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Appearances by Department of Justice, Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, and Gerard Normand, Counsel. From the Department of Health, Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance. From the Ministry of the Solicitor General of Canada, Ronald Dykeman, Senior Policy Analyst, Policing, Policing and Law Enforcement.

(Note: These are the unrevised transcripts of the hearings in floor language (language spoken) ONLY. The final text will be available on the Parliamentary Internet site once editing and translation are completed.)

UNREVISED

LP

THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

EVIDENCE

Ottawa, Wednesday, May 29, 1996

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which was referred Bill C-8, an act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof, met this day at 4:00 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Sharon Carstairs (Chairman) in the Chair.

The Chairman: Senators, our witnesses today are, from the Department of Justice, Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, and Gérard Normand, Counsel. From the Department of Health we have Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance. From the Solicitor General we have Ronald Dykeman, Senior Policy Analyst, Policing, Policing and Law Enforcement.

Good afternoon. Please begin, Mr. Rowsell.

Mr. Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance, Department of Health: Thank you. On behalf of the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and the Solicitor General, we are pleased to appear before you today to offer the following comments regarding Bill C-8.

This legislation first entered into the drafting stage about 10 years ago; in 1986. It has had an up-and-down ride since then. As the 1988 convention was coming into force, further changes to the proposed bill were needed to accommodate the requirements of this last convention. The resulting Bill C-85 was introduced by the Conservative government to ensure that Canada would meet its obligations under the three international conventions. It died on the Order Paper when the government called for an election and was reintroduced by the Liberal government as Bill C-7. Today, as a result of the prorogation, it is designated Bill C-8.

During the intervening years, many witnesses have appeared before the committees and there has been extensive review by members of Parliament. While known as Bill C-7, approximately 30 amendments were brought forward to address treatment and rehabilitation issues and to revise the penalties from the original proposal.

I wish to emphasize that this is a health bill. Many of you may have friends or acquaintances who have been seriously ill. They may have been suffering from cancer and

required powerful medicines to deal with their pain. Others may be aware of persons with mental illness who require medicines to treat their affliction.

There are also substances in this bill to deal with addictions. For example, methadone is a substance controlled by this legislation which is used to treat pain but also used in many treatment centres to treat heroin addiction. Unfortunately, when these substances are powerful medicines, they also have greater risks. These risks often result in abuse of these substances.

It is for that reason that this bill has two elements; first, to make substances available for medical purposes and, second, to we have a mechanism in place to take redress whenever diversion or abuse takes place.

Throughout your deliberations you have heard reference to Canada's drug strategy and the notion of harm reduction. Canada's drug strategy attempts to place a balance between supply-control and demand-reduction.

As you have heard, about 30 per cent of the resources are directed toward supply-control. There are processes in place to deal with the importation, exportation and distribution of these substances and to address issues around diversion. Seventy per cent of the resources have been allocated toward treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, education and working with provincial programs to ensure that people are aware of the risks involved in substance abuse. Canada's drug strategy has built an infrastructure that will continue to provide these basic approaches.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to reiterate that this bill was brought forward to consolidate the Narcotic Control Act and Parts III and IV of the Food and Drugs Act. Health professionals, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and manufacturers of pharmaceutical products have had to work with two separate pieces of legislation in practising their occupations. This has been difficult for them. By bringing the two together, both administration and practise will be much easier. The rules will be clearer.

This bill will also deal with the control of precursor substances. You have heard about the diversion of these substances to clandestine laboratories for the manufacture of illicit substances, usually in the stimulant category. Methamphetamines and other stimulants are a problem for many of the youth in our country. There is also the new control over substances called benzodiazepines. Many of you may recognize the drug Valium. While these substances have a very valid medical use, they have been diverted into the illicit marketplace and used with other illicit substances. This often increases the abuse potential of substances covered by this legislation.

Patients receiving treatment will not see a difference with the accessibility of benzodiazepines. The controls associated with these substances will simply be for importation, exportation, manufacture and to prevent trafficking. Therefore, pharmacists and physicians will see no difference with these substances.

Additionally, the definition for production has been enhanced to include all levels of

production and cultivation. This makes the term all-encompassing and avoids the confusion of a multiplicity of terms.

I will address some of the specifics issues which have been raised by the witnesses. In listening to witnesses over the past number of weeks, our appreciation for their concerns has been heightened. I will try to group their concerns by topic rather than speak to the specific groups that have appeared before you.

