Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I thank you for the opportunity to come to this committee to speak about my private member's bill, , as you said.
I believe that by working together we can make a difference in combatting the production and the trafficking of methamphetamine and the pain it inflicts on families and communities across our nation.
Unlike other drugs, meth does not need to be imported or grown, but it can be synthesized using components that are readily available. These two points I think are the most important. The drug can be synthesized from legal products that are readily available, and the drug can be synthesized and available for distribution in a shockingly short period of time.
Colleagues, although it is manufactured from legal substances, crystal meth is one of the most addictive and damaging of all the street drugs, and the tragic consequences and the lives it affects are unacceptable. Mr. Chair, too many of our healthy citizens are losing years of their lives to its devastation, and some are dying in the grip of the horror of this drug.
In order to frame the discussion today, I will spend a little bit of time explaining what methamphetamine is, how it impacts people in our society in a practical way, and the scope of the problem we're facing.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. It is a derivative of a synthetic stimulant first produced in 1919. It is sold on the street under the street names of jib, crack, meth, speed, glass, fire, ice, and other names. Meth is available as a powder and it can be taken orally, snorted, or injected.
Typically, the drug is heated or vaporized and the fumes are inhaled, allowing the drug to enter the bloodstream very rapidly. It takes only about eight seconds for the drug to get to a person's brain.
Crystal meth is smokable, and this makes the most potent form of the drug, and for this reason many young people tend to gravitate toward it.
Meth is relatively easy and inexpensive to make, using commonly available ingredients called precursor chemicals. The recipe for meth includes products such as over-the-counter cold medications, paint thinner, household products like drain cleaner, and agricultural chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia.
The ability to purchase these commonly available products at any Wal-Mart or Superstore, coupled with the ability to produce crystal meth virtually anywhere, makes it a dangerous combination.
These two facts speak to the limited opportunity for enforcement authorities to intervene. And while I know this bill in itself will not totally stop the production of meth, I hope that offering the authorities these additional tools can assist them in putting a stop to the production and subsequent distribution of meth.
Although meth can be produced almost anywhere, undercover super labs produce the majority of crystal meth that is sold on the streets today. These makeshift laboratories present a grave danger as extremely flammable liquids and corrosive chemicals are being used and mixed by people with no experience or expertise in handling such dangerous products. The hazards of these undercover labs are numerous. There are the problems of exposure to harsh chemicals and the potential of exposure to toxic fumes and poisonous gases during production. There have been cases of fires and explosions caused by poor equipment. There have been situations of severe burns or death from fires or explosions.
There is also danger to the first responders, such as the police, the firefighters, and the social workers who show up at the scene. And of course there is the harm to the environment from leftover precursors and used lab equipment that leave behind toxic byproducts that pollute the land, the air, and the water in places where they are spilled or where they are dumped.
These super labs require huge amounts of precursor material to produce the quantity of meth they do. By giving the authorities the tools that are outlined in my bill, there will be an additional opportunity to stop the production here in Canada.
The dangers of crystal meth go far beyond the production at the core. Let's not forget the core of this issue is people. This bill proposes a vital change to the current legislation, and it is my prayer that we will turn the tide in combatting this drug. The addictive qualities of methamphetamine make it a dangerous drug for any person to experiment with.
To quote a participant from my home province, who was involved in the consultation on this drug, “No human being should be putting fertilizer, iodine, Drano, and battery acid all mixed together with a little ephedrine into their system.” But that is what people are doing.
We need to defend our youth and our families from this harmful, life-destroying drug.
In order to put this into perspective, I think it's important that committee members understand that users of meth tend to be between the ages of 10 and 25 years old. Many users start living at home, attending school or holding down a job, but they end up living on the streets as the addiction progresses.
One frightening fact is that some children, youth, or young adults who are exposed to meth don't even know that they've been exposed to crystal meth or meth. More and more drug traffickers are mixing meth with other drugs because it is so inexpensive and it gives other drugs greater addictive qualities. In fact, I recently saw a statistic that predicted that between 70% and 75% of the drug ecstasy sold on the streets of my home province contains meth because it increases the user's demand for more.
