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View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:03 [p.4591]
moved that Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Madam Speaker, I am very honoured today to have the opportunity and privilege to take part in this debate and introduce to the House Bill C-21 at second reading. Bill C-21, an act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments, is a historic and important step forward for Canada in creating a safer country. This legislation proposes to introduce some of the strongest gun control measures in our country's history.
It represents the culmination of many years of work and strong advocacy from the victims of gun crimes in this country. We have listened to those victims. We have listened to police chiefs across the country, who have urged successive governments to bring in stronger measures, recognizing that gun control is a factor of community safety and a necessary legislative requirement for keeping our communities safe. As Dr. Najma Ahmed, co-chair of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, has said about the bill, “This is a comprehensive bill that, if enacted, will save lives”.
Canada is generally a very safe country and Canadians take great pride in that, but they are legitimately concerned about the threats posed by firearm-related crime in their communities. It is therefore important to begin with the recognition and acknowledgement that gun ownership in Canada is not a right; it is a privilege. It is a privilege earned by gun owners who obey our laws and who purchase their guns legally, use them responsibly and store them securely. It is through the strict adherence to our laws, regulations and restrictions that Canadians earn the privilege of firearm ownership. I want to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of those firearm owners are, in fact, responsible and abide by our laws. However, we also know that far too often, firearms can fall into the wrong hands or be present in dangerous circumstances.
As a former police officer and police chief, I have far too many times been required to go to the scene of firearm tragedies where young people and innocent citizens have been gunned down in the streets, and where firearm violence impacts not only the victims, but their families and their communities. Last summer, I went to a community in Toronto that had already experienced 22 violent gun incidents just in the month of July. What that meant in the community is that every child knew someone who had been the victim of a gun crime. That generational trauma demands an appropriate response from all Canadians. I have also had the unfortunate duty to attend funerals for police officers and for citizens who had been killed with these guns. Those are the things that should deepen all of our resolve to take action.
We have listened to the strong advocacy of the victims from École Polytechnique, from Nova Scotia, at the mosque in Quebec and at tragedies throughout the country. We have also witnessed with horror the use of some of these weapons in mass shootings around the world, and we have taken action.
As members will recall, last May 1, our government, by order in council, prohibited over 1,500 weapons. With Bill C-21 introduced today, we are taking actions to complete that prohibition. We have, through the legislation, established the conditions necessary to secure and set controls for the newly prohibited firearms.
Under this legislation, all of those in possession of such newly prohibited firearms will be required to acquire a licence to possess the weapon. The firearm will have to be registered as a prohibited weapon. There will be no grandfathering, as previously done. Rather, we are imposing through this legislation strict prohibitions on the sale, transfer and transport of these weapons, and we are imposing complete prohibitions on their use. The use of these newly prohibited weapons will be a criminal offence. We are also imposing strict conditions on the storage of these weapons, rendering these newly prohibited firearms legally unusable as a firearm.
We have relied on the advice of law enforcement and our various officials across the country to determine the best way to safely manage these weapons, which are prevalent in our society. However, I want to be clear: There is nothing in this legislation that speaks of a buy-back program. We believe that Canadians who legally purchased the guns we want to prohibit need to be treated fairly, and we are imposing appropriate and necessarily prohibitions on their sale and use, and restrictions on their storage. We also intend to offer the people who purchased these guns legally an opportunity to surrender them and be fairly compensated for them.
The bill does much more than just complete the prohibition. We have also looked very carefully in this legislation at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns. We have seen a very concerning increase in gun violence in cities and communities right across this country. This manifests itself in different ways, but we know that in almost every circumstance criminals get their guns one of three ways: They are smuggled across our borders from the United States, stolen from lawful gun owners or retailers, or criminally diverted from those who purchase them legally and then sell them illegally.
In consultation with law enforcement, we have looked at all of the ways that criminals gain access to guns, and we have taken strong action in Bill C-21 to close off that supply. For example, with respect to concerns over guns coming in from across the border, we have heard many concerns from not only law enforcement but communities across the country about the proliferation of firearms, particularly handguns, that are smuggled in from the United States.
I recently had a conversation with my counterparts in the United States, and we are committed to establishing a bilateral task force on both sides of our countries for law enforcement to work collaboratively together to help prevent the importation of these firearms. In Bill C-21, we are also taking strong action to increase the penalty for gun smuggling and provide law enforcement and our border service officers with the resources and access to the data they need to be effective in identifying the source of these guns, for cutting off that supply and to deal more effectively to deter, detect and prosecute the individuals and organizations responsible for smuggling these guns into our country.
Let us also be clear that smuggling is not the only way. Quite often, we hear from gun retailers and the gun lobby in this country that we should only look at somebody else's guns, not theirs. Unfortunately, the reality is that in many parts of the country, crime guns are not just smuggled across the border.
I think it is important to listen to some of the police chiefs. For example, the chief in Saskatoon has recently said that crime guns in his community are not being smuggled across the border but are being stolen from legal gun owners. We also heard from the chief in Regina, who very clearly said that the guns in his community are not coming across the border but are legally owned, obtained through theft or straw purchase. The chief in Edmonton also opined that only 5% to 10% of the crime guns in his community, in the city of Edmonton, are actually smuggled across the border and the rest come from legal gun owners through theft and straw purchasing.
It is therefore important that in this legislation we address those sources of supply as well. That is why we are introducing in this legislation strict new restrictions on the storage of handguns in this country. They would require all handgun owners to store their weapons more securely, in a safe or vault that will be prescribed and described in the regulations of this legislation. They would also require gun retailers to store their weapons, when on display and in storage, more securely to prevent their theft.
