It's in keeping, I think, with the fact that this committee didn't hear from a single 16- to 24-year-old that.... People our age are discussing what's reasonable or not currently with 19- and 20-year-olds and with 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds who have parties.
It's all well and good, Mr. McKinnon, to take that tough-love, hard-core approach, but here's the reality of parties: they're probably all drinking. You might have a 19-year-old who's had four beers. There may be someone who looks much older than 18 but is 17 and a half and might say, “Come on, I don't have my ID here.” There's peer pressure that goes on. What I'm saying is, do you really want to subject that person in that circumstance to up to 14 years in prison with some sort of hard, moralizing judgment?
I mean, all this amendment does is leave the defence open, and a judge could make that ruling. In other words, I say that it should be a defence that the accused believed someone was over 18 years of age. If they can satisfy a judge of that, then it should be left open to that and the system.
It's a huge gap, in my opinion, in the entire committee study of this bill that we didn't hear from anybody under the age of 30. Maybe if we had.... Certainly, we didn't from the 16- to 24-year-olds. Although there was a heck of a lot of testimony about how important that group was and how important it is that we know how to communicate with them, nobody thought to ask one. Maybe we could have asked those people how reasonable or not it is to have a section like this, where a 19-year-old is dealing with a 17-year-old.
Maybe that would have helped to inform this committee, but from what I can remember of high school.... Hammering a 19-year-old with a jail sentence for distributing marijuana to someone who's 17 and not even allowing them the defence of saying that they believed the person was over 18.... Maybe they had friends around who said they knew the person was over 18. Maybe their best friend vouched for them. There are all sorts of things that could lead to a reasonable belief that a person is over 18. I just don't think that we should take that defence away.