House of Commons Hansard #235 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned. One thing is very clear, and the facts support it. The hon. member talked a lot about children and young people. Currently, 20% of youth are using marijuana. Over 20% of young Canadians are saying they are using it. The strategy we currently have is not working.

She talked about investing in public education. We are investing $45 million over five years in public education. She said she has not seen any of this. In Ontario, in my riding in Kingston, all summer long I heard ads on the radio promoting safe use of cannabis, anticipating the introduction of this legislation.

Therefore, I would argue that she is wrong. Public education is already working, because we know that is how we are going to successfully get through to young people, so that we see a significant reduction in usage.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure there was a question there, but he said there was over $45 million available to help with education. I would actually love to see those documents tabled, if he would not mind, because if those are federal dollars, I would like to know how he is accessing them outside of what is stated in the budget. I believe our responsibility is to hold the government to account with regard to the budget, and the budget does not give that number. If they are eliciting funds through some backdoor channel to get education to his riding—as he highlighted, it is obviously going to the kids in his riding, not to the rest of Canada—then we should be aware of those funds. It seems appropriate, does it not?

With regard to 20% of our young people using, basically we are saying 20% are using so let us just legalize it so we can facilitate 100% using. People misuse guns all the time. Perhaps the appropriate way to handle that is to just take away any prohibition.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to visit three schools in my city of Saskatoon as part of Bring Your MP to School Day. I am a former trustee with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association in Saskatoon. The government has spent no money. I hear $45 million is going to be rolled out over five years, or maybe more.

I was the guest speaker last Sunday in Regina at the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, one of the members of the Canadian School Boards Association. As I sat here all day and listened to arguments on this, I noted that no one mentioned reaching out to any school boards in the country. There was not one cent going to the Canadian school boards for education on cannabis. Who deals with this? It is teachers in our classrooms. I heard the government say cannabis will be available for 12-year-olds. They are allowed five grams in their pocket, yet I have not heard about the education that should start in elementary schools, where I was last week, for grades 6 to 12.

Could the hon. member for Lethbridge tell us what the government should do to educate our young people who are not taking cannabis and do not want to take cannabis regardless of what comes in on July 1?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. It is one I spent much of my speech on with regard to education and making sure that young people are actually receiving the facts about cannabis use, how it will impact them, and what safe use looks like if they choose to use it as a young adult.

In terms of education, we really have not seen anything. Again, I highlight the fact that the government talks about the importance of education. The Prime Minister talked about the importance of a robust campaign around education for cannabis use, but we have seen absolutely nothing. If the government's idea of robust is to do nothing, it is doing a very robust job in governing Canada.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak today to Bill C-45 concerning the legalization of cannabis. This issue is important to people in my community. I have heard from many constituents about their interests, desires, and concerns related to the legalization of cannabis. I have heard from many people who are in favour of legalization. They would like this bill to become law as quickly as possible. They are in favour because they themselves consume cannabis or are concerned about the negative effects of maintaining the criminalization of cannabis in our communities.

I have also heard from many people who are not necessarily opposed to legalization, but they have concerns. I hope to address these concerns today. I understand their concerns about using cannabis. I am a mother and recognize the concerns raised in that respect. As I say that, I can imagine my kids rolling their eyes at home. As a parent, I worry about my children, too. I understand they will make mistakes, but the legalization of cannabis is not one of my top concerns for my children going forward. I also believe that through the legalization and regulation of cannabis, concerns about cannabis consumption by youth or people operating vehicles can be addressed.

In many parts of my community, a spring walk through the park will bring the smell of lilacs and pot. I do not say this to make light of cannabis use, but simply to point out that it is very common in my community and very common in a situation where it remains illegal. It is very clear, based on a walk down my streets but also on statistics, that the criminalization of cannabis is not keeping it out of the hands of people in our communities, adults or youth.

