get to. He said, in essence, that Conservatives were at fault and bear some of the responsibility for the abuse the Liberals are getting from what they say are gun owners. I have no idea, as I have not seen that.
It is interesting that they talk about it as if we have not received any abuse from people who do not agree with our position. I can tell members that I have certainly received very threatening abuse for the position we have taken. I am the lead on this file. I have received many threats and have been concerned for my safety in this debate, so I was very offended when I heard them trying to blame Conservatives, particularly me because I am the lead in this regard, when I have not been spared or kept from any of that abuse myself.
I am undeterred. I will continue on. I will not be bullied into silence on this. However, just to be clear, the rhetoric from the Liberals is trumping up a lot of hate toward me and others on this side of the House as well. I do not like talking about it. We do not want copycats. We do not want any heroes from these evil, sadistic people, but when I heard something like that, I thought that I had to say something.
I have kept quiet, but I will not stand idly by while the blames me for the abuse he has gotten for his underhanded policies, when I too have suffered abuse because of his rhetoric. I just wanted to put that on the record. I hope to speak to the minister personally about that.
We are talking a lot about firearms. Of course, exclusively, Bill only impacts, with the so-called handgun freeze or ban, which is really not any of that, people who follow the law. They are the trained, tested and vetted Canadian citizens who are approved by the RCMP to own firearms. Those are really the only people who are impacted by all of these measures since the May 2020 OIC and Bill before it. It only impacts regular, everyday Canadians who are legally allowed to own firearms. They are heavily vetted Canadians, who are legally allowed to own firearms.
However, the government continues to bring forward measure after measure to attack this group of people. Meanwhile, criminals are running rampant on our streets. I have talked at length about the crime issues. Canadians know full well what has been going on, on public transit and on the streets of Toronto. Everywhere we go in Canada there seems to be horrific headlines of innocent people being attacked by complete strangers who are deranged.
We are facing very serious issues, yet the Liberal budget 2023 really failed to address those violent crime issues. In fact, violent crime was not mentioned once, zero times, in that budget.
Do members know what else was not mentioned once in that budget? Bail reform was not mentioned once in the budget and has not been mentioned in the priorities of that budget from the , despite the fact that every premier of every province and territory in Canada has written two letters to the demanding bail reform because of what is happening in their provinces and territories with crime and repeat violent offenders continuing to get bail and getting back on our streets, hurting Canadians.
When have we ever heard every premier in the country agreeing on a letter? It is very rare. Maybe when they are asking for health care funding, but aside from that, it is a very rare occurrence. There have now been two letters sent to the .
There are also municipal police forces. I just spoke at the big ten police conference, which included every major police association, municipal police forces across the country. I just flew to Calgary last week to speak to them. They are demanding bail reform. Every big city mayor in Ontario is demanding bail reform. While everyone seems to agree on bail reform, there has been no meaningful action or change taken by the on bail reform. I will remind those watching of violent crime in this country, which is up 32% from 2015 to 2021.
When we get to 2022 stats, it will be deeply concerning, I am going to guess that they are going to be way up, just based on the headlines, but they are up 32% between 2015 and 2021. It equates to 124,000 more violent crime incidents per year, which is an insane amount of additional crime that the police are having to deal with, despite police numbers really suffering, which I will talk more about in a minute. We are seeing that crime wave steadily increase, year by year, under the and 's watch. That is all happening.
On that, bail reform is a huge issue. If we look at Vancouver, there were 6,000 crime incidents, interactions with police, for crime. Of these, 40 people were responsible for 6,000 interactions with police. Those 40 people are sure keeping police busy in Vancouver. These are violent repeat offenders causing havoc on transit, when we walk down the street with one's family and when we are trying to enjoy the parks. There are 40 people causing 6,000 interactions with police in one year, yet there are crickets about bail reform. They say, “Oh, we are meeting and talking about it”, but that is all we hear. It has been months.
In fact, the Victoria police recently put out a news release about a vile rapist who committed 10 sexual assaults with a weapon. Why was he released? The police wanted to make sure the public knew why it was not their fault he was released. At the bottom of the news release, there is a question that asks, “Why was this person released?” I think this is consistent on their news releases, when it is relevant. It was because of Bill . That is a Liberal bill from a few years ago that made bail, in essence, the default for violent repeat offenders. They got bail by default.
