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View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
Rideau Hall
March 25, 2011
Mr. Speaker:
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 25th day of March, 2011 at 7:55 a.m.
Yours sincerely,
Stephen Wallace,
The Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor.
The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-442, An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument--Chapter 13; and Bill C-475, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (methamphetamine and ecstasy)--Chapter 14.
View Terence Young Profile
View Terence Young Profile
2010-06-10 13:31 [p.3661]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
Last evening at the moment of the unanimous passing at third reading of Bill C-475, the private member's bill initiated by the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, a bill which will significantly help police and our courts protect Canada's young people from the dangers of street drugs and notably methamphetamines, in this wonderful moment for Canada, I inadvertently broke a rule of the House in taking the member's picture as members of the House congratulated him. This was to present to him at a later date, perhaps at his retirement 20 years from now.
The Conservative members, including myself, are so proud to have him as a member of our caucus, a member who dedicated himself to this cause.
I note that in the last six months there have been two important occasions when many members took pictures in the House, first, when the Olympic athletes visited with the flame in December, and more recently when they visited the House again.
As well, I thought the House was adjourned at the time.
Nevertheless, I accept the point of order and I apologize for my inadvertent breach.
View John Weston Profile
Mr. Speaker, tonight this House will vote for a final time on Bill C-475, my private member's bill that seeks to put a stop to the horror of drug addiction in Canada.
This bill, which criminalizes the procurement of precursors for the manufacture of crystal meth and ecstasy, received unanimous consent in this House at second reading. I ask my colleagues in this House, what could send a stronger message to Canadians than again to pass this bill unanimously?
Canadians are proud that our government is acting to protect its citizens from illegal drugs. Bill C-475, which has been endorsed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the B.C. Association of Police Chiefs along with many municipalities in the riding I represent, would make it harder for Canadians to produce or gain access to dangerous drugs.
For the sake of all Canadians, I implore my colleagues in this House to stand in favour of health, fitness and freedom from drug addiction.
View Barry Devolin Profile
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-475 under private members' business. The question is on the motion.
View Barry Devolin Profile
I declare the motion carried.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): I wish to inform the House that because of the delay there will be no private members' business today. Accordingly, the order will be rescheduled for another sitting.
View Jim Maloway Profile
View Jim Maloway Profile
2010-06-07 11:04 [p.3445]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to finish my address to Bill C-475.
Once again, I want to congratulate the member for having gone through a long and torturous experience with this bill. As I indicated before, while this bill probably should have been a government initiative, I am happy that he, as a private member, has been able to take it this far and hopefully finish the process. We should be doing more of this. The role of private members' in this House should be enhanced more so than it is even at this point, but there has been an improvement from what it was 20 or 30 years ago.
Dealing with the whole drug issue in this country, it is really a question of following the money. For too long we have concentrated our efforts on tracking down small time dealers at the street level who sell little bits of drugs here and there. The reality is that the money gets funnelled right back to organized crime in this country.
It was not until the late 1950s that the Mafia was even recognized as such in the United States, and after that the RICO laws came into place. It took many years for the Americans to recognize that the Mafia even existed and had to be controlled. The U.S. brought in the RICO laws and have had some success in dismantling organized crime groups.
We have to concentrate on dealing with issues like the proceeds from criminal activities. We have to seize the proceeds from crime so we can take away the incentive for criminal organizations to be involved in crime. I pointed out in the past that today's type of organized criminal is not the biker guy out for a Sunday drive. Normally these people are living in million dollar houses and do not even drive a bike in many cases. We have to concentrate on making tough laws against white collar criminals and concentrate on these organized criminals.
One other point I want to mention once again is in regard to the pill making machines. The United States has told us that it is concerned that a lot of the methamphetamine traffic is now headquartered in Canada because we do not regulate pill making machines. We should be following the American example and require these pill making machines to be registered and tracked when any repairs are made. This is just one more way that we could control this issue.
The member for Halifax mentioned the other day that the Americans are controlling the supply of things to make methamphetamine. An individual can only buy a certain amount of supplies and he or she must have a reason for buying any large quantity of supplies. That is what we need to look at.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2010-06-07 11:08 [p.3445]
Resuming debate. There being no further members rising, I will give the floor to the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his five minute right of reply.
