February 14, 2017

NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I have to address the issue that the member for Vancouver Kingsway brought up earlier.

We are talking about lives. Every day that we sit here and debate, every day that we hold back on this decision, we are potentially impacting the lives of Canadians. We cannot sit any longer and not declare a national state of emergency. This is something that has been widely called for. We see that it has been called for by David Juurlink, who was the keynote speaker at the health minister's own opioid summit. B.C. health minister Terry Lake has also called for this, as well as stakeholders across Canada.

Canadians need access to funds for clinics in their region to address this. The only way we can do this is to declare a national state of public health emergency.

I want the member's opinion on whether or not he feels his government should declare it so that we can address this crisis and prevent any more Canadians from losing their lives.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Arif Virani

Liberal

Mr. Arif Virani

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her comments and question, and for her advocacy in this chamber.

What we are dealing with is an absolute crisis. We are dealing with levels of death not seen before, which are staggering. As I mentioned in my opening statement, the number of deaths from overdose may exceed the number of deaths from automobile accidents, which is a staggering figure for us to understand and analyze.

On this side of the House, we are acting. We are firm in our commitment to take action as quickly as possible, which is why we have moved quickly to have this debate occur. We have moved quickly to have this legislation steered through committee, which is why the bill is now at third reading. We want to take concrete actions that will address the crisis in a manner that is as robust as possible.

As to whether this should be declared a proper emergency under the Emergencies Act, there is no precedent for that thus far. However, I am comforted by the actions, responses, and the leadership shown by the Minister of Health, herself a physician, in terms of taking actionable steps to implement a strategy that will help to save lives.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Mark Strahl

Conservative

Mr. Mark Strahl (Chilliwack—Hope, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to talk about Bill C-37. Before I do, I hope you will allow me some latitude to wish my wife Lisa a happy Valentine's Day. We are 3,000 kilometres apart, but I am here doing the nation's business and she has given me her blessing to be here even though it is Valentine's Day. I want to thank her for all of her support in doing this job.

We are here to talk about a very serious piece of legislation, Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. First of all, Canadians should be aware that this debate is now taking place under time allocation, which means the government has decided it does not want to hear from any more members of Parliament on this issue. Not only does it not want to hear from affected communities on the issue of safe injection sites or safe consumption sites, as they are now being described, but it does not even want to hear from parliamentarians on this issue. That is a real shame.

We are sent here to represent our constituents. We are sent here to speak out on behalf of the people who elected us, and now the government has said it does not want to hear from us anymore. It only wants one more day of debate. It tried to have no debate whatsoever on the bill. Teaming up with the NDP, it tried to have the bill passed at all stages with no debate from any single member of Parliament. It is outrageous that this sort of important issue would be treated in that manner where not only do Liberals not want to hear from affected communities anymore, but they do not even want to hear from members of Parliament. I think that is the real issue here.

I heard today, and we all agree, that this is a health crisis. There are components of the bill that deal with the health crisis. The official opposition, the Conservative Party, advocated splitting the bill and passing those sections of the bill immediately. Again, this was rejected by the Liberal government and the third party, the NDP, because apparently they want to score political points on this issue. That is a real shame.

The points of the bill that all parties agree on include giving the Canada Border Services Agency more powers to search packages weighing less than 30 grams and ceasing the import of pill presses. We agree. The Conservative Party has agreed. Our health critic has spoken eloquently about that, and so have many on this side. This is a real measure that can be taken immediately to address this issue, but again, the government rejected our attempts to have this dealt with quickly.

We agree that we should grant the minister the authority to quickly and temporarily schedule and class new substances. That is a good idea. We could have done that in a single day with a single voice vote, had the government agreed to split the bill and move forward on the issues on which we could all agree, had the Liberals really wanted this to move ahead quickly, if they actually cared. We heard this again and again today from the government side: we need to act immediately, we need to act quickly, this is a health crisis. We agree. Why did they not agree with the Conservative amendment to split the bill and move forward those important measures immediately? It shows that there is politics at work here.

What we are concerned about is the community consultation. Quite frankly, I find it shocking that the government talks about consultation. It consulted on every other measure it has brought in. Whether it actually listened to that consultation, I think is a matter of debate. However, whether it is on new pipelines or any number of other pieces of legislation, the Liberals have delayed the pipeline decisions that would have got energy workers in Canada back to work, by up to a year.