Now the chickens are coming home to roost. We are seeing a massive crime surge, and this is one of the reasons police are underlining this and making this heard by MPs over and over again. That is all going on. We are hearing through Toronto police statistics that of the 44 murders, I think it was either last year or in 2021, in over half, 24 or 26 of the 44 murders, the murderers were out on bail at the time. Over half of 44 murders could have been prevented if the Liberals had not brought in such a weak bail regime. They are getting up at the mike and talking about how this so-called new definition, old definition, no list, sneaky list given to the firearms advisory council is going to solve crime, or is one of the things that are going to solve crime.
It is not going to do anything about the people in Toronto who are getting out on bail and murdering people. Toronto police will remind us that about nine out of 10 firearms used in crime in Toronto, mostly handguns, are smuggled in from the U.S. We could outlaw, and I am sure the Liberals are working on it, every single handgun legally owned in this country, and the situation will get worse in cities. The statistics will continue to go up because these criminals are not legally owning the guns. Most of them are prohibited from ever going near a firearm.
Most repeat violent offenders should be in jail, because they smuggle the firearms in quite easily through the 's very porous border, through which he has allowed all these drugs and guns to come into the country. That includes human trafficking and all kinds of other things he has allowed under his watch. They are flowing into Toronto and other big cities, such as Montreal and Winnipeg. I have seen the firearms myself, as the Winnipeg police have shown me smuggled ones. There are 3-D-printed guns as well. People are using 3-D printers and printing plastic handguns that are going for $7,000 a pop on the streets of Winnipeg. Bill would really not do a lot about that.
We worked together on an amendment to perhaps give police a teeny extra tool, which I supported, but going after lawful firearms owners is not going to do anything about the problems in Toronto. Nothing in Bill would really have stopped the murders of those 20-odd people who were murdered by those on bail who smuggled guns in or printed them. The Liberals say they are increasing maximum sentencing on gun smugglers. That is technically true, but in reality it is baloney. One of my Conservative colleagues, who did great work, made an information request to the government asking how many people have received the maximum sentence, up to right now, for gun smuggling. Do members know, for the eight years that the has ruled the country, how many people got the maximum 10-year sentence for gun smuggling activities? Zero people have gotten the maximum, so to increase it to 14 years is really not going to do a whole heck of a lot.
Perhaps what they should have done is to bring in mandatory minimums for gun smuggling. That would have taken criminals off the street. That would have actually done something, maybe. Conservatives were looking at maybe doing that with an amendment, but we were told it was out of scope so we could not bring forward mandatory maximums. Maybe that is something the member for , as prime minister of the country, will look at, because that would make a real, actual difference in cracking down on gun smuggling.
I will remind the House that, at the same time as the Liberals were going after lawful firearms owners to such a degree, with so many taxpayer dollars and so much effort by the , in the fall, the brought forward a bill, which he apparently celebrated quite excitedly when it was passed, to remove mandatory minimum sentences for serious gun crimes and violent crimes. Does everyone want to know what the list of those crimes is? On the list is robbery with a gun. Someone can rob a store with a gun, and it is no longer guaranteed that they will go to jail. That is the Liberal 's vision of what we should do about crime: People can rob someone at gunpoint, and there is no longer a mandatory minimum for them.
The list continues with extortion with a firearm; weapons trafficking; importing or exporting, knowing the firearm is unauthorized; and discharging a firearm with intent, including things like drive-by shootings. There is no longer mandatory prison time for the people who commit these offences. Also on the list, there is using a firearm in the commission of an offence, or breaking the law with a gun; there is no longer a mandatory prison time for this. For possession of a firearm, knowing its possession is unauthorized, or illegally possessing a firearm, there is no longer mandatory prison time. For all those criminals in Toronto, it was a good day when Bill passed.
There is also possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition. A person could have a prohibited gun with a whole bunch of ammunition, and there is no longer mandatory prison time for them. Again, gangs are celebrating every time the Liberal is elected. For possession of a weapon obtained by commission of an offence, stealing one, in essence, there is no longer mandatory prison time. For possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking, excluding firearms ammunition, there is no mandatory prison time.
For discharging a firearm recklessly, there is no longer mandatory prison time. People die in cities because there are gangsters discharging firearms recklessly all the time, firearms they have smuggled in or 3D-printed. There is no longer mandatory prison time for them. In fact, in that same bill, Bill , the Liberals brought forward a supposedly improved option for people who commit sexual assault. Now the law ensures that people who commit sexual assault, rape, do not have to go to prison. They can actually serve house arrest in the comfort of their homes. Rapists can serve their sentence playing video games, with their feet up, in their own homes. It is unreal. I should not be laughing about it, but it is so outrageous and ridiculous that it is hard for me, as a woman, to wrap my head around a so-called feminist government saying that rapists can serve house arrest for their sentence. This just happened in Quebec, where a vile rapist violently raped a woman and got zero days in prison and only 20 months under house arrest.