I understand that the statistics are that 21% of youth have used marijuana and 30% of young adults use it. Those are high numbers. If the goal is to keep people from trying marijuana or using it, the approach of criminalization has not worked. As has been stated in this place many times, but it bears repeating, the World Health Organization found in 2009-10 that the number of Canadians under 15 who had tried cannabis was at a higher rate than for any other country studied. As well, in a 2013-14 study by the WHO, Canada remained in the top five countries of 15-year-olds and was number one for cannabis use among children 13 years of age or younger. Clearly, if a person is concerned about youth access to cannabis, the current system is not working.

Here is the crux of the matter: the threat of a criminal record is not deterring youth from consuming cannabis. They are still doing it. However, once they have a criminal record, this can impact their future opportunities. It can close doors, and to what end? Under the new legislation, as with alcohol, there will be regulations to prohibit the purchase and use of cannabis by youth, but as with alcohol, we will not be threatening them with a criminal record. The criminal record brought only negative consequences without achieving its purported goal, which was to deter use.

Finally, we want to continue to collaborate with the provinces and territories to make sure that the public education campaign can also be done collaboratively and that we all have access to the same information.

Another point is on the nuts and bolts of working with youth. It is harder to have conversations and convey information about something that is hidden. Our government has announced $46 million for a public education program to accompany the legalization of marijuana. Having an open conversation is much more effective. Health Canada has published detailed information on the health risks of cannabis use on its website, and I encourage all Canadians to review it. It is there to be found.

As we talk about youth, I am also concerned about the fact that people who are consuming marijuana are exposing themselves to risks that go beyond health issues related to consumption. For example, there is no way to trace source or ensure the quality of the marijuana they purchase. We saw situations during the prohibition of alcohol where people consumed alcohol that had impurities. It was somehow made in a way that was not safe and would make people sick. Under our current legalized and regulated system for alcohol, we rarely hear of such incidents.

In the same way, in the legalized market, we have more controls over the safety of production and the safety of the method of sale. Personally, I would rather see people going to a store that is regulated to purchase their cannabis than to a drug dealer.

The model of decriminalization fails to address consumer safety. That is not the other option here. The model of decriminalization has and maintains a lot of the harms associated with the prohibition of cannabis use. Decriminalization does not address the concerns raised by my constituents, and it leaves us with a grey zone. It leaves us with a market that remains in the hands of organized crime.

I would like to share some statements made by the Centre for Addition and Mental Health in Toronto from its cannabis policy framework. It states:

Under decriminalization, cannabis remains unregulated, meaning that users know little or nothing about its potency or quality.

As long as cannabis use is illegal, it is difficult for health care or education professionals to effectively address and help prevent problematic use. The law enforcement focus of prohibition drives cannabis users away from prevention, risk reduction and treatment services.

Decriminalization may encourage commercialization of cannabis production and distribution – without giving government additional regulatory tools. Those activities remain under the control of criminal elements, and for the most part users must still obtain cannabis in the illicit market where they may be exposed to other drugs and to criminal activity.

Our government is proposing a system that allows for regulatory control of production, distribution, and sale. Along with the experts at CAMH, I support our government position of legalizing and restricting access, to allow opportunity to regulate cannabis and mitigate the risks.

Our government has committed up to $161 million for training front-line officers on how to recognize signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving. Whether legal or not, drug-impaired driving is happening in our communities.

In 2008, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police unanimously urged the government of the day to make resources available for the training of drug recognition experts and for all officers in field sobriety testing. That plea resulted in no action from the government. In 2013, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police asked the government to make available oral fluid testing technology, and no action was taken by the former Conservative government.

Our government is listening to the concerns of law enforcement agencies and providing the training, resources, access to technology, and legal authority to allow police across the country to provide them with what they need to keep our communities safe.

Currently, Canada's non-medical cannabis industry is entirely criminal, meaning that all non-medical cannabis being sold or purchased in our communities is helping to put approximately $7 billion annually into the pockets of organized crime. Upwards of $2 billion every year are spent trying to enforce our current ineffectual cannabis prohibition regime. Smart action is what is needed to drive down the black market for cannabis. With legalization and regulation, law enforcement resources can be used effectively and we can reduce the involvement of organized crime.

