Long-Gun Registry (B)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert for his presentation. I even tweeted it because I had not heard anyone in the House of Commons say “as a libertarian” at the beginning of a statement. I found that to be riveting.


I am baffled in this debate. Whenever a member of the opposition says that the police chiefs of Canada voted unanimously that they find the long gun registry useful, and whenever anyone in the opposition says that the RCMP commissioner, William Elliott, sent a report to the government on August 27, 2010 in which he said that the firearms registry is a critical component of the RCMP’s entire firearms program and further, that it was cost effective and efficient, the response from the government tends to be that the opposition made these things up, that they did not happen. These reports stand.

I ask the hon. member to explain how it is that the institution of the RCMP and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have supported the registry, yet the government members say it is not useful for them.

Mr. Brent Rathgeber: Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to question Chief Blair on this very issue when he appeared before the public safety committee on its examination of Bill C-391, a private member’s bill in the last Parliament. I have no doubt Chief Blair supports the long gun registry and has his reasons for doing so, but I would submit to the hon. member that he does not speak for all the chiefs of police across Canada. He does speak for the association because he is the president.

The hon. member will do doubt know, or should know, that quite a number of chiefs broke ranks, although there was considerable political pressure not to break ranks. For example, Chief Rick Hanson from Calgary came to the committee. He did not share Chief Blair’s advocacy for the long gun registry. I think if we asked police chiefs generally, in a world of finite resources where they have to choose between more boots on the ground or an ineffective long gun registry, they would answer that they want resources diverted elsewhere. If we asked them straight out about the long gun registry, they would probably give us a positive response, but if we asked them to rank it vis-à-vis other more effective resources, we would get a very different response.