These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Gun Registry No Help

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the objective of his most recent review of the firearms registry is to remove the irritants. Let me point out the obvious. There are no irritants for criminals in the Firearms Act. Toronto police chief Julian Fantino said that the gun registry has been of no help in his war against crimes in his city.

Why will the Prime Minister not allow his backbench MPs to reduce the estimates for such a useless program?

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the question is very clear. When we are talking about the bottom line in the budget estimates, this is a matter of confidence in the government. The question that has been asked is purely hypothetical concerning what details might be in the budget estimates. I refuse to answer a hypothetical question on a vote. That road goes nowhere.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what is not hypothetical is what the government is doing to democracy. It is deep-sixing it, burying it, and that is not acceptable.

While the former finance minister was writing cheques for the billion dollar gun registry, the former justice minister, now the Minister of Public Safety, was cashing them as fast as she could.

The Auditor General said that the biggest problem she saw and observed was that Parliament was being kept in the dark with regard to the gun registry. Instead of the usual practice of keeping Parliament in the dark, let me now ask, how much will it cost to fully implement--

Hon. Albina Guarnieri (Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I understand that the members opposite panic about losing their ammunition once the review comes to the forefront. Our goal is to deliver a gun registry that is reasonable, that all members of the House will want to support and I am confident that the member opposite will be among the first to applaud the results.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the billion dollar gun registry boondoggle costs are completely out of control. All MPs are getting this message.

Why not give members of Parliament a free vote on this issue so that they could freely express the wishes of the people to stop pumping their money into this bottomless sinkhole?

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is quite fascinating to hear that from a party that refused the offer I made it two days ago to deal with the reform that we are implementing with an agreement to have a free vote among themselves. They refused that and they dare to ask questions about free votes.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is the primary job of Parliament to manage the expenditures of government. Why is the Prime Minister talking democratic deficit when he is totally undemocratic in ordering his MPs to vote on command on this important issue?

Hon. Jacques Saada (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me repeat for the nth time--and I hope that my English is good enough for my colleague to understand it--that matters such as budgets, the Speech from the Throne and the bottom line of estimates are matters of confidence and there is no debate about that. Matters pertaining to each element of the estimates is a purely theoretical question at this time. It is totally ludicrous to even say how we are going to vote on something which does not even exist at this point.