Trudeau’s New Long-Gun Registry Does Nothing to Tackle Rural Crime

April 4, 2018

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are not backing down from wanting to get the new Liberal gun legislation (Bill C-71) passed as soon as possible. My Conservative colleagues and I will not support this legislation because we recognize it for what it is: an attack on law-abiding long-gun owners rather than a plan to punish criminals who actually perpetrate gun crime. It truly is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to bring back the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry.

If the Liberals were really serious about curbing crime in Canada, this bill would have looked a lot different. In fact, it wouldn’t have been firearms legislation at all, but rather a bill to give Canadian law enforcement the resources and tools that it needs to track down real criminals. Here in Saskatchewan, we know all too well that we are facing increased rates of rural crime, and this Liberal firearms bill does nothing to help solve this problem.

Last week, I was proud to second a motion introduced by my colleague, MP Shannon Stubbs, calling on the House of Commons Public Safety Committee to begin a study on rural crime in Canada and what resources are needed to address this critical issue.

Rural crime is one of the top domestic issues in Canada. In 2015, Canada’s crime index rose for the first time in 12 years and in 2016, the index increased for a second year in a row, with approximately 27,700 more police-reported incidents. Between 2015 and 2016, Saskatchewan had the largest increase (up 9%) observed in Canada’s crime severity index, due to increased events of breaking and entering, fraud and homicide.

Rural Canadians in Saskatchewan and across the country are expressing concern over the rise in rural crime. They are also concerned with the increasing vacancy rates for RCMP members in our local detachments. Most rural areas, with the exception of Ontario and Quebec, are policed by the RCMP, and we know that our officers are concerned about their safety and the safety of the communities in which they work.

Nationally, more than one in ten RCMP positions is currently vacant. For communities outside the City of Prince Albert, this personnel gap manifests itself in very real ways that can lead to severe consequences. Saskatchewanians shouldn’t have to worry about long RCMP response times and officers should not have to suffer both physically and mentally as they work hard to close the operational gap.

Rural crime is an issue that the Liberal government should be concerned about, rather than yet again targeting farmers and hunters for their purchases of long-guns. That is why Conservatives are calling for a national study to make the government understand the full scope of the problem and hopefully find real and tangible solutions to make a difference in our rural communities.

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