This is all in the scope of what the Liberals view as their crime priorities. They are getting up at the mike every other day, announcing new gun control measures to go after folks who are lawfully allowed to own firearms, and saying that that is going to make a difference. What would make a difference is repealing Bill and making sure violent criminals and rapists go to jail. That would make a difference in public safety.
It is not just about firearms. In fact, a lot of the crime we are seeing involves knives. Where is the conversation about knives? We just had what I believe was the third-largest mass killing in Canadian history, and we barely heard a peep about that, certainly not from the Liberals. We tried to study it at committee, and they would not let us. It was in the fall, the third-largest mass killing in Canadian history. A man who got out on parole despite—
Madam Speaker, I say respectfully to that member that I remember those committee meetings very well. I tried very hard, and so did my Conservative colleagues on the committee, to bring forward an urgent study of what happened, how the parole system failed the 11 people who were butchered by knife by that man who was out on parole, and failed the 17 more who ended up in hospital. It was the third-largest mass killing in Canadian history. One would think it would be an urgent priority to review what happened in our parole system. We were given excuses and told to let people do their work. They can do their work, but we need to know now what happened and how to prevent it, with at least an introductory study.
I was very clear that we needed to study that right away and perhaps have a follow-up once we had heard more. That fell on deaf ears. The third-largest mass killing in Canadian history was not a priority for public safety. The committee was too busy with its planning to bring forward the most underhanded amendments such that the bill would constitute the largest hunting rifle ban in Canadian history. It was too busy to study the third-largest mass killing in Canadian history. I could talk all day about that, because I feel quite strongly about it. Why is it that a first nations community that had 11 people butchered by a man on parole was not prioritized? We barely talked about it. The public safety committee has not looked into that. I think it is a failure that we could be talking about if the government were not so occupied with coming after lawful firearms owners. I believe the perpetrator had 59 prior violent crime convictions. Why was he allowed out on parole? I do not know, but 11 people are dead, and 17 more were stabbed with a knife by that vile man.
A lot of knife attacks are happening, and bear mace attacks as well. I have a friend who just told me that his kids got on public transit, in the Calgary area, I believe. His college-aged kids were just going to a party. They are nice young people, and everyone in the whole group was bear-maced. The police told them it was the eighth time that had happened recently. It was the eighth time that some punks had bear-maced innocent people on public transit. The victims lived, so maybe the Liberals do not think that it is a priority to talk about that. I do not know.
There are stabbings where young people and older folks are being stabbed to death on public transit. In fact, there was a violent knife attack on the SkyTrain in Surrey that left a young man in hospital. The suspect, the man who attempted to murder that man with a knife, was let out on bail about nine days later. I am told bail reform is not in the budget. Someone who had stabbed someone and attempted to murder him was out on the streets nine days later. This is Liberal Canada, but it is important to go after lawful gun owners, apparently.
This incident followed the death of a 17-year-old, also in B.C., who was stabbed to death on a bus. He died. He was murdered, by knife, on a bus, just recently. This followed a 16-year-old boy having been stabbed and killed in a Toronto public transit station. These are young people who are being murdered, and there are countless other examples. There was a woman who was ice-picked last year. There was a woman who was set on fire in Toronto, near a public transit stop, I believe. There are elderly people who are being pushed to their deaths.
It is common now for people to feel uncomfortable riding public transit, and we are not talking about bail reform. There is no action coming forward on bail reform and how to clean up our streets, yet we are talking, every other day, about going after lawful gun owners. I can go on about how frustrating this is, and this is to say nothing of what police have experienced in the last year.
The Conservatives have been talking about bail reform for quite some time, but the country really started talking about it quite strongly just as a result of something that happened over Christmas. Nothing the Liberals have announced would have done anything to stop what happened to Greg Pierzchala. He was a young OPP officer, about 27 years old. He was young, and he was keen on the job. On December 27, just two days after Christmas, there was a truck in a ditch. He approached the truck, and the driver shot and killed him. That driver was a repeat violent offender with a lifetime weapons prohibition order, who was on bail at the time. He shot and killed that police officer. The officer is no longer with us, because of our bail system.
