Madam Speaker, it is the position of the New Democratic Party and has for decades been our position that we need dramatic reform to Canada's criminalized approach to cannabis. We are in favour of legalizing cannabis. We are in favour of this legislation but we also want to do it right. We cannot change 100 years of criminal, social, and cultural attitude toward a substance like cannabis without taking great care.
The McLellan report was very clear that the federal government had to work with all levels of government, provincial, municipal, and indigenous in order to have a successful rollout.
This legislation, while better than the status quo, has significant gaps. We heard this at committee. It has serious holes. It does not deal with pardons.
Indigenous representatives testified at committee. Chief Isadore Day told us there has not been any negotiation or discussion with indigenous people whatsoever prior to this and they are going to have to apply the bill on indigenous reserves and bands.
The hon. justice minister just said that the government is concerned about getting marijuana out of the hands of organized crime and protecting children, yet the bill would not legalize edibles. The bill would have kept it illegal, period, but for pushing by New Democrats. It will be legal within one year of the bill becoming law. The government is content to leave edibles and concentrates in the hands of organized crime marketing to children. This is their big gap.
Finally, the bill perpetuates the criminalized prohibitionist approach to cannabis.
In 2015, when the government promised Canadians it would legalize cannabis, why did it not tell them that after the bill became law there would be more cannabis offences in the Criminal Code after legalization than before?
Why will the government not work with provinces and municipalities that are asking for it to slow this process down instead of putting its own political interests ahead of providing good sound legislation in this country that really would protect children?