Cannabis Act

An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Sponsor

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Nov. 30, 2017

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-45.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.

The Act

(a) establishes criminal prohibitions such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis;

(b) enables the Minister to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis, as well as to suspend, amend or revoke those authorizations when warranted;

(c) authorizes persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis if they are authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains certain legislative measures;

(d) prohibits any promotion, packaging and labelling of cannabis that could be appealing to young persons or encourage its consumption, while allowing consumers to have access to information with which they can make informed decisions about the consumption of cannabis;

(e) provides for inspection powers, the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties and the ability to commence proceedings for certain offences by means of a ticket;

(f) includes mechanisms to deal with seized cannabis and other property;

(g) authorizes the Minister to make orders in relation to matters such as product recalls, the provision of information, the conduct of tests or studies, and the taking of measures to prevent non-compliance with the Act;

(h) permits the establishment of a cannabis tracking system for the purposes of the enforcement and administration of the Act;

(i) authorizes the Minister to fix, by order, fees related to the administration of the Act; and

(j) authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting such matters as quality, testing, composition, packaging and labelling of cannabis, security clearances and the collection and disclosure of information in respect of cannabis as well as to make regulations exempting certain persons or classes of cannabis from the application of the Act.

This enactment also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things, increase the maximum penalties for certain offences and to authorize the Minister to engage persons having technical or specialized knowledge to provide advice. It repeals item 1 of Schedule II and makes consequential amendments to that Act as the result of that repeal.

In addition, it repeals Part XII.‍1 of the Criminal Code, which deals with instruments and literature for illicit drug use, and makes consequential amendments to that Act.

It amends the Non-smokers’ Health Act to prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in federally regulated places and conveyances.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Nov. 27, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 27, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (recommittal to a committee)
Nov. 21, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
June 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
June 8, 2017 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (reasoned amendment)
June 6, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

December 7th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

As you're aware, the health committee worked very hard at studying Bill C-45, and you did tremendous work at the beginning of the summer. If my memory serves me well, you were here well before we were all here, and you heard from many witnesses over five long but very interesting days, I was told. We also have to recognize that the task force has met people from coast to coast to coast and provided some recommendations to government with respect to some areas that we should consider.

With respect to the area of taxation, as you're very well aware, Minister Morneau is meeting with his provincial and territorial colleagues next week, I believe, and the issue of excise tax is certainly going to come up with respect to where the profits are going to be going, or where the monies collected are going to be going. That is a conversation that is ongoing with them as well. I don't know if my deputy minister wants to add anything to that.

December 7th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for inviting me today to present the health portfolio financial overview of supplementary estimates (B) for the period 2017-18.

I am thrilled to be accompanied today by my deputy minister, Simon Kennedy; Dr. Theresa Tam, our chief public health officer; Carolina Giliberti, executive vice-president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Yves Bacon, CFO and vice-president of the corporate management branch of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; and Michel Perron, executive vice-president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the resources that we are requesting to maintain and improve the health needs of all Canadians.

The health portfolio continues to deliver on several priority initiatives for our government. In these supplementary estimates (B), the health portfolio's budget will increase by just over $297 million, raising its proposed authorities to date to $7.16 billion. This constitutes an increase of approximately 6% over our authorities to date.

This funding will allow the health portfolio to achieve several key objectives in several priority areas, which I will now briefly address.

Our government recognizes that Canadians expect the health care system to adapt to their changing needs. They also expect federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together to strengthen our health care system.

In August, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories agreed to a common statement of principles on shared health priorities. This common statement of principles outlines the priorities for federal investments in mental health and addictions as well as home, palliative and community care. It commits governments to work with the Canadian Institute for Health Information on a set of common indicators to measure progress in these areas. And it reaffirms a shared federal, provincial and territorial commitment to improve the affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of prescription drugs.

Every province and territory has also agreed to its share of $11 billion over 10 years in federal funding for home care and mental health. They have also agreed to the broader funding arrangements under the Canada Health Transfer, which will provide more than $200 million in federal health funding over the next five years.

Health Canada is now in negotiations with each province and territory to develop multi-year bilateral agreements that will outline the terms and conditions for the remaining funding over 10 years.

