These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Auditor Examines Financial Records

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on January 8 the justice minister said that KPMG was “contracted to...verify the adequacy” of the gun registry's “financial systems” and confirm “the validity of the Program's financial statements”.

The minister's comments seemed to leave little room for KPMG to find any mistakes with his billion dollar boondoggle. Will he please explain to Parliament how the consultants were able to find financial records that the Auditor General could not, or is this just an elaborate spin job?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, since the tabling of the Auditor General's report, we on this side of the House have been saying, first, that we believe in our policy and in gun control and in public safety, and as well, we have been talking about cost and efficiency, and transparency as well.

We have asked for these two reports. I am pleased to tell the House that after question period this afternoon, I will table the two reports, the one from KPMG and the one from Mr. Hession on the management.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, this is not a gun control issue. This is a government out of control issue.

The justice minister has been banking his future and the future of the billion dollar gun registry on two consultants' reports to help him answer questions he has not been able to answer for the last two months.

The Auditor General said the gun registry will not be fully implemented for three or four years. Is the minister prepared to tell us today how long it is going to take to fully implement the gun registry and how much is it really going to cost?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, actually the program is up and running, and of course it is running at low cost at the present time.

I know as well that the hon. member does not like it, but we have said that we like our policy. We like this policy because it is about public safety, and we will fix the problems. It is a policy that is highly supported by Canadians. We said that we wanted to be transparent and we wanted to fix the problem, so this afternoon, and it is another stage, we will table the two reports and after that we will come forward with a good plan of action for Canadians.

Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan—Shuswap, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the gun registry is a billion dollar garbage collection system. Two years ago, documents from the minister's own department predicted that it was going to take 8.8 years to register all the firearms accurately.

Last August, documents from the minister's own department showed that three-quarters of the firearms registration certificates had blanks and unknown entries. More than 800,000 had been issued without any serial numbers.

How long is it going to take to go back and correct all these mistakes and how much is that going to cost the Canadian taxpayer?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is talking about is the question of the quality of the data. We are aware of that and the RCMP as well is aware of that. It has invested in technology and in training as well in order to make sure that we will keep having very good data, which is important for our gun control system.

The member said that the gun control policy is not good. I just would like to say that it is a valid and important tool for our Canadian society, and that again we must bear in mind as well that we are talking about public safety. We can look at what stakeholders have said over the past few weeks. People are asking the government to keep proceeding with the policy, and this is exactly what we are going to do. We will fix the problems that we have seen in the Auditor General's report.

Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan—Shuswap, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the gun registry simply does not work. It has already cost Canadian taxpayers well in excess of $1 billion, with another eight years to register all firearms and another billion dollars to fix this registry mess. When will the government finally admit that the system is a failure and just scrap it?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is a question of good faith here. The hon. member should recognize that the policy of gun control is a good and valid policy that works in this country and elsewhere. Gun control exists in other countries in the world.

In terms of licences, about two million people have a licence. In terms of registered firearms, we now have close to six million registered firearms. Of course there are problems with the management. I have already said that we will table the two reports, one from KPMG and the other from Mr. Hession, this afternoon. We will move quickly to make sure we have a good tool for public safety.