Ottawa paves the way for Quebec to get data from defunct federal gun registry

Quebec may finally get access to data from the defunct federal long-gun registry.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled a bill in the Commons on Friday that will allow the province to look at information from the registry if the legislation passes in the Commons and the Senate.

But the minister said he does not know whether the data is still useful given the registry was abolished in 2012 by the Conservative government, which considered it obsolete.

Quebec fought the Tory government all the way to the Supreme Court to obtain the data related to long-gun owners in the province but lost in March 2015.

The province took steps last year to creating its own registry.

Goodale warned the data may no longer be very pertinent.

"The bill allows us to provide Quebec with access to the data,'' he told reporters.

"Whether that data is actually useful to Quebec remains to be seen. It is now of course several years out of date and it may or may not be in a form that is useful from the point of view of the Quebec government.

"We had legal impediments put in the way by the previous government that made it impossible to share that information unless we changed the law. So this now allows for that legal change.''
  
The National Firearms Association criticized the introduction of Bill C-52 in the Commons.

"This appears to be nothing more than a work-around for the federal Liberals,'' said association president Sheldon Clare.

"They said they wouldn't bring in a long-gun registry, but they didn't say they would get the provinces to set up their own. This is a huge betrayal to all of the people who believed they were being honest."

"All firearms owners and users in this country need to come together to stop this nonsense before it is too late.''

The Supreme Court ruled two years ago Ottawa had the right to order the destruction of gun-registry data that Quebec had coveted for years.

The Harper government abolished the registry in 2011 as part of a long-standing campaign promise.

It was created by the Liberals in 1998 in response to the murder of 14 women at Montreal's Ecole polytechnique in 1989. 

They were targeted by a gunman because of their gender.