Jean Chretien

Liberal Party

Pierre Trudeau

Canadian Alliance

Liberals Announce Misleading Figures for Gun Registry

Date: OCT19-00
Source: House of Commons Hansard
Keywords: gun control, fiscal mismanagement
Comment: So the Liberal government's gun registry budget is more than 100 times greater than the estimated figure: Honest mistake or deliberate deception?

It is consistent (given the Liberal Party's ultimate faith in civil government "to save the people from themselves") that justice ministers could justify a little deception to achieve their "higher good" of a defenseless citizenry.
Posted: OCT26-00
Liberal Party Index


Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on June 14 I asked a question in the House and the government has still failed to answer it. It was a simple question. In 1995 the justice minister promised the Liberal gun registry would run a deficit of only $2.2 million over five years. In the year 2000 the current justice minister delivered a deficit of at least $308 million. The facts are available in black and white, written in the justice department documents tabled in the House in 1995, written in financial spreadsheets provided to me under access to information earlier this year and in a letter written by the Minister of Justice published in the Toronto Star. One of only two justice ministers is responsible for making this $300 million mistake. Canadian taxpayers want to know who is responsible. Why did the government ignore our party's warnings about its low ball cost estimates? How did the government allow this waste of hundreds of millions of dollars to occur? Two weeks ago in the House the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice only added to the confusion with a totally inaccurate statement about the costs of the gun registration scheme.

On October 5 the parliamentary secretary stated that "The benefits of this program represent an investment of $2 per Canadian for the past five years". I have known grade 4 math students who are better at arithmetic. How did the justice minister's parliamentary secretary arrive at this bogus number? Before he answers, I will give him the real numbers so he can do the arithmetic himself rather than rely on the crooked calculators in the minister's department. Spreadsheets from the justice department show gun registration costs for the first five years at $324.7 million. If we divide that amount by 30.5 million Canadians, Statistics Canada population estimates for 1999, it equals $10.65 for every Canadian, not $2 per Canadian. That is more than five times the untrue figure the parliamentary secretary told the House on October 5. Why did the justice minister mislead parliament about the true costs in 1995? Why did the parliamentary secretary mislead the House only two weeks ago? Why did the current justice minister mislead Canadians when she wrote the Toronto Star on July 19, 1999, saying "User fees would cover the entire cost of the gun registry program?"

On September 11 the Department of Justice sent me a response to one of my access to information requests which said that as of August 11, 2000, "the total amount of revenue received by the receiver general in respect of fees imposed under the Firearms Act is $17,139,993". In the same access to information request the department estimated that the Liberal gun registry project owed $1.2 million in refunds to firearms owners. No wonder the minister and her PR staff have quit saying that user fees will cover the entire cost of the program. She came up more than $308 million short over the first five years. How much is the gun registration scheme costing taxpayers this year? So far the officials in the justice minister's office have refused to respond to my access to information request. They have even refused to provide their proposed budget allocation as they have in previous years. Why?

The minister's officials are even stonewalling the investigator from the Office of the Information Commissioner. The investigator informed my office last week that when he examined the department's firearm registry project files there was no - [cut off by the Speaker]

The Deputy Speaker: I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired. I also understand that he has suggested that some hon. members misled the House. I know he will want to withdraw any such allegation.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz: Mr. Speaker, I would not want to impugn motives to anyone. I withdraw that comment, but I feel the figures and the statements that were made were misleading.

Liberal Party Index
[Home] [Webmaster]