|Garry Breitkreuz, M.P.
RCMP Commissioner says Justice Department Misrepresented Statistics for Firearms and Violent Crime During Debate of C-68
For Immediate Delivery
March 9, 1998
Ottawa -- "Last July, the Commissioner of the RCMP accused officials in the Department of Justice with misrepresenting RCMP firearms statistics by overstating the number of firearms involved in violent crimes. He also criticized the use of these false and misleading statistics during the debate of the still controversial Bill C-68, the Firearms Act," revealed Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville.
The Saskatchewan MP released copies of the Commissioner’s damning letter which was obtained through an Access to Information Request. Here are some excerpts from RCMP Commissioner J.P.R. Murray’s letter to the Deputy Minister of the Department of Justice dated July 21, 1997:
"The RCMP investigated 88,162 actual violent crimes during 1993, where only 73 of these offences, or 0.08%, involved the use of firearms."
"‘The Firearms Smuggling Working Group was concerned with the number of long guns involved in crime.’ This statement is not significant when we consider that in 1993, the RCMP investigated 333 actual homicide offences, including attempts, but only 6 of these offences involved the use of firearms according to the statistics provided to the Firearms Control Task Group."
"We determined that our statistics showed that there were 73 firearms involved in a violent crime compared to the Department of Justice findings of 623 firearms involved in a violent crime."
"It is of particular concern that the Minister of Justice and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police relied on these statistics while Bill C-68 was being processed in Parliament as evidenced by statements in the report, ‘Illegal Firearm Use in Canada."
"The incorrect reporting of RCMP statistics could cause the wrong public policy or laws to be developed and cause researchers to draw erroneous conclusions. Considering the data is clearly marked as belonging to the RCMP, we must accept ownership and responsibility for the harm the data may cause. For these reasons, something must be done to remove it from circulation."
"We depend on public servants to implement laws passed by Parliament, however, we don’t expect them to manipulate RCMP statistics to help politicians achieve questionable political objectives. How will we ever know when Justice Department officials are telling the truth? Justice Minister Anne McLellan has to tell us if she and her predecessor, Allan Rock, knew about and condoned the use of these false statistics by their officials. Public servants should not be playing politics." concluded Breitkreuz.
For a copy of the RCMP Commissioner’s Letter, please contact:
The Office of Garry Breitkreuz, M.P.Yorkton: (306) 782-3309