I will highlight an example. A couple of years ago, two young girls and nine Torontonians were injured in a terrible and tragic gun incident. The firearm in that case was stolen some three months before from a gun shop in Saskatoon. Over three months, it made its way into Toronto and was used in a horrific crime. Therefore, keeping those guns out of our communities is an important element of Bill C-21.
Finally, we also deal with the source of supply through criminal diversion. We have seen a number of examples where individuals have purchased a large number of handguns and made an attempt to disguise their origin by filing off the serial numbers and then selling them for an enormous profit to the criminal market and to the gangs that commit violent acts in our communities. For those crimes to be detected and deterred, we need to ensure that law enforcement has access to the resources and data its members need to properly trace those weapons. That is why in this legislation we have provided law enforcement with that access.
We are also making significant investments. Yesterday, I advised the House that through our investments in British Columbia, for example, we just opened up a brand new forensic firearms laboratory. It will assist law enforcement in determining the origin of these weapons so we can hold individuals who purchase them legally and sell them illegally to account.
We also know that, in addition to guns that get into the hands of criminals, there are circumstances when the presence of a firearm that may have been legally obtained can lead to tragedy in certain potentially dangerous situations. We see it in incidents of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, when a legally acquired firearm may be in a home. When the circumstances in that home change so that it becomes a place of violence and threat and coercion, the presence of a firearm in those circumstances can lead to deadly consequences.
Although the police currently have some limited authority to remove firearms in those circumstances, in many cases of domestic and intimate partner violence the police are not aware of the presence of a firearm, even when the crime is reported to them.
Through this legislation, we are empowering others: empowering victims, those who support them, legal aid clinics and other people in our society to take effective action through what are called extreme risk laws to remove firearms from potentially dangerous situations. Similarly, in situations where an individual may become suicidal or is emotionally disturbed, the presence of a firearm could lead to a deadly outcome.
We are empowering doctors, family members, clergy and elders in communities to take effective action to remove firearms by using the provisions of this legislation to remove firearms from those potentially dangerous and deadly situations.
Finally, this legislation also applies to those who engage in acts of hatred and extremism online. We have seen, in a number of tragic incidents in this country, that individuals have given an indication of their deadly intent online. When that information is available, we are now empowering those who become aware of it to take action, to remove firearms from those deadly situations and help keep people safe.
I want to advise the House that in the United States, 19 states have implemented extreme risk laws, also referred to as red flag laws, in every jurisdiction. In those states, we have seen strong evidence that these measures save lives. That is our intent with this legislation.
This legislation is not intended, in any way, to infringe upon the legitimate use of firearms for hunting or sport shooting purposes. It is, first and foremost, a public safety bill. It aims to keep firearms out of the hands of those who would commit violent crimes with them, and to remove firearms from situations that could become dangerous and be made deadly by the presence of a firearm. That is the intent of this legislation.
We are taking some additional measures within this legislation. For example, we have listened to law enforcement, which for over 30 years has been urging the Government of Canada to take action to prohibit what are often referred to as replica firearms. These devices appear absolutely indistinguishable from dangerous firearms. The police have urged governments to take action because these devices are often used in crime. They have been used to hurt people. They present an overwhelming, impossible challenge for law enforcement officers when they are confronted by individuals using these devices. This has, in many circumstances, led to tragic consequences.
After listening to law enforcement, this legislation includes prohibiting those devices. If I may be clear, these are not BB guns, paint guns or pellet guns that people use recreationally. These are devices designed as exact replicas of dangerous firearms. That exact appearance really creates the danger around these devices, so we are taking action.
We are also taking action to strengthen our provisions with respect to large-capacity magazines. I have been to far too many shootings in my city of Toronto. Years ago, when someone discharged a revolver, there would be two or three shots fired. Now, dangerous semi-automatic handguns and large-capacity magazines can lead to literally dozens and dozens of rounds being discharged, putting far more innocent people at risk.
We have seen that those devices are often modified to allow for the higher capacity, and we are taking action to prevent that. We are closing a loophole with respect to the importation of information, and we are making other consequential amendments to this legislation, all intended to keep communities safe.
As a companion to this important legislation, we have also made significant investments, first of all, in law enforcement. Several years ago a previous government cut enormous amounts of funding from the police, eliminating RCMP officers and border services officers, weakening our controls at the border and compromising our ability to deal effectively with organized crime. We have been reinvesting in policing and border services to restore Canada's capacity to secure our borders and keep our communities safe.
For example, we have made over $214 million available to municipal and indigenous police services because we know that they do important work in dealing with guns and gangs in their communities and reducing gun violence. Those investments in policing are important; however, they are not the only investments necessary to keep our communities safe. That is why we are also investing in communities. Through our fall economic statement, over the next five years we are making $250 million available to community organizations that do extraordinary work with young people and help to change the social conditions that give rise to crime and violence.
This is a comprehensive approach to gun safety in this country. It is always extraordinary to me that some people are afraid to talk about guns when we are talking about gun violence, but in my experience, countries with strong and appropriate gun control are safer countries. We have also seen that those countries with weak gun laws, as have been opposed by some in the House, experience the tragedy of gun violence far too often.
If I may repeat, in this country firearm ownership is a privilege, not a right. That makes us fundamentally different from countries like the United States, where the right to bear arms is protected constitutionally. It is not in Canada. Canada, like many other very sensible countries, has taken the appropriate step of banning firearms that have no place in our society. They are not designed for hunting and they are not designed for sport: they are designed for soldiers to hunt other soldiers and kill people, and tragically that is what they have been used for. That is why we have prohibited them and through the actions of this bill, we are taking strong measures to ensure that these firearms cannot ever be legally used in this country.
