In 1995, when Jean Chretien’s Liberal government introduced Bill C-68 creating a long-gun registry, Canadians were promised it would lower crime and only cost taxpayers $2 million dollars. We now know, this wasteful program cost Canadians an estimated $2 billion dollars.
In 2002, the CTF presented Auditor General Sheila Fraser a petition with over 14,000 signatures encouraging her office to audit the program. She did, twice. And her findings revealed astounding waste.
In 2006, the CTF collected another 28,000 petition signatures this time delivering to then Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day calling on the federal government to shut down the long-gun registry and reallocate budgeted gun registry spending to front-line policing and effective controls against illegal firearms
In 2009, a private members bill surfaced – C-391 – that would kill the registry, while still requiring people who wanted to purchase long guns to be licensed.
The CTF organized its supporters to contact MPs from all parties in the minority Parliament to urge the bill’s passage. Indeed, the bill survived second reading with nearly one-third of the NDP caucus voting in favour. The CTF appeared before committee, bought radio ads, wrote commentaries, organized on social networks and conducted dozens of media interviews but ultimately came up short on the bill’s final reading.
Fortunately the Conservatives campaigned on reintroducing the bill and shortly after being elected a majority government, introduced Bill C-19 that received Royal Assent on April 5, 2012 and brought this 17 year battle to an end.