NOTE: These are the notes Garry used in responding to the CPA Executive's statement of support for the Liberal government's billion-dollar gun registry in the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday morning, January 14, 2003.

By Garry Breitkreuz, MP - January 14, 2003

  1. If any of what the CPA Executive have said about the registration of rifles and shotguns were true, the smuggling and criminal use of handguns in Canada should be virtually non-existent. The law has required the registration of handguns since 1934. Surely, sixty-eight years is enough time to prove that the policy of gun registration doesn't work. Statistics Canada's proves it every year when they publish their annual Homicide in Canada report. These reports have shown a steady increase in firearms homicides committed with handguns from 27% in 1974 to 64% in 2001. Between 1997 and 2001, 74% of the handguns recovered from the scenes of 143 homicides were NOT registered.

  2. The Canadian Police Association Executive does not concern itself with the costs of the gun registry but we are answerable to taxpayers for efficient use of scarce tax dollars to insure public safety and reduce crime. The question that really needs to be asked is: "What in all of this is worth a billion dollars?" How does laying a piece of paper beside every gun in the country justify spending a billion dollars?

  3. Statistics Canada reports show that the number of criminal incidents per police officer has more than doubled since 1962. The City of Toronto is short more than 400 police officers. The Ontario Provincial Police are short 500 officers. The number of police officers in Canada has remained stalled at 56,000 since 1990. In April of 2001 a briefing note to Justice Minister Anne McLellan advised her: "There are currently just over 1,800 employees associated with the firearms program." It doesn't take much brilliance to know what would do more good. We could have put over 10,000 more police officers on the street.

  4. In August of 1999, I spent three days at the Canadian Police Association Annual General Meeting in Regina. At that meeting the members of the CPA passed a resolution that made their support of the gun registry "conditional". Those six "conditions" have not been met. (SEE ANALYSIS BELOW).

  5. The design of the gun registration scheme is so flawed that the system can't tell police where the registered guns are - the very thing three Justice Ministers promised them it would do.

    1. Police will not know where the guns are because the government does not require the 131,000 most dangerous persons who are already prohibited from owning firearms to report their change of address to police.
    2. Police will not know where the guns are because there is no legal requirement for gun owners to store their registered firearms at their home addresses or tell the government where they are stored.
    3. Police will not know where the guns are because the government does not keep track of registered firearms that are loaned between licenced firearms owners.
    4. Police will not know where the guns are because between half-a-million and 1.3 million gun owners failed or refused to obtain a firearms licence and can't register their guns without one.
    5. Police will not know where the guns are because the government has lost track of at least 300,000 guns in the old handgun registration system.
    6. Police will not know where the guns are because the government still has to register between 2 and 10 million guns.
    7. Even if police do find the guns, there are so few identifying characteristics on the registration certificates that it is impossible to verify that it is the firearm registered in the system. For example, 6 million registration certificates have been issued without the owner's name. There are 3.2 million blank and unknown entries on gun registration certificates that have already been issued - more than three-quarters of a million don't have serial numbers.

  6. The Attorney's General and Justice Ministers in 8 provinces and 3 territories do not support the position taken by the CPA Executive today. These are the very people that our constitution gives responsibility for enforcing the law in their jurisdiction. Eight provinces and territories have completely opted-out of the administration of the gun registry, Ontario refuses to implement the Liberal's gun registration scheme and several provinces are refusing to enforce the Firearms Act.

  7. Here's what CPA President, Grant Obst, had to say at a rally in Saskatoon just two years ago: "It bothers me that the public would not support me in my line of duty. We've never been at odds with the public before. This issue has done this."

  8. Finally, the CPA Executive would do well to listen to the following advice from front-line police officers in Saskatchewan.
    "The Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers does not feel Bill C-68 focuses on the real problem. The real problem is criminals, not further restrictions on law abiding citizens. Saskatchewan's' municipal police officers see very little need for further gun restrictions. We are of the opinion that C-68 does little to prevent crime, or assist in the apprehension of criminals. When a Saskatchewan police officer thinks of a gun, he/she usually thinks of hunting - not homicide.

