June 2, 2015

CPC

Tom Lukiwski

Conservative

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 25 petitions.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Response to Petitions
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CPC

John Duncan

Conservative

Hon. John Duncan

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Act
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NDP

Ryan Cleary

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ryan Cleary (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NDP)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-683, An Act to establish a National Institutional Abuse Awareness Day.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to table a private member's bill calling on the Government of Canada to establish a national day of awareness for people who have been abused by clergy, lay officials, and institutions in Canada.

A national day of awareness would be a step on the path towards healing. By shining a light on the abuse, promoting awareness and education, decreasing stigma, and addressing the harm that has occurred through clergy, lay officials, and institutions as a whole, we can start to move forward.

This bill proposes that June 1 be set aside as the national day of awareness, because it is the beginning of the National Aboriginal History Month in Canada and the day the Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland and Labrador closed Mount Cashel orphanage for good.

By setting aside a national day, Canadians can engage in their communities to work together to ensure that this never happens again.

I call on all members of the House to support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Institutional Abuse Awareness Day Act
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IND

Massimo Pacetti

Independent

Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Ind.)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-684, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (microplastics).

Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to prohibit the importation into Canada and the manufacture for use or sale in Canada of personal care products that contain pieces of plastic of up to five millimetres in size.

The bill had been ready to be tabled since the beginning of last fall, but due to some distractions, I decided it best to wait and table this bill today so that the focus could be on taking action in response to numerous recent studies that highlight the damage microbeads inflict on our marine ecosystem.

As a Montrealer, I am personally troubled that my city's main waterway, the St. Lawrence River, contains high levels of microbead contamination.

Even though this House unanimously passed the motion in March to deal with this problem, the government has yet to take action.

Seeing how little time is remaining in this session, and the fact that this bill is non-controversial, and that the House has already pronounced itself in favour of this matter, I was wondering if I can request unanimous consent to send this bill directly to the environment committee for study.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Canadian Environmental Protection Act
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CPC

Andrew Scheer

Conservative

The Speaker

Does the member have the unanimous consent of the House?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Canadian Environmental Protection Act
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Canadian Environmental Protection Act
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CPC

Andrew Scheer

Conservative

The Speaker

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Canadian Environmental Protection Act
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CPC

Terence Young

Conservative

Mr. Terence Young (Oakville, CPC)

moved:

That the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Health, presented on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to speak about the serious and lasting health risks of smoking marijuana, especially for our youth.

I will be splitting my time with the hon. Minister of Health.

The report before us today, authored by the health committee, of which I am pleased to be a member, provides context on this important public health concern and a contrast to the disturbing proposal put forward by the Liberal leader to make marijuana available in stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes, making it even easier for children and teens to get their hands on and smoke.

Marijuana is illegal for a reason, and that reason is well documented in this report on marijuana's health risks and harms. Indeed, the former president of the Canadian Medical Association put it best when he said, “...especially in youth, the evidence is irrefutable—marijuana is dangerous”.

That is why our Conservative government wants to stop children and teens from smoking marijuana. Unlike the Liberal leader, we do not support making access to illegal drugs easier.

Through the national anti-drug strategy, our government is allocating approximately $100 million over five years to raise awareness and combat the production and distribution of unhealthy illegal drugs. The Liberal leader, by contrast, would legalize marijuana, making it easier for children and teens to buy and smoke. This Liberal plan is irresponsible and can have only one indisputable effect. That is increasing access to and use of marijuana.

Whereas the Liberal leader, who advised one journalist he had smoked marijuana five or six times even as a member of Parliament, wants to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for Canadians, our Conservative government is contributing to safer and healthier communities through coordinated efforts to prevent illicit drug use, treat dependency, and reduce the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

The national anti-drug strategy and the RCMP are actively working together to raise awareness of this serious public health issue, of which, incredibly, the Liberal leader makes light. The national anti-drug strategy encompasses three action plans: prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

The prevention component aims to prevent youth from using illicit drugs, through raising awareness of the harmful health effects of drug use, and to develop community-based interventions to prevent such drug use.

The treatment action plan supports effective treatment and rehabilitation systems and services by implementing innovative and collaborative approaches.

The enforcement element contributes to the disruption of drug operations in a safe manner, primarily targeting criminal organizations.