They said the consultations that were done previously were not enough; they needed to set up a whole new process and double down on consultation because they needed social licence to move forward, whatever that means. So they draw out that process on and on and ignore the consultation that they actually had. They went with the Conservative process entirely when they made those decisions. However here, on something that affects communities, there is no consultation.

I heard it again. The minister has declared it a barrier. The previous Liberal speaker said that community consultations are a barrier to safe injection sites and we need to get rid of them.

Quite frankly, I think it is reasonable to expect that, when a safe injection site is proposed for any community, the chiefs of police are consulted, crime statistics are consulted, the mayor and council are consulted, the residents in the area where the site might be opened are consulted. As the member for Oshawa said, who is the official opposition health critic, the only way that safe injection sites are successful is when they have community buy-in, and we do not get community buy-in when we refuse to consult with the people who will be directly impacted.

We have heard many times about Insite in east Vancouver. Members of that community have said this is where they want this; this is okay in their community; they have integrated it into their community. Not all communities are east Vancouver. Some are going to take some time to get there, if they ever do.

However, we do not build consensus by refusing to consult with affected individuals. We do not build consensus by refusing to talk to the community.

As a member of Parliament, I am glad I had the opportunity to speak. I am sorry for the many dozens of MPs who will not be afforded the opportunity because of the heavy-handed tactics of the government. However, seeing this coming, seeing that the government was abandoning community consultations, I took the opportunity to consult with my community. I sent a brochure to every single household in my riding and asked two questions. The first question was whether they think communities should be consulted before a safe injection site is proposed in a community. Do they think that's reasonable? The second question was whether they think there should be a safe injection site in Chilliwack—Hope. I had an extremely robust response. Nearly 1,000 people have taken the time to respond, which is a very high number. It is more than double the number I usually get in responses.

To the question whether they believe that, without consultation, the government should be able to approve these, 76% of respondents said, no, they do not believe that should be possible to do. They do not see that as a barrier. They think it is essential that they be consulted before a safe injection site goes through.

To the second question, whether they believe safe injection sites should be located in Chilliwack—Hope, 68% said no and 32% said yes.

I will be sharing that information. I share it with the House. Once the final results are in, I will share that with the Minister of Health, with the government, because my constituents deserve the right to be consulted and heard. The real tragedy here is that we had an opportunity to act immediately on those measures that we could all agree on, but the government refused to do so.

The safe injection site model is what the debate is focused on here, but there is another great example that I want to highlight from British Columbia, as well, and again B.C. is on the leading edge of this. It certainly was troubling to hear the member for Vancouver Centre indicate in the media earlier this year that, maybe once this issue reaches the Manitoba-Ontario border, then this Liberal government will start to pay attention. Right now, it's just an issue for B.C., so they are not too worried about it. This is the most senior member of that caucus, I think. She has been here since 1993. She indicated that maybe when this becomes an issue in central Canada, then the government will start to pay attention. That is a pretty sad state

I want to talk about the St. Paul’s Rapid Access Addictions Clinic. It has been set up in a hospital setting where, when people come in and say that they want to kick their addiction, they are immediately walked upstairs and started on the process of detox right then and there. That is what we have not talked about enough today. Harm reduction is one of only four pillars in dealing with drug addiction. We have enforcement, we have treatment, and for too long the balance has shifted only to harm reduction. Until we have adequate treatment and detox beds for people to access, I think we are merely treating the symptom and not the underlying problem.

It is unfortunate that the government is cutting off debate on this issue. It is unfortunate it does not want to consult with communities. It is a real shame, and it is not the way the government should move forward on this important issue.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Mike Bossio

Liberal

Mr. Mike Bossio (Hastings—Lennox and Addington, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I respect the member's concerns over safe injection sites. This is not just going to pop up tomorrow, that all of a sudden the bill will pass and we will have 100 safe injection sites across the country. It is not to infer that the minister will not consult with the communities where these sites may end up being necessary. Let us face it, we are in a crisis situation right now in Vancouver. It is starting in Calgary and moving to Toronto. Who knows how many centres will be impacted by this existing crisis within our society. It behooves us to move as quickly as we can to deal with the crisis.

Therefore, I do not accept the member's premise that no consultation will take place. That is just not the way things work. They never have and they never will. Of course consultation is going to occur in order to make these sites beneficial to their communities. I imagine we will also consult with the municipal governments as well as the public safety officials within those centres to ensure these sites are established in a proper manner.