    Saskatchewan police officers, like other Saskatchewan residents do not have faith in Bill C-68. We know it is not enforceable, and furthermore will have a great deal of trouble adhering to a law those we serve do not approve of.

    Saskatchewan police officers are not interested in the creation of more paper trails which do little to protect our loved ones. We are not interested in arresting, or incarcerating, otherwise law abiding people for failing to comply with unnecessary paper trails.

    We want governments at all levels to concentrate on lawmaking which reduces risk on our streets.

    Laws that identify criminals for what they are and keeps them out of our communities.

    Laws that identify repeat and habitual criminals and treat them accordingly.

    Laws that have teeth in them.

    Laws that police officers in this province can enforce effectively, with the true belief that they are having an impact on the criminal element we continually battle.

    Bill C-68 has impact and focus. Its impact and focus is on the law abiding firearm owner. This is not where Saskatchewan police officers feel the impact and focus need to be. Impact and focus must be on the criminal. We trust you will deliver this message to Mr. Rock on our behalf."

    Sincerely, Grant Obst - President.

    NOTE #1: These quotes taken from a letter by Grant Obst, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers to the Hon. Robert Mitchell, QC - Minister of Justice for Saskatchewan dated April 28th, 1995.

    NOTE #2: Grant Obst is now President of the Canadian Police Association.

    Here are the six CPA conditions that have still not been met:

    CPA CONDITION #1: "The Auditor General of Canada conduct a thorough review of the firearms registration system and release a public report on their findings to the people of Canada." GARRY'S COMMENT: The Auditor General has only reviewed the costs and not the effectiveness of the gun registry. Justice Dept. officials told the Auditor General that it will take 3 or 4 more years to fully implement the gun registry. CPA Condition Not Met!

    CPA CONDITION #2: "The accuracy of the information that is collected in the firearms registration database be verified." GARRY'S COMMENT: The accuracy of the information has NOT been verified! In fact, more than 3.2 million registration certificates have been issued with blanks and unknown entries. More than 800,000 registration certificates have been issued without serial numbers. The RCMP were removed from the gun registration process after they reported it would take 8.8 years to properly verify and register all the firearms in Canada. The RCMP's 3,800 volunteer Verifier Network was abandoned. The Auditor General reported that 90% of the licence and registration applications had errors. The RCMP also reported serious errors in the 4 million entries in the Firearms Interest Police database and concluded: "a tragic incident could arise as a consequence of the poor data quality and that the RCMP faces serious legal risks." CPA Condition Not Met! >CPA CONDITION #3: "The CPA receive confirmation that the registration system has the capacity to meet the legislative timeframes established for firearms registration." GARRY'S COMMENT: Obviously, the legislative deadline was missed. The Department of Justice own reports show that hundreds of thousands of gun owners still don't have firearms licences and millions of guns remain unregistered. CPA Condition Not Met!

    CPA CONDITION #4: "The CPA receive confirmation that the cost recovery plan for registration can be achieved." GARRY'S COMMENT: As the Auditor General's report proved and as the government now admits, there is no hope that the gun registry will cover the billion dollars wasted so far or the next billion they'll spend before it's fully implemented. CPA Condition Not Met!

    CPA CONDITION #5: "Meaningful consultations with the User Group take place to ensure that the concerns of stakeholders are addressed in the review process." GARRY'S COMMENT: In the year since the Minister of Justice was appointed, he has still not met with his own User Group on Firearms. The Chairman of the User Group admits that more than half of their recommendations have been ignored. CPA Condition Not Met!

    CPA CONDITION #6: "The CPA receive confirmation that the implementation and operation of the system is not taking officers off the street."

    GARRY'S COMMENT: Of course, the gun registry is taking police off the street. When the government employs 1,800 paper pushers those resources are diverted from front-line policing. Has the CPA Executive not been listing to Chief Fantino and Justice Ministers from 8 provinces and the three territories? CPA Condition Not Met!


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