View John Weston Profile
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise on third reading of a bill that represents an idea whose time has come.
Bill C-475, which deals the growing problem of crystal meth and ecstasy, is reaching the last lap of its marathon race, thanks to the unanimous support of all members of this House and of many Canadians from coast to coast.
It is often said that it is the journey and not the destination that is important. The destination remains critical, protecting Canadians from the aggressive assault on our society of highly addictive and increasingly accessible methamphetamine drugs, but the journey has also been important, a journey which began with the work of my colleague, the MP from Peace River, continued with the expert advice of senior law enforcement officials, gained momentum with contributions from each of the justice critics of the other three parties, and continued with wind under our wings with the support of all parties. When our Parliament manages to achieve this kind of consensus, Canadians smile, and the institution to which we members belong rises in their respect. The destination is important but the journey has been important too.
The change proposed in this bill addresses a lack of restrictions in the law against the gathering of precursors for two dangerous drugs: crystal meth and ecstasy. The bill strikes a major blow against their production. Throughout the journey of this bill, I have met many who have been working to help those who suffer from the plight of crystal meth and ecstasy. Each one of these persons gives cause for this bill to target directly the producers of these drugs and not just the users, and while the bill is certainly a step in the right direction, clearly more measures are necessary than any government could ever provide.
In the journey that I have taken with this bill, former and recovering addicts in treatment facilities with whom I have met have advocated the approach that we are adopting in this House. Last month, I visited the Orchard Recovery Centre on Bowen Island in the riding I represent, a marvellous place that gives hope and practical help to recovering addicts. I ran into a person, whom we will call Mary, who had a few comments to make about her education in the field of drugs. “Not even once” was the slogan that she recommends to anyone who even considers trying these drugs. Mary noted that it is hard to understand the real grip of addiction until one is actually there. The best way to avoid the addiction, she emphasized, is never to try the drug.
I have also dealt with a treatment centre in Prince George, B.C., one of the places that is on the front line in the battle against drug addiction.
Members will be asked later to vote on the third reading of this bill. I ask members to continue the unanimous support they have given the bill thus far. I hope they will join me once again in supporting Bill C-475, an idea whose time has come. We must send a strong message to our friends in the Senate to ensure its quick passage there.
I would like to offer my special thanks to all the people who made it possible for us to come this far in enacting a law that will save untold numbers of Canadians from the plague of crystal meth and ecstasy. I thank the member for Peace River, my Conservative colleagues, especially the justice minister, who helped me design the bill, and also the justice critics. I thank members of all parties who looked beyond their party loyalties to support a bill for the good of all Canadians.
I thank the endorsers who span our great country in their reach, endorsers such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Association of B.C. Police Chiefs, and various towns and cities in the riding I represent.
I thank the recovery centres, such as the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre in Prince George and the Orchard Recovery Centre on Bowen Island, which I mentioned.
Finally, I thank the victims of crystal meth, ecstasy and of other drugs. Not one of them wants to be addicted. This is not a choice anyone freely makes. I thank them for the fight many of them are waging to free themselves of their addictions.
For now, I ask all members of this House to rise and join me in a special tribute to any Canadians struggling with any addiction. We want them to know that we stand with them in their battle and can only hope that our efforts as legislators will translate into practical help for them, their families and their friends.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2010-06-07 11:13 [p.3446]
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
And five or more members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 98, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 9, 2010, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.
View Denise Savoie Profile
View Denise Savoie Profile
2010-05-07 13:29 [p.2534]
There being no motions at report stage on this bill, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question of the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.
View Denise Savoie Profile
View Denise Savoie Profile
2010-05-07 13:31 [p.2534]
Is the House ready for the question?
Some hon. members: Question.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie): I declare the motion carried. When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View John Weston Profile
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
He said: Madam Speaker, I take great pleasure to rise on the last sitting day before Mother's Day to speak to Bill C-475.
The bill would amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act by creating a new offence for possessing, producing, selling or importing anything knowing it will be used to produce or traffic in crystal meth or ecstasy.
Targeted ingredients include the drug's precursor chemicals, such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and Sudafed, which are commonly found in over-the-counter cold medications. Other targeted ingredients are legal but certainly not intended for human consumption, such as acetone, rubbing alcohol and iodine.
