moved for leave to introduce Bill C-235, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians have died because of the opioid crisis. For the first time in 40 years, according to Statistics Canada, our life expectancy has stalled, and Statistics Canada attributes that to the opioid crisis. It is a national public health crisis.
This bill would delete the possession offence completely from the CDSA, not for trafficking or producing but for people who need our help. We should treat patients as patients and not as criminals. The bill's focus is fundamentally to end stigma.
Canada's public health efforts highlight the importance of ending the stigma that surrounds people who use drugs. Of course, the criminal sanction is the primary stigma in our society.
Decriminalization in other countries has increased the number of people seeking treatment by 60%, and it is supported in Canada by the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Public Health Association and public health experts across our country.
The bill, if passed, will save lives.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)