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Gun registry needs $170M: Latest cash request puts total near $1B
Author: Tim Naumetz
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon will ask Parliament today to approve roughly $170 million more in funding for the federal firearms registry, bringing total spending on the controversial scheme to nearly $1 billion.

The move is aimed at paying bills that have been mounting since the government withdrew a funding request for the program last December, as well as for costs over the next year.

The new funding includes about $110 million to support the firearms program over the next 12 months and roughly $60 million to cover operations that continued despite the withdrawal of supplementary spending estimates in December.

The figures, contained in main and supplementary spending estimates that Treasury Board is scheduled to table on behalf of all federal departments, confirm Auditor General Sheila Fraser's controversial prediction last December that the costs of the program would balloon from an original 1995 forecast of $2 million to more than $1 billion by 2005, despite Mr. Cauchon's promise to rein in spending.

A general outline of the cost estimates contained in the Treasury Board estimates are included in two reports that a private-sector consultant submitted to Mr. Cauchon last month.

Despite a reduction in anticipated spending for the last few months, the new funding requests are guaranteed to spark another round of heated debate in the Commons before MPs vote on the supplementary estimates as well as the main estimates.

Liberal MP Roger Gallaway, one of several government backbenchers who staunchly oppose the firearms registry, said "anything is possible at this point" when asked if he intended to oppose the new funding requests.

Mr. Gallaway earlier this month claimed that Mr. Cauchon had violated the privileges of all MPs by continuing the firearms program operations after the withdrawal of the funding request.

Commons Speaker Peter Milliken rejected Mr. Gallaway's argument, saying that while the House agreed to withdraw the request, it did not agree to suspend the program.

Mr. Cauchon has refused to say exactly how the Canadian Firearms Centre, a Justice Department branch that administers the program, has been supporting its operations since December.

He has said only that the department is using an accepted system of "cash management" to run the system and indicated bills have been going unpaid until the last minute before they are due.

In the Commons yesterday, Treasury Board President Lucienne Robillard appeared to back up claims by the Justice Department that it has not contravened disclosure rules for spending on major projects, despite Ms. Fraser's allegation last year that the department has hidden hundreds of millions of gun program costs from Parliament.

Ms. Fraser repeated during testimony at the Commons public accounts committee this week that the department ignored more stringent spending disclosure guidelines it should have followed after Treasury Board designated the firearms program as a major Crown project.

This article appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on February 26, 2003.
 

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More "Pocket Change" for the Regi

I'm just curious. If this program is costing this much with "minimal compliance" how much is it going to cost with full compliance?
 

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More "Pocket Change" for the Regi

The "net" cost was supposed to be 2 million. Now they say the ANNUAL cost will be around 76 million. :evil: :evil: :evil:
 

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More "Pocket Change" for the Regi

And after we spend a billion and a half or so, it will still be of NO benefit. Not one life will have been saved or true criminal imprisoned because of it, and no criminal will register even a single gun.
 
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