I will first address alternatives to incarceration. A number of parties have spoken about this issue in the context of a harm reduction model, increased treatment and rehabilitation, or in other approaches. The Department of Health supports and encourages treatment and rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration. However, we must also appreciate the wisdom of the courts. They must review each case and have an opportunity to examine all of the information brought forward in order to decide on the best approach for dealing with persons found guilty of criminal offences under this legislation.

Some of the witnesses said that not all persons are amenable to treatment and rehabilitation. While there are cases where incarceration is necessary, we support increased treatment. This is an area where inter-governmental cooperation is essential. While the provinces deliver treatment and rehabilitation programs, there is no authority at

Appearances by Department of Justice, Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, and Gerard Normand, Counsel. From the Department of Health, Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance. From the Ministry of the Solicitor General of Canada, Ronald Dykeman, Senior Policy Analyst, Policing, Policing and Law Enforcement.

(Note: These are the unrevised transcripts of the hearings in floor language (language spoken) ONLY. The final text will be available on the Parliamentary Internet site once editing and translation are completed.)

UNREVISED

LP

THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

EVIDENCE

Ottawa, Wednesday, May 29, 1996

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which was referred Bill C-8, an act respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof, met this day at 4:00 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Sharon Carstairs (Chairman) in the Chair.

The Chairman: Senators, our witnesses today are, from the Department of Justice, Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, and Gérard Normand, Counsel. From the Department of Health we have Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance. From the Solicitor General we have Ronald Dykeman, Senior Policy Analyst, Policing, Policing and Law Enforcement.

Good afternoon. Please begin, Mr. Rowsell.

Mr. Bruce Rowsell, Director, Bureau of Drug Surveillance, Department of Health: Thank you. On behalf of the Department of Health, the Department of Justice and the Solicitor General, we are pleased to appear before you today to offer the following comments regarding Bill C-8.

This legislation first entered into the drafting stage about 10 years ago; in 1986. It has had an up-and-down ride since then. As the 1988 convention was coming into force, further changes to the proposed bill were needed to accommodate the requirements of this last convention. The resulting Bill C-85 was introduced by the Conservative government to ensure that Canada would meet its obligations under the three international conventions. It died on the Order Paper when the government called for an election and was reintroduced by the Liberal government as Bill C-7. Today, as a result of the prorogation, it is designated Bill C-8.

During the intervening years, many witnesses have appeared before the committees and there has been extensive review by members of Parliament. While known as Bill C-7, approximately 30 amendments were brought forward to address treatment and rehabilitation issues and to revise the penalties from the original proposal.

I wish to emphasize that this is a health bill. Many of you may have friends or acquaintances who have been seriously ill. They may have been suffering from cancer and

required powerful medicines to deal with their pain. Others may be aware of persons with mental illness who require medicines to treat their affliction.

There are also substances in this bill to deal with addictions. For example, methadone is a substance controlled by this legislation which is used to treat pain but also used in many treatment centres to treat heroin addiction. Unfortunately, when these substances are powerful medicines, they also have greater risks. These risks often result in abuse of these substances.

It is for that reason that this bill has two elements; first, to make substances available for medical purposes and, second, to we have a mechanism in place to take redress whenever diversion or abuse takes place.

Throughout your deliberations you have heard reference to Canada's drug strategy and the notion of harm reduction. Canada's drug strategy attempts to place a balance between supply-control and demand-reduction.

As you have heard, about 30 per cent of the resources are directed toward supply-control. There are processes in place to deal with the importation, exportation and distribution of these substances and to address issues around diversion. Seventy per cent of the resources have been allocated toward treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, education and working with provincial programs to ensure that people are aware of the risks involved in substance abuse. Canada's drug strategy has built an infrastructure that will continue to provide these basic approaches.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to reiterate that this bill was brought forward to consolidate the Narcotic Control Act and Parts III and IV of the Food and Drugs Act. Health professionals, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and manufacturers of pharmaceutical products have had to work with two separate pieces of legislation in practising their occupations. This has been difficult for them. By bringing the two together, both administration and practise will be much easier. The rules will be clearer.

This bill will also deal with the control of precursor substances. You have heard about the diversion of these substances to clandestine laboratories for the manufacture of illicit substances, usually in the stimulant category. Methamphetamines and other stimulants are a problem for many of the youth in our country. There is also the new control over substances called benzodiazepines. Many of you may recognize the drug Valium. While these substances have a very valid medical use, they have been diverted into the illicit marketplace and used with other illicit substances. This often increases the abuse potential of substances covered by this legislation.

