Court filing alleges Conservative duplicity in handling gun registry data

WATCH: Liberals accuse Feds of pressuring RCMP to illegally destroy documents

OTTAWA — A Federal Court filing alleges the Conservative government was pushing for the speedy destruction of long-gun registry records even as it was promising the information commissioner that it would preserve the data.

The duplicity alleged in the affidavit by investigator Neil O’Brien goes right up to the Prime Minister’s Office, and helps sets the stage for a constitutional challenge.

READ MORE: Firearms in Canada: How do you get a gun?

At issue are changes buried in the government’s latest omnibus budget bill that retroactively rewrite the rules for dealing with registration records of non-restricted firearms.

The unprecedented legal changes will exempt and nullify not just gun registry data from the Access to Information Act, but all documents related to the registry’s destruction, as well as removing the jurisdiction of federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault, the police and the courts.

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READ MORE: Quebec vows to proceed with own gun data after Supreme Court orders registry destroyed

Legault is fighting in court to preserve what’s left of the Quebec registry documents, and the legal filings show why she doesn’t trust the government to honour its commitments.

The affidavit cites emails and memos that show the public safety minister’s office, the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister’s Office itself all pushing bureaucrats to quickly destroy the gun database — even though the minister had promised, in writing, to preserve the data while Legault completed her investigation.

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