The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous people. Part of that commitment involves ensuring that first nations and Inuit have access to culturally appropriate health programs and services.

In December, the Government of Canada announced the formal creation of the new Department of Indigenous Services Canada. This is truly an important step in the government's transformation of services to indigenous peoples. By consolidating services into one department, we will be improving the sharing of information and strengthening our capacity to meet the needs of the people we serve.

Therefore, significant funding associated with indigenous programming included in these supplementary estimates will now fall under the purview of Minister Philpott.

I truly remain committed to supporting our government's important goal of improving indigenous health. Throughout this transition period, I will support my colleagues, Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott, to help ensure that first nations and Inuit continue to have access to high-quality health services and programs. I will also work to ensure that we maintain effective relations with our indigenous partners.

Another key file under the health portfolio is the legalization and regulation of cannabis. We know that the current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed organized crime to profit while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of our young people. This is why our government introduced Bill C-45 to legalize and strictly regulate access to cannabis.

In these supplementary estimates, we are requesting $39.1 million to develop, implement and administer a federal framework to legalize and regulate cannabis. This will include the licensing and oversight of producers of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes.

Another health priority that we are addressing is the opioid crisis. We continue to use all the tools at our disposal to address the growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids. As you know, there were more than 2,800 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada in 2016, and the preliminary data for 2017 suggests that the number of opioid-related deaths will exceed 3,000. These estimates include an increase of $6.2 million to address the crisis. This includes funds to support increased access to harm reduction measures and to prevent infectious diseases that may result from sharing drug-use equipment.

This is a complex health and social issue, and it will not be fixed overnight. This is why our government will continue to work with partners from across the country to take action on this public health crisis.

With respect to the impact of climate change on the health of Canadians, I am pleased that Budget 2017 allocated $471 million over five years to Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to address the health risks associated with a changing climate.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently accepted proposals for the Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund. These proposals will address gaps in knowledge related to climate-driven food-borne, water-borne and zoonotic infectious diseases in Canada. This includes preparing for and protecting Canadians from climate-driven infectious diseases, including Lyme disease and the West Nile virus.

Our government is also committed to promoting and improving public health and increasing vaccination rates across the country. Vaccination remains one of the most effective public health tools to protect Canadians, which is why we are allocating $1 million in funding towards an advertising and public education campaign to help Canadians make informed decisions on vaccinations.

Vaccines are effective and safe, and they play an important role in the protection of our health and of our communities. I am pleased that the government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, has endorsed new vaccination coverage goals and targets for reducing vaccine-preventable diseases by 2025.

These supplementary estimates reflect an increase of $7 million in the budget of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which will support the CFIA's important ongoing work in plant protection, animal health and food safety.

Safer food remains a top priority for the CFIA. While Canada already has one of the safest food safety systems in the world, our government is dedicated to improving that system so that Canadian families continue to have confidence in the food they eat.

The CFIA has increased its focus on prevention, preparedness and response to minimize risks to human, animal and ecosystem health. This includes plant protection and animal health, the first links in the food chain.

In conclusion, I am confident that the amounts noted in these estimates and the funds identified in Budget 2017 will allow the health portfolio to continue to support better health outcomes for all Canadians and to build a healthier country.

Thank you again to the committee for inviting us to join you today. I look forward to answering your questions.

Third ReadingAccess to Information ActGovernment Orders

December 5th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-58. Actually, that is what I was supposed to talk about, but the government has given me yet another opportunity to talk about its closed-mindedness and lack of transparency by moving another time allocation motion, this one for a bill that has to do with access to information. How ironic.

I am very glad to have the chance to speak after my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, who chose to talk about things that happened in the past. His eloquence and his legendary speaking skills in Parliament are well known to us all. There is a reason he has said more words in the House since the beginning of the session than any other member. He has been more vocal than anyone else during this Parliament as well as during the previous one. I believe that, more often than anyone else, he condemned the Conservative government's time allocation motions, which it did use to get its legislation through. The parliamentary secretary once had some choice words about democracy, the work of parliamentarians, and how outraged he was about time allocation motions.

This government was elected on a promise not to use time allocation motions, in order to allow for full debates. It was elected on a promise of basic openness and transparency. It promised it would be open at all times and would sometimes say no. The parliamentary secretary was the spokesperson of that election campaign.