Patients receiving treatment will not see a difference with the accessibility of benzodiazepines. The controls associated with these substances will simply be for importation, exportation, manufacture and to prevent trafficking. Therefore, pharmacists and physicians will see no difference with these substances.

Additionally, the definition for production has been enhanced to include all levels of

production and cultivation. This makes the term all-encompassing and avoids the confusion of a multiplicity of terms.

I will address some of the specifics issues which have been raised by the witnesses. In listening to witnesses over the past number of weeks, our appreciation for their concerns has been heightened. I will try to group their concerns by topic rather than speak to the specific groups that have appeared before you.

I will first address alternatives to incarceration. A number of parties have spoken about this issue in the context of a harm reduction model, increased treatment and rehabilitation, or in other approaches. The Department of Health supports and encourages treatment and rehabilitation as opposed to incarceration. However, we must also appreciate the wisdom of the courts. They must review each case and have an opportunity to examine all of the information brought forward in order to decide on the best approach for dealing with persons found guilty of criminal offences under this legislation.

Some of the witnesses said that not all persons are amenable to treatment and rehabilitation. While there are cases where incarceration is necessary, we support increased treatment. This is an area where inter-governmental cooperation is essential. While the provinces deliver treatment and rehabilitation programs, there is no authority at the federal level to force these governments to provide such services. It will only be through time and by working together that we can encourage change to take place.

I will talk about the needle exchange programs. There has been wide speculation about the effects of this bill on needle exchange programs. From the witnesses who have appeared before you and before the House of Commons committee we have not yet heard of any case of a person being charged by the police while exchanging a contaminated needle or syringe for a sterile one. Under both the existing legislation and the provisions of Bill C-8, most of the concerns which have been expressed are based on speculation.

It is important to note that proposed legislation is very similar to what exists under the current Narcotic Control Act. Police recognize the value of these programs and certainly would not want to take action when they see that there is no criminal activity taking place.

It is very difficult to provide a clear definition of these needle exchange programs. One of the difficulties is that the program can take many forms. Some programs are set up in pharmacies and community centres. Some of them are provincially funded; some are federally funded. We have also seen cases where individuals are serving a community by mobile unit. They are able to meet with substance abusers on the street and ensure that they get clean needles and syringes.

The result is that it is very difficult for us to provide a definition for such programs which would allow them to be excluded from the legislation. We would run the risk of reducing the flexibility which currently exists. I can only emphasize that to date we are not aware of any cases in which the police have charged a person who has been involved in these programs.

We have heard the concern expressed that with some indictable offences where a penalty of five years less a day corresponds to the maximum penalty, persons would be denied the right to an inquiry or trial by jury. This is one issue which was debated by the subcommittee in the House of Commons to a great extent. This translates to reducing the penalties and trying to make the court proceedings as efficient as possible.

The subcommittee examined the penalties that have been issued and the types of conviction that were being awarded. The members concluded that for certain offences trial by judge may be a more efficient process allowing for the streamlining of the court proceedings and also for consideration of alternatives to incarceration. This is one of the areas where encouraging treatment and rehabilitation would place the onus on the courts to deal with this matter.

I will talk about the powers of inspectors. It is important to remember that these are administrative matters. The inspector ensures that the administration of the law is undertaken and that health professionals are complying with the regulations. In most cases, they are looking at records of the purchase of drugs and the storage of those drugs, ensuring that they are maintained in a secure manner, and ensuring that there are records kept for their sales and distribution. This will apply to physicians, pharmacists, veterinarians, dentists and other health practitioners.

Inspectors would not have access to personal history about a patient since an amendment has been adopted in the house to specifically exclude personal medical history from inspections. This is an improvement over the current legislation. Furthermore, there is a proposed adjudication process which would allow independent third-party review before any action is undertaken by the minister or the designate concerning a health professional and a possible notification.

This again does not exist in the current legislation and will give those persons a better opportunity to defend themselves and to present information that would help in assessing their case.

You have heard representatives from the Canadian Medical Association express their concerns about the medical use of drugs. This is a term that is used extensively in the legislation, a term that has been put forward by the World Health Organization, which places these substances in the context of medical as opposed to industrial use.

In examining this section, we observed that in the French translation they used the term "application". We are confident that this would make it more acceptable to the physicians in that a medical application would certainly not give the impression that the goal of this bill is to spell out the indications for the use of the substance. As a result, this is one change we would bring forward to the committee.

As a point of clarification, it is getting to the point of terminology. Persons in the health professions use some language which, when it comes into the legal system, is not as fluent. Therefore, I think the word "application" will satisfy the needs of both.

