Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's response to my latter issue and I accept what she says as being accurate. Disinformation was prevalent across the country and caused undue alarm to a lot people unnecessarily. I am pleased she has pointed out how that was dealt with. However, I do not accept quite so easily her latter comments that there has been a recommendation to have a broader approach to combating drug abuse in our country.
Perhaps the record will show that this is the crucible where critical debate takes place in Canada. This is the centre where government and on occasion opposition members through opposition days and perhaps even private members' initiatives bring forward the issues we feel are important. By and large, we acknowledge that the government sets the agenda for most of what goes on in this House. But I do not recall in all my years in Parliament ever having a debate on the fundamental causes of substance abuse in our country. In other words, yes, debate takes place on specific pieces of legislation, but I am talking about the fundamental causes of drug abuse, like poor housing opportunities, poor educational opportunities. We all know the causes, as opposed to the symptoms.
I appreciate what my hon. friend is saying. I do look forward to a time when we say to ourselves in this country that passing legislation, imposing stiffer sentences, and getting tough on drug dealers is only a small step to resolving the growing substance abuse in our country.
I was disturbed recently when I was attending a number of junior high schools in the constituency of Kamloops. After the formal talks and presentations I arranged a lunch get-together with students who were interested in talking about issues. In every high school concerned students raised the matter of drug abuse in their schools. These were junior high schools, not senior high schools. Their views were that large percentages of the students were becoming regular drug users, and of course cigarette use was leading this initiative.
As parliamentarians, all of us are concerned about this issue. Are we doing anything to come to grips with the fundamental causes of this growing use of drugs in our society? I think not. As a matter of fact, if I were going to be truthful with myself today I would say that we are taking a number of steps that will enhance drug abuse in the future, will make life more miserable for more Canadians, tougher for more Canadians, and will abandon more young people
as a result of policies that are being considered or brought forward in these times.
I appreciate the minister's intervention but perhaps in six months we will look at the record of Parliament and ask ourselves how much time we spent as elected representatives dealing with the fundamental causes of drug abuse in our country.
That is the way we will measure whether we are taking this seriously.