What have we here today? In two years, this government has broken the previous government's record on using time allocation motions. It has used them on a number of very important files, including marijuana legalization, a subject that Canadians wanted to hear more about. Canadians represented by members on this side of the House wanted them to take the time to express their views on the matter. I am also convinced that many people represented by members across the way would have liked them to speak and fully explain their thoughts on Bill C-45 about marijuana legalization instead of repeating government talking points. Unfortunately, the government has used time allocation yet again, as it has done in so many other cases.

Speaking of flashbacks, the parliamentary secretary should also flash back to the eloquent speeches he gave in the last Parliament. They might inspire him to add to today's debate on time allocation motions. In his presentation, he also talked about the past Conservative government that saw the light on proactive disclosure. The Conservatives in government at the time adhered to that policy. Unfortunately, today's Bill C-58 takes us back to the dark ages. I am not the one saying this, it is the Information Commissioner. I will come back to her in a moment.

If the Liberals saw the light while they were in opposition, the light has unfortunately gotten steadily dimmer since they came to office, and we are heading for total darkness. The parliamentary secretary boasts that Bill C-58 will be open to periodic review. This morning I heard it called a “living document”. However, I wish the government had given life to something better, because right now, its living document seems doomed to a worthless existence.

We can already expect this bill to go nowhere in terms of delivering on the objectives and intentions that the Liberals announced during the last election campaign. It will not meet any of its objectives. Sadly, as far as those objectives go, this document is stillborn. Bill C-58 is not a living document. If it were, the government would have accepted the committee's recommendations. It would have agreed to amend its so-called living document from the outset in order to improve it and eliminate its dark and murky aspects by listening to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Unfortunately, all of the committee's recommendations were rejected.

That is not what I would call a living, open, and transparent document that can be improved upon. The government had already made up its mind, and it refused to amend and refine the bill into something that we on this side of the House could support.

The Liberals' approach is nothing new. Every time the Liberals introduce a bill on which we could have all worked together to move certain files forward for the good of Canada and Canadians, they find a way to sneak in some totally unacceptable legislation. They know very well that there will not be unanimity and the opposition will vote against the bill. They put things in that go too far or that do not make sense. Then they say that there are good things in the bill and they wonder why the opposition does not support it. It is because the Liberals overlook all the bad things. That is how the Liberals see things. They speak in general terms and have a massive public relations campaign, but when we start getting into the details, when we look beyond all the pretty words and pretty pictures, we find that there are many flaws. The quality and the resolution of the image are not always very good.

We have become accustomed to seeing a lot of shenanigans from the Liberal government. Since I was elected in 2015, I have seen that there are all sorts of ways of using the legislative process. The Liberals are trying to do things and they are especially trying to get out of the promises they made to Canadians in order to get elected in 2015. The Liberals realized that they could promise just about anything but that it is not so easy for a government to keep such promises.

I think the Liberals are going through a tough time right now because they made all sorts of promises in order to get elected. They promised Canadians just about anything, but now they are unable to keep those promises, so they have to find a way to get out of them. They decided to introduce a bill that does not accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish, thinking that would at least get people talking about the issue.

However, talking does not change anything. If all the government does is talk about an issue, if it does not change the laws, if it is not really held to account, and if it does not keep the promises that it made to Canadians, then Canadians end up with a government that does things that people did not elect it to do. That is what is happening today.

A number of things in Bill C-58 do indeed reflect Liberal promises. The Liberals made the following promise: “We will make government information more accessible.” Clearly, based on my reading of the bill and in light of what members of this cabinet have been doing, this government has no intention of increasing government openness and transparency. Instead, Bill C-58 actually undermines access to information in Canada. There is a great deal of opposition to Bill C-58.

This government claims to be open by default, and yet, the fiercest opposition to Bill C-58 is coming from the most loyal defenders of government transparency and access to information. What is wrong with this picture? We are talking about journalists, civil liberties groups, and yes, even the federal Information Commissioner. Indeed, the individual responsible for enforcing the legislation we are debating here today has criticized much of what is in Bill C-58.