We believe that these provisions are appropriate, they are necessary, they are effective and they are fair, because we acknowledge as well that those who purchased the now-prohibited firearms did so legally. Now that we have prohibited them, we want to ensure that they can never be used to commit a violent crime at any time in this country.
We have drawn a bright line in this legislation. We are not a country where people arm themselves to defend themselves against each other. We do not carry guns in this country for self-protection. We rely on the rule of law. Peace, order and good government are strongly held Canadian values, and we do not arm our citizens as they do in some other countries for self-defence.
Firearms in this country are only appropriate for hunting and sport shooting purposes, and there is nothing in this legislation that in any way infringes upon those activities. Some will try to make the case notwithstanding, but frankly it is a false case based on the false assumption that all firearms in this country represent a danger. They are offensive weapons by their very definition; therefore, we regulate them very strictly in Canada. Some of those firearms, such as handguns, are very dangerous, so we have appropriately added restrictions on them.
Finally, some weapons frankly have no place in a society for which firearms can only be used for hunting and sport purposes, These are firearms that were designed for combat: tactical weapons, which used to be marketed as assault weapons before those weapons began to be prohibited by countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. These weapons were even prohibited in the United States for a decade.
We are doing the right thing and taking the appropriate action to keep Canadians safe. This bill builds upon the effective measures that we brought forward in Bill C-71, which we are in the process of fully implementing over the next few months. We believe that, coupled with our investments, both pieces of legislation will help fulfill our promise to Canadians to do everything necessary to strengthen gun control in this country and keep Canadians safe.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
View Alex Ruff Profile
2021-02-26 10:23 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, I have a very simple question for the minister. It is the same question I have been asking the minister for almost a year now, here in the House and in written questions. It is about data and substantiation of how the prohibition of any of these firearms, or the measures taken through Bill C-21, would reduce gun violence in this country. It is a simple question about the data: Where is the evidence?
The minister mentioned he saw 22 tragic gun violence crimes in the Toronto area last year alone. I would like him to provide the statistics. Out of those 22 gun crimes, how many were done with legal firearms?
As well, I would like the minister to clarify and confirm that he just acknowledged he is bringing back a long gun registry for those firearms that the Liberals have now prohibited. He mentioned the Airsoft and replica firearms that he would now prohibit as well. Would he acknowledge that replica firearms have been prohibited in this country for a number of years now?
Finally, the minister again mentioned that the 1,500-plus firearms that were prohibited last year were designed by the military or for military use. I asked him last year to name just one of them that had been prohibited that had ever been, or is still, in use by the Canadian Armed Forces.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:25 [p.4594]
Madam Speaker, it is always a bit of a mystery to me that, in a party that eliminated a registry and the collection of data that pertain to firearms, and did everything it could to undermine even Statistics Canada's efforts to collect data on this issue, members now complain that there is no data. One of the reasons there is insufficient data is because of the actions of the previous government.
Let me be very clear on something. We are not introducing a new registry. That is another gun lobby talking point. In Canadian law, and during the entire period of the Conservative government, prohibited weapons in this country must be both licensed and registered. We are just following the law as it is exists. There is no new registry here, but these newly prohibited weapons are now, in law, prohibited weapons; therefore, everyone in possession of them will have to have a licence in order to possess that prohibited weapon and, because they are now prohibited weapons, they will also have to be registered, as all prohibited weapons always had to be.
Let me talk a bit about the use of guns. I cited a couple of examples, and I do not disagree with the member that a lot of the guns that are used, for example, in gun crime in Toronto are smuggled guns. Over 10 years, I traced the origin of every crime gun in Canada, so I have really good data on that. In my experience, about 70% were smuggled across the border and about 30% were either legally owned or were stolen or criminally diverted. We have good data in that city, but it is not consistently collected across the country. We are changing that by investing in appropriate data collection around this issue.
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Blair Profile
2021-02-26 10:30 [p.4595]
Madam Speaker, I will be very clear. A substantial amount in the bill deals with handguns. As I said it, it would impose additional restrictions and would give access to law enforcement to do a better job of keeping guns, which are being smuggled across the border, out of our country, to prevent their theft through stronger storage requirements and to assist law enforcement to detect and therefore deter and prosecute those who, through straw purchase, have purchased them legally and sell them illegally.
There are very strong measures in the bill that deal with handguns.
This government listened to the strong advocacy. It was deeply motivated by the tragedy of the École Polytechnique, when 14 women were gunned down because they were women. In that terrible crime, the killer used a Ruger Mini-14. In May, we prohibited that weapon. PolySeSouvient advocated for over nearly 30 years to have that weapon prohibited. We listened and we took action on that. We are now completing that prohibition to ensure those weapons can never be legally used in Canada again.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2021-02-26 10:34 [p.4596]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have and will always support common-sense firearms regulations that keep Canadians and communities safe and respect their rights.
In Bill C-21, there are some things that the Conservatives have been calling for and can support. However, many things completely target the wrong people and the wrong groups, if the aim really is to improve and protect public safety. Also, crucial areas of concern are not addressed in the bill at all.
