Mr. Speaker, there really is a complete lack of funding, whether it is a drug prevention program or a drug treatment program or an enhancement for the community so that it has the capacity to come up with innovative solutions.
We know the answer lies in strengthening a family, strengthening a community, strengthening a neighbourhood, but they often find the funding is short term.
It goes from project to project; it is project-based. Once the project is finished, even though it is tremendously effective, creates a lot of goodwill in the community, brings lots of hope and excitement and is in the community, maybe after a year, perhaps after two years, all of that goodwill, all of those effective strategies completely go to waste. Five years later maybe the community is offered yet another pilot project funding.
There is absolutely no opportunity for administrative support, to learn from successes, and to take the best practices of all these wonderful neighbourhood and community-based successful programs. They are not used collectively to create a permanent long term strategy. That is not done because of a complete lack of leadership in drug prevention programs and strategies here in Ottawa.
There are also many other things, even something as simple as a 24-hour crisis hotline for people who are abusing drugs. If I notice that my teenage daughter or my teenage son may be abusing something and getting into dangerous territory, what do I do as a parent? Am I able to call a 24-hour hotline? Is there a crisis intervention strategy across the country? No. So parents are often left alone, struggling to figure out what to do.
If there were mandatory minimum sentences, we would see some teenagers, because they just got caught up with the wrong groups of people, gangs or whatever, facing huge criminal charges, and these could be first-time young offenders. They need an opportunity for a second chance. Once they go to jail, they learn to become hardcore criminals. They have a criminal record. They graduate from jail and become completely trapped in that cycle of poverty, drug use and violence. That is a completely wrong approach.