That, obviously, sparked a national outrage, and that was when the first letter from the premiers went to the demanding bail reform, obviously. There has been a subsequent one, and police have been very vocal. In fact, the Toronto police, who are stoic people, were getting emotional speaking up at the mike at their meetings about the need for bail reform. Actually, Greg Pierzchala was one of 10 police officers killed in the last year, eight of them on the job. That is an insane number of police murders. It is unbelievable. The police have had a pretty rough go of it over the last number of years.
The morale is very low. These are dedicated men and women who kiss their families goodbye in the morning and are never 100% sure if they are going to see them again, especially after a year like this. Ten of them have died, eight of them on the job. Many of these murders involve violent repeat offenders who should not be out on our streets. It is unbelievable that we are not talking about bail reform and that the government is not making announcements about bail reform or parole reform every day.
These guys, and it is mostly guys, who are getting out over and over again should not be on the streets. I think almost everyone agrees with that except extreme leftists, who want to go soft on crime and seem to have taken over the Liberal Party's crime agenda. It is unbelievable.
If we look at B.C., it is an NDP province. However, to its full credit, even B.C. has written to the Liberal cabinet about all its violent repeat offenders. These are unbelievable statistics. I checked them in the article that was published about a week or two ago to make sure they were right, but it seemed, by the reporting, that these are the statistics.
There were 1,325 violent offenders on trial, but prosecutors, or government lawyers, asked only for detention 516 times. Therefore, of over 1,300 violent criminals, government lawyers only asked that they would not get bail about 500 times. Of those 500 criminals for whom prosecutors actually asked for detention, judges only granted bail denial 222 times. Therefore, of over 1,300 violent repeat offenders in B.C., only 221 of them were actually denied bail. That is astounding. That is less than 20% of violent criminals being denied bail.
Why is the number not higher? It should be asked every single time someone has a violent record, should it not? Why are government lawyers asking only half the time? Actually, they are asking less than 50% of the time. Why are judges only saying that violent repeat offenders with a long rap sheet should not be out on bail less than 20% of the time?
I do not know. I am not a judge or a lawyer, and I do not have the expertise to talk about that. However, the Liberal government and the in charge of our Criminal Code should be talking about why that is happening and how we can fix it. They should be talking about how our justice system could be better supported with Criminal Code changes and other measures. This could equip our court systems to ensure that the most violent people do not get out on bail, so that the 17-year-old boy in B.C. would not have been stabbed to death, so the 16-year-old boy in Toronto would still be alive and so Greg Pierzchala would still be alive.
On the parole board, there has been a 36% decrease in the number of staff and an 11% funding cut, for some reason. Maybe that is why there are mistakes like what happened in the fall on James Smith Cree Nation. That is where the man I mentioned killed and murdered 11 people, butchering them to death.
It is so frustrating, not just as a Conservative but as a Canadian and a woman who cares about the safety of my family walking down the street. Women already have sort of a sixth sense about this. We are concerned walking at nighttime or getting into an elevator alone with a bunch of men. This is innate in us. To see that, in many cases, women no longer want to ride public transit, especially in Toronto, which is our biggest city, is frustrating.
They are not really talking a lot about that even when we have a clear demand for bail reform. However, Bill , going after lawful firearms owners, is the priority. I will remind folks as well that when the Liberals first brought forward these amendments, they did so in a very sneaky way, in November, before withdrawing them. On November 3, they said they were going to do consultations. We did a couple of consultation meetings at committee, and we brought forward a lot of people to talk about the impact those amendments would have.
The Liberals are saying they are not going after hunting rifles. We brought forward a lot of hunters and experts in that regard, and they have a very different opinion than the Liberals do. The ones who actually use them to hunt have a very different opinion than the Liberals who want to ban them. That is interesting.
The went on a nationwide tour to consult, and he received quite the backlash in many of the meetings he went to. I wonder how many Conservative ridings he went to. I would love to know that, actually. I would imagine it was not very many.
He went to the Yukon. On January 25, in response to his tour to talk to hunters, whose firearms he was looking to take away, the local paper, the Yukon News, said:
None of those who spoke with...[the Minister of Public Safety and the Liberal member for Yukon] were supportive of the proposed legislation. They each gave their reasons. Among them were longtime firearms collectors concerned about a loss of value in their collections; relatively new sport shooters encountering confusing rules...
That is a recurring theme we are hearing from the firearms community and the police who have to enforce these rules. The quote continues:
...and hunters, trappers and resource-industry workers worried that the firearms they rely on to protect themselves from animals in the wilderness will be banned.