The Conservatives have always urged the Liberals to focus on and to target Canada's legislation and enforcement resources toward the primary source of most gun crime in Canada: illegally-smuggled firearms in the hands of gangs and criminals. That is why we support certain measures, like increasing the penalty for gun smuggling, something the Conservatives have advocated for years; authorizing disclosure to Canadian law enforcement agencies when there are reasonable grounds to suspect a firearms licence is used for straw purchasing; improving the ability of the CBSA to manage inadmissibility to Canada when foreign nationals commit offences upon entry into Canada, including firearms-related offences; and transferring the responsibility for transborder criminality from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The Conservatives are committed to actually strengthening and securing public safety through real action to tackle gun crime head-on. The Conservatives have always said that we would increase funding and coordination for border security to clamp down on illegal firearms smuggling, restore mandatory minimum sentences to keep violent gang members off the street and focus on gangs and criminals instead of making life more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners and retailers by ending automatic bail, revoking parole for gang members and new and tougher sentences for ordering or involvement in violent gang crime.
The Liberals do the opposite. They are big on rhetoric but short on real action. In fact, the day after the Liberals announced Bill C-21, they announced Bill C-22, which, incredibly, would eliminate mandatory minimums for unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of a weapon obtained by crime, weapons trafficking, reckless discharge of a firearm, discharge of a firearm with intent to wound or endanger a person and robbery with a firearm; so reductions for all of those sentences. Bill C-22 would reduce sentences for a number of other horrible offences, including sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, abduction of people under 14, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The Conservatives focus on outcomes and whether laws will achieve objectives. What Bill C-21 proves is that the Liberals, as always, are more concerned with appearances. They play fast and loose with the facts, make up words to scare and ignore the actual problem. With Bill C-21, they would effectively trade on Canadians' fear and safety for short-term political gain. The reality is that taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally and already do not follow laws, do not get licences and do not care about firearms classifications. This just continues the Liberal government's ongoing preoccupation with taking firearms off of regulated ranges, while leaving illegal guns on the streets in the hands of those gangs and criminals who will never comply.
In June 2019, the former Toronto police chief was asked about banning handguns in Canada. He said:
I believe that would be potentially a very expensive proposition but just as importantly, it would not in my opinion be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we’d still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border
Of course, the former Toronto police chief to whom I am referring is the current Minister of Public Safety.
Bill C-21 would create conditions on federal firearms licences to restrict handgun storage or transport within municipalities that have passed such bylaws. Again, the bylaws would be conditions on licences. Therefore, this proposed measure literally, specifically and only targets lawful Canadians who already have the paperwork and comply with the rules. This section would lead to yet another layer of confusing, overlapping regulations and a patchwork of rules for already law-abiding Canadians within and between communities, while violations could result in two years imprisonment or permanent licence revocations and would do nothing to crack down on illegal gun smuggling, trading and gang crimes with guns.
Many law enforcement officials have already said that this measure would not be effective, including the current RCMP commissioner, the former OPP commissioner, the police chief of Vancouver, the former president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, representatives of the Winnipeg and Halifax police services and police chiefs of Regina and Saskatoon. Provinces are already speaking out against Bill C-21: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, whose premier said, “It's just not going to work.”
In 2019, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police did not support calls for a ban on handguns and the former president, Vancouver police chief, Adam Palmer said:
In every single case there are already offences for that. They’re already breaking the law and the criminal law in Canada addresses all of those circumstances...The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.
Former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis says:
This municipal handgun ban is ridiculous...It would only impact legal owners. The gangbangers are already possessing/carrying them in defiance of the Criminal Code and don’t fear police whose hands are tied and weak judicial systems.
Toronto Police Services president Mike McCormack says:
There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who's going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person...
This is a classic Liberal smokescreen. There is absolutely no impact on the illicit use of illegal firearms in crime. Of course criminals and gangs do not carry licences or register their illegally obtained firearms and will not be deterred by municipal bylaws. They do not even care about the Criminal Code.
The fact that at least 80% of guns used in Canadian gun crimes are illegally smuggled in from the states shows that enabling towns and cities to demand handguns from licenced owners will have little to no impact on actual public safety.
In 2016, a father of four for two years, whose children were only six and five along with one-year-old twins, was enjoying a night out with friends in Toronto when he was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Now a mother of three, carrying the lifetime grief from the loss of her child, his mum, Evelyn Fox, advocates to support at-risk youth and prevent youth involvement in gang activity. She believes that banning handguns in Canada is “nonsense” because “street level wise, they'll get access to the handguns anyways.”. She says, “I also would like to know how it is that penalizing law-abiding gun owners with a gun ban is going to deter gun violence on our streets when 80%, if not more, is coming across the border?” She is right.
In Toronto, despite the new Liberal order in council prohibition of thousands of firearms, there were 462 shootings in 2020, an increase over 2018 when there was no prohibition order. The year 2019 was a record year.
Since 2014, shootings in Toronto have increased 161%. Obviously residents and family are worried about this reality, causing sleepless nights, untold heartbreak and anxiety about security, and whether kids can grow up carefree in peaceful neighbourhoods. How galling that Bill C-21 would do nothing to make it more safe, while the Liberals claim otherwise.
In 2019, Toronto's police chief, Mark Saunders, reported that most guns using crime were illegally smuggled in. He said, “When it comes to the handguns, I believe, 82 per cent...of the ‘crime guns’ in the city are coming from the United States.”
Peel Police Association President Adrian Woolley says, “There are a lot of guns out there and they are not legal ones from target shooters but illegal ones smuggled in from the United States.”
