October 17, 1968 (28th Parliament, 1st Session)


André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Andre Foriin (Lofbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the wish you expressed earlier, I should like to make some very brief remarks so as not to prolong the debate.
First, I should like to say that the statement just made by the hon. Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Munro) can but please us, because the minister tackles a major problem which tomorrow will overcome us if we do not assume our responsibilities since we are already far behind in this field. Secondly, I should like to say that the minister's statement cannot solve the problem.
Mr. Speaker, what I regret in the minister's statement, is the fact that he says the provinces are responsible for the problem, because if you ask the provincial authorities to deal with it, they will tell you that it comes under federal jurisdiction.
It seems that the problem of the distribution of hallucinogens is going to be dealt with in exactly the same way as the problem of alcoholism in Canada these last 25 years. Mr. Speaker, there are over 100,000 alcoholics
October 17, 1968

in Quebec alone, and when you bring up the problem, people point a finger at you. When you put the problem to the provincial government, they say: That falls within the jurisdiction of Ottawa. On the other hand, when Ottawa is asked to do something about it, they say: that falls within the Quebec jurisdiction. In the meantime, people stay convinced that alcoholism is a vice instead of the disease it is proved to be.
I do not wish to hold up the debate any further, but I should like to tell the minister that although his statement pleases us to some extent, it cannot solve the problem. Indeed, we would be very happy if he were to submit to the standing committee on health and welfare legislation that could be studied in depth, so that we could really come to grips with the problem of the distribution of hallucinogens. It seems to me we should delve deeply into our methods, our ideas, our policy and our philosophy, in the field of research as well as in the fields of information, education, legislation and cure, since it is more of an illness than a vice.
I would not like attacks to be made against the young under the pretext that they use hallucinatory drugs. I think they should be directed instead against the adults who use those young people to attain their own ends.
I therefore ask the minister to take immediately effective measures to protect our young generation against certain adults who think they are the only ones who have discovered America, who exploit the possibilities of our children and who will bring about tomorrow the degradation of our children, if we do not assume our responsibilities.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister to introduce specific measures to enable us to assume our responsibilities in that field. We should stop passing the buck from one government to another. We should work hand in hand to treat those people as they deserve.

Full View