In that same article, the quotes from the local people who were “consulted”, or so it was called, by the were quite emotional, which would be the polite word. They are deeply unhappy with what the Liberals are trying to do. There was a lot of that on his tour. He heard it loud and clear, yet he brought forward a very similar definition. Rather than being transparent with the very long list of hundreds of firearms they are looking to ban, they are going to pass it on to a Firearms Advisory Committee.
Despite all these consultations at committee, all these consultations with the and all the things he has heard first-hand from the real, law-abiding people that these things impact, the Liberals are trudging forward and plowing through. The Liberals are determined to, quite quickly, eliminate a lot of hunting rifles from Canada.
At committee, we had a lot of indigenous leaders come and speak to the impact all this would have on them. Bill has a number of red flag provisions and other things that I will say I thought were red flags when they were originally brought forward. These are supposed to help vulnerable women and indigenous women, and they could be good. I actually stood in the House and asked this: Why do we not split red flags from the bill so that we can usher them along more quickly and take the politics out of it so that we can protect vulnerable people?
I stood in the House. The shouted down the motion I brought forward to do that. It was another good-faith effort from Conservatives to take some of the politics out of this contentious issue. It was shouted down by the Minister of Public Safety; I will never forget that.
Indigenous leaders, women chiefs and others came to committee, and they were very alarmed by some of these red flag laws. They said a number of things. They talked about the red flag laws. In essence, they felt, and I am paraphrasing, that there could be people who have negative views of indigenous people, and they could more easily call in and make up false stories about indigenous people to take their firearms away.
This was a real thing we heard from multiple indigenous leaders. They said, in essence, to paraphrase their sentiments, this would not be good for their community and those who do not like them. That is what came across, and that is not so good. This is supposed to protect indigenous people, particularly women. It does not seem like they want this at all. In fact, they very badly do not want it.
We also heard from law experts. We heard from an organization named the National Association of Women and the Law; there was a Liberal witness. There was also an anti-violence against women Quebec group. I think the thought process from Liberals was for them to support these red flag laws, but all three of the groups that were brought forward said they were terrible. They do not want them. The laws actually further burden women who are being abused by their partners.
It is the exact opposite of what I thought the red flag laws were going to do. Obviously, I am not going to support them. We are not going to support them. I do not believe some of the other opposition parties are either.
We can work together on a few things; that is evident. However, again, this is a measure that was to be brought forward under Bill , and the Liberals were not listening to the people they were trying to help on the issue that they were trying to solve. It is another very clear example that they were not listening to vulnerable women or indigenous people about something that they said was going to help them. This is symptomatic of how the government approaches firearms.
It was pretty interesting. We had one of the most notable Canadian hunters, a really incredible guy from an incredible family. I am talking about Jim Shockey. His daughter is quite a hero for young women hunters across the country. I have to say, one of my sisters follows her Instagram and has for years. He said the following:
Everybody understands hunters are not a threat to your safety or the national security of this country. However, we feel vilified and marginalized. Recently, we've felt attacked. We're not the enemy. We love our country. The taking away of life is obviously a terrible and fundamentally wrong thing, but the taking away of a way of life is also wrong.
That is a powerful quote coming from someone who knows hunting probably better than almost anyone in the country aside from indigenous Canadians, who have been hunting on this land for thousands of years.
When Liberals say this is not a hunting rifle ban, ask hunters. They saw the SKS on the list. They saw other firearms on the list that they commonly use for hunting. Whom should the public believe? Should they believe people who actually hunt, use them for a living and pass them down to their kids? Or should they believe Liberals who, as we have heard from the , say that some hunting guns will have to be banned?
In my opinion, that is just the beginning, obviously. Again, ask the Liberals if this is going to be the last hunting, rifle, shotgun or firearms ban. I would guess that they are going to say no or change the subject quickly.
We have Martin Bourget; he and his wife have a Quebec French hunting show. Hunting in Quebec is a huge, massive industry. They said, “Legitimate gun owners in Canada are deeply puzzled about the very legitimacy of the process set out in and the enforcement of these measures.” They are asking for nothing less than a study of the bill's true impact on the safety of Canadians and on traditional hunting, harvesting and sport shooting. Of course, we never really got an in-depth study on all those things. We had a couple of consultation meetings, and now the Liberals are really trying to limit debate on the impact of many of these amendments.