For the 2017-18 year, CBSA seized 751 illegal firearms at the U.S.-Canada border, 696 the next year and 753 for the year after that. The CBSA has already seized 166 firearms for the first quarter of this fiscal year. Canada's border agents should be commended for that good work and lawmakers should support their efforts to improve public safety by getting tougher on gun criminals and gun smugglers when they are caught. That is exactly what our Conservative colleague from Markham—Unionville tried to do when he proposed Bill C-238, which would have cracked down on gun smuggling, knowingly possessing illegally smuggled guns by increasing sentences and making it harder for gun runners to get out on bail. However, the Liberals and the NDP voted against that public safety legislation a week before the announcement of Bill C-21.
When asked why the government is not getting tougher on criminals, the Liberal default is to say that they implemented a prohibition on “military-style” assault rifles. First, the term “military-style” assault rifle is of course invented with no legal definition, but it does sound scary. The reality is that fully automatic fire rifles have been prohibited for use outside of the military since the 1970s. The Prime Minister said that he made a law so people could not purchase firearms without purchasing a licence, but that is false.
Along the spirit of making things up, just last Saturday, the member for York South—Weston told a crowd of gun crime victims and families that his Liberal government's gun grab included “AR-135” submachine guns, except they absolutely do not even exist.
Unfortunately, it is easy to see why lawful, well-intentioned urban and rural firearms owners, collectors, hunters, sport shooters, enthusiasts and retailers, people who enjoy this Canadian heritage, are skeptical of the Liberals, to say nothing of the radical shift in Bill C-21. It would create a one-sided guilty-until-proven innocent-ask questions later regime, focused on Canadians who already did a filing and have the licences under Canada's stringent regulations and vigorous vetting processes for prohibition orders and warrantless search and seizures.
That is ripe for abuse and conflicts while bogging down already backlogged courts and law enforcement resources when right now there are multiple overlapping systems to ensure that law enforcement can respond to urgent situations involving threats to personal and public safety, as they must. The new approach actually may even take longer and could easily have unintended consequences and deliver the opposite outcomes. This pattern of saying one thing and doing another, of literally making things up, of not having the evidence to support the legislation to show it will achieve stated outcomes should make every every single Canadian question and challenge the Liberals to prove that their laws will actually make a difference for public safety, and combat gun crimes, too.
That brings me to the framework for the voluntary confiscation program. A 2018 Public Safety Canada paper entitled “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons” explained why confiscating firearms from lawful licensed owners would be ineffective at reducing gun crime in Canada. The report states:
The vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms....
In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection....
Any ban...would primarily affect legal firearms owners,...
The public safety minister recently said that the government does not know how many firearms will fall under the confiscation program, but claims it is in the range of 200,000 and says that at an average price of $1,300 per firearm, it will cost taxpayers in the range of $250 million to $260 million. Of course, experts say that the Liberals are way off and that this confiscation program could cost as much as $5 billion when all is said and done. The fact is that the Liberals do not have any structure in place because no private sector proponents have agreed to run the program after two public requests for bids. It really does say something when highly reputable major firms look at the government's purported analysis and cost assumptions and decide they will not touch it with a 10-foot pole.
The Liberals still have not been clear on how they will address retailers left holding the bag with inventory they cannot sell or return to manufacturers either. Phil Harnois, the owner of P&d Enterprises in Alberta, says that 40% of his annual sales were of firearms that are now banned and that thousands of dollars of inventory became worthless overnight. The president of the National Police Federation, Brian Sauvé, says that “the evidence is that illegal gun trafficking leads to criminals owning guns, which leads to crimes with firearms.... [W]e need to look at the source of the problem.” The vast majority of gun crime committed in Canada is by gangs and criminals using already illegal guns, most often illegally smuggled in. That needs to be reiterated because Bill C-21 clearly misses the mark.
Sylvia Jones, spokesperson for Ontario's solicitor general, agrees. She says that “As law enforcement experts routinely highlight, it has not been demonstrated that banning legal firearms and targeting law-abiding citizens would meaningfully address the problem of gun violence.” The Liberals have shown, of course, though, that they do not really believe that their list of banned firearms in the hands of licensed law-abiding firearms owners are a real threat either. Otherwise, why is there this confusing step of banning them, but allowing Canadians to keep them in their homes so long as the guns are registered with the government? It is very confounding.
However, what is clear is that Bill C-21 finds a way to create a boondoggle that will result in the creation of another long-gun registry because some of the now-prohibited firearms are long guns and it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars while delivering no concrete results to improve the public safety of Canadians suffering at the hands of gangs and criminals carrying out the vast majority of gun violence and crime in Canada.
Another measure that is glaring in its obvious irrelevance to improving public safety in Canada while also imposing major consequences on everyday people is the prohibition of the importation, exportation and sale of all non-regulated air guns that look like modern firearms. Here is the deal. The Liberals are actually imposing a ban on Airsoft and a partial ban on paintball. Any rational, common sense person can see that toy guns are not responsible for the shootings are causing death in Canadian cities. Criminals and gangs with illegal guns are tragically ending the lives of Canadians. This provision in Bill C-21 would end hundreds of livelihoods, legacies and jobs and outlaw an entirely harmless hobby enjoyed by more than 60,000 Canadians.
Airsoft in Canada says the Canadian Airsoft market is worth $100 million and over 260 businesses in Canada are linked to the paintball or Airsoft community. The Quebec Airsoft Federation estimates that the industry brings in over $10 million per year in Quebec alone. Distributors and retailers are uncertain about what to do with the current stock and stock on order because all of it would be rendered worthless immediately, with no option to offset losses because the bill would prohibit sales. It will not only impact businesses that directly sell hobby and competition practice guns, but also the retailers of protective equipment and accessories, as well as the clubs and owners of sports facilities that have focused their businesses largely or solely around these activities.