For too long, in my community and across the country, cannabis has been easily accessible among our youth who have been using it at record rates to the great profits of organized crime.

I support Bill C-45 to enact the cannabis act, to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution, and sale.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I made a point of listening to my colleague opposite. She said that she is concerned about 13- and 14-year-olds using cannabis.

Bill C-45 allows four plants per home. Do they think that our young people are not going to want to take a few leaves, dry them, and try them, or give them to their friends?

With this bill, all young people will have access to cannabis, not just those who are 13 and 14, but also those who are 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

Can my colleague tell us whether amendments will be made to this bill?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, not every house will have four plants in it, although that is the number of plants people will be entitled to. That being said, there is alcohol in many households, but that does not mean children drink all the time. Parents need to manage their households appropriately.

What we are doing here is creating a system in which cannabis will be legal, but with rules to keep it out of the hands of children. Even children younger than 13 are already using cannabis, so it is not like children do not have access to it. The only difference is that right now they get it from drug dealers. In my opinion, that is much more dangerous.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, what are the member's thoughts on pardons? We are going to legalize marijuana. We are going to create a situation where people across the country will be able to smoke marijuana legally. Parents of young Canadians in their twenties might have a criminal record because they were charged in the past with possession of a small amount of marijuana. Their lives were altered forever.

We should have a blanket pardon for all Canadians who have a criminal record only because they were once convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana. What are my colleague's thoughts on this?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

I understand the concern the member has raised, Mr. Speaker, and we need to think about that.

Right now, cannabis remains illegal and it is not helpful at this moment to get into that conversation because it creates extra confusion. We need to make it clear that cannabis remains illegal now. This is a conversation we will need to think about more carefully in the time to come.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I support harm reduction.

To justify his rush to legalize marijuana, the Prime Minister constantly brings up the spectre of our children doing business with organized crime. However, there is no legislation anywhere in Canada that will allow minors to have access to marijuana.

How then will this bill squeeze out organized crime?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, back when there were laws banning alcohol, organized crime got into the business of selling it. Once alcohol became legal and available to anyone who was of age, organized crime got out of the business. In our experience, that is because legalizing alcohol caused the market to dry up.

Legalizing cannabis will therefore have a positive effect. This has been confirmed by experts, and police officers and stakeholders working in this field agree.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Families, Children and Social Development; the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, National Defence; and the hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, Ethics.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that a member of the Bloc Québécois is finally being given the opportunity to speak to the legalization of marijuana.

The Liberal government has taken a rather lighthearted approach to this issue that borders on the irresponsible. Like millions of Quebeckers, I think that our society has reached the point where there is no longer a valid reason for the use of cannabis to be a criminal offence.

That being said, how can the government legalize a substance without promoting it? How can we send the message that, although we want to make this substance available to everyone, we also do not want to see its use increase? It is not easy. We need to take the time to do things right, but that is clearly not what the government wants to do. The government is in a hurry. It is treating the situation as urgent. When the provinces say that they are not ready, the government responds, “be ready”. The Liberals and their Prime Minister are in a rush, but we have never heard them offer Quebec or the other provinces any help whatsoever in implementing the legalization of marijuana.

Quebec asked for a little more time, one year, to make sure that this will not put Quebeckers at risk and to put the appropriate measures in place to protect public health. Quebec asked for 365 days, but Ottawa refused, so the following motion was moved in the Quebec National Assembly:

That the National Assembly ask the federal government to defer the official date for the legalization of cannabis, which is currently planned for July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019, at the earliest.

Ottawa, however, is digging in its heels. The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador added its voice to Quebec's appeal, but it is hopeless. No one can understand this. The Liberals would have us believe that urgent action is needed on marijuana, as though there were some sort of life or death national emergency. Why? What could possibly explain this obstinacy? Is this about fulfilling an election promise?

