$1 BILLION TO REGISTER 7 MILLION GUNS BUT
ONLY $8 MILLION TO REGISTER 40 MILLION COWS
?The gun registry is either a huge scandal or gross incompetence. Which is it??
Ottawa ? Once again, Saskatchewan M.P. Garry Breitkreuz, the Conservative Firearms Critic, lambasted the Liberal government for its futile firearms program that hasn?t even registered half the guns in Canada. Breitkreuz also released two letters from Auditor General Sheila Fraser that announced the start of another financial audit of the firearms program and her plans to report to Parliament in February 2006.
Here are Breitkreuz?s questions and Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan?s non-answers:
Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton?Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, there is an even bigger scandal waiting for Justice John Gomery to investigate. The government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on computer contracts to implement the gun registry and plans to spend hundreds of millions more on computer contracts in the years ahead. To put this spending in perspective, we can register 40 million cows for $8 million. Would the minister please explain why it has cost $1 billion to register only seven million guns?
Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this program has an $85 million cap. The operating budget for the entire program in 2005-06 is $82.5 million. As it relates to the gun registry component of the program, we imposed a $25 million cap in 2005-06. In fact the registry component of the program will cost only $15.7 million. In fact the costs of this program, since 2000, have gone down consistently.
Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton?Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is pretty obvious the minister still refuses to take responsibility for her role in this federal firearms fiasco. The cattle industry can locate a cow in any barnyard in Canada in seconds. The gun registry still cannot locate hundreds of thousands of gun owners and is still missing millions of guns. How many lives could have been saved if we had spent this wasted billion on DNA analysis, cancer research or more police on the streets. The gun registry is either a huge scandal or gross incompetence. Which is it?
Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I had just indicated, the costs of this program are under control and going down. Let me also share with the hon. member that since December 1, 1998, more than 13,500 individual firearm licences have been refused or revoked. In fact the program is accessed over 2,000 times a day by front line police officers. So, in spite of the ongoing protestations of this hon. member, it is time he pulled his head out of the sand and understood that--
?Barnyards need to be cleaned up regularly, and it?s about time to do this with the Liberals. Anne McLellan and her colleagues refuse to admit their mistakes but instead turn out more manure,? said Breitkreuz. ?If the government would also tally enforcement costs, compliance costs and economic costs as called for by the Auditor General, the not-so-grand total for this mess would already be over $2 billion,? calculated Breitkreuz. Sooner or later their political games will catch up with the Liberals. Then it will be up to a Conservative government to clean up this mess and fix all the flaws in federal firearms laws,? concluded Breitkreuz.