The bill would give our law enforcement community a powerful new tool with which to confront the growing menace of two drugs which are attacking the health and welfare of Canadians.
The passage of this bill would mark a new era in our fight to protect Canadians, especially our children, from the devastating effects of these drugs. In the battle to protect our communities, we would be providing new tools to combat the methamphetamine epidemic that has swept our country.
I believe this House stands united today in one noble purpose as we rise together and speak on behalf of Canadians who seek to escape the grip of these harmful substances.
We know an idea is one whose time has come when three things come together: first, a consensus surrounds and supports the idea; second, the idea meets an obvious need; and third, in one sense or another, the stars seem to align and the idea's progress seems preordained and unstoppable. In this case, all these conditions have come to pass, and I look forward to elaborating now.
First, we have a large nationwide consensus of people who support passage of the bill. The consensus is most evident in this House where all parties support it. On April 14, for the first time in this session of Parliament, all members voted in favour of a private member's bill. The stage was second reading and the bill was Bill C-475, the one to which I speak today.
The member for Peace River also received unanimous support for a previous version of this bill when he introduced it in a prior session of Parliament, but it died on the order paper when an election intervened.
Broad and growing support for this bill extends throughout the Canadian public as well, starting with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Other endorsers include the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, the Crystal Meth Prevention Society of BC, the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre, the North Shore Substance Abuse Working Group, the Town of Gibsons, the City of Powell River, the District of Squamish, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Bowen Island Municipality, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Solicitor General of British Columbia, as well as Chief Gibby Jacob of the Squamish First Nation.
The broad array of rehabilitation centres, law enforcement officials, former addicts and ordinary citizens who support this bill speak to the need for it, highlighting the fact that we in this chamber are not the only people who say that this is an idea whose time has come.
The chief of the West Vancouver Police Department, speaking on behalf of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Constable Peter Lepine, wrote me earlier this week. I would like to quote from his message. He said:
As the voice of British Columbia's 5,000+ sworn police officers, the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police, BCACP, is proud to support the legislation and would like to thank [the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country] and his staff for their efforts to reduce the impact of illicit drugs on families and communities across Canada.
Every day police officers and our colleagues in the justice system and fields like health care and social work experience firsthand the terrible toll that the production, trade and use of methamphetamine takes: From lives lost and families torn apart by addiction, to the fear and cost of drug-related crime, to the risk of fires and explosions related to meth labs. The public safety risks of methamphetamine are real, substantial, and growing all the time.
This legislation, which prohibits the possession of methamphetamine precursor materials, will provide police across Canada with a way to help reduce the supply of methamphetamine rather than being forced to simply deal with its consequences.The BCACP is confident that the benefits of early interdiction will include not only a marked reduction in the addiction-related human tragedies that we are all so aware of, but also a mitigation of the growing cost of methamphetamines for our health care and other social services.
Bill C-475 complements other criminal justice reforms initiated by our government, such as toughening the laws against drug trafficking and illegal firearms. I am pleased, therefore, that the Minister of Justice and the Conservative government also support the bill.
While a large consensus in support of Bill C-475 suggests it is an idea whose time has come, the increasing need for it is an even stronger indication. The need is simply to stop the destruction of the lives of young Canadians.
The more clearly I examine the problems associated with crystal meth and ecstasy, the more people I meet who have been affected themselves, directly or indirectly, by crystal meth addicts who suffer psychosis, physical addiction, unemployment and an inescapable draw toward criminal conduct. We need to eliminate the use of crystal meth and ecstasy from Canadian society.
These drugs are affecting an increasing number of Canadians. Serious health implications resulting from chronic use of these drugs include dependence, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use, and a phenomenon known as amphetamine or methamphetamine psychosis, which includes strong hallucinations and delusions. Crystal meth and ecstasy use can translate over the longer term into schizophrenia, a side effect with lasting consequences. Trauma experienced by users includes great physical, psychological and emotional harm.
According to Canada's Alcohol and Other Drugs Survey, approximately 50,000 people aged 15 and over report having used methamphetamine at least once in the previous year.
In 2003, British Columbia's Ministry of Health estimated that 4% of school-aged children had used methamphetamine stimulants. Around the same time, the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission found that 5.3% of school-aged children had tried methamphetamine stimulants. That is a lot.
