Madam Speaker, I should mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.
I rise once again to speak to Bill C-45 on the legalization of marijuana, on behalf of the millions of Canadians who would like to be standing beside me or in my place.
Let us not forget that the Prime Minister promised that legalizing marijuana would take street drugs out of the hands of children and take the production and sale of drugs away from organized crime. That is the line the government adopted to support this bill, but we can clearly see that it is completely false.
Last fall, we voted under the guillotine of time allocation, and naturally, given the Liberal majority, the bill was passed and sent to the Senate.
I am pleased to see that the senators felt free to propose the 46 amendments we are studying today. Interestingly enough, 29 of these 46 amendments are from the government. We have said all along that Bill C-45 is a botch job, that it would not work, and that we could not support it. Today we have proof, because the government itself had to make 29 amendments to a bill it rushed to ram down the throats of the members of the House of Commons.
Now the Senate, comprised mostly of government-appointed independent Liberals, agrees with the opposition and made a total of 46 amendments. Clearly, Bill C-45 was botched from the beginning, and we still do not understand the logic.
The Prime Minister appears to be living in a fantasy world. We often hear people taking about a magical land of unicorns and Care Bears. I think those people have a point, considering what is going on and how the Prime Minister sees and does things. It really is a fantasy land, and nothing we are being told makes any sense.
The government's official position was that Bill C45 was supposed to resolve the problem of marijuana trafficking controlled by organized crime and keep marijuana out of the hands of children, but it is really having the opposite effect. It is also going to cause other problems.
No, legalizing marijuana will not reduce access to it. Yes, organized crime will find ways around our laws. No, police officers cannot use magical Care Bear powers to fight drug-related violence and crime.
All that because the Prime Minister decided to make this an issue, to make it an electoral promise. He decided that this was urgent and that he had to legalize cannabis as quickly as possible without any respect for the concerns of scientists, doctors, or law enforcement officers.
What is more, the Prime Minister, who is supposedly a great friend to the first nations, did not even take into consideration their extremely serious concerns.
On top of all that, Canadian employers will have to deal with this situation. How will employers be able to monitor employees who work in manufacturing, in industries that require the use of dangerous equipment? We still do not have any answers on that. The government is rushing to legalize cannabis, but there are still unanswered questions.
The basic premise had to do with children. I will talk later about plants in homes, about how organized crime will get around the law, and about how children will be allowed to be in possession of marijuana. They will not be allowed to buy any, but they will be allowed to have it on them. It really does not make any sense.
Let's also talk about police officers. Over the weekend, a police officer gave me an example. He said that, under the existing legislation, when a police officer stops a vehicle and can smell marijuana, he or she has the right to search the vehicle. Most of the time, or quite often at least, when police officers conduct such a search, they find other drugs, such as amphetamines or cocaine, hidden in the vehicle. Having the authority to intervene because of the smell of marijuana often enables the police to discover hard drugs in such vehicles.
Three years ago, in Quebec City, where I live, the police stopped a tractor-trailer. They smelled drugs, searched the vehicle, and found a million dollars from the sale of drugs by organized crime hidden in it.
Now, police officers who smell marijuana will have to do some kind of yet-to-be-determined test to find out if a person is intoxicated, but they do not have the right to conduct other searches. These are real-life situations, not imaginary hypotheticals. Instead of helping police officers, the government is creating problems for them. Bill C-45 defies logic.
There is also the issue of market adjustment. Organized crime is not going away. Independent Liberal Senator Serge Joyal mentioned that, according to police, organized crime has already infiltrated Canada's medical marijuana market. He also said that 35 of Canada's 86 legal cannabis producers are financed in part by investors who use tax havens to hide their identity and that Cayman Islands investors have already pumped $250 million into the Canadian cannabis industry.
Despite the Liberals' attempt to get this bill passed as quickly as possible, senators made a number of amendments, including an amendment that would require cannabis companies to publicly disclose the identity of their shareholders. That is a reasonable solution that the opposition can get behind. This amendment would make it impossible for organized crime to use tax havens to infiltrate the Canadian cannabis market. That should have been in there from the get-go. I hope our friends on the other side of the House will accept this amendment.
As far as possession of marijuana is concerned, that will be legal. Retailers will be allowed to sell marijuana and people will have to be at least 18 to buy it, but children like mine, who are 13 and 14, will be allowed to have marijuana in their possession. At the risk of sounding unparliamentary, that seems stupid. They will not be allowed to buy it, but they will be allowed to have between 10 and 15 joints on their person. My son could have between 10 and 15 joints on him and that would not be an offence or a crime, but he would not be allowed to buy those joints. There are so many things like that that we do not understand and that do not work. We think that there are still too many inconsistencies in Bill C-45.
Then there are the property owners. In Quebec, the Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec, or CORPIQ, cannot fathom why we would pass a law that would let people grow cannabis plants in apartments in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. These plants need humidity to grow. People will grow them in closets and are going to do all sorts of things that will damage the apartments and cause problems for the owners, not to mention the issue of the odours. There still remain unanswered questions.
In that regard, I would like to sincerely thank the governments of Quebec and Manitoba, which resolutely refused to let people grow cannabis at home. However, the Prime Minister of Canada told the provinces that they could not prevent people from doing it. Now that the bill has passed and Quebec is saying no, while the federal government says yes, there could be a constitutional challenge over pot plants. Society has far more important problems. We do not need a constitutional battle over pot plants grown at home. I hope Quebec will continue its fight, and I will be supporting it 100%.
This issue is even creating problems at the Canada-U.S. border. The bill does not address those Americans who may travel to Canada with marijuana on them, thinking that it is legal. According to the legislation, when a Canadian border services officer stops an American who is in possession of marijuana, the traveller must be turned back to the United States, where he or she will be charged. Similarly, Canadians who are not careful and who are in possession of cannabis when they are stopped at the U.S. border will also be charged. This problem has not been fixed.
According to a report from US. Homeland Security, there is a significant problem with drugs being trafficked from Canada to the U.S. Nothing has been fixed.
I could have used much more time, but I can say that I am very happy with the Senate's work. I hope that the government will at least listen to reason here.