These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Gun Control Out of Control

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is becoming obvious that gun registration is not gun control.

Yesterday the justice minister tabled two reports that failed to tell Parliament how much it was going to cost to fix the big problems with the gun registry, and there are many. Even the minister's own reports indicate that it will cost another half a billion dollars. Past estimates were so out of whack that Canadians want to know, how much will it really cost? Another half a billion? Or one billion? Or two billion?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously that question tells me that the hon. member was not at the briefing session that we gave them yesterday afternoon. If he would read Mr. Hession's report, based on his own numbers over the next 10 years we are talking about an economy of around $50 million.

Having said that, there are 16 recommendations in the report. We will have a close look at those recommendations. We will come forward with a good plan of action which will make the system more user friendly and as well more cost effective.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister says that with a straight face. I cannot believe it.

The issue is still that this is not about gun control. This is about government out of control.

Parliament has been waiting two months for answers. Now the justice minister says we have to wait a few more weeks for his action plan. He will not have a final total of the program's costs until fall now, he tells us. At this rate we will be into an election before taxpayers know the truth about this billion and a half dollar boondoggle.

My question is, where in these reports does it show that the gun registration is effective in reducing violent crime--

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice.

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that obviously the opposition is totally out of control.

They do not support the policy. They do not want the government to keep proceeding with a policy which is highly supported by Canadians.

We said of course that there are some problems. We will fix the problems. The two reports that were tabled yesterday are very good reports that are giving us the foundation in order to proceed with a very good plan of action.

We are talking about public safety. We are heading in the right direction--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Mercier.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, with the reports tabled yesterday, Canadians were shown again that the Canadian firearms registry is a flawed, overly complex, bureaucratic mess. The reports prove the registry will not only cost Canadian taxpayers more millions, but there is no guarantee of success and no connection to public safety. Another $15 million is called for to fix the faulty database with another system that will fail.

Will the Minister of Justice break his government's money wasting addiction on this ridiculous registry, given there are no assurances that the new guidelines, new timeframes or costs are any more realistic than the previous ones?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would just like to start by saying that the party of the hon. member voted for gun control and it was a step in the right direction. When we are talking about gun control, we are talking about public safety.

The two reports, which were tabled yesterday, are interesting in the sense that it gives us a foundation to proceed with a good and valid plan of action. As I have said many times, the Canadian population is supporting our policy. It wants the government to proceed with that policy, and we will ensure that we proceed with the program, which is user friendly and cost efficient as well.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister did not hear my question. I am not asking about gun control. I am asking about gun registration, the system that is not working.

The Hession report states that the organizational structure of the firearms program is cumbersome, unfocused and inefficient. The latest government plan will gobble up an additional half billion dollars over the next six years and cost $62 million annually to operate. These issues are further aggravated by the existence of multiple headquarters in Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Miramichi.

Clearly the political decision to spread the wasteful system around added to the cost and confusion. How can the minister justify these expenditures given the dubious records and results?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, we asked for the Hession report because we wanted to have some recommendations regarding the future and recommendations about the management. We have 16 recommendations that are very interesting. We will look into all those recommendations and come forward with a plan of action.

I would just like to tell the member that when we say that the Canadian population is supporting our policy, we are talking about gun control with the two components of licensing and registration.