Crystal meth is a highly addictive drug with a long-lasting high that produces an overwhelming euphoria. Those who use it are quickly addicted and experience more intense effects from prolonged use compared with other drugs. The use and abuse of meth is on the rise throughout Canada. Its prevalence is growing as dealers find new ways to target potential users and find new ways to sell their drug.
As part of my goal of reducing the harm that meth can inflict on my community, I've done a number of things, including visiting local area schools in my riding to talk about the horrors of meth. While visiting a grade 6 class I was shocked to hear students tell me of their personal awareness of this drug, as someone in their community had been trafficking meth in the form of candy “pop rocks”.
Mr. Chair, the madness has to stop.
Access to the precursors and equipment used to make this deadly drug is a significant problem. The police need legislation in order to combat the spread and the abuse of this deadly drug. The accessibility to precursors and the low cost of producing this drug impact all economic and social groups. Any person who knowingly exploits young people for financial gain needs to be pursued and dealt with aggressively. I have no tolerance for people who willingly contribute to the destructive pattern of drug abuse.
Meth users tend to be between the ages of 10 and 25. We are speaking of some of the most vulnerable in our society. These kids, these young people, are the ones who have the most to lose, the ones who are most impacted by crystal meth. It is incumbent, I believe, upon us as legislators to enact legislation that holds to account those who willingly produce, or support those who produce, this harmful substance.
I thank you, Mr. Chair, and I'd be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability at this time.
Good morning, Mr. Warkentin. I would like to thank you for being here to present this bill that is of concern to all of us.
Mr. Bagnell's first question was asking what the bill would provide that does not already exist in the law. In fact, we currently have the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that includes both A and B precursors. We also have the Precursor Control Regulations. By the way, the Precursor Control Regulations are intended to control and monitor the use of precursors while avoiding the imposition of restrictions on legitimate use.
From what I can see, the measures you are asking for already exist. In answer to that question, you said that the differences were in the area of production. To go into this a little further, we can see that there was a significant amendment to the laws and regulations for methamphetamine, on August 10, 2005. The maximum penalties for possession, trafficking and production of methamphetamine were indeed increased. This is therefore already in the law, and there is even the possibility of life in prison for production.
I feel skeptical about your bill because we already have all that. The only additional provision you are proposing is to make the possession and sale of any substance criminal.
In the Precursor Control Regulations, it is clearly set out that the goal is to control and monitor the use of precursors while avoiding the imposition of restrictions on legitimate trade.
I have some at home, and they are very harmless products. In all homes, we would find batteries, boxes of matches, paint thinner, aluminum foil and objects made of glass. Your bill would make it a criminal offence to be in possession of these or to sell them.
The point of this exercise seems very commendable to me, but I believe the recommended means to fight against this scourge must be improved.
What do you think?
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much for coming to the committee today.
I do think this is an important issue, because I think a lot of people are very worried about substance use and the drug issue in local communities. I think equally as important is how we respond to that issue. I have to say that actually my first question was going to be exactly the same as the one Mr. Bagnell asked and exactly the same as the one Madame Freeman asked, because when you read the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, section 7, it appears already that it's quite clear that the materials and the precursor materials and so on are already illegal, and there are very stiff sanctions, including imprisonment for up to life.
When you say that your bill will target people who knowingly use these substances, I actually don't see that in the bill. The only thing I can see that's different in your bill is that it talks about equipment. Maybe I'll just make a couple of comments. That's one thing. I think you do need to clarify that.
I don't know if you're aware, but Health Canada in 2002 actually did change the regulations to ensure that all of the precursor materials were included. In fact, I know there was a summit of western premiers in 2004.
I'm curious, because you're saying that the use of crystal meth has actually been increasing, and I'd like you to provide evidence of that. There have been some reports out recently that since 2004--because we only have figures up till 2004--there's been a lot more attention on the impact of crystal meth, and there is a sense that the use has actually been going down, because there's been a really strong response from the police and local communities, parent groups, school groups, and so on, advocacy groups, groups working with young people, which focuses much more on education.