In a report released in September, Ms. Legault said that Bill C-58 fails to deliver the fundamental reform the Access to Information Act needs. She said that the government's proposals actually introduce new barriers to the process Canadians must go through when requesting government documents. One would expect to hear that kind of thing from the opposition Conservative Party because our job is to criticize the government. However, that message is from the Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing Bill C-58.

The report is entitled “Failing to Strike the Right Balance for Transparency”. The title says it all. Here is what the report says:

In short, Bill C-58 fails to deliver.

The government promised the bill would ensure the act applies to the Prime Minister’s and ministers’ offices appropriately. It does not.

The government promised the bill would apply appropriately to administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts. It does not.

The government promised the bill would empower the Information Commissioner to order the release of government information. It does not.

Rather than advancing access to information rights, Bill C-58 would instead result in a regression of existing rights.

It is the sad story of a government that promised things it had no intention of doing, or a government that improvises and was clearly not ready to govern. Two years after the election, I think that any political observer can confirm what I am saying. The government was not ready and, now, it is improvising and trying to look like it is keeping its promises, which it is entirely incapable of doing.

Let me get back to the Information Commissioner’s special report. The tables at the end of the report are impressive. They include a comparative summary, as well as information about improvements to Bill C-58, the current situation and other items. In short, we can see whether the various elements of the bill are positive, or whether they constitute a regression.

On the topic of making requests, we have a regression; declining to act on requests, regression; declining to act on requests for institutions, positive. Let us be fair, there are positive elements. The Prime Minister’s Office and mandate letters are neutral; ministers’ offices, regression; government institutions, regression; Parliament, regression; courts, regression.

With respect to fees, the process was to be streamlined and the fees abolished, but the changes still constitute a regression. On the topic of oversight model, we have a regression; seeking representations from the Privacy Commissioner in the course of an investigation: regression. That is a lot of regression, and this is not just my opinion. Mediation will be positive if added. The publication of orders will be positive if added.

The examination of solicitor-client privileged records is a positive. We are not being partisan: the impact of the purpose of the Access to Information Act is unknown. On the transition to a new oversight model, we have a regression; and the impact of the mandatory periodic review is unknown.

I can see why the impact of a mandatory periodic review is unknown. Since we began considering Bill C-58, several good suggestions have been made to improve it. The government did not take any of these suggestions into account. I understand why the commissioner has certain questions concerning the purpose of the mandatory periodic review.

The report ends on a negative note. The changes to Info Source, or the requirement institutions have to annually publish certain classes of information, constitute a regression, and lastly, on the topic of institutions’ annual reports on the administration of the Access to Information Act, we have yet another regression.

We are not the ones saying this. It is in the report of the Information Commissioner of Canada, whose title speaks volumes: “Failing to Strike the Right Balance for Transparency”. This document made recommendations to the government for improving Bill C-58 so that it would meet the openness and transparency needs not of the official opposition, the NDP, the Bloc québécois, the Green Party, independent members of Parliament or Liberal backbenchers, but of Canadians.

Unfortunately, “Failing to Strike the Right Balance for Transparency” is the report card for Bill C-58. That is why the Liberal government had to put forward a time allocation motion today, to silence the hon. members of every opposition party here in the House. It does not want us to spend time repeating that the Information Commissioner said that it was way off the mark.

Mr. Speaker, if you knew everything that people were saying and all the articles that were being written about Bill C-58, you would also have a hard time understanding the government's intention. According to the cofounder of Democracy Watch, the bill constitutes a regression in that it allows government officials to decline requests for information if they believe that the request is frivolous or in bad faith.

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of a member of cabinet who is being asked questions about his villa in France and who decides that the request is frivolous or made in bad faith, since where he spends his vacation is no business of Canadians. This person would refuse to answer the questions. That is what Democracy Watch is denouncing.

Also, well-known defender of Canadian democracy Mr. Conacher says that public servants should not have this power, because they will likely use it as a new loophole to decline giving the public the information to which it is entitled. That is exactly what I have been saying since the beginning.

Bill C-58 also imposes new obligations on people requesting information. The act currently requires government institutions to make every reasonable effort to assist a person making a request, regardless of the information requested. However, under the proposed legislation, people requesting information will have to provide more specific information about the exact type of document they are looking for, the period in question and the exact subject.

