To the shredder

The information commissioner has concerns about the government’s commitment to destroy records related to the gun registry.

Suzanne Legault told a Commons committee Tuesday that a federal bill to scrap the long-gun registry – and delete millions of records – violates the letter and spirit of the Library and Archives of Canada Act.  “It does raise major concerns in terms of transparency and accountability in general,” Legault said. “As Information Commissioner, I have serious concerns about the impact this bill will have on government information management.”

Various members on the government side of the House laughed when the NDP’s Jack Harris raised this in QP. Otherwise, here’s the transcript of his exchange with Vic Toews.

Harris. Mr. Speaker, Canada’s Information Commissioner has warned the government that its bill to scrap the long gun registry and delete millions of records would violate the letter and the spirit of the Library and Archives of Canada Act. This irresponsible and illegal move would get rid of records of not only shotguns and rifles but also semi-automatic and assault rifles. The association representing Canadian archivists wrote the Minister of Public Safety telling him that destroying records for political expediency and ignoring existing legislation sets a very dangerous precedent. Why are the Conservatives willing to break the law by destroying millions of records?

Toews. Mr. Speaker, we are changing the law in order to get rid of the long gun registry which is comprised of data that targets law-abiding Canadian citizens, including hunters, sport shooters and others. We have consistently opposed this wasteful and ineffective measure which does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We do not want to keep records on law-abiding citizens the way that the NDP does. We are carrying out the promise that we made to the Canadian people.

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