I think that Mr. Bourget's wife represents 20,000 female French hunters, which is pretty amazing. I really hope I get a chance to go hunting with them some day. In any case, they are speaking for a large group of hunters, who are not a big fan of the bill. They feel that the consultations have not met the true depth of respect that is needed for our hunting community, our farmers and indigenous Canadians. It is not being met at committee and certainly not being met by the Liberals.
Actually, there is something on consultation. A few years ago, the Liberals did a consultation on firearms, which we found out from an information request they spent over $200,000 on. Of the 133,000 respondents, when asked, in essence, if further measures should be taken against handguns, about 87% said no. When asked the same question about so-called assault-style firearms, I think between 70% and 80% said that no more action was needed. Again, this is a made-up Liberal term and not a firearms term.
I think that is pretty shocking. In the actual consultation that the Liberals spent significant taxpayer dollars on, of the 133,000 people responding, very few of them thought that any of these measures should be undertaken. I assume they kind of just chucked that in the garbage, because they really have not talked about it at all. The evidence is right there, and yet they do not want to look at it or acknowledge that it is, in fact, what Canadians believe. The Liberals talked about some random poll once and that is it, but the 133,000 people who were asked did not show a lot of support for what they are doing. Anyway, these are very inconvenient facts for the Liberals, which we found out through an information request.
Who else did we ask? We talked to someone from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. I think it is one of the oldest associations in the country. It is very notable, reputable and moderate. It is a hunting and angling association, and it is part of the lifeblood of the hunting community. I grew up going to my local game and fish association. Certainly, being from Ontario, I believe this Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the largest in the country. I think it represents about 100,000 active members and has an impact on the family members and small communities it supports. However, it said that:
Firearms are not the disease, particularly in a nation like Canada with robust gun laws. Gun violence is often symptomatic of much bigger societal issues.
I would agree with that. It goes on to say:
Taking firearms away from law-abiding Canadians will not reduce the upstream issues that fuel criminal activity and demand for illicit firearms. Therefore, model-based firearm prohibitions will continue to fail as they won’t be able to have a detectable impact on reducing gun violence or enhancing public safety.
Again, I do not know this person's profession, but I do not believe they are a legal expert. However, they have put an obvious statement very eloquently. This seems foreign when we are looking at the Liberal priorities on firearms and the relentless assault on law-abiding Canadians.
Marc Renaud, president of the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs said in French, which I translate into English, “we strongly believe in the power of education and prevention for promoting firearms safety. Our members want to feel safe, too, and they hope new laws intended to improve public safety focus on the right targets. Hunters and sport shooters who comply with the training requirements and get the right licences are the wrong target.”
Again, this was in response to the G-4 and G-46 amendments on the definition in the long list from November 2022. They brought forward a very similar definition, and the list will just be passed over to the firearms advisory committee, as was said today in the House by the Liberal .
We are here again. These are the comments from hunters, from large hunting advocacy groups, and the Liberals are still saying this is not a hunting rifle ban.
Lynda Kiejko is Olympian in women's pistol shooting. Many people may not know this, and again those who follow the Olympics would know this, Canadians are very proud of our Olympians, that we have Olympic sport shooters and have for over a century.
If we look at hunting just like anything else, hunters and farmers use them as tools. People in the military or police are going to use firearms. Who is the best shot? Who is the most accurate at targets? That comes from the firearm community. That is very obvious.
It is actually a sense of real pride for someone who is a good marksman. Someone who does not know anything about hunting or sport shooting would not understand that, I get it. However, those who are from a hunting community, every person knows that when people get a big buck, they sit around the table while the hunters relive their epic story about the hunt. They will say how many yards away it was, whether it was windy. They recount a great story of their great hunt. It is part of the culture. For indigenous Canadians, it has been the same for thousands of years. This is important.
Those who are a good marksman or markswoman like to brag about that. This is very normal and natural in hunting and sport shooting communities. Of course, sport shooting also comes, in part, from that.
It is incredible that Canada has some of the best marksmen in the world, and Lynda Kiejko and her family are some of the best marksmen in the country. In particular, she is in the women's pistol shooting.
The Liberal efforts to freeze, ban or whatever they are saying in Bill about handguns really would not do any of that. As we have heard from our Olympic sport shooters and our national sport shooters from IPSC and the like, which is a national sport shooting association that competes internationally, all it really would do is impact their sport shooting community. It makes it very difficult for them to get new parts for the tools they use when they compete. It makes it very difficult for them to bring their firearms in and out of the country for competition. It makes it very difficult for Canada to host any sort of sport shooting competition. It makes it very challenging.