I was actually thinking that the approach here is to really strengthen the prevention and education approach we have. I don't know if you're familiar with the very good report that came out of the City of Vancouver in November 2005. You can go on the website and get it. It's called, Preventing Harm from Psychoactive Substance Use, and it does focus some of its attention on crystal meth.
They, again, really reinforce the idea that because this stuff is so easily available, the real solution is to focus on education and prevention with young people. In my own community in Vancouver, we do know, for example, that often street kids who are homeless are actually using crystal meth to stay awake, because they're on the street, and they have to be alert. They're very vulnerable. They're at risk. So there's an association at least in that aspect between the drug use and another issue, which is people being homeless. We've got to tackle that in order to deal with the drug use.
So my questions would be, one, I'm not clear on how your bill would be different from what we already have. Two, I think you need to provide some information backing up what you say, that the use is increasing. And three, what should we be doing in terms of prevention? To me, the evidence is showing that that's really where the change is taking place, where we're actually getting through to people.
I think I can address some of the concerns you had.
The important thing for all members to recognize here is that in the legislation there's a specific reference to “sell”. Someone who would sell knowingly to somebody who was going to produce crystal meth is not considered in the legislation as it currently sits.
Your colleague Mr. Comartin and I actually had this discussion. I think it was his suggestion that it would be important to put the word “knowing” in there, but he felt that it was important for us to address the whole issue of sales. He and I had a discussion specifically about the United States and the active work they've been doing in terms of controlling the amount of certain products that enter certain jurisdictions so that they can ensure the sale issue is dealt with.
What I'm hearing from people combatting this particular issue in communities is that they feel this piece of legislation would assist them in dealing with the whole issue of not being able to go after people who knowingly contribute to and assist in the production of crystal meth.
I can't speak specifically about Vancouver--that's not my area--but I can tell you specifically that the premier's task force on crystal meth in Alberta recently unveiled some pretty scary statistics with regard to the increase in crystal meth. I know anecdotally that we've seen an increase specifically in eastern Canada as well.
As you say, we don't have stats that are current, but I think it's incumbent upon us to act when we see a problem or a situation and make minor changes to the legislation to ensure that the police have all the tools necessary to combat this issue, so that when we get the results four years from now on what's going on right now, we won't see a continued increase; we'll see a continued decrease.
I do absolutely believe that we have to couple this with other initiatives. I don't know if you were here during the part of the presentations when I spoke specifically about that. This is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a contributor. It's something we can contribute to, allowing enforcement authorities to try to stem the production.
You're absolutely correct that we have to couple this with an education policy; that's why I'm very pleased with our government's announcement of $60 million that will be oriented in part specifically towards an education on these matters. It's something I've been working on very diligently since I was elected.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Parliamentary Secretary.
First of all, I want to congratulate you, Mr. Warkentin, for having managed to get your private member's bill this far. God knows how hard that is. As Mr. Ménard has often said, it is an honour to have you before us here today.
I read the bill, that is the amendment that you are proposing to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. In order to really grasp what you have tabled, I am going to make a comparison with what I know of criminal law, being a lawyer who has worked in that area.
You used the term “precursors”. We know that is in the legislation. According to various categories, these are products that you might have at home, that can be mixed, and at some point in time could become what we call crystal meth, that is to say the product that we do indeed wish to criminalize.
I have the following question: Do you make a connection with section 351 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the possession of break-in instruments? For example, if I own a jimmy, a hammer, a crowbar or other kinds of tools, taken separately there is no problem, all woodworkers would have those in their garage, but if I have all those tools together in my car, that could indicate the intention to steal or to commit an offence under the Criminal Code.
Is the meaning that you have given to the word “precursors”—and this is in the same vein as Mrs. Freeman's question—indeed intended to criminalize the fact that one might have several household products or things that could be combined, as is the case in the Criminal Code? That would mean that if these items are separate, you could not be charged, but if they are together, you could be. Is that what you are trying to do? All of these products, in certain cases, are allowed to be on the marketplace.
I would like to know if that is what you are trying to do with Bill , that is to say the equivalent of what you find in the Criminal Code on the subject of the possession of break-in instruments. Those are tools that, taken separately, are not banned, but put together they become so. Is that the case?