Does the member agree that a crisis exists, that we need to deal with this issue as soon as possible, and that this does not necessarily infer that consultations will not be conducted?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Mark Strahl

Conservative

Mr. Mark Strahl

Mr. Speaker, the member will forgive me if I do not put a lot of weight in what he says. He says that he imagines there will be consultation. He asks us if we do not think there will be that consultation. The previous Conservative government, with the Respect for Communities Act, mandated it. We believed so strongly in consultation with communities on this issue that it was required.

When a government comes back and says that it will remove that requirement, to me it says it does not value that consultation. The Liberals have said repeatedly that they see this community consultation as a barrier to setting up future safe injection sites. If the consultations are to continue, why has the government removed the requirement to consult?

We would have passed the portions of the bill that did not relate to community consultations without a debate, immediately, but the government refused to do that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
NDP

Daniel Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on the theme of consent, with respect to issues that are important enough, where there should be legally mandated consultation, does he think in those cases the consulted communities ought to have a veto over whether a project goes ahead?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Mark Strahl

Conservative

Mr. Mark Strahl

Mr. Speaker, certainly consultation should be required. The government needs to place a lot of weight on that. There might be cases where the health crisis itself necessitates certain action from the government. I am not arguing that.

What I am arguing is that no matter what, we should be asking the police, affected residents, the mayors, and councils what their opinions are on this issue and what the data shows. If we truly believe in evidence-based decision-making, which we hear repeatedly from the government, then we should be collecting the evidence. We should not be backing away from that requirement. That is why we cannot support the bill in its current form.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
GP

Elizabeth May

Green Party

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives place emphasis on all the things that should be done before a safe consumption site is put in place, such as looking at the evidence. In Vancouver, there has not been an increase in crime rates anywhere around the safe injection site at Insite. We have evidence that shows it saves lives.

More to the point, the so-called Respect For Communities Act was heavily loaded with conditions that were clearly put there for the intention of doing indirectly that which the Conservatives could not do directly, which was to defy the Supreme Court decision. The remaining conditions in the bill still require an assessment around crime. It still requires hearing from those who are for and against. The minister will look at all the factors in exercising discretion to allow this exemption.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Mark Strahl

Conservative

Mr. Mark Strahl

Mr. Speaker, it perhaps is not surprising that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands places a lot more trust in the Liberal government than I do. I do not trust it when it removes requirements from the bill to continue to consult. That is a clear indication of its priority, which is that Ottawa and the Liberal government know best, that we should just trust them and they ill take care of it for us.

The Conservatives trust their communities, the police, and their own neighbours to intervene and share their knowledge before any type of safe injection sites go forward. That is how one builds support for this sort of thing. One does not do it by denying consultation with communities.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Joyce Murray

Liberal

Ms. Joyce Murray (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

As we have heard from other members in the course of this debate, the illegal production and trafficking of controlled substances continues to be a significant problem in Canada. Our government is profoundly concerned about the current opioid crisis and the growing number of opioid overdoses and tragic deaths across the country.

Today, I will speak to the human aspect of this crisis, as well as some of Bill C-37's proposals to help address the health and safety risks associated with the diversion of drugs from the legitimate supply chain to the illicit market, one important source that contributes to this public health crisis in Canada.

It is critical that we ensure our drug control legislation, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or CDSA, is modern, effective, and can better protect the health and safety of Canadians. This is an urgent priority for me and for our government.

In that respect, on December 12, 2016, the Minister of Health introduced Bill C-37 in the House of Commons. This bill supports our government’s commitment to drug policy that is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, and evidence-based, and which balances both public health and public safety for Canadians.

As you are all aware, this bill proposes significant changes related to supporting the establishment of supervised consumption sites as a key harm reduction measure. It also contains important elements which aim to ensure that controlled substances used for legitimate purposes are not being diverted to the illicit drug market.

We must work tirelessly to ensure that controlled substances used for legitimate purposes are not diverted to the illicit drug market, where they are deadly and have led to hundreds of tragic accidental drug overdose deaths, 914 last year in my province of British Columbia alone. That is 80% more than the previous year, fentanyl being the major contributor to this awful statistic.