In other words, if I want to know more about the elimination of a tax credit for diabetics and I do not give the exact name of the tax credit and the form, the people across the aisle may decline to give me the information. Still, as far as I know, Canadians have the right to know why the government eliminated the tax credits for diabetics. When a major change affects the lives of those who are the most vulnerable, Canadians have the right to know why the change was made and why the minister did not inform the opposition and all Canadians. I think that is logical.

It is as if the government wanted to find more ways of hiding the truth from Canadians. I do not dare say it, but this bill looks like another attempt at a cover-up on the part of the government, and yet, all it is doing is revealing to Canadians just how unprepared it was to govern. That is our assessment of Bill C-58.

It is probably for that reason that the government does not want to have to answer questions about tax reform, the Morneau affair, Netflix taxes, the small deficits they promised, NAFTA, China, home mail delivery, and the Prime Minister's vacation on a private island, which was talked about a lot. It is probably the reason why Bill C-58 is before us today and why we are subject to time allocation.

The promise of openness and transparency is a failed public relations exercise, and I would remind members that, according to the Information Commissioner, the government has failed to meet its goal to be transparent.

November 28th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Thank you.

During this committee's study of the cannabis act, Bill C-45, we learned that the federal government covers the cost of medicinal cannabis for Canadian veterans but not for first nations and Inuit populations. In your view, how does oral health coverage for registered first nations and recognized Inuit compare with other populations, such as veterans, for which the federal government provides oral health coverage?

November 28th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Quickly, Bill C-45, the cannabis legislation, just passed in the House. Sort of perplexingly, there's a ban in Bill C-45 on the importation and exportation of recreational adult-use cannabis products. There's no such ban on medicinal products. Given that the global industry for cannabis can be multiple billions of dollars, and it's an innovative, technological, intellectual property-laden industry in which other countries will start copying Canada, would you be a voice at the cabinet table for relaxing that so Canadian entrepreneurs can actually get first market access in this highly innovative and burgeoning lucrative field?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 6:55 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-45.

The House resumed from November-22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 27th, 2017 / 3:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to speak for the vast majority of the people in my riding in presenting a petition signed by over 9,000 members of the Cercles de fermières du Québec from across the province. These people are against the legalization of marijuana, and especially against Bills C-45 and C-46, which are rushed and sloppily drafted.

Given that political, police, and legal authorities say they are not ready to handle this situation, they are calling on the government to impose a moratorium on marijuana legalization until the provincial and territorial governments are properly equipped to oversee the legal sale of marijuana. A survey showed that more than 82% of my constituents are against legalization. Maybe the 40 Liberals across the aisle are not taking the time to—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, earlier this week, I voted to remove from Bill C-45 the provision in clause 9 that would penalize someone who, for example, passes a joint, at a party, to someone who turns out to be under the age of 19. Right now, in the legislation, it is a 14-year penalty for what is called non-commercial cannabis trafficking.

Does the member share my concern that people in the public may not be aware that this is a severe penalty for something that could well be an accident and that, given that the government has closed down debate, this cannot be fully aired?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, who gave an excellent speech. I agree with him completely.

Now I would like to hear what he thinks of this rush to implement Bill C-45, which is supposed to protect our young people and eliminate organized crime. If you read every single clause of the bill, there is nothing to guarantee that those objectives can be achieved.

Is there another goal here? His colleague asked him a question about the 2019 election. What are the Liberals' personal interests in this and are they willing to sacrifice our young people to win the election in 2019?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25. According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana under the age of 25.

The government cannot go through with this. Is this what we want for our children? I have said it before and will say it again. This is most certainly not what I want for my children. This is not what I want for my constituents and this is not what I want for Canadians.

For these reasons, the Canadian Medical Association and various other medical professionals recommended increasing the age a person can consume marijuana to 21 at the very least. As it stands, the government will fail our children if it goes through with this legislation. The government claims that this legislation will control the drug, but in reality it will allow its use to become out of control.

