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Results: 1 - 15 of 109
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, it is good to be back in the House.
I am standing with countless Canadians who oppose this Prime Minister's values test. They call upon the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without the imposition of another values test. They also ask Parliament to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, just in response to that comment, the petition actually calls for a signature of endorsement of my own to endorse this petition in this House. I would just say—
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yellowhead.
This is a real opportunity to speak against Bill C-21. The premise of my whole talk today will be that Bill C-21 would actually make Canadians less safe, as it spends sparse resources in ways that are ineffective and targets law-abiding firearms owners instead of the real problem, which is gangs and guns in our inner cities.
In 2018, Public Safety Canada put forward a paper, “Reducing Violent Crime: A Dialogue on Handguns and Assault Weapons - Engagement Paper”. It starts off by explaining what I am trying to explain today:
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.
It goes on:
Recent estimates indicate that there are about 900,000 handguns registered to individuals in Canada. In most cases, individuals own handguns either in the context of sport shooting activities or because those handguns form a part of a collection.
Later it states:
Any ban of handguns or assault weapons would primarily affect legal firearms owners....
It is not just Conservatives who are saying this; the former public safety minister himself actually said that he knows that handgun bans would not work. In a 2019 interview with The Globe and Mail, he said that months of consultation have led him to the conclusion that banning handguns would be costly and ineffective. Again, that is from the Liberal former public safety minister across the way:
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.
I could not agree more. That is why I find it strange that the government has not imposed a handgun ban previously and has admitted that it is going to be ineffective and very expensive. Again, the premise is very expensive, and I do not even necessarily want to speak to that, because how can we quantify the life of one of our children? We cannot. They are priceless. Instead, let us actually deal with the problem in a way that would actually save lives on our streets instead of prolonging the problem.
This is a quote from a police officer. Staff Superintendent Sean McKenna of Peel Regional Police recently tweeted:
Another illegally owned firearm seized by Peel Police. This is becoming a far too common occurrence in our community. A municipal, provincial or federal ban on firearms will not stop criminals from carrying them. Root cause issues need to be addressed.
Exactly. Here is somebody who sees the problems on the streets daily and knows where the real problem lies.
Another police officer, Ron Chhinzer, tweeted, “In my time in the integrated gun and gang task force, I don't recall ever seizing a legally owned firearm from any of the investigations that I was involved in.
“The law-abiding population should never suffer or pay because of the unlawful criminal.”
Again, here is someone who is actually on the streets, seeing this first-hand. What I am going to talk about later is how we should give those police officers better resources to deal with the root problems, like recidivism. Criminals get to walk free and commit crimes all over again. We are also not dealing with some of the root causes that cause violence in the first place.
Here is another quote from another police officer, Steve Ryan, who tweeted, “I investigated 150 homicides—never seized one legally owned gun as a murder weapon. In my opinion, it makes more sense to ban legally owned kitchen knives and scissors! Those I have seized as murder weapons. Banning legally owned guns won't decrease violence. Root cause will!”
There is a consistent message coming from our police officers today: The focus should be on the problem instead of on the diversion, the law-abiding firearms community.
Chris Lewis, a former OPP commissioner who works for CTV, is a crime specialist who has been a very vocal opponent of wasting resources on gun bans. Here is a quote from Mr. Lewis: “They aren’t legally owned handguns, nor are they shotguns and hunting rifles. Taking more guns from lawful owners and putting a toothless municipal handgun ban in place will do the square root of sweet”...nothing, I will say, because he uses another word, “to impact violent crime.”
There it is. Even the former commissioner is saying the same thing.
I will go on. I have a few more quotes, and then we will get into more discussion. I am sure there will be questions.
The deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service, Myron Demkiw, stated, “The City of Toronto's experience is that guns are not from law-abiding citizens that are being used in crime. They're guns being smuggled from the United States. Those engaged in handling those firearms are not law-abiding, licensed gun owners; they are criminals with no firearms licence.”
I am a firearms owner. I have my RPAL. I know that it is a very rigorous process to purchase a firearm in Canada, whether it is a non-restricted firearm or restricted. It is very difficult. There is training that is involved and there is a vetting process that is involved, and every day they look at our records to make sure that we can still legally and safely own our firearms.