The 914 are actually not statistics; they are people and they are us. There were 914 people who died in British Columbia from overdose deaths last year. They are human beings. Each life, in its own unique way, is interwoven with families and communities. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. They loved others and were loved, they belonged, they shared their aspirations, and they inspired their friends. They were people, like each of us, who, in their own way, enjoyed their lives, work, and challenges, who were powerful, contributing, and recognized, who were moved to make the world a better place. They are human beings.

Donald Charles Alexander Robertson, known as Alex by his friends, was caught off guard by this crisis. He passed away just over two weeks ago due to an accidental death caused by the opiate fentanyl. I chatted with Alex the evening before. He was a close friend and work colleague of my son Erik over many years. His life was interwoven with ours, his community with our community. In the words of my son Erik, Alex really was an amazing, capable, wise, joyous, humble, grounded, passionate, brilliant young man. He was an innovator and emerging leader who loved and was loved by many. His memories, teachings, and legacy will inspire many of us for decades to come.

Let us not detach ourselves in this debate and lose sight of the humanity of this crisis in the quotation of statistics. The victims of the fentanyl crisis, they are us. I want to express my deep condolences to Alex's parents and his sisters, Chrissy and Leslie, to his extended family, friends and co-workers. I hope the passing of Bill C-37 will be one plank in the foundation that we need to build to help eliminate the unintended exposure to deadly illicit opioids and the harm they cause over the years to come.

I would now like to focus specifically on how Bill C-37 would modernize Canada's legislation to reduce the risk of controlled substances like fentanyl from being diverted from legitimate producers, importers and distributors and secured by the black market. The measures being proposed to address gaps in Canada's drug framework are designed to respond to this evolving opioid crisis.

First, while targeted amendments have been made to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act since it came into force in 1997, the provisions of the act have not kept pace with the quickly evolving licit controlled substances industry and the illicit drug market. Many of the legislative amendments being proposed in Bill C-37 will modernize the CDSA to strengthen law enforcement. They also enhance the government's ability to monitor and promote compliance of the regulated parties who handle, buy, sell and transport controlled substances as legitimate products every day.

These improvements will bring the CDSA into alignment with other modern federal legislation designed to protect public health, and these changes will reduce the risks of these drugs being diverted from the legitimate supply chain to the illicit markets that are creating havoc in the lives of the accidental victims. Professional tools are proposed within the framework of the CDSA to improve the government's ability to incent compliance with the requirements for safe and secure procedures and practices under the CDSA and its regulations.

Second, Bill C-37 would establish the legislative framework to support the development of an administrative monetary penalty scheme, or an AMP. Once the new monetary penalties are in place, it will allow Health Canada to fine a regulated party for a violation of the provisions of the CDSA or its regulations, as defined in the regulations required to bring the scheme into effect.

Third, Bill C-37 proposes amendments which would allow military police to be designated as a police force under the CDSA. Currently, military police are not afforded the same protections as other law enforcement agencies in terms of handling controlled substances under the Police Enforcement Regulations.

In the proposed provisions of Bill C-37, military police could be designated as a police force, in their respective areas of jurisdiction, which would allow them to exercise a full range of investigative tools in the course of the investigation of drug-related crime.

These kinds of enforcement mechanisms are important to save lives.

A fourth aspect of the bill includes improving inspection authorities under the CDSA to bring them in line with authorities and other federal regulations.

Currently Health Canada inspectors are only able to inspect sites where authorized activities with controlled substances and precursors are taking place. Under Bill C-37, new authorities are being proposed to allow Health Canada inspectors to enter places where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that unauthorized activities with controlled substances or precursors are taking place.

There are many more aspects to the bill to better control substances, like fentanyl, which are potentially dangerous chemicals. It is urgent that the bill go forward for public health and safety. Bill C-37 is a comprehensive package with many other aspects that have been debated today and in the previous days.

There is more to be done but this is an important step along the way. It will make the CDSA a more comprehensive and compassionate act that encourages timely compliance, deters non-compliance, and ultimately contributes to the government's objective of protecting the health, safety, and the lives of Canadians, valuable lives, the lives of people like a bright, fun, caring 29-year-old man his friends knew as Alex.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Pat Kelly

Conservative

Mr. Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I too share my concern for the victims of the opioid crisis. I am extremely concerned because this is a crisis that touches my riding and it touches all Canadians.

Our caucus was willing to support this legislation but for one clause. We agreed to pass it through at all three readings but for that one clause. We remain concerned about community consultation on the placement of sites.

