Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Welcome, minister. My question is about handguns, the tools that are designed to kill or harm people, and how they limit people and are of limited social value.
In the previous Parliament, the government introduced Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms), which included measures to support local prohibitions on handguns. Much criticism has been expressed regarding the implementation of local prohibitions instead of a national one.
Minister, do you see merit in a national ban on handguns? When are we going to see action on this issue? Thank you.
Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety: Senator, thank you for that question and for highlighting advocacy that I am sensitive to.
I represent a community in Toronto where there’s a shooting more often than I’m comfortable even mentioning in this chamber. It can happen as often as every week at certain points of the year. In many of those cases, I know the people and the families who have been impacted by gun crime. I’m moved by their resilience to persevere, but we have to meet them at the moment that we find ourselves in, which means taking more action to reduce gun violence, including gun violence that is generated by handguns. For the benefit of this chamber, handguns are the number one type of killer in this country. It’s unacceptable.
That having been said, while we’re committed and while my mandate instructs me to work with provinces and territories to take more action on that front, it’s not the only thing that we need to be doing. We also need to be investing in law enforcement at our borders to stop illegal trafficking of guns into this country. Equally, we need to be investing in preventive strategies so that we can create safer spaces so that these tragedies don’t occur in the first place. My commitment to you is that we will do that work in cooperation with all of the communities across this country, so we can finally rid ourselves of this scourge.