May 31, 2017

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2017-05-31 21:36 [p.11805]
Mr. Speaker, I am always honoured to rise in this place and represent the constituents of Saskatoon—Grasswood. Today, we are debating the merits and, more important maybe, the lack of merits of Bill C-46. It is an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other acts, in other words driving under the influence of drugs, notably marijuana. This is a topic unto its own and cannot be discussed without reference to the accompanying legislation, Bill C-45, which seeks to make the use of cannabis legal in Canada. Both pieces of legislation actually go hand in hand. In fact, if it were not for the introduction of Bill C-45, we would have no need really for Bill C-46, but here we are tonight debating this.
We have talked for many hours in the House about the bill, and I should note tonight that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, during her introduction of Bill C-46, made a reference. She made a reference to a Saskatoon family, the Van de Vorst family. I am going to give some background on the members of this family. They suffered a devastating loss of four family members at the hands of an impaired driver.
The date was January 3, 2016. Many in my city of Saskatoon call this the worst accident in the history of Saskatoon. I wonder tonight if the Minister of Justice knows or appreciates the devastation that this family has gone through in the last year and a half. I do, because this past February I phoned the Van de Vorst family. The family has been on the front page of my newspaper in Saskatoon for the last year and a half. It was one of the toughest phone calls I have had to make. I made the phone call because I knew the mom, Linda. The father, Louis, I did not know. They lost their son Jordan along with their daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
I felt that as a member of Parliament I needed to make the call and I did. It was not in my riding. They live in the northern part of the riding. It could be Saskatoon—University or it could be Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek. I had to make that call and I made the call this past February. It was 13 months after the accident on January 3, 2016. They were shaken because the person charged was moved to a healing lodge less than a year after killing four members of their family.
I and the Van de Vorst family sat around the kitchen table. I was there at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning. There was a phone call to the house while I was at the kitchen table with Linda and Louis. I said, “Go ahead, answer the phone.” She answered the phone. There was nobody on the end of the phone line. She said, “Hello,” but there was no answer so she hung up. We went on talking about the case. They had lost four family members. About half an hour later the doorbell rang. Unknown to Linda, a man had been driving around their neighbourhood for the last year trying to get up the courage to knock on the door or phone the family to say, “On January 3, 2016, I saw your son, I saw your daughter-in-law, and I saw your grandchildren having so much fun at a hockey rink outside in Saskatoon.”
This man spent 13 months driving around their house. It took him 13 months to ring the doorbell. He did not know the family. I just happened to be there. This was not staged. Linda went out to the porch and talked to this man for half an hour. They wept. This man had pictures of her family because they were at a skating rink that day, January 3, 2016, and less than 12 hours later all four members of that family were killed because the person charged with their deaths was three times over the limit of alcohol. This was one of the most emotional mornings I have ever had.
This person did not know the family, but he spent 13 months driving around that house, getting enough courage to ring the doorbell to say, “I care.” This is what the communities in this country are going to experience with the bill. There are going to be other families. I just happened to be at this household at this time.
In the province of Saskatchewan, believe me, we have a horrific record of accidents due to alcohol. Because of this accident that occurred in 2016, there are tougher impaired driving laws in Saskatchewan. As I said earlier, we cannot discuss one bill without bringing the other bill, the driving force, into the discussion.
Let us go back to the expert task force and its objectives in studying this issue. I keep hearing the same refrain in reference to this legislation: it will be “keeping marijuana out of the hands of children” and it will “keep profits out of the hands of criminals”. Do we really believe that?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2017-05-31 21:43 [p.11806]
Mr. Speaker, I wish some of the members across from me had been with me at that house on that morning on February 3. This is a true story.
The legal age for consuming alcohol does not keep alcohol out of the hands of children. It simply means it is a bit more difficult to get, but it does not keep it out of the hands of children or young adults who actually want to consume it. By the same token, criminals will always have a market for illegal marijuana, and in fact it will, I believe, make underage youth more of a target for them.
Another objective from the task force is to “reduce the burdens on police and the justice system associated with simple possession of marijuana offences”. We will replace those burdens with the burden of producing an additional 1,165 drug recognition experts, bringing the numbers up to what is actually required today. In fact, in the province of Ontario, that number falls well short, and it is the shortest list in all of Canada.
Another objective is to “ensure Canadians are well-informed through sustained and appropriate public health campaigns, and for youth in particular, ensure that risks are understood.” We are only 13 months out from this legislation becoming law, and I have yet to see any kind of campaign or even hear of one being planned. Where is the plan? I have been in many high schools in Saskatoon. I have talked to students in grade nine, grade 10, grade 11, and in grade 12. These are the same students who are going to graduate a month from now. There is no prevention plan, no education or dialogue with the school boards in this country, the ones who will probably have to talk about this in every classroom in this country. Not one word has gone out to any education system in this country about the bill, yet this is the government of consultation. We hear that every day in the House. Who are they consulting? Where are they talking to school boards in this country about bringing this education into the classrooms where it should start?
There is no consultation. We are only 13 months away, and there is no national plan. We hear that there is a device out there, but it is not approved. We have also heard discussion tonight about who pays for this. The Liberals put together $9 million over five years, and they have some money, yet the municipalities are worried about this. I talked to my mayor and I talked to the Attorney General in Saskatchewan, and they have no idea where this is going. We are 13 months away, and there still are big questions.
As we talk about this tonight, we are on the heels of the report of the task force on marijuana legislation, and there are some serious concerns being raised throughout this country, especially by the Canadian Automobile Association. It says urgent work is needed in order to implement a system to keep Canadians safe on the road.
I experienced hell in February when I went to that house, but I also experienced education, and I am worried that the rest of Canadians, who need the education, are not going to get it in time.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2017-05-31 21:49 [p.11807]
Mr. Speaker, we have spent probably 20 years in our country telling people smoking is not good for them. We have had ad campaigns for the last decade telling people about the effects of smoking, yet we are bringing this bill forward. We have not educated anyone in the country about marijuana. It is amazing, because second-hand smoke really was not realized until five or six years ago, and now we are bringing in this bill on marijuana, and we have not linked the two, smoking and marijuana, along with alcohol.
Yes, this is a serious bill. I appreciate the member from Ajax, but he must know that we have to start in schools, with our education system, and no one has done that. No one on the government side has thought about who we are trying to prevent from using marijuana. They are the ones who are driving vehicles at 16 and 17 years of age.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2017-05-31 21:51 [p.11807]
Mr. Speaker, I want to salute my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton. He is right on. Years ago, when Colorado started this marijuana mission, the state put tens of millions of dollars into educating people about marijuana. We do not even have $10 million over five years. That is a major concern.
However, let us talk about prevention, because that is our health care. No one has talked about it on that side. How do we prevent kids from taking marijuana? How do we educate them? No one has done that. I know, because I have talked to the Canadian School Boards Association, and no one from the government has stepped forward and had a plan.