This whole industry would be devastated. Matt Wasilewicz, who owns Canadian Airsoft Imports, says that the ban “confirms our worst fears”. Frank Chong, who owns Toronto Airsoft, Canada's largest airsoft retailer, says “It looks like it's doomsday for us at this point". Ziming Wan of BlackBlitz Airsoft in Waterloo says that “We're basically all going to have to shut down.... It's the death of the sport, as we know it”. Joe Kimpson of Flag Raiders in Kitchener says “You'll see the demise of airsoft in Canada”.
Seventy-four per cent of these businesses expect to lose over half their revenue because of Bill C-21 and 47% of them expect to be out of business for good. There are approximately 3,000 employees working in those affected businesses. It is unconscionable that half of them would lose their jobs and not a single life be saved for it.
It is hard to see how the Liberals are materially protecting the well-being and safety of Canadians by banning toy guns, shuttering more businesses and killing 1,500 jobs while Canada's unemployment rate is already the highest in the G7.
Mark from Motium Manufacturing in Lakeland says, “I was given no notice, no warning, no consultation. The hard work I've put in for over 8 years has been erased and my customers wrongfully criminalized. Why aren't criminals being as negatively impacted as my small business?”
A petition called “Stop Bill C-21” is circulating in the hobby community and 30,000 Canadians have already signed it. That is because Canadians know what experts have been saying all along, which is also what the Conservatives have been saying. What is missing from these Liberals is any meaningful emphasis or major legal framework targeting the main source of gun crime in Canada.
It is good to see some measures to help the CBSA and a small increase in penalties for gun smuggling, but those aspects of Bill C-21 appear more like a footnote in what seems to be a broader strategy primarily concerned with targeting already law-abiding members of Canadian society. One would read this bill and assume that the main goal is to be a nuisance to the legal firearms community. It is not at all obvious that the aim of Bill C-21 is to improve public safety.
The tragedy is that for all the big words and tough talk from the Liberals, it is the very real victims of growing gun violence and Canadian citizens and their families who are forced to bear the brunt of these failed Liberal policies and experiments. What is worse is that the evidence is available for all of us to see. Experts, law enforcement and policy-makers all agree that concrete strategies and legislation must be directed at criminals and gangs and supports for at-risk youth.
Conservatives will always support a common-sense approach to firearms legislation with concrete outcomes that protect personal and public safety. Bill C-21 does not get to the bottom of addressing the major cause of gun crime in Canada and all MPs really owe it to the victims of violent crime in Canada, past and future, to get serious about gun smuggling, gangs and criminals.
As Evelyn Fox says, “I see the homicides happen and it’s almost like a retrigger for me to think that another mother has to go through this and another mother has to deal with the fact that they aren’t going to see their children again.” Because Bill C-21 will not actually make any difference to that, Conservatives will strongly oppose it, and if it passes, repeal Bill C-21.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)

Question No. 154--
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
With regard to videos produced by the government for usage on government websites or for internal usage, since February 1, 2020: (a) what are the details of all such videos, including (i) date, (ii) duration, (iii) title, (iv) purpose, (v) intended audience, (vi) government website on which the video was displayed, if on a public website; and (b) for each video in (a), what were the total expenditures, broken down by type of expense?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 155--
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
With regard to videos produced by the government for public distribution, since February 1, 2020: (a) what are the details of all such videos, including (i) date, (ii) duration, (iii) title, (iv) purpose, (v) intended audience; (b) for each video, what were the total expenditures, broken down by type of expense; and (c) through which Internet sites, social media platforms, television stations, or streaming sites was each video distributed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 156--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic response programs, the efficacy of such programs, and the extent of coverage of such programs: (a) how many Canadian businesses applied under each program, including the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, the Canada Emergency Business Account, and the Business Credit Availability Program (in both the Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada branches of the program); (b) of the applicants in (a), how many were approved; and (c) what proportion of total Canadian businesses do the successful applicants in (b) represent?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 157--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With regard to the various programs offered by Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada under the Business Credit Availability Program umbrella: (a) what is the dollar value of funds disbursed to date under each program; and (b) what is the average dollar value per successful applicant of loans issued under the programs in (a)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 158--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
With regard to the Canada Emergency Business Account program: (a) how many calls have the call centres received on each day of the program’s operation; (b) of the calls in (a), how many did the call centre respond to and how many were missed or unable to connect to an employee; (c) what is the average number of calls to the call centres per successful applicant before its application was approved; and (d) do any of the call centres employees possess experience or training in the business operations and requirements of farms?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 160--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the government’s promise to protect 25 percent of land area and 25 percent of marine area by 2025, and 30 percent of land area and 30 percent of marine area by 2030: (a) how much land and marine area is now protected; (b) how much land or marine area was protected every year over the past 20 years, broken down by year; (c) what is the historical timeline for first looking at a piece of land or marine area and when it is ultimately protected; (d) what are all the classifications for land or marine area that the government considers to be protected; (e) what is the historical timeline for consultations with First Nations peoples before a piece of land or marine area can be protected; (f) has the government identified enough specific areas of land and marine area to reach the 25 percent level by 2025 and, if so, what specific areas has it identified to meet the target; (g) has the government provided the provinces, territories, and First Nations with a detailed map or plan indicating which areas they plan on protecting and, if so, what are the details, including (i) date the plan was provided, (ii) recipients, (iii) description, including locations and square kilometres of areas planned for protection; (h) will natural resource development be banned on all areas protected to meet the 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030 commitment and, if so, what are the details of any analysis, including findings, on such a ban; (i) will transportation of extracted natural resource products be banned on all areas protected to meet the 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030 commitment and, if so, what are the details of any analysis, including findings, on such a ban; (j) what level of economic development will be allowed on land that is protected under the commitment to protect 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030; and (k) does the government project meeting the 25 percent by 2025 target for protecting lands under this commitment?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 162--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
