Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour and privilege to represent my beautiful community of Langley—Aldergrove. I want to thank the member for Abbotsford for his hard work over the many years, representing his community well. He brought up many good and important points. I hope the government is listening.
I want to congratulate the parliamentary secretary for being recognized for having spoken more words in Parliament than anyone else. What a great record. He sure talks.
The parliamentary secretary asked where the facts were coming from. If the government does not know where the facts come from, we have a problem. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Canadians are concerned with the government and why they are losing trust in it. The decisions the Liberals make are not logical.
The member for Abbotsford addressed the national issue of too many young people using marijuana. It is a problem when 21% of children use it.
I took a one-week bike training course with the RCMP. I wanted to be with RCMP members as they travelled into parks. I wanted to see how they dealt with the issue of drugs. It was being confiscated from youths because it was bad for them. The officers also took their names. Yes, it is illegal. Yes, 21% of youth using it. It is a problem. I was very proud of how they handled the situation.
I agree with the member for Abbotsford that it should be decriminalized and that it should be a ticketable offence rather than a criminal offence. However, right now it is illegal and we have a problem.
The government is talks about the 21% of children and 30% of young adults. Young adults are on my youth advisory board. These are bright young people who, hopefully, will be our leaders in the years to come. I did not ask what percentage of them were using cannabis. I asked them what they thought of the government's goal to have it legalized by July 1, and they all smiled. I asked if they thought the Liberals were on the right track. Almost all their hands went up and they all wanted to have input. Overwhelmingly they criticized the government.
Young people from all political persuasions sit on the youth advisory board. I did not want just Conservatives, I wanted a full spectrum representing our community of Langley—Aldergrove. They said that the government should not be moving so fast, that it should be listening to the different police forces across Canada, and that It should be listening to health authorities across Canada, all saying that Canada was not ready for this.
The Prime Minister may have smoked some joints or been in the room where joints were being smoked while he was the leader of the opposition, which is inappropriate. However, because we can do something does not mean we should do something. The youth advisory board overwhelmingly said that the government should slow down the process. It is a problem, so it needs to educate youth on the risks associated with it. That is how we dealt with the tobacco problem, and it has been quite successful.
Past governments maybe should have done more to address this through education. Maybe there should have been research on what the medical benefits were from marijuana, because it is a problem. The logic of the government is that we have a problem, so let us legalize it and that will solve it.
In criminology, one can determine what somebody is likely to do by past behaviour. It is the same in psychology. It is common sense; it is logic. Therefore, why not look at what has happened in other jurisdictions that have legalizing marijuana? Did it make things better or worse? Actually, it made things way worse. The criminal connection to the distribution of pot has increased in Colorado. These are the facts and the research that has been done.
In the years since it was legalized in Colorado, the state has seen an increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths, in poison control calls for aid, and in emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. Numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.
Dr. Harry Bull, superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, said, “We were promised funds from marijuana taxes that would benefit our communities, particularly schools.” This superintendent is in charge of one of the largest school districts in the United States. He went on to say, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”
I have been with the police bike unit and also in police cars. I have seen how officers professionally protect our communities, how they try to keep our communities safe in practical, realistic ways, and how they confiscate.
The government is proposing that if somebody is driving a car with some buddies in it and there is an open bottle of alcohol in that vehicle, if the care is stopped by the police, the police can confiscate that open bottle of alcohol. However, if police officers stop a car that has four people in it and marijuana is found, every one of in the car can legally have 30 grams of marijuana, or 60 joints. That is 240 joints in total.
It is illogical to say that this is the way we will fight the problem or this how we will fight organized crime. The parliamentary secretary said that too many criminals wanted young people to use pot but the government did not. Therefore, the Liberal government is going to compete with the criminal element. The Liberals will ensure that the quality of the pot is good and people can have lots of it. The Liberals are saying that anybody aged 18 and older can have 60 joints. If it were a child, the Liberals would confiscate it. Under this legislation, children between the ages of 12 and 18 will be able to have five grams, which is 10 joints. What the government is saying is illogical.
We should learn from others who have made mistakes. The government has proposed that we go way beyond what Colorado did. Our roads will be less safe and there will be more deaths, yet the Liberals are rushing the legislation through before there is any technology to determine drug-impaired driving.
We just dealt with Bill C-46. How will the government get tough when somebody gets killed by a drunk driver? There will be a fine of at least $1,000 for driving drunk and killing somebody. The second offence will result in at least 10 days in jail, a 30-day sentence for killing the second time. What the government has proposed is bizarre. Our communities will be less safe. This is wrong.
I would remind the government that just because a government can do something does not mean that it should.