Mr. Speaker, I assure the member that the Minister of Health does take his question seriously and if he answered, as suggested, it is because he was caught in the adrenalin of question period.
Health Canada and its partners have instituted strong measures to penalize those who prey on vulnerable populations and eagerly provide them with methamphetamine.
On August 10 of this year, the Ministers of Health, Justice and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness jointly announced, as part of Canada's drug strategy, that the Government of Canada had increased the maximum penalty for possession, trafficking, importation, exportation and production of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine has been moved from schedule III to schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. As a result of this rescheduling, the penalty for producing and trafficking in meth has increased from a previous maximum of 10 years to the possibility of life imprisonment.
On June 11 of this year, Health Canada pre-published its intention to amend the Precursor Control Regulations in the Canada Gazette, part 1.
The key ingredients in the illicit production of meth, pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are already controlled. Under these amendments, an additional four substances often used to produce methamphetamine will be added to the list of controlled chemicals.
The amendments will add red phosphorus and hydriodic acid, two of the substances included in private member's Bill C-349, to part I, schedule VI to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Placing them in part I will cause them to be regulated as class A precursors and subject to requirements, such as licences and permits.
These amendments will make it an offence to even possess class A precursors, if they are to be used in the illicit production of controlled substances such as methamphetamine.
Canada's federal regulatory process requires a 75 day comment period and further consultations if needed before these amendments can be approved by Treasury Board.
It is expected these amendments will be registered and published in the Canada Gazette, part II later this fall.
In addition to regulatory amendments, under its alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation program, Canada contributes $14 million annually to participating provinces and territories to improve access to effective drug treatment and rehabilitation services.
With the drug strategy community initiatives fund, Health Canada contributes $9.5 million annually to facilitate the development of community based prevention and harm reduction solutions to problematic substance abuse.
In conjunction with the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Canada is planning a national rollout of the prevention, awareness and community education training program on crystal meth.