As we saw from the electoral reform fiasco, we know that the Liberals have no problem breaking an election promise. Why? Is this because the Liberals' friends are eager to see a return on their investments in cannabis grow ops? Is it because there is some money to be made on this? We have every reason to ask the question.

The Liberals' haste is making it very difficult to implement marijuana legalization effectively. Frankly, there is no good reason for rushing things like this. Quebec's minister responsible for rehabilitation, youth protection, public health and healthy living, Lucie Charlebois, said:

The provinces and municipalities will be left to implement all this legislation being introduced by the federal government. They are the ones who will be responsible for the services and for that, we at the provincial level need to come to an understanding with all those who will be providing the services....

Ottawa is legalizing cannabis, but Quebec, the provinces, and first nations will have to deal with the fallout. That is the truth of the matter. Who has to change the rules of the road? Who has to put on prevention campaigns? Who will have to open stores to sell cannabis? Who will train the personnel and cover the social and public health related costs? Will it be Ottawa or Quebec?

The answer to all these questions is: Quebec. Ottawa is legalizing cannabis, collecting the cash, charging an excise tax, and making its little producer friends happy. Quebec and the provinces are being left with all the costs, the risks, the problems, and a very tight deadline. The following are some examples.

A Université de Montréal study showed a direct link between marijuana use and psychosis. For adolescents, progressing from occasional marijuana use to weekly or daily use increases the risk of experiencing recurrent psychotic episodes by 159%. Will Ottawa be doing more to protect our young people's mental health? No. Ottawa is actually cutting health transfers. That is outrageous. Quebec will be forced to invest in prevention to protect our young people from these unfortunate experiences.

Another example is evaluation officers. The Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec is concerned about the shortage of evaluation officers in Quebec's municipal police forces.

Evaluation officers are the ones who enforce the zero tolerance policy for impaired driving. They are the experts who have to measure how much cannabis is in a driver's system. Here is what Robin Côté, president of the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, said on Radio-Canada:

Right now, we have 15 municipal police forces that have one single evaluation officer and five that have none. I do not know how that shortage will play out in the end.

It is not me saying that, it is the president of the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec. He went on to say this:

Obviously, what we need is more properly trained evaluation officers.... At this moment in time, it does not look like the ratio of evaluation officers will be high enough on July 1. Currently, just under 0.5% of the association's members are trained as evaluation officers.

They will not be ready by July 1. Is that clear? Here is another example. The mayor of Terrebonne recently asked some very good questions:

What are we supposed to do if, say, tomorrow morning, an employee decides to take a coffee break and smoke some marijuana? What kind of legal framework, what kind of labour laws will be in place to address that in a city like Terrebonne with its 1,100 employees?

Once again the overused property tax is going to fund the provincial and federal policies for which 100% of the revenues will stay in the pockets of the central governments, while the expenses will be incurred by the local governments.

Here is a fourth example. In a November 16 press release, the UMQ said:

...cannabis legalization will represent additional costs to municipalities, including for enforcing the rules on consuming in public places and for training police officers and municipal officials.

The president of the UMQ, Alexandre Cusson, has questions around zoning for the new Crown corporation's outlets and stores.

Clearly no one is ready, not in terms of prevention, public health, or in administration. Public safety is not ready. Only Ottawa is unilaterally imposing a completely irresponsible deadline that no one wants.

Today, to add insult to injury, the government is imposing time allocation. According to the Liberals, we have exhausted the issue. I have bad news for them: we have only just begun.

The Bloc Québécois has already spoken out in favour of legalizing marijuana. There is nothing new there. We talked about it during the last election campaign. However, this needs to be done responsibly. That is why, like the National Assembly, we are asking that marijuana legalization be pushed back by a year.

However, Ottawa has chosen to be irresponsible. We have no choice but to vote against this bill and speak out against the government's lighthearted approach to this issue and its inflexibility regarding the deadline.