I will go on to a quote from somebody who is very important. This was part of the recent public safety study. It is from Marcell Wilson. He is the founder and president of the One By One Movement, an organization founded by former gang members, extremists and organized crime members to help identify, address and research strategies on effective social programming for youth outreach.
He explained:
...when speaking on gun control, when we hear the phrase, it should always be synonymous with illegal gun crime and illegal gun trafficking as over 80% of the gun violence we [witness is] committed with illegal firearms smuggled in from the USA.
It has not just been me. I always like to quote other individuals with expertise a lot of better than my own, such as actual police officers on the streets. This is from Marcell Wilson, former gang member, who is really trying to fix the root problem of the issue of kids dying on our streets as the result of illegal firearms.
I think that as Conservatives, this is where we take quite a different position from the Liberals across the way. We Conservatives actually support dealing with the real problem. We saw a Liberal long-gun registry that cost $2 billion the last time. We have another bill, Bill C-21, that is part of resurrecting another long-gun registry and a confiscation regime too. It is going to be in the billions.
My argument is always to just take even a fraction of that money and put it into places where it is going to be effective, such as giving border agents better resources to inspect containers as they cross the border. I do not even want to say the percentage of the containers that are actually inspected, but how about we triple that, or even increase it times 10 to an exponential number of inspections to actually deal with these firearms and stop them right at the border? How about we give inner city police the tools to crack down on illegal firearms and gang activity? How about we give resources to help these police officers deal with these young gang members and try to get them out of those gangs and into productive lives?
We support stopping the revolving door. We even saw recently, with Bill C-5, that the Liberals want to let people who are convicted of firearm crimes out the door sooner than they should be, just to recommit those crimes. Why do we not deal with all of those situations? That will actually cause a real effect, a real, positive change in safety in our inner cities and on our streets.
At the end of the day, I started off by saying that the bill actually makes our country less safe. What the Prime Minister is touting is a bait and switch. Just because he is talking about guns and getting rid of them does not mean he is talking about the right guns to get rid of. He needs to get rid of the illegal firearms on our streets. Once he starts tackling that and stops misleading Canadians about what really will make a change, my hope is that he will finally realize what that is, but I think he uses this issue to divide Canadians. I would rather see us tackle the real problem with illegal firearms on our streets.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, the member across the way highlights the problem. She said there was $250 million to basically deal with the issues in inner cities and to support folks like Marcell Wilson, but it is a fraction of what is necessary.
She is talking about spending probably upwards of $5 billion on tackling the wrong problem, a problem that really does not exist, because lawful firearms owners are not the problem. She is saying that we should keep spending that $5 billion and only spend $250 million on this other problem. How about we spend all that money on what the real problem is? We would be in agreement and would probably support the bill. When the Liberals constantly say they are going to protect Canadians by making laws more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners, it is just ill-focused.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, I will answer the question by answering the previous member's question on red flag laws. We already have a very robust system for checks and balances in our firearms owners community. Again, I am a firearms owner. Every day, my name gets sifted through a database to see that I am still capable and safe to own firearms. That already happens. To have more applied to that just to make it more robust is not necessary. We already have that.
What I am saying, and this is maybe what the member is alluding to, is she might believe it is necessary to have Bill C-21, but I do not. I do not see anything that is really of value in Bill C-21 to make Canada more safe. Again, it is misleading the country to say the Prime Minister is doing something positive about firearms. He is not. He could, and I wish he would.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, again, that is the mystery, is it not?
I do not see what the rationale is. The following is from the Prime Minister himself, who said, “The long-gun registry, as it was, was a failure and I'm not going to resuscitate that”. The current Prime Minister also said, “There are better ways of keeping us safe than that registry which has been removed.”