The operations committee recently heard from Liberal members that they were going to recommend that the minister devolve the power of the final say over the placement of a community mailbox to a municipality. Why will the Liberals not agree that municipalities ought to be the final arbiters or at least have mandatory meaningful consultation on the placement of a safe consumption site?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Joyce Murray

Liberal

Ms. Joyce Murray

Mr. Speaker, I take the member's expressions of care and compassion around the victims of this crisis in good faith but it was his government that over 10 years set up roadblocks in the guise of community consultation that prevented many communities from being able to go forward with safe consumption sites that would have saved lives in their communities.

I am pained to hear that a clause is deemed a reason to not support this important law that needs to go ahead quickly as a foundational building block to save lives.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her intervention in this debate.

I would like to know if she thinks this measure is a happy medium between too many constraints and the total absence of constraints with respect to opening new supervised consumption sites.

Obviously, we need rules around setting up supervised consumption sites. However, as we have seen in the past, too many constraints is not necessarily a good thing because that can get in the way of protecting public health.

Can my colleague comment on the attempt to find a happy medium between the two extremes on this issue?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Joyce Murray

Liberal

Ms. Joyce Murray

Mr. Speaker, I thank my NDP colleague for his question.

We want a framework that prevents Canadians from dying accidentally because of illegal drug use. The provinces and communities have work to do. Bill C-37 must not be the end of the story. This is a very important initiative that will remove obstacles and support Canadians' health and safety.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
GP

Elizabeth May

Green Party

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my condolences to the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra for the loss of Alex, a young man she has known for many years and a young man who was friends with her own children. My personal condolences to the member.

Does my hon. colleague feel that her government and the Minister of Health plan other measures to assist young people who are caught in this fentanyl crisis so that they can deal with their addiction and stay off drugs?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Joyce Murray

Liberal

Ms. Joyce Murray

Mr. Speaker, our government sees the need for continuous improvement. We are proposing measures in Bill C-37. The minister brought forward a six-point action plan in September 2016. We cannot stop and say this crisis is fixed as long as people are dying on the streets from these horrendous illicit substances. Our government will continue to act on this issue.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Dianne Lynn Watts

Conservative

Ms. Dianne L. Watts (South Surrey—White Rock, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts. As I stated in my speech on January 31, this is the government's response to the fentanyl and opioid health crisis that is facing this country.

Communities struggle to deal with this crisis. We just heard from a member whose son had lost a close friend who was 20 years old. I have a list here of young adolescents who are 21, 23, 25. A Delta mother lost two of her children within 20 minutes of each other, both in their twenties.

I have also heard that this was the response to this crisis, and that it was comprehensive drug policy. However, I would suggest that this is not comprehensive drug policy, because it is silent on the issue of how the current government is going to deal with that aspect of the opioid crisis.

First responders and medical personnel are overwhelmed and have difficulty trying to respond to the overdoses and the deaths. This is a very complex issue that deserves a multi-faceted approach. There is one strategy for those who are street-entrenched and will inject and use consumption sites, there is another strategy for those who use pills and prescription drugs, and another one for those whose use is recreational. Kids swallow a pill and do not realize what they are taking. Therefore, one size does not fit all.

Within the bill there are measures that are supported by all parties. We are happy to support the portion of the bill that gives the Canada Border Services Agency more authority to open international mail, and that prohibits the importation of unregistered pill presses.

It is well known around the world that China has been a significant contributor to the growing opioid, fentanyl, and carfentanil problem in Canada and throughout North America. It is vital that the government work to ensure that the deadly chemicals used in manufacturing labs in China and the illicit drugs that can be ordered online and shipped overseas not be allowed in Canada. I would stress to the Prime Minister, as he goes forward with his trade negotiations with China, that this issue be dealt with first and foremost.

We support the addition to broaden the penalties to now apply to the production, sale, importation, or transportation of anything intended to be used in the production of any controlled substance, including fentanyl. Clearly, there are many pieces of the bill that are supportable.

I want to talk a little bit about the timeline of Bill C-37.

Back in April, B.C. public health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, declared a public health emergency. On December 12, two days before Christmas break, the government tabled Bill C-37 in the House. January 31 was the first debate. February 1, it was debated again, and the government moved time allocation to close down debate. On February 9, the health committee heard from no witnesses and moved straight into clause-by-clause.