The RCMP has organized thousands of community outreach events to raise awareness among youth of the harms and risks of illicit drugs, including Kids and Drugs, which is a national prevention program for parents to help them learn strategies to prevent their school age children from abusing alcohol and other drugs. Drug abuse resistance education, commonly known as DARE, is a program designed to equip school children with the skills they need to recognize and resist social pressures to experiment with tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Aboriginal shield is a program created to better enable aboriginal youth to make informed healthy lifestyle choices regarding alcohol, drugs, and positive alternatives.

Educating youth on the harmful effects of smoking marijuana is a responsibility that the RCMP has taken seriously, and our Conservative government commends it for its service to our communities. Indeed, the current head of the Canadian Medical Association was quite clear on the subject when he said, "Any effort to highlight the dangers, harm and potential side effects of consuming marijuana is welcome".

This report from the health committee lays out in plain language that which all members of the House should know: smoking marijuana damages teens' developing brains and everyone's lungs and causes other serious harms. This is the essence of what is so wrong with the Liberal leader's irresponsible plan to make smoking marijuana appear to be an acceptable, everyday activity.

Our Conservative government recognizes the responsibility we have to Canadian families to prevent our youth from smoking marijuana. That is why we made tough new rules ending grow ops in residential neighbourhoods.

In terms of enforcement, the RCMP established the marijuana grow enforcement initiative back in September 2011 to better tackle marijuana grow operations. This initiative has resulted in strengthened collaboration among government agencies, community groups, businesses, and community members. It has also resulted in many successful enforcement activities.

As part of the Safe Streets and Communities Act, our government has also introduced mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offences carried out by organized crime or those targeting youth, and it has increased the maximum penalty for the manufacture of controlled drugs, including marijuana, from 7 to 14 years.

Shockingly, the Liberal leader cannot even agree that ending dangerous home grow ops is a good policy. He quickly condemned the work to end these dangerous neighbourhood grow ops stating:

Our worries are that the current hyper-controlled approach around...marijuana that actually removes from individuals the capacity to grow their own, is not going in the right direction.

...we don't need to be all nanny state about it....

These are homes with rerouted wiring for high-powered lights that are a fire hazard. They have high humidity that causes unhealthy moulds, and they are sometimes booby-trapped to ward off the theft of these drugs. Sometimes children live in these grow ops. Grow ops are extremely dangerous for children. However, the Liberal leader is focused on aging hippies who want to grow their own. I wish there were some way to sugar-coat these statements by the Liberal leader. However, the truth is that is what he actually believes. Protecting children or teens is being a nanny state, to the Liberal leader.

The Liberal leader wants to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for our youth, wants to make marijuana available in stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes, and wants to have home grow ops in neighbourhoods across Canada. It is that kind of irresponsible approach that is proving to Canadian parents each and every day that he is just in over his head.

Another important element within this report from the health committee is the concern about marijuana-impaired driving. It seems everybody knows that alcohol-impaired driving is bad and that no one should drink and drive. The message has been out there for a long time. However, the issue with drug-impaired driving is not as well understood. Drug-impaired driving is dangerous, illegal, and a risk to our communities and Canadians.

A 2011 report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse indicates that drugs are found in approximately one-third of all fatally injured drivers, almost as often as alcohol. Moreover, the age group most at risk is young men age 16 to 24, and the drug of choice for them is marijuana. On top of that, a study by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators found that 26% of respondents did not believe that a driver can be charged while impaired by marijuana. That is, marijuana was found in the system of dead drivers age 16 to 24, and many of those drivers did not know it was dangerous or illegal to drive after smoking marijuana.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse described that 15.8% of youth have reported being in a vehicle where the driver has smoked marijuana in the previous two hours. That is why the RCMP is working to prevent impaired driving and educate our youth. Through RCMPTalks, the RCMP has provided a series of live, interactive video conferences with students in classrooms across Canada on many important issues, including impaired and distracted driving.

The Liberal leader has said that this current approach is not going in the right direction, and yet we are seeing results. Youth surveyed by the RCMP have reported a decrease in the numbers of licensed students who drive after using marijuana or who get in a vehicle as a passenger with a driver who has been using marijuana. These and other initiatives are making a difference in communities from coast to coast.

According to the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, marijuana use by youth has dropped by almost 30% since 2008 and 45% since 2004. The Liberals' plan to legalize marijuana and their leader's insistence on normalizing the practice is reckless and will minimize all of these efforts by making it far easier for children and teens to buy and smoke marijuana. It would also make it socially acceptable, perhaps even a status symbol for youth. This Conservative government wants to stop children and teens from smoking marijuana, and we do not support making access to illegal drugs easier.

