MP Report by Jay Hill

Number of days since the former Liberal government introduced Bill C-68, the Federal Firearms Act: 4,030 (as of March 1, 2006).

Number of days that I, along with many of my colleagues who now join me as part of the new Conservative government, have opposed the notorious fiasco known as the federal firearms registry: 4,030.

Number of tax dollars the Liberal gun registry has cost: approximately $2-billion.

Number of days since the new Conservative government took office knowing that at long last, we would finally, blissfully, be able to get started on ridding the country of the disastrous gun registry: 23.

I share the frustration felt by constituents, many who have written or called me in recent days. When it comes to the wasteful, ineffective gun registry, 23 days seems like a very long time. Yet 23 days fly by very quickly for a new government trying to clean-up ? and clean-up properly – after a Liberal government that had been entrenched in power for over 12 years.

The Conservative government remains as committed as we?ve ever been to putting an end to this system that forces law-abiding Canadians to register their long-guns with no measurable benefit to public safety but with considerable consumption of precious federal resources.

So the burning questions are ?How?? and ?When?? Those are questions that will soon be answered by a committee comprised of Justice Minister Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and the Conservative MP who knows more about the failings and pitfalls of the Canadian Firearms Centre than any other, Garry Breitkreuz.

In this minority Parliament, it is especially critical that the Conservative government knowledgably and decisively determines the best course of action for scrapping the long-gun registry.

We want to do this. But we must be sure we do it right. This is nothing like cancelling a contract or a pending government sale. After more than a decade, the Liberals? long-gun registry and related Firearms Act are interwoven throughout our legislative and criminal justice system. It?s also become mixed in with something that?s been in place since 1934 and should continue to exist: handgun registration.

It?s one heck of a mess to untangle. An expensive mess that the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois continue to defend. With the help of New Democrats, they have demonstrated their commitment to use their votes in the House of Commons to financially and legislatively sustain the long-gun registry and we fully expect that will continue when the House begins sitting on April 3rd.

On another note, as much as I oppose the long-gun registry, I also value living in a democratic nation where a Prime Minister and Ministers, whether they hold a minority or the most powerful majority, must abide by the laws and government processes and procedures, as established by our democratic institutions. The alternative is a dictatorship or a ?banana republic?.

The Conservative government will fix the mess created by the Liberals? long-gun registry. We?ll do it as soon as possible and we?ll do it within the laws of Canada?s Parliament.