Madam Speaker, I am delighted to participate in this debate today.
The issue for me on this bill is that we, as parliamentarians in coming to vote on this issue, need information. We simply do not have the information available to us to make an informed decision. The government, rather than providing the opposition, its backbenchers and Canadians with the necessary information to make that informed decision, has simply chosen to push Bill C-10 through for one reason or another. We owe it to our country, we owe it specifically to our children, to get answers from the government and the minister as to why the haste on this bill.
There are a number of issues I would like to see addressed. There are a number of substantive matters which I believe need answers and those answers have not been provided by the government.
The first thing that strikes me about Bill C-10 is that the bill is tailor-made for encouraging trafficking among youth. We are lowering the prohibitions in the law. We are basically stating that anywhere from 15 cigarettes to 30 cigarettes to 45 cigarettes, depending on how they are rolled, could be carried in a youth's jeans and sold at, say, $5 to $10 a piece, but we would have to catch that youth in an individual transaction in order to prove trafficking. It is very low level trafficking but at a large scale and it will make money. It may not necessarily mean that much money for the youth involved in the trafficking but the youth would probably make enough to support his or her own habit. That is the other aspect of the bill.
Bill C-10 would increase the influence of organized crime. It would perpetuate bigger profits. We are increasing demand through low level trafficking and all the other trafficking that goes to support it, and at the same time we are keeping the source of the marijuana illegal. What do we do? Prohibitions are down, but the profits are up. This would provide a wonderful opportunity for organized crime to expand. That is what Bill C-10 is all about.
A fundamental question would be why are we setting up the bill in this way, one which profits illegal enterprises and hurts our children? That is the consequence of the bill. I have not seen an answer. The Liberals have not refuted that that is the consequence of enacting this legislation.
The second question to which Canadians want an answer is the issue of impaired driving as a result of drug use. I spent a lot of my career in the attorney general's department as a prosecutor in constitutional law. Back in the late 1980s, the number of deaths and injuries on the highways was increasing.
Even back then the federal government was unwilling to take the necessary steps to stop this carnage. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and I am proud to say that Manitoba was a leader in this, we saw new initiatives to decrease impaired driving through administrative methods, administrative seizures of licences and administrative seizures of motor vehicles from those who drove after their licences had been suspended. These initiatives were tremendously successful.
The biggest challenge that Manitoba had was to convince other provinces that this was the right thing to do. It was not just the defence lawyers who were saying that it was unconstitutional and we should not do it, it was other attorneys general. The federal government was skeptical about it well into the 1990s. Yet if we look at the history of that initiative, most provinces have adopted that model, and to a good end. Fewer people are dying. Fewer children are being killed on the highways. Fewer adults are being killed and injured on the highways. This is a good thing, but we risk undoing the gains that we have made through hard, diligent work.
When we are encouraging an increase in the use of marijuana, the inevitable result will be an increase in the use of marijuana and driving. Why are we going down that road? We know that marijuana coupled with alcohol has a much more dangerous cumulative effect in terms of impaired driving. Having one marijuana cigarette and one or two beers is not the same as having three beers. There is a multiplier involved. The impairment is severe. We do not have an effective roadside screening device, or other devices, that will detect that.
Why are we proceeding at this time? We do not have those answers. Why are we putting hundreds and thousands of people's health and lives at risk by going down that road?
I do not have that answer. I cannot give that answer to my constituents because the government has failed to provide that information to me as their representative. How can I in good conscience tell my constituents not to worry, that the Liberals have some secret plan that will overcome this fear that their children may be injured on the highways and that their spouses may be killed on the highways? How can I tell them not to worry, that the Liberals have a secret plan?
That is not good enough. Canadians are entitled to know what response the government will put in place if the law goes into effect and impaired driving through the use of drugs is increased.
I have another concern to which I still do not have an answer. Many people view marijuana as a harmless drug. We could speak to virtually any drug addiction counsellor. Marijuana, especially with the THC content that it has now, is an extremely physically addictive drug. There is no debate about that issue any more. It is an addictive drug. I do not know on what scale it is addictive, whether it is the same as heroin, cocaine, crack or crank, but the guidance counsellors and addiction counsellors say that it is addictive.