Again, Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has let us down and is putting Quebec in a tough spot. It is pathetic, but not surprising.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I would like to remind the hon. member that when referring to another member, whether the Prime Minister, a minister, or any member, he must use that individual's title and not his or her name.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it does not matter which area of the country it is, whether Quebec, Newfoundland, Manitoba, my home province, or British Columbia, the message is always the same. We have a government that made a commitment during the last election to do what Bill C-45 aims to do. The opposition can say what it will, but over two years, the government has come up with an approach to deal with a very important social issue. Whether it was in the province of Quebec or any other province, there was support for this government to move forward on this very important issue.

Would the member across the way not at least acknowledge that it is good to have some sort of national standard as to how best to deal with the legalization of cannabis, and that moving forward is in the best interests of all citizens of our country?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is not the right approach.

My colleague is saying that the provinces want the government to take urgent action, but that is not the case in Quebec. Quebec, like many other provinces, asked that this be pushed back by one year.

First of all, we, the members of the Bloc Québécois, who represent only the interests and values of Quebec, we were not invited to participate in the committee's work. Secondly, the Government of Quebec passed a unanimous motion calling for it to be postponed, and Ottawa thumbs its nose at Quebec.

I do not want to hear that the provinces are asking the Liberal government to act quickly. On the contrary, they want the federal government to take its time and do this right, in a responsible and orderly fashion. There are major health and safety issues at play here that are more important than an election promise from the Liberal government.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is frustrating to hear government members tell us that the current system is not working and therefore that we have to try something completely different. The government members clearly have not looked at the numbers for marijuana use over time. Let me share some of them.

In 2004, 14.1% of Canadians reported having used marijuana in the last year. In 2008, it was 11.4%. In 2010, it was 10.7%, and in 2011 it was 9.1%. This is from the Statistics Canada website, which shows that there has been a relatively significant reduction over the last 10 years or so in the number of Canadians who report using marijuana. Obviously, the numbers are higher than we would like them to be, given the risks, but we are seeing those numbers going progressively downward as more public health information comes out about the risks associated with marijuana use.

Therefore, I wonder why members of the government keep saying that things are getting worse when things are actually getting progressively better. Also, I wonder if they will change their position if, as I suspect, there is a significant increase in the number of Canadians using marijuana after the government proceeds with the bill. That is what we've seen in other jurisdictions, and there is no reason why Canada would be any different.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the figures are what they are, but even if just 1% of the population was taking cannabis illegally, it would be worthwhile to have legislation governing the consumption of cannabis. That is not the issue.

As I said, we in the Bloc Québécois have come out in favour of legalizing marijuana. However, we are opposed to what the government is doing now, because it is doing a sloppy job, and our youth will pay the price. It is the same in Quebec and in the rest of Canada.

I am in favour of knives, but I would certainly object to someone stabbing me in the back. I am in favour of marijuana legalization, but what this government is doing verges on the criminal. It is dangerous and irresponsible, and we will have to pay the price.

I urge this government to come to its senses and consider what Canadians want.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join the debate on Bill C-45, the marijuana legalization bill.

I would like to start by saying that when I was elected to serve the people of Lévis—Lotbinière back in 2006, I never imagined that I would one day have to debate a bill aimed at legalizing a drug that is harmful to Canadians' health.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would live to see the day the Liberal Party of Canada pulled off this feat, if it can be called a feat.

It is also disgusting and crass to see rich investors taking pleasure in owning shares in Canopy Growth Corporation. These investors have made a lot of money since the share price started to climb, fuelled by leaked information from the report on marijuana legalization.

Members will recall that the report's findings indicated that there have been disastrous consequences wherever cannabis has been legalized. Our duty, as legislators in this place, is to leave Canada a better place as a result of all our work and diligence.

We can very well imagine that there must be a great sense of unease, and I would even say a major conflict of values, at Health Canada, which continues to warn about the dangers of consuming marijuana on its government Internet site and in its documentation.

