What thugs do is to make sure they are able to keep weapons in their car and not have to answer any questions. That is what they are going to do. They are going to put the weapons in the car and drive wherever they go. They know that if they are pulled over by a police officer, all they have to do is list one of a million different places to explain where they are going. That is what this legislation changes.
On purchase verification, which is very important, today when we are dealing with people who are not gun store owners but individuals who are selling to another individual, there is no way of being sure that the individuals in question have an up-to-date and valid PAL. As an example, if somebody has committed a series of crimes and they still have their card, they can purchase that gun without any check. Therefore, all this legislation requires one to do is to make a very quick call. It costs nothing. No information is given about the firearm, except to say, “Hey, I am going to sell; this person is going to buy. Is everybody okay here? Is the PAL up to date? Is this person allowed to own a gun? Am I allowed to sell a gun?” If it's yes, then away one goes.
That then allows a person to sell 10 or 20 weapons and there is no information about the firearm. However, it makes sure that the people who are buying and selling are doing so legitimately and are in fact law-abiding gun owners. What we are finding is that, very sadly, many of the firearms that are now being sold on our streets are being sold not because they are being smuggled or snuck into Canada, but they are being sold from within Canada, from within the existing stock of guns. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of people are taking law-abiding firearms owners' weapons and then selling them to gangs.
These are statistics. These are facts. It has been explained very clearly by the chiefs of police, who by the way support this bill. They say it is an important change, and it is needed for public safety. I put some stock in what the chiefs of police tell us. I do not think they go around saying that public safety changes are important for no reason.
The other thing that comes up is the RCMP classification of weapons. Some have said that there should be a check on the RCMP. Let us be very clear: that check is the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code of Canada very clearly prescribes in this country what is a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, and an unrestricted weapon. It is up to the RCMP to interpret that legislation. In fact, they do it about 8,000 times a year. The idea that politicians could overturn that effectively means the provisions we put into the Criminal Code have no meaning.
It is our job as legislators to describe at the highest level what those classifications should be in terms of those prohibited, restricted, and unrestricted weapons. It is the job of the RCMP, as an independent arm's-length arbiter, to then enforce it. It is not up to politicians to say that this particular semi-automatic weapon seems to be popular, so let us just override the RCMP. The RCMP has an important job to do, and it is important that we let them do that job. That is why we made that commitment in the platform.
I mentioned earlier in my speech that these are not the only things we are doing to make Canada's streets and our communities safer.
There is a litany of things we are doing to try to improve public safety, but it is a piece of the puzzle. For example, when we had the guns and gangs summit in Ottawa, which was hosted by the minister, and that I and many members of this House were privileged to be a part of, we talked about the money we are putting into communities, escalating to $100 million a year, to help build the capacity to deal with what gun and gang violence looks like in each individual community.
We saw that reality in Ajax, my home community, where unfortunately there was a shooting at our ribfest. It is unheard of for us to see this kind of gun violence in our neck of the woods. The realities of what we can do to change the problem of guns and gangs, suicides, and domestic violence differ very much from what we would see in a community, let us say, Red Deer, Alberta, or Summerside, P.E.I.
Those communities need to be given the funds, resources, and support to be able to build those solutions from the ground up.
I say that as a former member of the Police Services Board in Durham region. I so often saw self-evident solutions that needed to be funded and supported, but the box we had to contort ourselves in was created in Ottawa or Queen's Park. It was frankly completely disconnected from what was actually going to work on the ground in those communities. That is one of the reasons why our biggest push is for support at the community level, to give them the capacity and strength they need to be able to tackle this problem. Of course, we have done this in addition to a whole host of measures to improve border security to stop the illegal smuggling of weapons across the border.
This is something that has been brought out in testimony at committee, and I want to say it here today. It is unfortunate that every time we talk about firearms, violence, and death, we do not talk about suicide. We only talk about gangs. We do not talk about the tremendous problem we have with domestic violence as well. We have to come at this from every angle. That means the debate we have on these issues must be worthy of the weight of the issue.
That means when people send a Facebook ad pretending that there is a new registry, that dishonest action is unworthy of the debate we must have in this place. I know that for every single one of us, every member, our hearts are ripped apart when we see gun violence tear into our community. Whether it is somebody walking into a mosque in Sainte-Foy and tearing down the congregants who were just trying to pray, or a domestic violence situation in my own riding where a father killed a mother and his own children, or somebody who commits suicide in our community, the weight of what is in front of us is important. It is something that obviously I am very passionate about.
I hope that folks can see, as well, that it means we have to take action, but at the same time we must protect and support law-abiding gun owners. That is why none of these measures cost anything. Most of these measures, in fact almost in their entirety, only deal with restricted or prohibited firearms, the most limited class of firearms. Unfortunately, most of the debate against it has gone into hyperbole with respect to things that have nothing to do with this bill.
Therefore, do I think that we should go 85 days touring around on something that was in the platform and requires immediate action when we have so much other work to do? No. It is time to pass this bill. It is time to move forward on the other collective actions we can do to make our communities safe. I look forward to doing exactly that.
Just to start, the only way you can get a firearms license is undergo a training course and background check. That means Canadian gun owners are not "thugs" What a PoS.
I'll have a heart attack if I have to address the rest of this, but it is all BS to one degree or another.
OUT with you in October.