Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House this evening and debate Bill C-475. It is a bill that is close to my heart. I had the opportunity to bring forward a bill that was very similar to it in the last Parliament. I appreciate the support I received from members of all parties. It demonstrates that we recognize this issue affects communities regardless of where they are located in the country. This is not just an issue that results in harm to young people. Every community is harmed when young people, or people of any age, become addicted to drugs.
I want to thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for bringing Bill C-475 forward.
Before I go on, I thought I would take a moment to thank both the member and his constituents. I am hopeful that some of them are listening to us tonight. Of course many of them are still involved in the efforts they have been involved in over the last number of years, preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics.
The people in my colleague's community made us proud in their willingness and their hospitality as they hosted the Olympics. They are now getting ready to host some of the venues for the Paralympic Games as well. We appreciate those people for putting their best foot forward, for demonstrating what it is to be Canadian in terms of hospitality and truly demonstrating to the participants, the people who were covering the games as well as those who watched the games, just truly what it is to be Canadian.
We thank the people of the member's constituency and the people in surrounding communities for their great efforts in hosting the world over the last couple of weeks and for hosting the world over the next couple of weeks.
It is truly a wonderful opportunity for me to support the bill. Again, I would reiterate the fact that I brought forward a similar bill. This is an issue about which I continue to be passionate. My bill went all the way to the Senate, but unfortunately it stalled there. An election happened and my bill was not brought into force. However, I believe this is an issue that members of Parliament of all stripes can get behind and support.
We had an opportunity to listen to members of the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois as they talked about some of the issues surrounding drugs and how they affected communities from coast to coast.
The national drug strategy is of importance to our government. We have put a lot of resources into it. We have provided millions of dollars toward educating young people about the harm and effects of drug use.
Our government has put additional resources into treatment and toward helping those people who are addicted. We also put in place supports for people who combat drug proliferation in communities. We have given more resources to the RCMP as well as to police forces across the country. These are partnerships that are essential in combating the proliferation of drugs in our communities.
The thing about crystal meth, or methamphetamines, and ecstasy is they have a characteristic that is different than some other drugs in their addictive quality. All of us in the House need to recognize crystal meth and ecstasy are not drugs that can easily be considered to recreational drugs and that they do not have consequences or harm.
One of the reasons I became involved in the cause to try to rid our communities of methamphetamines was because of the addictive nature of these drugs and the impact they were having in my constituency, on people of all demographics, disproportionately harming first nations communities and also harming people in all walks of life. Young students in high school, college and university were being impacted by this. I saw how this impacted professional people, those who had experimented with the drugs and were struggling with addiction as a result of it.
As I looked into the issue more, what was alarming to me was Canada had kind of stalled in its efforts to get a hold on the issue of methamphetamines. We had moved from being an importing nation of methamphetamines to being an exporting nation of these drugs. It really was of concern to me, so I started to look into it more and more.
What I saw was that what made us different from other countries that had moved from being exporting nations to importing nations was the legislation surrounding the issues that we are talking about today and the issues that are actually combined in this bill in terms of giving police forces the opportunity and the mechanisms to go into especially organized crime that proliferate these clandestine labs and just put huge amounts of these harmful drugs out into our communities.
Most recently, the United Nations has commented on Canada's place in terms of the fight regarding the proliferation of methamphetamines. We are not doing a great job. It is something that I felt was important for us to address as parliamentarians. I see members of all parties supporting this, and I appreciate that. I commend them for that. I am hoping that they will give speedy passage to this bill in committee.
What we do not want to see happen again is this bill being stalled out in some other place and then not have it come into force. I think Canadians from coast to coast would come together in support of this measure. I think we as members of Parliament representing Canadians coast to coast need to represent that alarm and those concerns.
Every time I go into classrooms, of which I make a regular policy of doing, I talk about my job and I talk about the harm of methamphetamines, crystal meth, the addictive qualities and the destruction that these drugs can cause in the lives of young people, and I get an education. I often hear from students who are in grades 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 telling me that they are fully aware of where to get methamphetamines, crystal meth and ecstasy in their communities. I am also learning about some of the marketing tactics of the organized criminals who are actually selling this stuff.
What I found interesting, and when I say interesting, I find it very alarming, was that they are now actually putting this highly addictive drug into a candy form to sell to young people. That is one of the most despicable, most startling things that I as a parent have come to learn, that we have one of the most addictive drugs being marketed by organized crime and directed at young kids.
What I am also learning from people who are involved in combating organized crime is that crystal meth and methamphetamines are actually being cut into other drugs because of the addictive qualities of methamphetamines, making other drugs more addictive by putting in the methamphetamines.
I sometimes hear the suggestion that there are certain strategies that should be employed in terms of addressing this. I just want to warn those people who would promote the idea of harm reduction that this is one of those drugs that we should have a zero tolerance for in our communities. Because of the addictive quality, because of the harm that it does to young people and in terms of the destruction that it does to the human body, especially the young human body, this is one of those drugs that we should have a zero tolerance for in our communities.
We should do everything that we can to remove the possibility of people, especially young people, getting their hands on this drug.
I would implore all members to consider becoming fully educated about this particular drug, the ramifications, the characteristics, the addictive qualities of this drug, and the impacts that it is having in our communities from coast to coast.
There are several things that are interesting about this bill. I know they have been highlighted. This bill is actually unique in its approach to combating a particular drug. There are a number of reasons that we need to do that. One of the things that we have to recognize is that methamphetamines are in fact a synthesized drug. It is something that is manufactured in the place and oftentimes in the communities where it will be sold. So it takes a different approach.
It is not something that has to be grown and it is not something that can be imported, so police forces do not have opportunities to intervene in the transfer or creation of this particular drug. From its production point to its sale point is often a matter of hours, especially in highly organized criminal organizations. That is something that is important for us to recognize and for us to realize as we approach the bill.
I commend the hon. member for his work on this. I thank him for taking up the cause and continuing to advocate to protect our young families and young children, as well as people of all ages. I support him in this and hope that all members will support him.