These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Solicitor General to Take Over Registry

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when I asked the Minister of Justice when he planned to table his action plan on the gun registry, he refused to answer. We now know that he has scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. today, supposedly to transfer the failed registry to the office of the Solicitor General.

Will the new minister actually deal with the registry's problems, or can we expect more Liberal window dressing?

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is the second time in only a few weeks that we have had an instance on the floor of the House where members have been given a document under embargo and before the embargo has expired it is being raised in question period.

This is despicable. The hon. member should know that this is wrong. It goes against all our rules which we are all called upon to respect.

Mr. Andy Burton (Skeena, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we know the government's billion dollar failed firearm registry has done nothing to curb crime or improve public safety in Canada. A majority of Canadians, 53% according to a recent poll, agree with the Canadian Alliance position and are calling on the government to scrap the failed registry. The registry is not even supported by most frontline police officers.

Why will the minister not cut his losses, scrap the registry today and instead direct the money toward more police officers on the street?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House know that when we are talking about gun control we are talking about public safety.

The member referred to some polls. We have some polls as well and those polls show strong support from the Canadian population on the question of gun control and therefore public safety.

When the hon. members are saying that they would like to scrap the gun control program that we have, which part of it: the licensing stage, which has been a success; or the registration stage, which has been a success?

We are talking about six million firearms that have been registered. The screening process in order to have access to the registration--

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Surrey North.

Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During question period the government House leader stood in the House and accused me of divulging embargoed information from the Minister of Justice. That is categorically untrue. If he would care to check the record, the press release first ran at 10:36 Ottawa time and it was on the CP wire at 11:07 Ottawa time.

It is exactly those types of actions and shenanigans that give this place and individual members of Parliament a bad reputation. I demand an apology and I want it right now.

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will check into what the hon. member has just stated and act accordingly at the appropriate time.

The fact still remains that earlier this morning at approximately 10 a.m., coordinated by my office, a copy of an embargoed statement, which will be made in a few minutes from now, was distributed to all political parties, the subject of which was the question posed by the hon. member only a few moments ago.

If the content of the minister's statement had been released to the media before, and perhaps that is what the hon. member is saying now, I will check into that. As far as I knew the only thing that had been circulated to the media was notification that there would be a press conference after the minister's statement was made in the House of Commons. However, I will verify that.

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I was listening to question period as well and the point that was raised was that there would be a news conference held by the minister at 1:30. That was something that was brought up in an interview that the House leader and I attended this morning at 10 o'clock, so I do not think there was any breach whatsoever.

The Deputy Speaker: Respectfully, to the three members who rose on this point of order, it is not a point of order. I would submit to the House that there is a difference of opinion. Given the undertaking from the minister I will leave that matter to be resolved among the parties. However, at this point in time it is not a point of order.