This discussion in the House today is timely. Our position is grounded in facts, and it is the right public health message that needs to be delivered to Canadian teens and their parents.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I was on the Standing Committee on Health when this study was done as well. Therefore, I am interested in hearing the member's comments about the study. I think the member is aware that one of the witnesses we heard from told us that Veterans Affairs Canada pays for the cost of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD in veterans.

This study was completely biased and one-sided. In fact, we were extremely disappointed that the study was so one-sided. It serves no useful purpose other than to bolster the already-held political Conservative views that are not based on evidence.

I would like to ask the member this. Why did the study only consider health risks and harms? Why were the Conservatives not willing to hear about some of the advances that have been made in medical marijuana and the fact that it is actually used by a federal agency to help veterans?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Terence Young

Conservative

Mr. Terence Young

Mr. Speaker, there are approximately 5,000 prescription drugs available on the Canadian market for patients who need them. Those drugs, with one exception, have been proven safe and effective for Canadians, and we are working to improve the standards, to improve the safety of those drugs.

Smoking marijuana has never been proven safe and effective for anything. The reason it is available to Canadians is because a court decided it should be made available. Instead of directing Health Canada to conduct studies to see if marijuana is safe and effective, the court simply ordered it to be made available on the market, so it has never been proven safe and effective for anything. The harms were outlined in the study. As a member of the committee, you heard about the harms. Sorry, my colleague opposite is well aware of the harms.

Over a quarter of our children and teens, aged 11 to 15 years old, already use marijuana. They are risking addiction, memory loss, apathy, psychosis, respiratory problems, diminished mental functions and even death in motor vehicle accidents.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

I remind all hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair.

Further, members who rise to ask a question while the previous member is still answering will not be recognized, in an effort to avoid encouraging that behaviour.

Questions and comments, the member for Kingston and the Islands.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Ted Hsu

Liberal

Mr. Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what my colleague across the floor on the Conservative benches thinks about the fact that marijuana use is so high in Canada among youth. To me it must mean that whatever we have right now is not working.

In my colleague's speech, he talked on and on about the Liberal leader. My question to him is, did the committee report mention the Liberal leader and what was the purpose of the committee report or even the member's motion, given the content of his speech?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Terence Young

Conservative

Mr. Terence Young

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have a question from the Liberal side of the House because of the Liberal position on marijuana.

We heard a great deal in this committee about the risks and harms of marijuana. I strongly recommend that the members of the Liberal caucus read this report, take it to your caucus meeting and tell your leader what it says. There may still be time for him to reverse—

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Barry Devolin

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin)

Order, please. Could I remind this hon. member to direct his comments to the Chair rather than directly at his colleagues?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Terence Young

Conservative

Mr. Terence Young

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Liberal Party is that it would legalize marijuana and regulate it.

Let us look at another harmful substance that we do not want children using, which is alcohol. How is regulation working for alcohol? Because if it were working, no teen would get access to alcohol.

We have heard from a CAMH speaker that over 25% of our youth in grades 7 to 12 are binge drinkers, and over 40% aged 20 to 24. Eight per cent of those youth will become addicted to alcohol. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens 15 to 20 years old, and with alcohol a factor in half those deaths.

How is regulation really working for our youth with alcohol?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Rona Ambrose

Conservative

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to today's discussion on the serious and lasting health risks of smoking marijuana, especially for our youth.

I would first like to congratulate the health committee on its excellent work in providing the report that is before us today. Over the course of a month, I understand, the committee heard compelling testimony from various witnesses, including medical experts, researchers, the RCMP and government officials.

What is clear from this report is that the Canadian Medical Association's former president was right when he said, “especially in youth, the evidence is irrefutable—marijuana is dangerous”. Contrast this reality with the Liberal leader's plan to make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for youth and to have marijuana available in stores, just like alcohol and cigarettes, and we arrive at why it is so important to have this discussion today.

This report provides a thorough assessment of marijuana's potential for addiction and its negative effects on the developing brains of young people. The evidence is clear that when youth smoke marijuana, they have increased risks of developing mental health issues, including psychosis and schizophrenia. We also know that the regular, long-term smoking of marijuana can harm concentration, memory, the ability to think and to make decisions, and cause paranoia.

The report also points to the alarmingly low level of awareness about the very real risks and harms for youth associated with smoking marijuana. The Liberal plan would not help to raise this awareness. The Liberal leader wants to legalize marijuana, trivializing its risks and harms by making marijuana as easy to access as alcohol or cigarettes. The Liberal leader even wants to allow for and expand home grow ops in neighbourhoods.