I am wondering what is going through the minds of these people who, like health professionals, parents, and grandparents who bring healthy and positive values to our society, are completely taken aback by the idea that our loved ones will be able to lawfully destroy their lives and their potential by consuming cannabis.

A number of my colleagues opposite are saying that it is just pot. I invite them to visit the psychiatric wing of a hospital and to see what happens when loved ones are held in a secure wing, under surveillance 24/7, because they no longer know how to live and are a danger to themselves. I invite them to go and see these poor people who have been disrupted and dehumanized. Then I want to hear what they have to say.

As everyone here knows, my colleagues and I have spoken at length about the dangers and all of the repercussions associated with using this drug at the critical ages of 13, 14, or even younger. It can cause irreparable harm.

With that in mind, I am still trying to understand why the Liberals have decided to proceed with marijuana legalization. When I participate in policy discussions and debates in the House, I am dismayed at their simplistic and utterly amoral reasoning about how it is our duty to protect our young people and our society and to keep organized crime in check. Unfortunately, we are talking about a market that holds an obscure sway over the facts.

What we have seen in U.S. states that made certain choices will not help us live in a peaceful, respectful, orderly society, drive on safe roads, and achieve progress and prosperity. Anyone who thinks it will is deluded. Back in 2006, during my first year as an MP, I became aware of the groups lobbying the Liberals to go down this path. I rejected it wholesale, and its pernicious influence never took root within me. The Conservatives wanted nothing to do with those lobby groups. We wanted to work on Canadians' real priorities.

Could someone explain to me how the Liberal Party's financial backers, those with the deepest pockets, managed to use our democracy to legalize cannabis, which is currently a source of worry and torment for so many people in distress?

I would like to come back to the word “priority”. Who is pushing the Liberals to make this a national priority? That is a fundamental question to which we must find the answer. There is a good chance that it is people who are untouchable because they have large family fortunes. Rather than creating collective wealth, these people, who are born into money with a silver spoon in their mouth, are unscrupulously using that money for more nefarious purposes.

I am talking about influential people of untold financial means who should not have control over our future. How do those people sleep at night?

Do they not feel any remorse for what they are about to make the Liberal members opposite do? The Liberals will likely not have the privilege of voting according to their own conscience and beliefs.

I think greed is overshadowing common sense here. A person has to be pretty twisted to see a societal problem as a business opportunity.

Members will forgive the comparison, but it seems obvious. The only people I have seen, both in the movies and, unfortunately, in real life, who are capable of using subterfuge to achieve their goals and get what they want are people with psychopathic tendencies.

I do not want to offend my colleagues, but there is no denying that the only people who are able to cause other people harm without feeling any remorse or emotion, while remaining cold and detached, are psychopaths, at least to my knowledge. The issue that is currently before us just does not make any sense.

From a young age, we teach children to watch out for bad guys, not to trust strangers, not to give in to bad influences, and to listen to that little voice inside them when it tells them they are on the wrong track.

I would add that for years, police officers have been working on prevention in our primary and secondary schools, warning our children about people who might offer them some pot and urging them to avoid people who use it.

Now we are having a debate on legalizing a substance that sends so many people to hospital, to prison, or leads them to homelessness. This substance sends young people to youth centres or foster homes. It is a gateway drug to more harmful substances. Far too often, these people end up in the morgue. Yes, I said morgue. The common thread among people who use drugs is that they started by using marijuana.

Where is this Prime Minister's ethics and common sense? Where are his emotions for our young people? Why are the Liberal MPs following him? Who is making the decisions in that party? That is a question that remains unanswered. Is it the Minister of Finance, a bunch of people from Toronto, or a handful of influential rich people? Let us wake up before it is too late or let us free ourselves from the Liberals.

We are fortunate in Canada to have three entities for limiting power. We have the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. I am calling on them at this moment in time because the House is heading in the wrong direction despite the Conservatives' efforts.