The singular issue I have with the bill is that it does not allow a process or criteria for public input before an injection site is located. We have heard that the Conservative government had one that was too onerous. Now, the current government is going in the exact opposite direction in having nothing.

Our health critic moved amendments that called for letters indicating support or opposition from the municipality or the head of the police force. This amendment was voted down by the Liberals.

There was the amendment that all households within a two-kilometre radius be notified with the ability to offer opinions in support or opposition. This was voted down by the Liberals.

There was an amendment proposing that information be provided regarding schools, hospitals, businesses which include day cares, recreational facilities that were located within that two-kilometre radius be provided. That was voted down by the Liberals. There was an amendment proposed that no less than 45 days but no longer than 90 days be included for public input and consultation. That was voted down by the Liberal government.

As a former mayor for almost a decade, I can say that we must consult with the community. We have to look at the community as a whole and support those in need as well as ensure that the community has a voice. I do not think it is unreasonable to request a minimum of 45 days in which to do this. I do not think that it is unreasonable to have an understanding of how many schools or how many day cares are in the vicinity of a proposed injection site.

I do not think it is unreasonable to have a letter of support or opposition from the chief of police or the mayor in council. We need to have a multi-faceted approach to a very complex problem. We need to embark upon a national education awareness campaign and I was happy to hear that one of the Liberal MPs supported our initiative on that. We have to ensure that the general public, young adults, and students have the information and that they are well informed.

We need proper data in each community. We need to know whether people overdosed by injection or taking pills. Were these people street entrenched? Were these people recreational users? As I pointed out earlier, the Liberal government's response needs to be based on data that is gathered. With scarce dollars, Liberals have to identify where those dollars should be directed and where they will have the greatest impact.

For those who are addicted and entrenched in that lifestyle, we need to have wraparound services that care for the whole person: mental health support as well as physical dependency and addiction support, a holistic approach that includes treatment beds, therapeutic communities, and detox. A place for those who want and need support because the window of opportunity in an addicted person's life is fleeting and the response must be immediate and the resources must be available. Every community is different.

In my community and as the former mayor, we worked with the province and with the private sector. We worked together and developed an addictions precinct adjacent to the hospital. We have a detox facility. We have two treatment facilities. We have a sobering centre as a point of entry, transitional housing, along with job and educational training. I have to say we have had some pretty incredible results.

We also have a needle exchange and a mobile unit, but we still have issues that need to be addressed. Is locating an injection site the right answer? I do not know, but I know there must be a conversation and a consultation with the community, with the mayor in council, and the police chief, along with addiction specialists. This is a process that needs to be undertaken, but as I pointed out earlier, every single amendment we proposed to have some form of consultation was voted down by the Liberal government. This is not open. This is not transparent and it flies in the face of the very people who are on the front lines dealing with this health crisis.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
LIB

Fayçal El-Khoury

Liberal

Mr. Fayçal El-Khoury (Laval—Les Îles, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague about her knowledge of alternatives. As she probably knows, uncontrolled drug trafficking will increase the crime rate and will increase the death rates because of overdose and will bring no money to the government. What other alternatives would she propose and what are the solutions?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink
CPC

Dianne Lynn Watts

Conservative

Ms. Dianne L. Watts

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what kind of money it brings the government, and I do not think that is a lens we want to look through. I will say this, though, and I just said it earlier in my speech. We know it is coming in from China. We know that, bar none. We know there are thousands of labs in China. We know that people can buy it online. That has to stop. As I said earlier, when the Prime Minister goes forward and starts negotiating a trade agreement, this issue must be dealt with first and foremost.

When we look at the multi-faceted piece, as I said in my speech as well, there are people who will use injection consumption sites; there are people who need treatment. Look at the ages of young people who have died. The parliamentary's secretary's son lost a friend who was 20 years old. I pointed to a dozen kids who are dead. They are not shooting up. They are not using a consumption site. We have to have another avenue to help these kids, and that is what is vacant in this legislation. They are dying, and it is not being addressed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

New Democratic Party

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments in this debate.

When I listen to the Conservatives, I sometimes think that they do not seem to recognize that establishing supervised consumption sites is at the very least part of the solution to today's crisis. Although it is not the only solution to the opioid crisis, it is certainly one element of the response.

Does my colleague recognize that supervised consumption sites, which also recommend ways to get off drugs, are part of the solution to the opioid crisis?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Sub-subtopic:   Motions in amendment
Permalink

February 14, 2017