House of Commons photo

Track Joyce

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is rcmp.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Housing Day November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today we recognize National Housing Day. Safe and affordable housing is central to our lives, our health, and our families. It is essential to vibrant communities and a strong middle class.

Vancouverites from all walks of life face housing challenges. Our most vulnerable citizens sleep on the streets, seniors and single parents cannot afford rising rents, and the next generation is giving up on home ownership or moving away.

When our new government was appointed two years ago, my first priority was to ensure that the ministers and the Prime Minister were well informed and prepared to act on housing access and affordability challenges in Vancouver and beyond.

I am proud to celebrate today's announcement of Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, which comes with historic levels of investment. By listening to local residents, by partnering with housing advocates and all levels of government, we are thinking nationally and acting locally.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, this is the kind of question that leads to good debate in the House, so I thank my hon. colleague.

Being from metro Vancouver, a privilege which my colleague across the aisle does not share, I am very aware of how much violence on the streets has been tied to drug crime and organized crime. That is why we had a coalition of literally dozens of professionals, including medical, police, criminology, and justice, called “Stop the Violence BC”. May it be a stratified criminal activity now, as he has mentions, but there was a strong element of organized crime that created fear on the streets and deaths of innocent bystanders. That has to stop.

The prohibitions are very important to protect younger Canadians, those below the minimum threshold, from being exposed to the sale of cannabis illegally. That is an important part of this whole framework. It is about health, safety, and especially the protection of our youth.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, first, I share the concern for any impaired driving and the potential for the harm that does. Second, cannabis is widely used already, only illegally. It is not being regulated with respect to its impact on driving satisfactorily. The bill and the framework are focused on health and safety as well as on bringing forward the technologies for and the research on how to protect and reduce the problem of impaired driving.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, adults who are found in possession of a small amount of cannabis, up to a maximum of 30 grams, will no longer be treated like criminals. Instead, Bill C-45 will give responsible adult consumers a way to legally obtain this substance, which will be strictly regulated in order to meet the high national safety and quality standards.

This new approach will help reduce the disproportionate burden imposed on the 18,000 individuals who were charged with possession of cannabis in 2016. We know a simple possession charge can have life-long impacts on a person's life prospects. Bill C-45 will reduce this travesty. It will also reduce the burden on the criminal justice system.

Our government believes that law enforcement and the courts should devote their resources to criminal activities that are truly detrimental to society, as well as to education and prevention in the case of public health issues like cannabis use.

The expert witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Health agreed with our government's proposed approach. For example, Karey Shuhendler, from the Canadian Nurses Association, stated:

Bill C-45 promotes the removal of harms associated with the prohibition model, while recognizing the need to protect vulnerable populations, including youth.

Under our current regime, Canadian youth have one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. In 2015, 21% of youth aged 15-19 reported using cannabis in the past year. Some Vancouver Quadra citizens have expressed concerns that legalization of cannabis will increase its use by young people. I think the evidence will show that use will decrease over time with the prevention and education programs put in place by the government.

Let us be clear that many youth are using cannabis now under a system controlled by criminal gangs. That is why the bill includes strict controls and penalties to protect young people, and measures to deter and punish adults who provide cannabis to under-aged Canadians. Deterring the illegal market is necessary to protect Canadian youth.

Experts such as Dr. Christina Grant, from the Canadian Paediatric Society, have cautioned that too high an age limit will preserve an illegal market that provides a supply of illegal, unregulated, and unsafe cannabis to Canadians between the ages of 20 and 24. These are the young people who currently have the highest rates of consumption among Canadians and among their peers from other developed countries.

It is also important to keep in mind that the bill gives the provinces and territories the flexibility to establish additional restrictions that can go even further than those set out in the federal framework, depending on their own specific needs and circumstances.

This includes raising the national minimum age if a province or territory so choses.

Beyond the proposed minimum age restriction and severe penalties for selling cannabis to youth, Bill C-45 proposes a number of additional controls to protect young Canadians. For example, the bill includes provisions that would prohibit the sale of cannabis and cannabis products that are considered appealing to youth. It would ban the advertising and promotion of cannabis, except in limited and very restricted circumstances. It would also set out requirements for packaging and labelling to ensure they are not appealing to youth.

Also, as various expert witnesses who testified before the Standing Committee on Health reminded us, these measures need to be supported by significant and effective public education to explain the risks and harms associated with cannabis consumption, especially for youth. Our government fully agrees with these experts and we have already started a national public awareness and education campaign, in collaboration with the provinces and territories. This campaign will be augmented by the additional $36.4 million announced recently.

Finally, in light of the tragedy of the current opioid crisis, I would like to note how an evidence-based public health approach to drug use can save lives. We know that cannabis use for medical purposes like pain relief is safer and less addictive than opioids. In the United States, the legalization of medical cannabis in many states has resulted in a 25% drop in opioid-related deaths compared to states where medical cannabis remained illegal. In Canada the opioid crisis took at least 2,458 Canadian lives in 2016 and it is only growing worse. British Columbia and Vancouver have a disproportionate share. However, I am optimistic that those tragedies will be reduced by the legalization of cannabis.

