2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 24
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
Bill to Amend – Third Reading – Speaker’s Ruling
Bill to Amend – Third Reading
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Will the honourable senator accept a question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Will you take a question, Senator Jaffer?
Senator Jaffer: Yes.
Senator St. Germain: In the city of Toronto we have had a rash of murders committed with handguns. Handguns have been effectively registered in this country for decades. How does the honourable senator rationalize the reduction of crime when we have had this horrific outbreak? I believe there were 30 young people murdered with handguns.
Senator Cools: I think it is 39.
Senator St. Germain: Is it 39? Many people have been killed with handguns that have been registered for decades. How does the honourable senator rationalize that this registration process will slow things down?
My other question is one I also asked of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Of the 7,000 people who have been refused licences, how many are Aboriginal people â€” people who have, unfortunately, a high level of criminal charges against them as a race? How many of those 7,000 were Aboriginals?
Those are my two questions, one concerning the Toronto situation and the other concerning Aboriginals.
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I will start with Senator St. Germain’s second question. I do not have an answer. As the Leader of the Government in the Senate said, she will provide an answer.
As for the first question, honourable senators, the best way I can answer is to repeat what was said in the committee. The police witnesses stated that the registration helps them to track the owners of the guns. It helps them to see where the guns are, and it helps them to do their job better. It is like saying that by having good legislation on the issue of drunk driving, we should therefore not have offences concerning drinking and driving. That does not mean we should not have good legislation. We should have good legislation and good gun control as a preventive measure. Having good legislation does not mean we will completely avoid every gun crime in this country. That can never happen. However, we must still try and control guns, the same way we try and reduce the number of people who drive cars when they are drunk. Having that legislation does not prevent people from driving cars when they are drunk, but it does help most people to see that it is not a good way of doing things.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!