Your intent here is very clear. You want to do something to address this problem of methamphetamines, and I think that's to be applauded.
In looking at your bill, I think the question I have, and that we have to be able to answer, is what substantive difference this bill would really have on the success of enforcement. We have to figure out whether or not the mechanisms we have now produce the maximum enforcement that we think we can get.
For example, we do have a bill on organized crime. In any situation now that involves people knowingly being involved in organized crime, there are very serious penalties. We've actually never used that. I don't know if you're aware of it, but that legislation has never been used. There are also regulations that were brought in for business licences on methamphetamine.
So what is the response to the problem here? Your response is that we need this change. But will that change produce any better enforcement? That is my question.
I think it's up to you to show that this is the case. Right now the emphasis should be on really getting into some of these communities and providing prevention and education about the dangers of these substances. That way we'd have much greater success.
So I'm still not clear on what you believe the success will be of this bill in terms of enforcement.
Good afternoon, and thank you for the invitation. I won't take a lot of time.
I'll give you a brief understanding of Drayton Valley, and—this is not unique to Drayton Valley—the leadership our community took. It was an entire community effort.
About seven or eight years ago, when I first came on council, we started looking at the issues of drug and drug-related crime and how we could bring the whole community together to deal with these issues. We had created a community coalition, if you will, of stakeholders broadly based throughout the community. At that point in time, we were starting to hear from the police about methamphetamine in our community.
That stakeholder group was already together, and what we did was apply for a federal grant, which we were very grateful to receive, to hire what we called a community mobilizer, someone who was going to teach on the education prevention side to the students, teachers, businesses, and the entire community about the prevention side and the facts about this drug. On the other side of it, we had a community police officer.
This particular mobilizer was a past drug addict who had quite a bit of understanding of drugs and the drug-related crime, had been recovered for many years, and was a great person to have with us and working with our RCMP.
Also at that point in time, we had what was very unique for a community of our size in Alberta; we had hired a two-person RCMP GIS or general investigative services team to deal with the drug and drug-related crime. We were taking a holistic approach to this: prevention and education, as well as working with the RCMP on the enforcement side.
As we were working through this, we became aware that Drayton Valley and the whole corridor on Highway 16 in our community was starting to have a methamphetamine problem. Later we found out that there was a major drug house within that corridor on Highway 16, which was later taken out.
In discussion with the prevention team, and in particular when one of the RCMP members came to one of our committee meetings, we asked the question: what can we do, if anything, on the legislative side that would help this? We're working on the enforcement and on the prevention sides, but is there anything with regard to legislation whereby we could start the ball rolling to have an impact not just for our community but across Canada?
We had a discussion, and what we did as a council was create a resolution with our RCMP and their supervisors out of K division. I believe you have a copy of that resolution in front of you. It was first sent to our Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and approved. It was then sent to the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, which is the rural association in Alberta, and they approved it, and then together that resolution was formatted and taken to the federal Canadian municipalities. So all the municipalities within Canada had the opportunity to review, discuss, and approve this resolution.
I know you have that resolution in front of you. Really, what it speaks to in the “therefore” clauses is about urging and requesting the Government of Canada to implement regulations that will strictly control the sale and possession of large quantities of chemicals used to produce methamphetamines—and it lists some of those as examples—but also to institute reporting requirements associated with the sale and possession of these chemicals. We felt very strongly, as did the majority of all federal Canadian municipalities, which approved this, that this was very important legislation.
Drayton Valley has.... I sat on Premier Klein's task force a year ago—
Sitting on our Premier Klein's task force with Dr. Colleen Klein and others on this committee, we came to realize that this was indeed a provincial and Canada-wide problem. In Drayton Valley we had the courage as a whole community, with its whole support, to tackle this problem, not burying our heads in the sand, to say this is an issue affecting our young people—and not just young people, but many middle-aged people as well. We wanted to tackle this problem. That's why you see this resolution that we sent.
We have had great success in our community using this holistic approach of prevention, education, enforcement, and the whole team effort. We've had a reduction of meth significantly, according to our RCMP and the provincial regulator, ADAG, the Alberta Drug Awareness Group. Those statistics have held within our community for a period of about three years now.