The World Police and Fire Games are coming up. Winnipeg is hosting those games, which it is pretty incredible. It is a nightmare to try to get firearms in for the sport shooting part of that competition. Again, there is a real sense of pride for Winnipeg and Canada that we are hosting the World Police and Fire Games this summer. It is very exciting.
Lynda Kiejko is a proud Olympian, and all Canadians should be very proud of her. I am, and I know the Conservatives are. She said:
I take great pride in representing my country on the world stage, as do all athletes. I'm sad that due to the handgun ban, the order in council, Bill C-71 and this proposed legislation, I will not be able to represent Canada on the world stage. Athletes who come after me won't even have an opportunity to compete, as they will have no access to competition firearms.
The Liberals, with Bill , and this is out of the mouths of the sport shooters themselves, are wiping out sport shooting in Canada. Certainly this would be the last generation that ever sport shoots, with pistols for sure.
When challenged about that at committee, the Liberals looked down their noses at our sport shooters, in essence saying, and people can look at the video footage, that Canada did not want that anymore, that they did not want those dirty Olympians sport shooters. I am paraphrasing, obviously. This is my tone being put on the Liberals, but people can look at the video. In essence, they are looking down their nose, judging sport shooters, saying that they are not welcome anymore in Canada, that they do not want them, and to get out.
That is the sense I walked away with when I watched that interaction between the Liberals and our Olympian. I could not believe it. Everyone should be proud of our Olympians, especially our best marksman, and a woman. That is awesome.
We will fight very hard to ensure that we can continue to compete internationally with IPSC and Olympic sport shooting. Again, once this passes, and the Liberals already did it through regulation, we will see the death of sport shooting in Canada, particularly pistols first and then likely the rest, if the Liberals get to proceed with their true agenda here.
It is very frustrating in that regard, that we have real people, who use these as tools, coming forward to committee and saying that the Liberals are banning their hunting rifles, they are banning their ability to compete in sport shooting on the world stage, representing Canada with pride, yet the Liberals are saying they are not, that this is not true.
Who do we believe? The people who are impacted by it or the Liberals who do not want people to own firearms, which is what I think is really going on here.
What about the data. We could talk a lot about the facts of this, because in committee we see the Liberals bring forward folks of various stripes. We are all are allowed to bring forward our own witnesses, which is part of the democratic process. However, that is the party that consistently says it follows the science, it believes in data over and over again, except when the science does not suit its agenda. It is very clear.
Some of the best researchers in the world are from Canada, when it comes to firearms. Dr. Caillin Langmann is an award-winning researcher, highly recognized in the medical and scientific research community for his work. He has scrutinized every possible data point in Canada, looking at the impacts of subsequent gun control and what that has done or not done on homicide. Whether it is mass homicide, homicide, domestic homicide, he has looked at it all for decades. He has looked at Australia and has also commented on the U.K. as well.
Not only has he done his own research, but he has reviewed the research of others because of his ability to heavily scrutinize data. He is widely recognized in the scientific community for his high level of integrity and scrutiny on this. I have not seen one piece of evidence even close to the integrity of Dr. Caillin Langmann when it comes to the impact of gun control on homicide. There is nothing that holds a candle to it. No one has brought anything forward. I have heard that, in the court cases that are ongoing on this right now, the government has not really brought forward any evidence to make its case for this either, but that is another discussion that I will likely get to at some point as well.
Dr. Caillin Langmann, after all of his research, said, “the evidence so far demonstrates that the proposed handgun and semi-automatic rifle bans would have no associated reduction in homicide rates or mass homicide rates. Methods that have been shown to be more effective in reducing firearms homicides involve targeting the demand side of the firearms prevalence in criminal activity.” It seems very obvious and this is what police have been telling us, but he has actually seen that in the data.
In fact, what he and some other researchers of high repute have found is that the only real impacts we can have in terms of responsible gun ownership are basic things that we have had for almost 30 years. We can talk about background checks, licensing and safe storage. Those are the only proven things to have an impact on homicide and public safety when it comes to firearms, and those are things that are very much supported by the Conservative Party of Canada and that we have had for a number of years. That is responsible gun ownership, and we are behind that 100%.
Only people licensed, trained and vetted by police should ever have ownership of firearms. That is what we believe; that is very clear. That is what the evidence says is important to protect public safety, yet the Liberals are ignoring the scientific evidence by highly reputable researchers and medical doctor. They are cherry-picking the information that suits their narrative, which has been widely shredded by Dr. Caillin Langmann with his high degree of integrity and research ability.