With regard to Public Safety Canada's Request for Proposal (RFP) 202101232-1 Project Manager for Firearms Buyback Program: (a) what was the (i) publication date, (ii) closing date, (iii) competitive procurement strategy; (b) if the closing date in (a)(ii) has passed, (i) what were the name of the vendors that submitted a proposal, (ii) what was the name of the vendor selected; and (c) if the government contacted vendors to request they submit a proposal, (i) what was the name of the company solicited, (ii) the date of the initial contact, (iii) the reason the vendor was selected for solicitation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 163--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
With regard to the consultation undertaken for Order in Council P.C. 2020-298, dated May 1, 2020: (a) what were the names of the stakeholder organizations consulted; and (b) what are the details of each consultation in (a), including (i) name and title of the individuals who represented the organization, (ii) date, (iii) method (in-person, email, telephone, etc.), (iv) location, if the consultation took place in-person, (v) recommendations or advice provided by the organization?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 164--
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
With regard to the moose cull in Cape Breton Highlands National Park since 2015, broken down by year: (a) what was the total cost incurred by (i) the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (ii) Parks Canada; (b) for the costs in (a), what costs were incurred for (i) overtime, (ii) fuel, (iii) accommodation, (iv) meals or per diem, (v) equipment rental and maintenance, (vi) the use of all vessels such as trucks, aircrafts and boats; and (c) how many animals were harvested?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 165--
Mr. James Bezan:
With regard to the Australian F-18 Hornets purchased by the Department of National Defence: (a) how many total flight hours have the Australian F-18 Hornets flown for the Royal Canadian Air Force since the purchase was made, excluding aircraft operating for the Aeronautical Evaluation and Test Establishment; (b) how many operational flight hours have the Australian F-18 Hornets flown since the purchase was made, excluding aircraft operating for the Aeronautical Evaluation and Test Establishment; (c) on what date are the Australian F-18 Hornets expected to be put into regular service alongside the CF-18s; (d) how many Australian F-18 Hornets will be upgraded with the APG-79(v)4 radar; and (e) on what date is the upgrade of radar systems expected to be completed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 167--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
With regard to applications for approval submitted to Health Canada by ventilator manufacturers since January 1, 2020: what are the details of all applications, including (i) name of company, (ii) model, (iii) date of application, (iv) date of approval or rejection, (v) whether the application was approved or rejected, (vi) reason for rejection, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 168--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
With regard to all monetary and non-monetary contracts, grants, agreements and arrangements entered into by the government with the WE organization, the WE Charity, ME to WE, Imagine 1 Day International, Marc Kielburger and Craig Kielburger, since November 5, 2015: what are the details of such contracts, grants, agreements, or arrangements, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) minister or government official who authorized it, (iv) start and end date, (v) summary of terms, (vi) whether or not the item was made public through proactive disclosure, (vii) dates and locations of related events, if applicable, (viii) specific details of goods or services provided to the government as a result of the contract, grant, agreement or arrangement?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 169--
Ms. Leona Alleslev:
With regard to advance contract award notices (ACAN) published by the government since January 1, 2020: what are the details of all ACAN published by the government, including (i) date of notice, (ii) date by which any potential competitors were required to submit a statement of capabilities, (iii) pre-selected vendor, (iv) contract value, (v) summary of goods or services, including volume, (vi) reason the government believed the pre-selected vendor was the only one capable of offering the goods or services, (vii) number of competitors who submitted a statement of capabilities, (viii) vendor awarded with the contract, if different than the pre-selected vendor?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 142--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the cancelled tender entitled “TSPS – Solution – Compensation Model and Program Design Options for a Potential Buyback Program for Recently Prohibited Firearms (202101502)”: (a) for each of the 15 invited bidders, what are the rationales for why each firm was invited to participate in this tender, listed by firm; (b) what communications were made between the department and these firms, including email, phone and in-person meeting, broken down by name of the firm and type of contact; (c) what is the total number of firms that submitted a bid by September 9, 2020; (d) what are the names of all firms that submitted a bid by September 9, 2020; (e) what are the names of all firms that indicated interest in a revised process, should a revised tender be offered in the future; and (f) what information was provided to those invited to participate in order to help prepare their bids, including (i) the list of models of newly prohibited firearms, (ii) the number of firearms that were expected to bought back, (iii) the estimate of the total number of newly prohibited firearms that are lawfully owned in Canada, (iv) the estimated total cost to buy back these newly prohibited firearms, (v) the source of the estimates referred to in (iii) and (iv), (vi) the sources that are considered acceptable for determining the fair market value for the newly prohibited firearms, (vii) the detailed timelines associated with the anticipated work, (viii) the deadline to begin a buyback program in order to provide adequate time for lawful firearms owners to comply with the buyback program before the current amnesty expires, (ix) direction, explanation or context on provincial versus federal jurisdiction, (x) the tracking numbers for all notes, reference and briefing materials that were not included in the tender documents but were made available to the invited firms to assist in preparing a potential bid, (xi) other information?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 143--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regards to the May 1, 2020, Order Declaring an Amnesty Period (2020), what are the details of all documents prepared by any agency or department related to this order, including (i) title, (ii) date, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) tracking number, (vi) summary of the contents, (vii) form (memos, letters, emails, etc.)