Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-45 on the legalization of marijuana.
Does the Prime Minister really think that legalizing marijuana will protect Canadian youth and my 12- and 14-year-old children? When I hear him say that sort I thing, I cannot help but think that he lacks judgment or that he is being insincere. What I find even more troubling is that the member for Scarborough Southwest, a former long-serving police officer, also believes that organized crime is simply going to disappear as soon as Parliament passes Bill C-45. These men are living in a world of make-believe, where botched, simplistic bills can be used to magically solve extremely complex problems and where heroes can simply sprinkle some fairy dust and make organized crime disappear. Problem solved.
Here in the House, we have to forget that world of make-believe and deal with the real world like grown-ups. We have to make sure that our actions produce real results, keep Canadians safer, and protect young people from a life of drugs. Bill C-45 only complicates the drug-use problem in Canada. No, legalizing marijuana will not make it harder for our children to get their hands on drugs. Yes, organized crime will find ways around laws it has no intention of obeying. No, police officers cannot use fairy dust to fight drug-related crime, violence, and death.
The Liberals say that Bill C-45 will regulate the industry. What a joke. Once Bill C-45 comes into force, the government will have to come up with a retail pricing strategy. How is organized crime likely to respond? Are criminals going to step back and do nothing? I have a feeling criminals already have a plan to deal with this new reality. When the government raises tobacco taxes, organized crime adjusts its prices accordingly. The market is constantly adjusting. History has shown that to be the case every time, and marijuana will be no exception.
Also, young people are more easily drawn to the black market's low prices because they do not have the same means as adults. They cannot afford to pay higher prices. If he wants, the Prime Minister will be able to buy marijuana at any price, but our young people cannot. They will have to choose between the government's price and the criminals' price.
During the last election, the Prime Minister said that he wanted to legalize marijuana to keep it out of the hands of young people, but Bill C-45 shows us that youth 18 and over will be able to buy cannabis. I have some figures I would like to share, and I hope to make things clear.
Bill C-45 says that those 18 and over will be allowed to buy cannabis. However, in Colorado, you have to be at least 21. That should be the minimum. Another problem is that young people will still be allowed to carry marijuana. This means that people will have to be 18 to buy it, but they can have it on them at age 12. That does not make any sense.
In addition, minors aged 16 and 17 are often friends with people who are 18. They are less likely to be friends with people aged 21 and older. Thus, an 18 year old, who has reached the age of majority and can legally purchase cannabis, can give it to his or her 16- and 17-year-old friends. I am not the one saying so. All the witnesses, especially those from the medical community, are saying that the minimum age should be at least 21 years.
I am thinking of my kids, who are 12 and 14. Under this bill, they will be allowed to possess up to five grams of marijuana. To be sure that everyone understands clearly, that is the equivalent of 10 to 15 joints. If my 14-year-old son is caught with 10 joints in his pocket, that will be completely legal. He would not be able to purchase it, but he would be allowed to have it in his possession. That is one of the gross inconsistencies of Bill C-45.
In addition, under this bill, youth aged 12 to 17 will be allowed to distribute it among themselves. I would like to see Bill C-45 prohibit young people from possessing marijuana altogether.
Young people should not have any opportunity to get their hands on drugs.
There are also questions about the various cannabis-based products and the as yet undefined licensing strategies. Rental property owners are having problems as well, because the legislation currently allows up to four plants per home, and the height is not regulated at present.
Four healthy, well-fertilized plants up to eight feet tall can yield up to 600 grams of home-grown marijuana. Incidentally, most of the witnesses were against the idea of allowing plants to be grown at home. Medical groups, law enforcement, and everyone else said home growing should not be permitted.
I am very proud of the Province of Quebec right now. The Quebec government has drafted its own law based on what the federal government had proposed, and it has decided to ban home growing. To the Quebec government, I say well done.
Another problem is that police forces are not getting any answers to their questions. They want to know how they are supposed to properly enforce traffic laws starting July 1, 2018.
Furthermore, how will those provinces that do allow plants to be grown in houses and apartments monitor what people are doing? How will they check every apartment in Canada to make sure there are only four plants, not five, six, seven, or eight?
A lot of questions remain unanswered. This government is quick to ram Bill C-45 down our throats by claiming that it is a national priority. In Canada, there is nothing more important than legalizing marijuana. That is just great.
Police officers are also telling us about other problems that will arise with plants in homes: odour, the number of plants, the height of plants and the nuisance that could be created. Once again, there are many unanswered questions about this bill.
What will happen with plants at home? Young people will be able to make joints with these plants, and then they are going to take these joints and visit their buddies. The joints will be sold, and then resold, creating a criminal network from plants legally grown at home. Young people will be able to sell pot to their friends. The black market will not shut down. It will be legal at home, but illegal in the streets. It is just a lot of nonsense, and I have not even touched on insurance problems resulting from having plants in homes.
There will also be problems at the border. We saw that recently with the serious problem of illegal immigrants at our borders. The RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency are devoting much of their resources to the borders. Now the government wants to legalize marijuana and border services officers are wondering what they are supposed to do.
Are the officers supposed to arrest Americans who come to the border with marijuana? Do we tell the American authorities? It is illegal on the other side of the border. If Americans show up here with their pot thinking they can come to Canada to smoke their joints, are we to report them to the American authorities and leave them on the other side of the border? Those types of questions still remain unanswered. If people go on vacation thinking they can bring their own pot with them across the border, they are mistaken. All of these questions are left unanswered.
The Liberals want us to vote in favour of this bill. This is amateur hour. If the Parliament of Canada, the House of Commons, votes in legislation like this, we will truly be a bunch of rank amateurs. Those of superior rank are often referred to as pros, but here, we are dealing with rank amateurs who will never make it to the big leagues.