The vast majority of witnesses at the health committee spoke strongly against home grown marijuana in their testimony, including most medical groups and the police forces that appeared. Allowing home grown marijuana will most certainly not help us to regulate the industry. Further, police have said at the health committee that because they cannot see inside homes, they will be unable to enforce a plant per household quota. Even more concerning is that a large network of legal home grows could easily become an organized crime network, and this could happen next door to anyone.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. We are parliamentarians. We are representatives of our constituents and we need to ensure that all voices are heard. People are concerned about this drug. We as elected officials can and should provide guidance on this drug to reflect the views of all Canadians. When it comes to health and safety, Canadians deserve the best. This legislation is not what is best for Canadians.

There are only 218 days to go until the arbitrary date of July 1, 2018. Let me be clear: let us not rush through this legislation. We need to do what is right for Canadians. The provinces, the municipalities, and police forces are not ready to implement this legislation. I cannot support Bill C-45.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

I am pleased to rise today to once again speak to an issue that I, and many Canadians, care deeply about. I am thankful to be given the privilege to speak to Bill C-45 at third reading. This is a piece of legislation that addresses an issue very close to me. Today I am going to speak to why I oppose Bill C-45.

First and foremost, marijuana is a dangerous drug. The Liberal government should not push through this legislation. This is not what is right for Canadians. In theory, the purpose of this bill is to protect public health and public safety. In practice, Bill C-45 will not achieve this goal. One of the main concerns regarding this legislation is accessibility to drugs. Bill C-45 does not keep marijuana out of the hands of children. It allows it to be grown in households. If marijuana is in people's homes, what message is that sending to our kids? This legislation does not keep our children healthy and/or safe. I hear from concerned constituents almost every day who are confused about this legislation and are worried about what it means for their families. The Liberal government cannot recklessly continue to push through this legislation.

We know that marijuana is a dangerous drug. We know that it is damaging to the human body and addictive. We know it causes harmful effects on youth brain development and greater incidents of psychosis and schizophrenia. However, despite all of these side effects, the Liberal government is set to ensure that marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018.

I oppose this legislation entirely. I choose to listen to the concerns raised by the scientists, doctors, and law enforcement officials. I want to advocate for the voices that are not being heard with respect to this legislation, those who say it is being rushed through without proper planning or consideration for the negative consequences of such complicated legislation.

The passing of Bill C-45 would lead to negative repercussions at the global level. I have spoken before to this concern, but it is an important one. If this legislation passes, Canada will be in violation of three international treaties. Therefore, how can Canada hold other countries to account on their treaty obligations when Canada does not honour its own?

There are various issues regarding this legislation, which has led me to conclude that it is thoughtless, irresponsible, and rushed. The only goal it has is to reach the arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2018. The Liberal government is not listening to the medical professionals. It is not listening to our police forces. It is not even listening to the concerned Canadians, who believe that this bill is fundamentally flawed and is being rushed through Parliament in order to meet this arbitrary and irresponsible deadline. For these reasons, and many more, I am entirely opposed to this legislation. The science is clear that marijuana is dangerous.

I want to touch further on the issues with respect to our children and families. The last thing we want is youth consumption to increase. We do not want our children to have increased risks of mental health disorders. We should be setting up our children to succeed. When it comes to youth, I know we all want to ensure they are safe, able to have a better life, and have more opportunities than we did. Bill C-45 will not help us achieve this goal for our children. Allowing easier access to drugs will not leave our children better off.

Currently, the bill recommends the age of 18 as the federal minimum. However, the provinces are being given the power to set a higher age. This is problematic. If we talk to our southern neighbours, the United States, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana and set 21 as the minimum age. Ontario presently says it will set the minimum age at 19 and Alberta at 21. We know this is not safe. Countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, since our party has formed government, we have been working with the provinces and territories in preparation of Bill C-45. We continue to have high level meetings with provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders every three weeks in order to properly prepare for the royal assent of this bill. This comes as no surprise to Canadians and to provinces and territories. We work in close collaboration with our provinces and territories and we will continue to do so, all the way through the process of this legalization.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, New Democrats support the legalization of cannabis, and we are supportive of Bill C-45. However, we expected the Liberal government to be respectful of the concerns of the provinces.

I would like to ask the Minister of Health a simple question. Why, on the very day that the provinces were asking for more time, would the Liberal government impose time allocation on Bill C-45? Why would the Liberal government be so disrespectful?