These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Backdoor Funding

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Parliament refused to give the government another $72 million for the gun registry, a gun registry that will end up costing Canadian taxpayers a billion dollars. Yet, that is no big deal for the justice minister. He says that he will to find another way to fund it through other departmental sources.

If we took $72 million out of the gun registry, why is the government funding it through a backdoor scheme?

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday we discovered that at the last Canadian Alliance convention, when the Leader of the Opposition was chosen, it removed the words, “We are committed to keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals as a necessary part of making our communities safer”.

Speaking of funding, why has he refused to disclose more than 13% of the contributors to his leadership campaign? Is this removal of that important statement part of the price that was extracted from his party by contributors to his leadership campaign?

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in a language change in our policy, this is what the Canadian Alliance said:

We will especially emphasize a more stringent punishment of individuals who use a firearm or other weapon in the commission of a crime involving a threat of or actual violence.

Let me ask the Deputy Prime Minister this one more time. Why would we take $72 million out of the firearms registry and fund it through a backdoor scheme?

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we know Alliance members do not care about $72 million or anything else. They are against gun control. They are against the fact that we have already had more than 7,000 firearms licences refused or revoked, 50 times higher than had been the case before. They do not care about the fact that the police access this online system 1,500 times a day. They are against gun control. It is as simple as that.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Let us be really clear, Mr. Speaker. We are against the gun registry and that is all we are against.

Let us go further. When firearms owners, who are trying to reach the deadline, phone the 1-800 number, there is no answer. When they try to get applications, there are no applications.

My question for the Deputy Prime Minister is this. If this gun registry is so good, then why are legitimate, law-abiding citizens having trouble doing what the government says is the law?

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if this gun registry is so bad, then why do the police agencies access it 1,500 a day? Why has the number of lost or missing firearms declined by 68%? Why has the number of stolen firearms decreased by 35% over the same period? Why are fewer firearms being used in crime?

They are against gun control. They are not just against the registry, and we do not even know who gave the money to their leader.