Here is a person who is in our House today and is bringing forward other rules to probably, I believe, divide Canadians, which is what he does and how he wins. If he really wants to actually crack down on illegal firearms crime and make our streets safer in this country, he needs to look at what the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has looked at, what some police officers are saying and what some of the anti-gang task force are saying to do, and to follow what they are saying to do. He should not spend those scarce and much-needed resources on the law-abiding firearms community. We are not the problem.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I was in Inuvik last week, and what I saw was alarming. Instead of strengthening sovereignty and security in our Arctic, I saw the government putting up a for sale sign on a crucial NORAD facility and getting rid of other essential equipment. For decades, the International Logistics Support hangar has been the only facility above the Arctic Circle able to house Canada's refuelling tankers that support our CF-18s.
Deemed no longer necessary by the government in 2021, the hangar is now up for sale. Without this hangar, the refuelling tankers are being pushed outside and now take hours to prep in minus 40 and worse winter conditions. Any quick response is now off the table. To make matters worse, fuel tanks that used to stand in front of CF-18 hangars have been noticeably removed, which is impeding our ability to repeatedly respond to Arctic threats.
Despite the minister's lofty words, we are more at risk in the Arctic than ever before. Will the minister visit Inuvik herself to see first-hand the sad state of our Arctic sovereignty and security, instead of relying on her senior level bureaucrats in Ottawa?
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I was in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, last week where two litres of orange juice is $21.20. A box of Kraft Dinner is $3.09, ground beef is almost $20 a kilogram, a two-pack of ketchup is $24, regular fuel is $2.60 a litre, and residents' gas bills are over $1,000 a month.
When will the government wake up and see that its high inflation and high taxation is making living in the north almost impossible?
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, my point of order is about using phraseology in this place that is parliamentary. Only a Liberal would find the word “freedom” offensive. It is unreal.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Mr. Speaker, 1,300 workers in Nunavut may soon be out of a job because the government refuses to act.
Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation recently requested an emergency order to allow it to continue to ship six million tonnes of iron ore for 2022. The Minister of Northern Affairs denied the request.
Why is the government forcing these workers out of a job?
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, it is a real privilege to stand in support of a colleague who is sitting right in front of me, the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. I am honoured to support the bill, and I want to speak to how it would positively impact our northern communities if it passes.
Pinniped harvesting has a long history in Canada, especially for our indigenous and northern communities, and I want to get into exactly that. I will first read one little part of the bill, which explains what we are supporting here tonight. The bill would establish “a federal framework on the conservation of fish stocks and management of pinnipeds.”
There is a bit of a longer paragraph. Subclause 3(1) of the bill states, “The Minister must, in consultation with representatives of the provincial governments responsible for fisheries, the environment and trade, with Indigenous governing bodies and with other relevant stakeholders, develop a federal framework on the conservation of fish stocks and management of pinnipeds.”
Many in the House know I have been working on the conservation of threatened stocks, especially when it relates to my home province of British Columbia, but I also have a role as the northern affairs shadow minister, and I am very concerned about the negative effects on those communities.
I am going to speak about, first of all, our indigenous communities. My NDP colleague down the way already referenced the right to harvest pinnipeds, so I am just going to read something out. This is from a government document from 2017. It is a backgrounder for pinniped harvesting. It states, “Nevertheless, subsistence harvests are in effect for these three species because 'Indigenous peoples in Canada have a constitutionally protected right to harvest marine mammals, including seals, as long as the harvest is consistent with conservation needs and other requirements.'”
Supporting the member down the way, we absolutely support those rights, and we support that way of life and the ability to continue on.
We have a long history of harvesting in Canada, and another quote from that same document states, “'[f]or thousands of years, seals have provided food, clothing and heat for people living in challenging northern regions' and continue to do so for many Indigenous peoples and northern communities.” It continues, “In the Arctic, sealing continues to play an important role in Inuit life, which can be seen in 'the rich vocabulary in the Inuktitut language for different species, varieties and characteristics of seals.'”
I think we all recognize this is an important part of culture in our country and it is an important part of our future. Again, the member is wishing to have it come back to the way it once was, but let me speak to the problems with what happened to the industry.
Back in 1972, the U.S. had the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which basically closed out access of the pinniped harvest and pinniped products to the North American market and our American friends. There were huge impacts to that industry. Most of the folks affected were in northern communities and indigenous communities that made their living from harvesting pinnipeds. That was the first blow to the industry.