We're very proud of the work we have done, but we feel that although we have had some reduction and have done a huge education process, in the number of youth, teachers, business owners, and community people we have spoken to, it has really been on the prevention side—letting them know what chemicals are used to produce this drug and the real facts about this drug compared with other drugs. It was a real awareness program and certainly a great deal in our community. I commend the entire community.
But I look at this piece of legislation...and I want to commend those within the federal government who approved the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as well, but I think we need to go a little bit further. Although we've seen some reductions and are starting to see that trend, we want to make sure that trend continues. While the economy is hot, other drugs are being looked at—the more expensive drugs. We know economies are cyclical as well, and we don't want to see a trend backwards with this drug.
Whatever we can do to monitor and control the substances coming into our country and the possession and sale of those chemicals, we need to do. And we need to regulate how large quantities of chemicals are sold.
I was listening to the prior witnesses talking about Wal-Mart or the drug stores or those kinds of things. There are ways we can put these behind the counter, and there are ways we can regulate the sales with reporting requirements. It is indeed, as was mentioned, a tool. I'll use an example.
In our community a few years ago we used the tool of a curfew bylaw. The curfew bylaw has never actually been enforced, but it has been an excellent tool for our RCMP community police officers to be able to use, to give warnings to the children. Also, it's a tool for parents to use.
This legislation is yet another tool—and I know you have other legislation as well—for them to draw on. I think the more tools we have, the more helpful it is to our police services, regardless of whether they are provincial or RCMP. We should do whatever we can to give them more tools, to give our communities more tools and more fight, but also to send a clear message out that Canada does not want to see this drug in our communities, that Canada understands the devastation this drug is creating among young people and those who are using this drug, and that we will do everything we can, as Canadians and as legislators, to stop the sale and the possession of these chemicals and this drug.
I'll leave it at that for any questions you may have.
Bonjour. Good day.
l'd like to begin by commending you for addressing this very serious issue that is impacting Canadians, along with the youth of this nation, and by thanking the committee for permitting our group to make a presentation on this sensitive yet critical issue. We applaud and support this bill one hundred percent.
My name is André Bigras, and l'm representing the Drug Prevention Network of Canada. Our organization was founded in 2005 with the goal of seeing the Canadian drug strategy bring a balanced approach to illegal drug issues, use, and abuse. Our focus is on prevention/education, treatment, and enforcement.
To give you a better understanding of who we are, the role of a DPNC board member is as follows.
Each member is an equal participant on the Canadian national board dedicated and subscribing to the following principles: to promote a healthy lifestyle, free of drugs; to advocate no use of illegal drugs and no abuse of legal drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and solvents; to oppose legalization of drugs; to support the United Nations conventions and treaties concerning drugs and psychotropic substances; to participate with and support the DPNA.
Each board member shall support demand reduction principles and foster communication and cooperation among NGOs who are working to stem illicit drug use in and around the world.
Each board member shall foster citizen involvement and community cooperation to address the drug problem at the local level.
Each board member shall encourage conferences and initiatives focusing on drug prevention education, the establishment of drug prevention networks and community anti-drug coalitions, and the promotion of positive, healthy, drug-free norms and attitudes in society.
There is not any one magic solution that will resolve our drug problems, but we can make a positive impact by implementing many small steps, having a multi-dimensional approach that must give a consistent message that illegal drugs are dangerous, and that even prescribed legal drugs and over-the-counter drugs, if abused, can also be dangerous.
The new drug strategy for Canada is definitely heading in the right direction, and the Drug Prevention Network of Canada looks forward to working within the framework of this new drug strategy to improve conditions for the addicts and Canadians.
Crystal meth is one of the most deadly, yet cheap, drugs available in Canada. People under its influence feel a sense of power, and of sexual power, which also leads to sexually transmitted diseases. It also impacts the part of the brain that controls judgment and rational thought, making it a dangerous drug. Being very addictive, it adds to the need to implement laws to try to minimize the damage it is doing, especially to the youth of this nation. It's one of the easiest drugs that leads to addiction and one of the hardest ones from which to break free.
