Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant is pleased with the government’s recent destruction of millions of records in Canada’s long-gun registry.
Media reports last week reported that a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed the registry’s destruction (except for data related to Quebec, restricted firearms and prohibited weapons) as of Nov. 1, after gun enthusiasts started spreading the story.
The Quebec data remains in the registry because of a court injunction filed by the Quebec government.
Gallant said she welcomes the deletion of the long-gun registry contents.
“The opposition has vowed to reinstate the long-gun registry, should either one of them become government. So we have deleted the data, making it difficult for the opposition to reconstruct the registry,” said Gallant.
“It’s what our government promised, and we’re pleased to have a majority government to keep that promise.”
Gallant says the long-gun registry was “ineffective and wasteful. It has not saved a single life. And it was approaching $1 billion, some say $2 billion, to create and maintain it.”
Meanwhile, gun owners still must have a POL, or Possession Only Licence, which is valid for five years and allows firearms owners to possess firearms, including borrowed firearms.
Restricted or prohibited firearms require a registration certificate from the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP). The POL does not allow for the acquisition of more firearms; only the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) does, says Gallant.
After speaking to Minister Toews Tuesday morning, Gallant said Toews indicated that no law on the books compels businesses to obtain personal information from firearms owners.
Deletion of most of the long-gun registry was made possible with passage last year of Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s private member’s bill.
Another driving force, says Gallant, was Saskatchewan MP Garry Breitkreuz.
The Conservatives have stressed, in the lead-up to deletion of the long-gun registry, that firearms owners still need to undergo police background checks, pass a safety course, and comply with rules on gun storage and transportation.
Media reports say the long-gun registry reached an estimated eight million firearms.
The Conservatives have opposed the long-gun registry for more than a decade.
The hot-button topic likely cost Liberal MP Hec Clouthier his seat in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke in 2000, as Gallant, then of the Reform Party, was elected for the first time.
She took advantage of local opposition to the long-gun registry act, in Bill C-68, and benefited from the local backlash to Clouthier’s verbalized support for gun control.
Clouthier later said he didn’t favour the registry, but that he was merely trying to tow the Liberal Party line. Gallant has remained in power since then.