If the Senate truly represents the wisdom of this country, and if the Prime Minister appointed 25 senators who are worthy of the position when he took office, those individuals will see to it that this does not pass. They have a duty to do so.

Our Canada cannot remain strong and prosperous with marijuana flowing freely in our homes, on our streets, on our construction sites, amongst our skilled workers, in public areas, and in the hands of our loved ones, who are usually our flesh and blood.

An entire generation is going to be left in shambles by this Liberal recklessness. This generation is already up to its neck in debt, and now it will be mentally burdened on top of that. It is shameful.

I have a question for all senators across party lines. Do they really want to have this weighing on their conscience, on their shoulders? I am not talking about the weight of a gram of pot; I am talking about the downfall of an entire generation, an entire nation.

I am also talking about the massive human and financial costs that will be put on the provinces, which can barely meet the health care needs of their citizens as it is. These costs will continue to rise because of the legacy the Liberals are leaving to future generations.

I ask the good Lord to rid us of the Liberals.

Being trustworthy is going to be a factor here. The Liberals' improprieties and tax havens are nothing compared to what lies ahead. Someone needs to stand up and say “no” to pot in our homes, “no” to the Liberal Party, and “no” to this unworthy Prime Minister who left his judgment who knows where, and who is preparing a living hell for us here far away from any tax havens. That is my prediction.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite never misses an opportunity to rise and engage in flights of rhetoric on whatever issue the House is debating.

I was disappointed to hear him start his speech by saying that never in his wildest dreams did he imagine he would have to stand up in the House and talk about this issue. He needs to realize that this issue is important to Canadians. It is an issue that we must debate, as MPs elected to represent Canadians, because it involves Canadians' health.

We all know that the current marijuana system does not work and that our approach as a government is centred on health. We also know that the current approach allows criminals and organized crime to profit and fails to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth.

As a member elected to stand up for Canadians' best interests, why does he think it is not important to talk about a public policy issue that is so pressing right now?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a very important issue, and if the government were treating it as such, it would have allowed all the members of this House to debate it. It would not have imposed a time allocation motion on us. The Liberal Party is imposing a policy that will be harmful for future generations.

The Liberals are acting like this is no big deal. One day, they will realize they made a mistake, but it will be too late to fix it. However, they can fix their mistake now by giving all the members a chance to debate this bill. The debate should not stop today or Wednesday. We need to allow enough time for all the Liberals, all the NDP members, all my fellow Bloc colleagues, all the Conservatives, and all the independents to rise in the House and speak for their constituents.

Furthermore, we need to consult Canadians properly instead of doing fake surveys. If Canadians are asked what they think of the bill, it will become clear that we on this side of the aisle are on the right track.

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

I am very pleased that Quebeckers have decided that they will not allow four plants per house and that they have asked the government to not rush the passage of this bill.

Does the member agree?

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. I agree.

Let us imagine that there are four plants this tall and this wide in each house. They could produce 3,150 joints a year. A family could be stoned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year and there would be some left over to sell or give away.

Do we believe that these plants will be controlled, as the Liberals are claiming? They want to control the quality of the product, but one in three houses will not be controlled and will be able to distribute this product across the country. Let us imagine children smoking a small joint before going to school in the morning. That is unbelievable.

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5:15 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member just made reference to having marijuana plants in homes. I have news for the member across the way that people have alcohol in their homes. Many individuals have bottles and bottles of alcohol. Many individuals have enough bottles in their home that if they drank it all they could die from it.

Is the member implying that people should also have limited amounts of alcohol in homes, because he is so offended that under this legislation people are limited to four plants?

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5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to ask my colleague whether he will be able to look himself in the mirror after he votes for this bill.

I invite my colleague to visit all the psychiatric wings of the hospitals in his riding, to observe the young people there, and to ask himself what got them there. The common denominator is that they started by using marijuana, which led them to other drugs and other circumstances. He should go and tour the hospitals.