Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2017-04-04 19:10 [p.10185]
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure tonight to speak to Bill S-230.
There is a problem in Saskatchewan. The province of Saskatchewan has had the highest number of impaired driving charges in all of Canada. The problem has existed for decades, if not a century, and the people of Saskatchewan are very concerned.
A daughter of a former member of Parliament for Blackstrap, Allan Kerpan, was involved in an accident involving drunk driving. He is one of many who has taken to the stage in the last couple of years to deal with the effects of not only drinking but also drugs.
Impaired driving due to drugs is an interesting one, because we all believe devices should be in cars now so police have a way of testing people. We are concerned with the government legislation on marijuana. It has not thought it out.
Last week I had a chance to go to one of the high schools in Saskatoon, Walter Murray Collegiate. It is the biggest high school, with over 1,500 students. I had a chance to talk about the marijuana legislation. Much to my surprise, most kids in the assembly did not want the legalization of marijuana. That was kind of a surprise because the Liberals assumed everyone was in favour of marijuana, and that is not the case. The students have spoken out against it. They are concerned about it. They have seen what alcohol and now marijuana can do to families.
I mentioned Allan Kerpan, an MP who was in the House of Commons in the 1990s and 2000, and his family. We need a way of testing if this is to come about. As people know, the municipal and provincial police and the RCMP need devices in their cars right now. We know what is going on in the country, not only on the back roads of Saskatchewan but from coast to coast to coast. That is very important when we deal with this private bill, Bill S-230. We have to get out in front of this, and that is why my hon. colleague brought the bill forward now. This is an important part. Families in our country have been absolutely decimated due to the accidents and deaths that have occurred.
It is very important that the hon. member bring Bill S-230 forward at this time. Police officers need the devices now. We have heard from coast to coast. The University of B.C. may have a device ready for testing. We need it right now. UBC is one of many places in the country trying to get a device that could be put in every police car. That is where we need to go. We need to get out in front of the government legislation that will be brought forward later this year, and possibly will be in law by July 1, 2018.
When we look back through the years, we see how many families have been affected by alcohol. Could we have prevented it? We sure could have. Devices are needed in vehicles today that can read .08. We have brought that number down in almost every province and territory, because we know drinking and driving is a problem. We know drugs, like marijuana, will be a problem when the law is passed. That is why I am very pleased to speak to Bill S-230 and give it my support in the House of Commons tonight.