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 144--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regards to the May 1, 2020, Order in Council 2020-0298 and the annexed Regulations Amending the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted: (a) what are the details of all documents prepared by any agency or department related to this order, including (i) title, (ii) date, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) tracking number, (vi) summary of contents, (vii) form (memos, letters, emails, etc.); (b) what are the details of each time a model of firearm was added to the Firearms Reference Table between May 1, 2020, and October 9, 2020, including (i) the make and model, (ii) the day they were added to the table, (iii) the rationale for adding them to the table (ie. variant, bore size, muzzle velocity, etc), (iv) all actions broken down by date, type of action, form of communication to reach firearms owners affected by the addition of a firearm to the Firearms Reference Table; (c) what are the details of each time a firearm was removed from the Firearms Reference Table, between May 1, 2020, and October 9, 2020, including, (i) the make and model, (ii) the day they were removed from the table, (iii) the rationale for removing them from the table; (d) what is the cost to notify firearms owners and businesses of the changes imposed by the Order in Council and annexed regulations, including (i) the total cost of all notification activities, (ii) the number of hours of work required by government employees to issue these notices, including Crown corporations (ex. Canada Post), (iii) the number of total pieces of mail issued, (iv) the total cost to issue all mail pieces, (v) the number of emails issued, (vi) the total cost to issue all emails, (vii) the total number of telephone calls made, (viii) the total cost to make these telephone calls; and (e) what are the references cited in all policy development and briefing materials that were provided to a minister or to the Privy Council Office related to the Order in Council and the annexed regulations, including research reports (internal and external), media stories, Statistics Canada reports and research, third party individuals and organizations that provided feedback or participated in consultations, or any other source that was footnoted in these materials, broken down by the title of the government document the reference was included in?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 145--
Mr. Tako Van Popta:
With regard to information held by either Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada: (a) on what date did the government become aware that specific rapid tests for COVID-19 were approved by other governments in the G7, broken down by country and by specific test; (b) of the rapid tests approved by other G7 governments, which ones have been approved for use in Canada, and on what date was each test approved; and (c) for each test in (b) that has not been approved for use in Canada, why has the test not been approved?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 147--
Mr. Gary Vidal:
With regard to government spending on water infrastructure since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total amount spent on water infrastructure for First Nations communities; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by (i) year, (ii) First Nations community; (c) what is the total amount spent on water infrastructure in developing countries; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c) by (i) year, (ii) country?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 148--
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
With regard to the government's international development assistance funding since November 4, 2015: (a) how much funding has the government provided to or through the WE Charity, WE Organization, or any WE-affiliated organization; (b) what are the details of any projects funded through the funding in (a), including (i) project description, (ii) amount of government funding, (iii) date the agreement was signed, (iv) project start date, (v) location of the project, (vi) recipient of the funding; (c) for each project in (b), what type of funding was provided (grant, interest-free loan, etc.), and what were the terms of each funding agreement; and (d) for each project in (b), did the government use performance metrics to evaluate the results of each project and, if so, (i) what performance metrics were used, (ii) were those performance metrics met?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 149--
Mr. Tony Baldinelli:
With regard to funding provided to the Canada China Business Council (CCBC), including grants, sponsorships, ticket purchases, and any other form of expenditure by any department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity since December 1, 2015: (a) what are the details of all government expenditures on or funding provided to the CCBC, including (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) type of expenditure (grant, ticket purchase, etc), (iv) purpose of expenditure, (v) location of associated event, if applicable; (b) how much funding did Destination Canada provide to the CCBC to sponsor the 2020 annual general meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing; (c) how many government representatives were in attendance at the meetings, and what are their titles; and (d) what is the total of all expenditures incurred by the government in relation to the meeting, including any travel-related costs, broken down by type of expense (travel, ticket purchase, signage, etc.)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 150--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance: (a) how much did the government pay (i) MCAP, (ii) First Canadian Title (FCT), to deliver the program; and (b) what specific deliverables did MCAP and FCT provide to the government in relation to the program?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 151--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) support, including tax credits, provided to firms based outside of Canada, since 2016: (a) what is the total amount of SR&ED support provided annually to (i) Facebook, (ii) Google, (iii) Amazon, (iv) Apple, (v) Netflix, broken down by year and by type of support; and (b) what is the total amount of SR&ED support provided to firms based outside of Canada, broken down by year and by type of support?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 153--
Mrs. Tamara Jansen:
With regard to the ongoing transition in the city of Surrey, British Columbia, from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police force to a municipal police force: (a) will the government be providing use of its shared information management and IT services through Shared Services Canada to support the new municipal force, and, if so, has a costing arrangement been completed between the city of Surrey and the government; (b) if not, on what date will Shared Services Canada cease to provide IT support to the police in Surrey; (c) has the city of Surrey been notified of the decision related to IT support, and, if so, on what date was the city notified; (d) how many meetings involving officials at the Assistant Deputy Minister or higher rank have occurred where the transition was discussed, and what are the dates and list of attendees for each meeting; (e) how many times have federal officials attended meetings of the federal Surrey Police Transition Committee, and what were the (i) dates of each meeting, (ii) titles of federal officials in attendance; (f) what is the total value of the inventoried IT assets and systems; (g) what is the total value of the inventoried assets and equipment held at the Surrey detachment, and on what date was the latest inventory conducted; and (h) what is the government's projected timeline on the completion of the transition?
Response
(Return tabled)
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