Liberal MPs are on the record defending marijuana storefronts in Vancouver. These marijuana dispensaries have absolutely no regard for the rule of law and have been caught selling marijuana to kids as young as 15. These stores are hallmarks of what Canadian neighbourhoods from coast to coast should expect from the Liberal Party. Make no mistake that the Liberals' plan is to have marijuana storefronts across the country. Storefronts selling marijuana are illegal and, under this Conservative government, will remain illegal. We expect the police to enforce the law.

The serious health impacts on youth make this an important public health issue. We have been working hard to prevent kids from smoking marijuana, and that is why it is so encouraging to see that marijuana smoking among youth is trending downward. The Canadian drug use monitoring survey's most recent figures report that while 20% of youth smoked marijuana in 2012, it has dropped by almost 45% since 2004. This is a significant reduction and speaks to the success of our approach, which helps to educate families on the serious health risks of smoking marijuana.

Contrast this with another figure included in the same survey. Some 70% of youth drank alcohol in 2012, a fully regulated substance. The Liberal leader's contention that regulating a substance will prevent kids from accessing it is simply absurd. Such measures would serve only to legitimize and normalize the smoking of marijuana by youth and could mean more than tripling its use, as we have seen with alcohol.

The key problem with the Liberal plan to legalize marijuana, expand home grow ops and make marijuana more available in stores across Canada is simply that the role of a government is to communicate responsibly when it comes to public health messaging. I ask what kind of a message would we be sending to kids and parents if the government were to endorse the sale and smoking of marijuana? It would send the message that smoking marijuana is okay and that it is safe, when the reality is that it has serious and lasting health risks for kids. That is why this Conservative government wants to continue to discourage and stop kids from smoking marijuana.

Our national anti-drug strategy and its focus on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction is clearly having an impact. We have brought in tough new sentences on drug dealers and reduced youth smoking of marijuana by over 30% now. This report from the health committee makes it clear that there is still more that we should be doing. The Liberal plan to legalize marijuana would not help to reduce the number of youth smoking marijuana. It would make marijuana more easily available and would normalize it.

One study that was discussed before the committee revealed that the area of the brain most affected by marijuana use is the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for executive cognitive functions, including decision making, planning, organizing behaviour, and setting and achieving goals. Most concerning for parents, however, is that long-term use can also lead to an increased risk of serious mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia or psychosis. I have heard loud and clear from addiction specialists across the country about the overload of marijuana-addicted kids who are checking in for help.

It can also lead to psychological dependence and addiction. A 20-year medical review published in the journal Addiction shows that regular marijuana smokers face a one in ten chance of developing a dependency on the drug, and that number goes up to one in six for users who started smoking regularly when they were young.

We must also consider the effects on the body and the lungs. We know the effects of tobacco addiction, but what about marijuana? Witnesses before the committee explained that there are risks to a person's respiratory system as a result of smoking marijuana, which can contain between 50% and 70% more carcinogens than tobacco smoke. During testimony, witnesses noted that smoking marijuana resulted in the inhalation of these carcinogens and carbon monoxide, which can create health risks even greater than those that arise from smoking tobacco. Witnesses also noted research showing that marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, increasing the prevalence of conditions such as bronchitis. These are not simply worrying statistics. The facts speak for themselves and the risk is very real for our youth.

One of the witnesses who provided testimony during the committee study was Dr. Melton Kahan, who said, “...public health organizations need to conduct public health campaigns to counter the prevailing myth that cannabis is harmless and therapeutic”. Last year, when Health Canada launched an awareness campaign on the serious health risks of smoking marijuana for youth, the Liberals cried foul. They do not want Canadian families to know about the health risks that come with smoking marijuana because that would, of course, harm the Liberal leader's credibility and plan for legalization.

Indeed, the Liberal member for Vancouver Centre was present during that committee study and even said this on the record, “...we have known all along that the long-term effects of cognitive problems coming from the smoking of marijuana over long periods amongst young people, under about 40, are high...”

Canadians will not be fooled. They know that the Liberal leader's plan to legalize marijuana, making it available in stores just like alcohol and cigarettes, is another example of how he is just not ready for the job.

