Ms. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, over the course of the last decade cannabis use has been the subject of discussion in several fora.
Today we are being asked to examine a proposed amendment to the Contraventions Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act regarding cannabis.
In considering a legislative amendment, we must take into account our international obligations as a country and consider international experiences with regard to cannabis possession. As well we must also consider the need for further information in areas where our current knowledge does not suffice. While we may believe that the basis of information exists, we must not make a premature decision on this issue. Together we must identify where further data is needed and must consider the important work already in progress.
A special committee of the Senate is currently studying Canada's drug legislation and policies, particularly with respect to marijuana. The committee is already hearing from some very informed witnesses on the subject. As well a Canadian Alliance motion debated on May 17, 2001 in the House of Commons dealt with the non-medical use of drugs. As a result a special committee of the House has been set up to consider factors underlying or relating to the non-medical use of drugs. It will be tabling its report in November 2002.
I must say that I find it odd that the House is now debating Bill C-344 when it is clearly within the scope of the special committee.
In making a decision on Canada's policy, whether it is to introduce changes to the legislation or to maintain the status quo, we should do it in an informed manner and in a way that does not duplicate the valuable work of these committees. We believe that the work of these committees will bring important current views of Canadians to the fore for consideration.
This is an important issue. We will all await the results of the Senate committee and the House committee before we move forward to make any further changes.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The time provided for the consideration of private member's business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.
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A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.
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