The federal government has introduced a bill that could finally give Quebec data from the federal gun registry that was scrapped by the Conservatives five years ago.
Federal Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale tabled the legislation in the House of Commons today that would give the province records if it requests them within 120 days.
The data has been sealed in court pending the outcome of various court challenges stemming from the Conservatives' scrapping of the registry.
Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault had also launched a constitutional challenge of one part of a 2015 omnibus budget bill that retroactively exempted long-gun registration records from Access to Information and Privacy Act legislation and backdated the change to 2011.
Goodale's bill would restore the application of the Access legislation to those records, and allows the records to be shared with the province of Quebec.
Data outdated, incomplete
It's not clear now how reliable the data is, since the records are now outdated and incomplete.
Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux believes it will be of some use.
"It's not like we couldn't do anything if we didn't have it, but it will be useful," he said.
The Quebec provincial government began to create its own gun registry about a year ago. MNAs voted 99 to eight in favour of requiring all firearms in the province to have a serial number, which will then be kept in a database.
The Quebec registry, which is expected to cost $17 million to create plus $5 million a year to operate, is expected to be up and running next year.
All other records from the former federal gun registry, except for those related to Quebec, have been destroyed.