It has now taken us 50 years to curb tobacco smoking in this country and now the Liberal leader wants to open the door to commercial and retail marijuana companies. What is clear is that the scientific evidence on the risks and harms associated with smoking marijuana continues to grow. There is an ongoing need to ensure that this information is readily available to all Canadians, especially parents and youth.

As it stands, evidence shows that Canadian parents and kids are not properly informed about the risks of smoking marijuana as they are about other illicit drugs. For example, during the committee proceedings, a representative from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse outlined how some Canadian youth are not aware of the effects of smoking marijuana and that they perceive it as a natural product rather than a drug. Some even believe that smoking marijuana before driving is not as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Our government shares the health committee's concerns about the harmful effects of smoking marijuana for youth. Unlike the Liberal leader, we do not support making access to harmful illegal drugs easier. As health minister, I find the Liberal leader's campaign to legalize and normalize smoking marijuana for youth completely irresponsible. This plan sends the wrong message. It sends the message that smoking marijuana is okay and safe for young people, when, in reality, it has very serious and lasting health risks.

Again, I thank the health committee for its report and we will continue to make sure that parents and young people are aware of the health risks of smoking marijuana.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised to hear the Minister of Health today in the House defend a report that is so clearly biased.

The report that we are debating today only looked at health risks and harms. If the minister has read the testimony, she will know that approximately 50% of people who use medical marijuana do so to relieve chronic pain, according to Dr. Perry Kendall, who is a medical health officer in B.C. The research on medical marijuana is very limited because of prohibition and yet when we look at the government report, none of the recommendations would allow, call for or urge the government to do research on medical marijuana.

I would like to ask the minister why she is taking such a biased political stance, because it is very clear it is not based on evidence, and why she is so opposed to legitimate research on medical marijuana that would actually give us the information that is required. Why is she so opposed to that?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Rona Ambrose

Conservative

Hon. Rona Ambrose

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member opposite why she is so opposed to the scientific evidence, which the former head of the Canadian Medical Association said is irrefutable, that the harms and risks of marijuana for young people are irrefutable. The evidence exists internationally. Here in Canada, we have outlined it. We had experts in front of the committee. This report is backed by science.

I have said repeatedly that if there is any research that anyone wants to do to prove a health impact or a health effect of marijuana, they are welcome to do that research. The member is incorrect. There is no prohibition on research.

The problem is that there has been a lot of research, but there has not been any proof that marijuana actually has, other than in very specific instances, any medical effectiveness in any way, sense, or form. However, we do have irrefutable evidence that it is harmful to young people, and as the Minister of Health, I have to make my decisions based on science, not on hearsay.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the current government and the Prime Minister know no shame.

Let me quote the Prime Minister, who, while the leader of the Canadian Alliance, said, when speaking to a classroom, “I like to tell people I was offered a joint once, but I was too drunk to smoke it”.

I suspect that the Prime Minister was trying to give an image of being cool to a bunch of teenagers. However, he is not alone. What about the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, a Conservative member of the caucus, who said to Grade 10 students that we should have full, complete legalization of marijuana.

The government wants to use this issue as a wedge issue, using tax dollars to try to spread misinformation. Canadians should not be surprised by the current government, which consistently uses tax dollars to spread misinformation to Canadians. It should be ashamed of itself.

My question for the minister is, why does she believe she has the right to use tax dollars to spread false information to Canadians?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Rona Ambrose

Conservative

Hon. Rona Ambrose

Mr. Speaker, one of the first things I did as Minister of Health to deal with the numerous parents I ran into who told me about the marijuana addiction their kids were suffering from and who did not have anywhere to go for information was get a group together of the top addiction experts and specialists across Canada. We held a round table. I asked them, “What is the number one thing we can do to support you, as a government?”. They said, “Please, please, have a national ad campaign for marijuana smoking cessation”, and I said, “I will do that”. That is exactly what we have done to raise awareness for parents and for young people.

They have repeatedly told me that in our society, in the last 10 years, across the country, governments have failed to make the proper evidence available to parents and to young people. We said that we are going to turn that around, and we are going to make sure young people know. We are going to work hard to curb marijuana smoking for youth, because it is very harmful to their health.

We are succeeding. We are down by 30%. We are seeing that message get to kids. We are going to continue to work hard to make sure that the message continues to reach not only young kids but their parents so that they know that the marijuana that it is out there now is 300% stronger than what they might have used when they were young. It has lasting health effects, as serious as schizophrenia.

We are seeing more and more young people check into rehab addicted to marijuana, and this has to stop.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Health
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June 2, 2015