moved for leave to introduce Bill C-460, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
He said: Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians continue to die because of the ongoing opioid crisis. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, its most recent numbers indicate that since January 2016, over 11,000 Canadians have died. For the first time in decades, our life expectancy in Canada has stalled, and it is because of the opioid crisis. It is a public health crisis, and public health experts across the country are unanimous in calling for drug use to be treated as a health issue. That means expanding harm reduction and treatment options, which this government has done, but it also means removing the criminal sanction for low-level possession, because we know that the number one stigma associated with seeking treatment is the criminal sanction.
It does not mean removing the criminal sanction for producing or trafficking, but for personal use by the very people we want to help, it means treating patients as patients and not as criminals. That is exactly what this bill seeks to do by removing the criminal sanction for low-level possession. It is a necessary next step in following the evidence to save lives. If I am re-elected, it will be the first bill I reintroduce.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)