New Brunswick Liberal MP Karen Ludwig says discussion continues to be important on a bill that would tighten Canada's fire arms — despite the fact that she voted to adjourn the debate in the House earlier this week.
Bill C-71, tabled March 20 by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, includes new provisions to "enhance" existing background checks for those seeking a firearms license.
Under the current legislation, when a person applies for a firearm licence, RCMP does a background check that focuses primarily on the five years immediately preceding the application. The proposed change would include a lifetime history check.
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'I wanted a healthy debate'
Karen Ludwig, chair of the New Brunswick Liberal caucus and MP for New Brunswick Southwest, voted to extend the debate Monday. Later in the week, she voted to adjourn the debate.
"It's been my position all along … I really believe that information is power and I wanted a healthy debate," she said.
On Monday, she said she felt that there was "a full, robust discussion" still to be had, despite the fact that her party voted to adjourn the debate.
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On Tuesday, she said she no longer felt debate in the House was the best route and voted with her party for the bill to go to committee.
"I was all set to to go again, I thought okay, I'm ready, I've talked to a lot of people, I'm a person that's consulted heavily in my riding on a variety of issues," Ludwig said.
"I was ready to go and then the suggestion was that we were going to have another marathon vote of filibustering put forward by the Conservatives and that would have collapsed debate."
'Air of suspicion'
Ludwig said she's heard from many of her constituents about the bill. Some feel it doesn't go far enough while others feel it has gone too far, she said.
She said she's spoken extensively with the sport and hunting community.
"They've raised the air of suspicion. They've been through the long-gun registry that was expensive, inefficient and put law-abiding gun owners in a position they should never have been in," she said.
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But she's also hearing from people who are looking at the debate around gun control in the United States, and feel its important for Canada's laws to be robust.
Ludwig said while she doesn't sit on the committee that will review the legislation, she will be putting forward names of people from her riding to speak to the issue.
"That's really important, that not only are we bringing those views forward to the minister before the legislation was drafted, but that we continue to do that," she said.
"Even though it's going to committee, that's not a fait accompli."
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