The recommended amendments to this bill are one step in that direction and are fully supported by the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, even though the precursor control regulations have been recently tightened. Companies selling precursor chemicals need to acquire an end-user statement from anyone purchasing the named chemicals, thus ensuring that only legitimate manufacturers are able to obtain the precursor chemicals. This gives us control over who is purchasing these products.
With these controls, we need laws and the inspection and enforcement capabilities, or they are basically meaningless. An analogy is that if one removed the fence around an apple tree and removed the penalty for taking apples, in a very short period of time there wouldn't be any apples left.
That same logic applies to our new drug laws. If they don't have any weight behind them, they are ineffective. This again reinforces the need for a multi-dimensional approach to the desired modifications, one of which is in front of us today. Some apples will always be stolen, but the majority might be left on the tree with proper safeguards.
I would recommend that we start with the products that are available in drugstores, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are necessary key precursors to manufacturing methamphetamine. Given that one requires nearly 700 pills to produce one ounce of meth, the pharmacies could limit the amount of packages of ephedrine to two per customer or place these products behind the shelves where one needs to ask for the product. Anything and everything we do to restrict its availability becomes a detriment to some. The more restrictions, even small ones, the harder it becomes for the manufacturing of methamphetamines.
The greatest Christmas gift we can give our society is hope. The greatest gift we can give to parents is to minimize and restrict, to the best of our ability, the easy access to drugs and precursor products and to have in place treatment facilities to restore those who fall prey to this scourge. We also need to give the tools to enforcement agencies to stop the dealers, manufacturers, and importers of drugs or precursor products. This comes into line with Canada's new drug strategy of having compassion for addicts while punishing those trying to destroy this country's greatest asset, our youth.
I apologize for not presenting this in both official languages, due to the short notice given; however, I will answer questions in French.
I respectfully submit my testimony.
I will not engage in an argument with you on harm reduction strategy, I will leave that to my colleague Ms. Libby.
In fact, your logic is somewhat debatable insofar as in Canada, we have had a prohibitionist strategy in place for drugs since the 19th century.
We turn out statistics, investigation after investigation. Methamphetamine is a somewhat different reality, but I'm having difficulty understanding how a single new clause in a bill could have such a deterrent effect.
In fact, you are saying that if we make this law, one segment of users, particularly young people, will pay attention to it. Up until now, there is no study that supports that point of view, quite the contrary. I'm not asking you to answer that.
If I have some time left, I would rather address the mayor.
We heard about the originality of an experiment carried out in your city. I do not really understand what is original about that model. I'm convinced that your town council, of which you are the mayor, is very concerned by this issue. You talked to us about a combination of education and deterrence, which it seems to me is done in many communities.
Where is the originality of the experiment that you carried out in your municipality?
I think what makes it original for us is that the whole community came together with this: all of the agencies, the schools, the health and social services, pastors—the entire community pulling together, as our motto is. We were proactive in this. A lot of the communities in Alberta didn't want to talk about it. Nobody wanted to say they had a problem with methamphetamine. Whether because it would hurt their community relations or because it would hurt their economic development, nobody wanted to talk about it. Our community wanted to deal with this problem to protect the young people who were being hurt by it.
We're a very proactive community. I think that's where the difference really was for Drayton Valley; we got ahead of the problem before it got too far along. We started dealing with this long before any other community would talk about it. Many communities asked us, “Why are you discussing this? Why would you want to hurt your community and your economic development?”
We worked hard on this; we were proactive. We put in the prevention dollars and the enforcement dollars and used a holistic approach from the entire community. Our entire community was behind us on this, once we were able to let people know about this drug in particular—and this is the drug that we focused on—its devastating effects, the quick way one could become addicted to it, and the difference with respect to the chemicals that are used in this drug compared with some other drugs.
I have to say that what was unique for Drayton Valley is that we gave our citizens and the entire community the entire truth about this drug in the awareness stage. We went after it extremely hard, so that people knew.
We also were helping other communities within the province and within the country—in Saskatchewan and B.C., for example—sharing the information we had.
