Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not a formal member of the committee, but she frequently provides great input. I know her riding of Vancouver East has issues with respect to trafficking and substance abuse. I certainly appreciate her input and perspectives, although as she quite rightly points out we are not always in agreement.
I have read the letter. As the member will probably recall, Chief Vernon White from the Ottawa Police Service appeared in committee and he was very supportive. He indicated in response to a direct question from me that this is a targeted response to what he thinks is a very serious problem in society.
When talking about evidence, I remember he quoted the situation of a person with an addiction problem living under the Wellington Bridge who may or may not be trafficking to feed his or her habit. Chief White was quite specific that this instance would not constitute the type of evidence that would in his view, and based on experience in his department, lead to a charge that would entail a mandatory minimum sentence.
Although the offence of trafficking includes the sale of quite small amounts, police have indicated that in the appropriate circumstances they will use their discretion not to lay charges against individuals who should not in their view be subject to the minimum sentence.
I am glad my friend talked about treatment programs. We believe drug treatment programs are important. I spoke about the drug treatment courts in my comments. Last September, we announced $10 million for two new treatment initiatives. On January 15 of this year, we announced $408,000 over two years for the McCreary Centre, $342,000 for the Aboriginal Youth F.I.R.S.T. program and $308,000 for the College of New Caledonia's youth outreach program. That is all in Vancouver. I am assuming some of that is in her riding of Vancouver East.
This government takes drug treatment very seriously.