Mr. Speaker, we have more proof that the Liberal government is headed in the wrong direction with the marijuana legalization bill, which has Canadians, public safety organizations, and associations like the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police very worried.
This leads me to ask myself a basic question: do we have a sober statesman with clear and responsible ideas in charge of the country?
Setting up a task force on marijuana is smoke and mirrors. We are all familiar with the ravages of drugs. How can we accept the possibility of making pot legal and profitable to the detriment of our social and economic prosperity? It really took a Liberal cabinet to make that happen.
I am the member for the riding of Lévis—Lotbinière in Quebec, which is a great place to live, where our neighbourhoods are safe and sound, and where we can sleep peacefully at night. Today, I am also speaking as a responsible parent and father who, in all humility, wants to protect all children.
Drugs are a scourge. They may be illegal across the country, but they are still in our schools, our parks, and our streets, and they are still a threat to the future of our children.
Making the leap from medical use in the privacy of a person's own home to recreational use trivializes the real dangers that so many experts have identified and runs counter to creating a responsible society in which people focus on earning a living and making wise choices for the future. With typical reckless abandon, the Liberals spent thousands of dollars last fall on a report that told us what we already knew.
It confirmed that Colorado and Washington state, which legalized marijuana, are spending over $13 million on prevention and education about the dangers of marijuana for a combined population of 12.7 million. The Liberal government must be under the influence of its own bill if it thinks that budgeting $1.9 million for a population of 36.5 million will prevent cannabis legalization from having any impact on Canadians.
Fatal accidents caused by drivers who had consumed marijuana doubled in the state of Washington and tripled in Colorado. As for organized crime activity, there was no decrease after the drug was legalized.
The Health Canada document on the health impacts associated with cannabis is very clear. Youth aged 25 and under are most at risk in the short and long term. The short-term effects of cannabis on the brain include confusion, fatigue, impaired ability to remember, concentrate, and pay attention, and reduced ability to react quickly. How will our young people perform at school or at work?
Cannabis use can also result in psychotic episodes characterized by paranoia, delusions, mood disturbances, psychotic symptoms, and mental health disorders. The THC in cannabis can impair one's ability to drive safely and operate equipment at work. It can also increase the risk of falls and other accidents because THC can affect coordination, reaction time, ability to pay attention, decision-making abilities, and ability to judge distances.
I take no pleasure in telling you the true story of a young girl who could be my or anyone's daughter. She is now living every day with the long-terms effects of a few years of cannabis use at the critical age of adolescence, as is her family.
We must also never forget that marijuana is the perfect gateway to other harder, stronger, more chemical-based, and more addictive drugs. That is a fact that should not be overlooked.
Fanny agreed to share her story so that we can help prevent other children from using marijuana. As a result of marijuana, Fanny faces major challenges every day, but, as they say, there is no use in regret. The damage has already been done.
Fanny was a very cheerful and bright little girl. In junior high, her first boyfriend introduced her to pot with a group of friends at the park in front of the school. Over the weeks that followed, there were more and more opportunities to use it and Fanny's marks plummeted. Her parents were devastated because they no longer recognized her. She started to sneak out at night, and she dropped out of school before finishing grade 8.
The decade that followed led exactly where one would expect marijuana use to lead. Fanny worked various jobs but could never hold one down because of her drug use. Over the years, she had a baby that she did not raise. She even ended up homeless and in a psychiatric ward because she was a danger to herself.
Fanny has still not kicked her addiction, even after an intensive seven-month stay at a treatment centre for women and dozens of Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
At 24, Fanny is sad about her condition and is trying to make a life for herself, even to survive, because she is really struggling. She has now been diagnosed with mental health issues and admits that she will have a lifelong addiction.
Like thousands of young adults who seek out help, trying to get off drugs and learning to lead a stable life are now two of Fanny's biggest challenges. As a child, she had bigger dreams, like becoming a veterinary assistant and having a family. Today, she regrets believing what others told her, that it was just pot.
With the Liberals providing unrestricted access to pot, it will be easier than ever for our youth to start using it. Marijuana has many long-term effects on the brain: it affects memory, concentration, intelligence, also known as IQ, and the ability to think and make decisions.
These effects may be irreversible even after people stop using cannabis. The long-term effects on mental health combined with frequent cannabis consumption increase the risk of suicide, depression, and anxiety disorder. Since pot reduces anxiety, fear, and panic in the short term, it is a never-ending spiral.
There will be no end to heartbreaking stories like Fanny's once marijuana is legalized. Our health care system is already maxed out. Social services centres are struggling to help neglected children whose parents are grappling with serious issues related to marijuana, among other things. Does anyone really see this getting better once people can smoke pot in public? It most certainly will not.
Who is going to pay for these wasted lives? The Liberal Party fund? That would sure be nice. How much personal responsibility is the person whose idea this was in the first place going to take for the social disaster that is about to befall us all? I am talking about the Prime Minister himself. Are we going to accept this vision of society for the people we love and cherish? I myself most certainly will not, and I hope the Senate will do likewise.
The infamous framework for the legalization of cannabis in Canada was only drafted, in my humble opinion, to ease the conscience of the Liberal Party, which must feel as though it is about to make an irrevocable mistake. What that report does not say is how many people could even die, in the short and long term.
You cannot put a price on human life. I truly hope that some kind of miracle will happen and that this Liberal bill, like all the other Liberal Party promises, will somehow be forgotten and that the Conservative government will, as usual, return to power to undo all the damage done by the Liberals.