The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Continues
by Dennis R. Young
Canada Free Press
In my Troy Media column last January, I provided evidence that, “The federal government hasn’t reported the detailed costs of running the Canadian Firearms Program to Parliament since the 2007/2008 fiscal year. “
Last week, after eight months of work by Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault and her investigators, the RCMP reluctantly released a partial gun control budget for 20013/14 of $56,964,321 employing the equivalent of 501 full time staff.
It is little wonder why the Conservative government was trying to hide these embarrassing spending and staffing numbers. Since they scrapped the long-gun registry in 2012, the government would have preferred to let everyone think the cost of keeping intact almost all of the previous Liberal Government’s gun control regime was zero. This quote, from the 2012 National Post article entitled: Conservatives and enthusiasts cheer the end of the long-gun registry by then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews demonstrates why the public has every right to be confused: “It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”
This confusion is caused by the fact that between 1995 and 2006 successive Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative Parties repeatedly promised to scrap the entire billion dollar boondoggle while in opposition; thereby, returning Canada’s gun control laws to the more effective 1994 system that cost taxpayers just $15 million annually.
In May of 2006, Auditor General Sheila Fraser confirmed the Canadian Firearms Program was in fact a billion dollar boondoggle and also confirmed that the billion dollar price-tag reported failed to cover the all the costs of the program.
Following the tabling of her report in Parliament, MP Garry Breitkreuz posed five questions to the Auditor General regarding the true cost and effectiveness of the government’s firearms programs. Questions one and two dealt with effectiveness and three, four and five addressed the missing cost information on the firearms program and are summarized here:
- Comparing the effectiveness of previous gun control measures with current ones;
- Government’s failure to implement the 1993 recommendations on effectiveness by Auditor General Denis Desautels;
- An update on the status of “major additional costs” of enforcement costs and compliance costs identified as missing in Mrs. Fraser’s 2002 report on the firearms program;
- Asked if the Auditor General had seen two firearms studies that had been declared Cabinet secrets by the Liberal government, the 2003 Cost Benefit Analysis and the 1999 Economic Impact Study; and,
- Requested a better accounting of all the “indirect costs” incurred by other federal government departments.
The Auditor General’s response to the Member of Parliament on June 15, 2006 confirmed that no progress had been made by the government on any of the five issues he raised. See this link for a copy of the Auditor General’s letter.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, the annual costs for operating the Canadian Firearms Program is tens of millions more each year than the numbers released by the RCMP for 2013/14. On March 24, 2003 MP Garry Breitkreuz reported results from a Library of Parliament research paper on enforcement costs estimating: The average cost of a conviction for a non-criminal code incident under the Firearms Act is $3,107.The average cost of a conviction for the most serious offence under the Firearms Act would be $9,828.Therefore the Total Net Costs of 100,000 convictions would range between $310 million and $982 million.”
In June of 2003, the Library of Parliament released another report Compliance Costs of Firearms Licenses: Preliminary Estimates: “…a compliance cost range of $170 to $260 for a PAL [Possession and Acquisition Licence] application” and “a compliance cost range of $120 to $210 for a POL [Possession Only Licence] application.” Based on the 1.9 million firearms licensed issued as of April of 2003, the compliance cost to gun owners were estimated to be between $250,000,000 and $420,000,000.
On October 10, 2003, the Library of Parliament researchers completed another paper for MP Garry Breitkreuz, Compliance Costs of Firearms Registration estimating tens of millions of dollars in costs for gun owners to comply with the registration system. Here is an excerpt from this report:
NOTE #1: Missing from this table are additional compliance costs associated with the issuing of Authorizations to Transport (ATT) firearms.
As mentioned previously the Liberal government’s 1999 report on the economic impact of 1995 firearms regime were both declared a Cabinet secret. Maybe the reason the Liberals decided to keep their 1999 report on the economic impact of their firearms regime a secret is because maybe it showed, when all things are considered, firearms are a net benefit to society. See this 2004 Library or Parliament report: The Benefits of Firearms Ownership.
While in opposition (1993 to 2005) there was hardly a week went by when Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative MPs didn’t expose the flaws and overspending in the implementation of the Liberal’s now infamous Bill C-68, the Firearms Act. In 2002, Harper himself promised to repeal the entire piece of legislation, just as his predecessor, Preston Manning did in 1995.
Now might be a good time for the Conservative Government to answer all five of MP Garry Breitkreuz’s questions plus conduct an independent cost-benefit analysis and an economic impact report on Canada’s gun control legislation and make all this information public before the next election.
Original web source: Canada Free Press