Reform Government
Repeal Bill C-68

(Preston Manning)

We will also conduct a review of all firearms legislation as recommended by the Auditor General of Canada in his 1993 Report.

We need the enforcement of the present laws and tougher penalties for the criminal use of firearms. Reform will bring in a crime bill to achieve this objective.

The present and past governments have used gun control to make Canadians believe they are doing something about crime in Canada when they are not.

"Bill C-68 is nothing more than a pretence that the government is making our homes and street safer and getting tough on criminals."

(Jack Ramsay, M.P., Hansard, June 12, 1995)

And, here are the reasons why . . .

1. Unilateral Prohibition Powers

Section 117.15 of Bill C-68 grants the Minister of Justice through the Governor in Council the power to prohibit any firearm which, in his opinion, is not reasonable for hunting and sporting purposes. This power is immune to parliamentary or judicial review.

Currently, Section 84(1)(e) of the Criminal Code prevents the prohibiting of any firearm commonly used for hunting and sporting purposes.

Firearms owners are concerned that Bill C-68 is one more step toward the eventual confiscation of all firearms. The Justice Minister has stated this is not true. Why then has the Minister, who banned 58% of all legally owned handguns in this country, granted himself and his successors, autocratic powers to prohibit any firearm in Canada?

2. Autocratic Regulating Powers

Section 119(2) of Bill C-68 allows the Minister of Justice to make firearm regulations without Parliamentary review if the regulation, in his opinion, is "immaterial", or "insubstantial" and under Section 119(3), if the regulation is "urgent."

Currently, Section 116(2) of the Criminal Code requires the Justice Minister to lay every regulation before Parliament at least thirty days before its effective date.

This section of Bill C-68 negates our Parliamentary system of checks and balances which democratically ensures that the government of the day does not exercise autocratic powers. What may be "immaterial," "insubstantial" or "urgent" in the opinion of the Minister may be "material," "substantial" and "not urgent" in the opinion of Members of Parliament or the general public.

3. Inspection Powers - Businesses

Section 102 of Bill C-68 permits an inspector to enter a business or any place other than a dwelling-house without a warrant at any reasonable time if they believe that there are more than 10 firearms or a collection present. If however, under Section 104(1)(a) the business is operated from the dwelling-house, the portion of the house used for business may be entered without a warrant. Evidence a crime has been committed is not required. (Note: Police officers can and will be inspectors pursuant to this legislation.)

Section 103 of Bill C-68 requires that every person found in the place of inspection provide the inspector with all reasonable assistance or be subject to a criminal charge.

Currently, under Section 101(1) of the Criminal Code, peace officers can only search premises other than a dwelling house in exigent circumstances without a warrant where they believe on reasonable grounds that an offence is being committed or has been committed and it is not practical to obtain a warrant.

4. Inspection Powers - Dwellings

Section 104 of Bill C-68 states that an inspector cannot enter a dwelling-house to search for firearms or to ensure compliance with firearms regulations without the "consent" of the "occupant". If consent is not given, a warrant can be obtained even though no evidence exists to believe a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.

Currently, Section 101(1) of the Criminal Code prohibits the entrance of a dwelling-house without a warrant. And, a warrant cannot be obtained unless a police officer has reasonable proof that a crime has been or is about to be committed.

The intrusive nature of these provisions directly affect the civil liberties of firearms owners who, under current Code provisions, are protected from unwarranted searches. The requirement to provide reasonable assistance places an individual in a position of self-incrimination. And, as "occupant" is not defined, the consent of a babysitter is sufficient to gain entry into a home. This entry can occur without any reasonable belief that a crime has been committed.

5. Draconian Penalties

Bill C-68 provides three different penalties for failing to register a firearm:

  1. Maximum penalty of a summary conviction procedure (six months and/or $2,000 fine) - Section 112 Firearms Act.
  2. Maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years or summary conviction - Section 91(1) Criminal Code.
  3. Maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years - Section 92(1) Criminal Code - knowing neglect to register a firearm.
Currently, there are no indictable offences listed under the Criminal Code for a violation of a regulation pertaining to the legal ownership of a firearm.

Despite what the Liberal Minister of Justice has said, Bill C-68 may bring about serious criminal repercussions for any Canadian who deliberately or inadvertently fails to properly register a firearm.

Compare the ten year sentence for failing to register a firearm to the 10 year sentence given to Denis Lortie for murdering three people in the Quebec Legislature.


Bill C-68 requires the licensing of all citizens who own a firearm and the registration of all firearms in Canada.

"The government has not provided a common sense justification for the registration of rifles and shotguns. I asked witness after witness who appeared before the committee how the registration of rifles and shotguns would reduce the criminal use of those firearms, and they were not able to answer. I have never heard a straightforward answer from the Justice Minister although I have asked him that question."

"We have a handgun registration system that has been around for 60 years. We know it has not reduced the criminal use of handguns because the handgun is the weapon of choice for the vast majority of street criminals. We see that it has been ineffective in this area and we ask why the Justice Minister would want to expand a failed system to include rifles and shotguns."

(Jack Ramsay, M.P., Hansard, June 12, 1995)



This document outlines only some of the problems with Bill C-68.

For more information regarding the gun legislation or any other Justice issue, contact:

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