To sum up, this is a thoughtful and comprehensive piece of legislation that has been designed to protect the health and safety of Canadians while saving lives.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

The member opposite says they need more time, but there has actually been a lengthy thoughtful process on this already and it is time to move. The members opposite who are yelling at me right now are just trying to stop this—

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak strongly in support of Bill C-45 through which our government is ending the failed approach of criminalizing cannabis. This is an opportunity to protect our youth, to take profits out of the hands of criminals, and to treat drug use as the public health issue it actually is.

I have actively worked to advance this policy since hosting the Liberal caucus in discussions back in the fall of 2011 about the potential legalization of cannabis, so I am proud to stand in the House and see this policy come to fruition.

I would like to start my comments today by giving some thanks to organizations that have been advocating for this very practical and positive new policy. I would first like to thank Dr. Evan Wood, an emergency room physician, who led a coalition called Stop the Violence BC, when he saw the gang and gun violence on the streets of Metro Vancouver, including in an award-winning restaurant in Vancouver Quadra, where two people were injured by a gang shootout around the drug trade.

I would like to thank Brett Harvey and Adam Scorgie, who created a documentary called The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, which documented the role of organized crime in controlling the cannabis trade. Years ago, I had the privilege of hosting them and their film in Ottawa, where I opened up an event to all members of Parliament and senators of all parties to learn about why we needed to move beyond our failed policy, which we are actually moving beyond today.

I want to thank all of the sound drug policy advocates, like Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, who brought forward evidence as to why this shift was needed, and the many other health care professionals, criminal justice professionals, and policing professionals who have pushed for this change in our country.

Lastly, I would like to thank our Prime Minister for including this in our platform, and the health minister and the justice minister for delivering on this mandate, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for his leadership, and all members of the Standing Committee on Health for doing good work toward this change that we have positioned our country for over two years.

This week we were reminded once again of the importance of this discussion by the RCMP's seizure of 64 pounds of cannabis and 94 mature cannabis plants from the Hells Angels in Kelowna. This is the reality of our current system: organized crime produces, distributes, and sells the cannabis, and uses it to fund its other criminal ventures. It is Hells Angels and other criminals who regulate and control the product and what is actually in it, and how to sell more of it to our youth. It is criminal gangs who recruit young people to be part of this terrible criminal enterprise, so it is far better that the government regulate and control cannabis. That is what Bill C-45 is all about.

The bill before the House of Commons today was developed on the basis of the excellent work of the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation, which conducted an in-depth study of the various implications of the legislation and the strict regulation of cannabis.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I have a very short question. I wonder if my colleague across the aisle really believes that the current situation is better, where criminal gangs regulate, control, push, promote, and sell cannabis products, or if the federal government regulates, controls, educates, and prevents. That is the government's plan.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments by my colleague opposite, but they remind me of the previous Conservative government's gutting of environmental regulations, from environmental assessments to the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and on and on.

Does the member believe that the economy and the environment go hand in hand, or does he believe that it is all right to consult only the economic stakeholders and make changes that move the dial away from environmental protection playing a role in how government regulates in this country?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the government takes its responsibility to keep Canadians safe and secure seriously, and that is reflected in Bill C-7.

As I mentioned, our government has made a huge step forward in restoring a culture of respect for and within the public service. We have rescinded some of the provisions the previous government put in place that were essentially an attack on collective bargaining and on unions. We have gone forward with collective agreements with 85% of public servants. We will continue to work on that until they are complete, and we will always respect our first responders and do our very best on their behalf.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to say a few words about Bill C-7.

I appreciate the acknowledgement of the member for Kootenay—Columbia that there were changes made to the original bill proposal and that some of the critical amendments put forward by the Senate were accepted and incorporated into the bill. I also want to acknowledge the member for his staunch defence and support of first responders, including security officers on the Hill who protect and defend members of Parliament every day in the very important part of our lives here as members of Parliament.

I am pleased to say that this government, which inherited a collective bargaining situation in which many outstanding agreements had not been signed, has completed 85% of the public servants' collective agreements, including the one for the RCMP. On March 9, the government introduced legislation to support the dedicated and proud members of Canada's national police service by providing them with a labour relations framework that gives them the respect they deserve.

Bill C-7, which received royal assent on June 19, was a great step forward. It is a labour relations regime that takes into account the special circumstances of the RCMP and respects it as Canada's national police force. The legislation takes into account the operational integrity of the RCMP as a police organization and ensures alignment with the labour relations regime that applies to federal public service employees. This legislation respects the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision by providing RCMP members and reservists with the ability to pursue their interests through collective bargaining for the first time in Canada.

There was much consultation with regular members of the RCMP and with jurisdictions with RCMP police services agreements in crafting this legislation. I want to express my gratitude to all members of the House of Commons and the Senate who helped in the development of this bill. Bill C-7 gave us an important opportunity to further improve Canada's RCMP labour relations regime and to serve the men and women who benefit from it.

This is a new era in the history of the RCMP. Now the RCMP members and reservists have the same collective bargaining rights as other police forces in Canada.

Our national police force has a storied past in Canada. It deserves our respect, and with this bill, the RCMP also has a bright future ahead.