We are not dealing with a harmless drug and yet we do not have a local or national strategy to deal with the problem. Why are these issues not being raised and answered so that I can go back to my constituents and say that the Liberals are prepared to allow their children to become addicted but that they should not worry because the Liberals have a secret strategy in place to address this, a national secret strategy, and we should trust them?
In view of the Liberals' record over the past couple of months, I cannot go back to my constituents and ask them to trust the Liberals. They are not worthy. They have not earned it. They have lost the trust of Canadians.
The other concern I have is the issue dealing with methamphetamine and the soaking of marijuana in methamphetamine. I do not know if members know how horrible a drug methamphetamine is. On the street it is called crank or white ice. American officials who I dealt with back in 1997 through 1999 warned Canadians that this was coming. It was devastating rural America. These law enforcement agencies told me that what crack did to urban black areas, crank or this white ice will do it to blue collar, white, rural, small town America and Canada. It is happening. It certainly happened in the United States. What crack did not complete, crank is finishing in our rural areas and in our small towns. It is a horrible problem.
I will tell the House what crank or methamphetamine does to people. People do not just go on a 12 hour run with methamphetamine. They go on 30 day runs where they virtually do not sleep for 30 days. Does anyone know how they go to sleep? They take heroine to calm down so they can go to sleep. It is a horrible addictive drug. Now organized crime is soaking marijuana with methamphetamine.
These labs are nickel and dime labs. They can be set up virtually anywhere. They are set up in hotel rooms, in rented rooms, anywhere. The ingredients are cheap and the process is simple. It is an explosive thing. It is a very dangerous thing to make methamphetamine. The explosions occur as quick as lightening and the death that follows from those explosions is immediate.
I have seen video tapes where the first responders go into a hotel room where the meth lab has been in the washroom and the explosion has occurred in the washroom. The person in the washroom is dead immediately. The person at the doorway staggers a step or two. The person on the bed who tries to make it to the door makes it about three or four steps. The gas kills immediately from those explosions.
We might say that those are the people involved in making this. Well, if we have no sympathy for those human beings, we should at least have sympathy for the first responders who open up the motel room door and are hit by that cloud. They die as surely as the drug dealers who are making the methamphetamine.
In 1997 and 1999, agencies in the United States told us that over 80% of all child welfare apprehensions in California were as a direct result of methamphetamine. There is an explosion in apprehending children from parents addicted to methamphetamine. I am certain that the rates would be similar in terms of crack use in urban America. Now we hear of the same problems developing in Canada.
The Americans back in those years were saying to us that they had outlawed the precursors, the ingredients to make methamphetamine, but the American drug dealers were coming across the border, especially from Montana, into Alberta, going into drug stores, literally cleaning out the shelves of over the counter drugs, boiling them down and using those ingredients back in the United States. We were oblivious to this problem. This problem is now hitting us with a vengeance.
One other area where methamphetamine has hit very hard in the United States, and it is finding its way into the same areas in Canada, is in our first nations communities. It has been a horrible problem in first nations communities across the United States and now it is coming here. We look at all the problems that some of our first nations communities have and now they are going to be met with this problem.
I am worried. We are moving in this direction with marijuana, marijuana soaked with methamphetamine which is addictive after one or two uses. It is almost certain that people will become addicted. Imagine kids trying marijuana soaked in methamphetamine, waking up and realizing they have a monkey on their backs, and it is a horrible monkey.
Where are the answers? The government has not provided me with those answers. How can I go back to my constituents and tell them not worry about these aspects because the Liberals have assured us that its drug policy will work? Will it work like their drug policy in east Vancouver, which now has the highest crime rate in property crime in North America second only to downtown Miami?
The people in organized crime are telling everyone that if they are caught with drugs anywhere in Canada they should waive those charges into British Columbia because they will never go to jail. The laws are not being enforced there. The judges are not enforcing them. The efforts of other judges in other areas of the country are being undermined as these charges are being waived into British Columbia, and judges there simply do not seem to care.
We need things like sentencing guidelines or minimum sentences to establish a floor right across the country so that if some judges do not care about our kids and our communities, at least Parliament says that they had better do their jobs by following these sentencing guidelines or these minimums. Why do we not see that in the bill?
Those are some of the questions that I have been asked by my constituents. How do I go back to my constituents and tell them to trust the government when the government simply does not have the answers? If the government has the answers it has not yet decided to share them with the opposition and with the people who we represent.