We also have Dr. Teri Bryant, chief firearms officer of Alberta's Chief Firearms Office. I have never met a person who is as much of a firearms expert as she is. It is incredible. She can be asked about any firearm, and this woman knows. It is unbelievable, and great to see. She said:
Even after the withdrawal of G-4 and G-46, Bill C-21 continues to undermine confidence in our firearms control system while contributing nothing to reducing the violent misuse of firearms. Bill C-21 is built on a fundamentally flawed premise. Prohibiting specific types of firearms is not an effective way of improving public safety. It will waste billions of taxpayer dollars that could have been used on more effective approaches, such as the enforcement of firearms prohibition orders, reinforcing the border or combatting the drug trade and gang activity.
Again, it seems self-evident, but to hear from an expert who is charged with this at the provincial level is refreshing. We had her expertise at committee. All of this was said, and yet there really was no change in what was brought forward. We asked a number of questions on the definition.
The Liberals brought forward something else, which I should have mentioned at the beginning, but it is unsettling because we are not really clear on what the implications will really be. It seems good kind of, but then maybe it is really not. Based on the Liberals' track record of lack of transparency on this, I am deeply concerned. There is, in essence, sort of a forward-looking clause that they have brought forward for that definition. It is a grandfathering clause, in a way. Anyone who owns these firearms that Liberals are looking to ban now apparently gets to keep them. Who would have thought? The Liberals are saying, for now, that those people get to keep them.
We will see what the firearms advisory committee says in a couple of months, but it is saying that anything that falls under this new definition the Liberals have brought forward, which is really the old definition, people will get to keep those and they can keep buying and selling them. However, they cannot buy the brand-new models that are manufactured, any new version of these firearms.
That sounds okay, I guess. It is just kind of limiting. They cannot buy the almost exact same firearms that are new, but they can buy existing ones. It does not really follow. Further, it does not follow that the Liberals have been getting up in the House and at press conferences for years saying things about these firearms, that they are weapons of war designed for killing people. They have been taking that position. They have been very clear that these are terrible things that no one should own, yet now they have brought forward a new definition that allows everybody to keep them. That does not make sense.
We spent about an hour and a half asking clarifying questions about this. I am not reassured that what we are seeing is really the case. If it is, I feel quite confident that they are going to just shoot this over. The Liberals are going to say that people can keep them but they are going to send it over to the advisory committee and it will ban it for them. I really think that is going to happen.
People will let their guard down. The firearms advisory committee will let its guard down with this new definition to let people keep firearms, but people are not going to get to keep them. I believe that the firearms advisory committee, as was alluded to when asked about the SKS, will have to do the dirty work. It will have to look at that very long list of firearms that was hundreds of pages long and had hundreds of hunting rifles on it. The committee will be looking at that list and looking to ban those firearms. We heard as much today. Therefore, people should not be reassured for one moment by this new definition. It is leading people down the garden path, letting people let their guard down.
However, we know what is going on here. The Conservatives, along with law-abiding citizens in our country, private property owners who are trained, tested and vetted by police, will continue to stand up for those people who have been repeatedly kicked by the Liberal government and treated terribly, like they were criminals. That seems to be the focus.
I know I am going to take a pause and restart at some point, but just to conclude for this hour and 10 minutes I have been speaking, the minister seems to have really cranked down on his remarks about who the Conservatives are standing with. He has been vicious in talking about who we are standing with. I being the lead, he is talking about me and he is talking about the , who I am standing with when I am talking about law-abiding citizens and fighting for firearms' owners. He makes outlandish, unfounded claims about who I am standing with when I am in the House talking about this. I find it deeply offensive.
Here is why. Who am I standing with? I went to a game and fish association event in rural Manitoba, in my hometown, Beausejour, Manitoba, just the other day. I spoke to people about the work I was doing in the House to fight for their way of life. A big, burly, country boy came up to me at the end as I was leaving and asked to speak to me. He wanted to thank me for fighting for firearms' owners. He looked me in the eye and I could see he was visibly getting emotional. He thanked me for fighting for them, for standing up for them, for always fighting against the Liberals and for signing up for their way of life. He had to start walking because he was getting emotional, a big country boy. I could not believe it. I have been getting that a lot.
Those are the people I am fighting for, those good Canadians. I will fight relentlessly for them every single day without stopping. We will pick this up again the next time.