I am going to get into some numbers in a minute, but I want to talk about the second blow, which was really dramatic. In 2009, we had the European ban on pinniped products. What I am getting at is that, even though we had rights that were protected by our constitution for indigenous communities to harvest pinnipeds, we saw the market absolutely collapse. That really collapsed the entire economy around pinnipeds in this country.
I have some evidence of what happened. In 2004 there was a landed value, which is for Canadian pinniped values. In 2004, it was $14,862,415. By 2006, it had grown to $30 million, and then there was the absolute collapse. By 2015, it had gone down to $1,126,912. It was absolutely a massive collapse of the market.
The member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame is trying to get that industry back on its feet again. The reason we are talking about this tonight, and I am about defending the bill, is the effects of having an out-of-control pinniped population on our coasts.
We have members on all sides of the House that say they care about salmon and southern resident killer whales and all the rest, but guess what eats a lot of fish. Killer whales eat fish too, but when pinnipeds are absolutely collapsing stocks of other fish, sometimes there is not much left for those other species to eat because there is an overpopulation, a massive imbalance in the ecosystem as a result of this harvest basically ceasing to exist. It still happens, but on a much smaller scale.
The member is trying to have an answer to the imbalance in the ecosystem and for an industry that has been flattened and the communities that have been negatively affected by this collapse. How about we do something in Parliament? We have that agreement across the way, but I am hearing from the Liberals and NDP now that they are pulling back their support, which is interesting because this industry is so key in their communities. It is so easy to support, and I am surprised that they would be pulling back their support at this time.
Again, what the member is trying to do is a positive change for not only the pinniped industry but also the communities that benefit from it. I want to read one part of the bill to highlight a specific section for those who say they care about conservation and threatened stocks. Subclause 3(1) reads, “The Minister must, in consultation with representatives of the provincial governments responsible for fisheries, the environment and trade, with Indigenous governing bodies and with other relevant stakeholders develop a federal framework on the conservation of fish stocks”, which is the crux of the whole bill.
First of all, we are going to help fish stocks big time. For salmon, we call it the brick wall of pinnipeds on our coastlines, and not many get through. Again, if the government is talking big about conservation and really doing something positive for the ecosystem and for salmon as an example on both coasts, this is the answer to that. The other benefit that benefits both communities in a huge way is that we would get our pinniped industry back again.
My hope is, especially for members affected in Newfoundland and in the north in the territories, which are affected by having a positive pinniped industry, that they will have some really long thoughts about the consideration of supporting the bill. It is great. It is going to be good for every coastline that we have. It will be positive for the communities that reside on the coastlines and in our north.
For the sake of my fellow member on fisheries and oceans, Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, my hope is that we can all come to an agreement and support the bill.
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Mr. Speaker, in Fort Nelson, B.C., the rising cost of gas and tax increases are having a huge impact on small businesses already struggling to survive. Dave Milner and Bev Vandersteen of the Fort Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce warned that if urgent action is not taken by the Prime Minister, more businesses will fail, leaving people unemployed and families in crisis. According to RBC, there is not a single city in Canada that is affordable for young people. These businesses, the people who run them and young Canadians are the backbone of our communities. Why does the government continue to punish them?
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Speaker, this member should know that this place is the federal Parliament for the country and not the provincial parliament for Ontario, so I think—
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Chair, icebreaker and offshore patrol ship delays are causing massive increases in costs and threaten our Arctic sovereignty and security, putting all Canadians at risk. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the polar icebreakers announced by the government would cost $7.25 billion, or over $3.6 billion each. In 2013, the estimated cost for one heavy icebreaker was only $1.3 billion.
Continued delays by your government are costing taxpayers billions. What date have you been given for when these heavy icebreakers will be added to our Coast Guard fleet?
View Bob Zimmer Profile
Madam Chair, the minister is actually announcing the previous Conservative strategy around shipbuilding, so I thank her for that plug.
An Order Paper answer delivered by the government stated that the cost of the Coast Guard Arctic and offshore patrol ships would be $750 million per ship. Your colleague, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement said—
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