On a personal note, I know that many of us know someone battling drug addiction. Let us not forget that meth is an insidious drug that can affect anyone in any segment of society.
Meth use is not confined to homeless people. Other users include professionals, doctors, lawyers and first responders. These people are mothers and fathers and tragically, in too many cases, they pay with their lives.
The crystal meth and ecstasy industry is linked to various forms of criminal activity. The most obvious form of such activity is the pattern of offences committed by people whose lives are ruined by these drugs.
As I have previously discussed in this House, the methamphetamine industry is increasingly controlled by gangs. For example, Marshall Smith at the Baldy Hughes Treatment Centre in Prince George has informed me that crystal meth addiction is increasingly linked to the multi-billion dollar per year fraud and identity theft problem which is devastating to Canadian families and our economy.
Some who can see the need for this bill have expressed concern about the possibility of wrongful conviction should the bill become law. As in all offences included among Canada's criminal laws, the prosecution must prove an element of mental intention to achieve a conviction under the proposed bill. The bill states explicitly what would have been assumed by the courts, that the accused must be shown to know that the product possessed, produced, sold or imported was to have been used to produce or traffic in crystal meth or ecstasy. The emphasis is on the word “know”. The necessity to prove intent, as stated in the bill, and the general presumption of innocence are two definite responses to anyone concerned about wrongful convictions under Bill C-475, once it is enacted.
This bill gives a new opportunity for law enforcement officials to tackle the production of these drugs before they reach our streets. In particular, this will give judges a new tool to use against chronic producers and allow police to arrest these people earlier, thus reducing the supply of crystal meth and ecstasy on the streets.
I have made the case that Bill C-475 is an idea whose time has come based on the broad support it enjoys and the need it satisfies, but many good ideas are well supported and many ideas could satisfy an important need, but are still not ideas whose time has come.
A third factor which crowns an idea whose time has come is an aligning of the stars, a coming together of people and forces in a way that suggests the idea in question is truly meant to be. People and forces have assembled almost magically to bless the passage of Bill C-475.
The parade began with the member for Peace River whose efforts in introducing a previous version of the bill must never be forgotten. We who appear to personify success in fact stand on the shoulders of giants.
The bill was introduced only six months ago. It could never have reached third reading this quickly without the close co-operation of people such as the Minister of Justice, the government whip, the member for Abbotsford, who chairs the justice committee, the members for Edmonton East and Elgin—Middlesex—London for their willingness to exchange positions with me to expedite the bill through the order of precedence, and the three opposition justice critics, each of whom graciously consulted with me before I introduced the bill.
A moment ago I recited a list of endorsers of the bill. Let me single out one, the Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre in Prince George, B.C., for purposes of illustrating how the stars have aligned to ensure the passage of the bill. I was on a flight from Ottawa to Vancouver when I chanced to sit next to a board member for the treatment centre, Kevin England, who proceeded to add to and encourage the efforts of the great team of people who support the bill.
When we meet strangers on flights who provide informed support for a legislative initiative, we know the stars are aligned and the idea is one whose time has come.
View Linda Duncan Profile
View Linda Duncan Profile
2010-05-07 13:43 [p.2536]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for tabling the bill. It is very important that we deal with this critical matter.
The question I would like to put to the member is this: Would the member consider also supporting a proposal to tag some of the transfer payments to the provinces so that the long-awaited treatment facilities for crystal meth could be established?
The Government of Alberta quite some time ago under Premier Klein promised to set aside major moneys to established rehabilitation places. This has never happened. That promise was never delivered on to the extent that is needed. As a result, a lot of young Albertans are literally dying from addiction to crystal meth. I speak regularly with parents who are in anguish because there is no place for their children to go, so they resort to crime or simply die or languish under their addiction.
I would like to hear the member's response to that. It is one thing to run around trying to arrest people, but it is another thing to actually try to resolve the problem of addiction.
View John Weston Profile
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her interest in the area and clearly her commitment to helping people who are afflicted by the problem of methamphetamines. It is important to know that this government has increased health care transfers to the provinces by 6% per year since the 2006-07 budget, as well as a 3% increase in social transfer payments. Therefore, the government is standing behind the provinces in their attempts to deal with the problem.
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