I think what is unique for Drayton Valley is that we have a great reputation for sharing resources and pulling our community together and making sure, if there's an issue, that we deal with the issue, as hard and difficult as it can be. That's what makes it unique.
I have to give the Province of Alberta great accolades for getting behind this initiative too, on the enforcement and the prevention side, making sure through AADAC that education and an awareness of this drug was available to lots of people in the province. They as well are working with our community, the province having the same type of approach, so that we can educate people on the harm of this drug.
I could get into a big discussion with you about harm reduction, but I'm probably not going to convince you, and you're probably not going to convince me. But clearly your organization doesn't have that element.
Mayor McQueen, what you did in your community sounds very interesting, because you reached out to try to bring in the various stakeholders.
I have just two points.
I believe the resolution you circulated to us is from 2003. I'm not sure how long it took to get to the FCM, but I'm wondering whether the regulations we spoke about earlier may have come in after that, because I think there was a fair amount of activity amongst local communities and certainly, in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C., among the western premiers.
Mr. Chair, I am thinking.... I know there's another day on Thursday, but it seems to me that we need some kind of official information from either Health Canada or the Department of Justice to get a handle on some of the statistics here and what these regulations are.
Again I want to point out to Mayor McQueen that my understanding is, from the City of Vancouver's report, that one of the changes that took place was that business operators are now required to have a licence to import, export, manufacture, and distribute...and then they list the various elements. So there have been some more recent changes that I think address your resolution.
The question I have is this. You mention that you have done prevention, and I don't know what you were able to do by way of treatment. In our community, one of the most difficult things we've had to face is a lack of resources for treatment and, particularly for young people, treatment that is accessible, that is open, that you can go back for again, for which you get long-term support.... But it's really hard for people even to get on the waiting list.
I don't know whether there's a similar situation in your community, but I wonder whether you could speak a bit about what you were able to do by way of prevention education and whether or not you were able to make any headway on the treatment side.
Thank you, Ms. Davies, for the question.
Certainly on prevention and education we did fantastically.
In part, Premier Klein's task force dealt with the lack of treatment facilities within our province, and I would say that lack is probably clear across the country.
The treatment issue has always been the hardest part for us to deal with. Ours is a community of 7,000 people, so obviously, other than the supports from AADAC, we do not have the support of treatment beds. Those needing treatment would go to Edmonton or other centres within the province. Definitely, with regard to crystal meth, the treatment, according to the experts, is different from the treatment for some other drugs they're having to deal with.
So we have a lack of treatment facilities, and I know that currently, under Premier Stelmach, they're working towards looking at how to deal with treatment as part of their whole crime initiative.
That is probably the most outstanding point we need to deal with in our province: the treatment facilities for this. We did the best we could with the resources we had on the prevention and education and enforcement side and we saw cracks that needed to be filled. The resolution won, and we thank the federal government for working on certain legislation that has come to date. That was something we were very proud to see, and you're absolutely right, there has been great movement on it. We're very grateful, as all our communities are.
In the area of treatment, we're still working on it. We've been early champions because we were having to deal with the problem early, but the work is still not done. I think this private member's bill shows a full understanding from an MP that the work isn't done. You will see that more needs to be done on the legislation side and also on the treatment side.
I would say those are the two areas that probably need the most work.
Thank you. There are a few questions in that question.
Certainly that would be a question the RCMP could answer far better than myself. My understanding, though, is that in Drayton Valley proper, the town limits, there have not been any meth labs within the town. I think what you'll hear quite often is many of these labs, especially the bigger labs, are moving out more and more into the rural area, where they can't be noticed. They're further out in the rural areas. Certainly the big lab was in the Gainford area, so on the Highway 16 corridor, a very rural, small remote area. That's where more of the drugs are.
We're in very close proximity to Edmonton, as you know. We're about an hour and a half from Edmonton. So a lot of the drugs will come from that area. Also on the Highway 16 corridor, the Edson-Hinton-Whitecourt-Drayton Valley area, we know that certainly they're coming from that corridor and coming from the city as well.
There are no labs within the town proper, or even within our county, that I am aware of.