With regard to hemp, you heard much enthusiasm for a commercial cultivation of hemp. You also heard the concern that there may be too onerous a system in place which places controls on the entire use of hemp products. I believe that one of the witnesses showed you the series of licences and permits that had been issued under the current legislation in order for research to be conducted into using the fibre to make paper, textiles, et cetera. There were suggestions for ways to deal with the hemp fibre once it is in mature stalk format.

A number of parties have spoken of their concern that the legislation still does not go far enough to clearly exempt herbs and traditional medicines from the legislation. You have also heard concerns that the chemical names or nomenclature used in the schedules did not comfort people who were not aware of the exact chemicals that may appear in some of these herbs. These schedules are exactly as they appear in the existing legislation.

Bill C-8 will not affect medicinal herbs or homeopathic products. However, I should like to point out that further to an amendment adopted in the house, the interpretative clause under former subclause 3(1) has been removed due to concerns expressed before the subcommittee that it could cover herbal products and make them illegal substances.

(Take 1620 follows)

(RELATED TO THIS MATTER IS THE ISSUE OF DRUG SCHEDULES.)

RC\Legal\32087\May 29, 1996.

(Mr. Rowsell continuing)

**Related to this matter is the issue of drug schedules. I wish to emphasize that the Department of Health has made a commitment to create a task force of experts to review the schedules and to establish clear criteria and standards for the scheduling of substances.

This may necessitate moving some substances from one schedule to another. As members of the committee are aware, this can be done by an Order in Council. Should concerns be raised that product substances may appear to be in the wrong schedules, corrective measures could be taken.

I wish to emphasize that the department has made that commitment and will carry it forward. We have put forward a timetable of one year to undertake this activity.

Finally, the vast majority of witnesses who have appeared before you wanted to talk about marijuana, its decriminalization or its legalization, or any number of steps to be taken to change the way it is available in Canada. This is not a new issue to the three departments involved in this bill.

You have heard firsthand from many of the people involved in treatment centres and street level programs dealing with adults and young people. You have not as yet had the opportunity to listen to some of medical expertise, the pharmacologists and the toxicologists, who have studied the adverse consequences of cannabis. Neither have enforcement agencies, whether they be local, municipal, provincial or international, such as Interpol, appeared.

Other issues raised by the experts within the World Health Organization and the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs have not yet been explored. These people collect extensive information from around the world and can give insight into the programs that many countries have tried.

You have had presentations about the program in Amsterdam. There have also been references to the programs in other countries such as Australia and to other drug issues in places such as Frankfurt and Switzerland.

There have been reports of programs in Alaska which made marijuana more widely available a number of years ago. In the last year or so, Alaska amended its program and has taken a more stringent stand. This was a decision taken by the community itself and not by the enforcement agencies within that state.

What I am attempting to say is that this is a very difficult area. There are social and health implications, as well as criminal, legislative and legal implications. It is for that reason the Standing Committee on Health has made the commitment that it will undertake a review of policy on substance abuse.

The Minister of Health has written to the Chair of the standing committee to express his support for such a review. As the Department of Health, we will provide whatever assistance and expertise we can to support the members of Parliament in undertaking this review.

Before closing, I should like to give some insight into some of the amendments that the government would like to bring forward to this bill. The first area I referred to earlier in my presentation was the concern raised by the Canadian Medical Association about the term "medical use". While this term can be confusing because it often refers to a specific medical diagnosis, we are proposing that an amendment be brought forward so that it be recognized as a "medical application".

Often, other acts are referred to in any legislation. The scope of Bill C-8, the proposed controlled drugs and substances act, is such that there are several adjustments necessary to accommodate recent changes. For example, the adoption of the Firearms Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Young Offenders Act have necessitated changes to this bill. It is also proposed that there be a consequential amendment to the Criminal Code so that there will be consistency. This pertains to the trafficking definition in the code so that the notion of manufacture is included. This will apply to manufacturing conducted in clandestine laboratories.

Senator Carstairs, I want to thank you for this opportunity to present our views. My colleagues and I would be pleased to answer any questions you may wish to ask at this time.

The Chairman: Thank you very much for your presentation.

Senator Jessiman: You said that we should retain the present system so that flexibility is given to the courts. Is it not true -- and you have read all the testimony -- that the police departments in the larger cities, in particular Vancouver, as well as Toronto and Montreal, do not have the forces to enforce the law in those large centres? They have much more serious matters to look after. As a result, in those cities, and I remember specifically Vancouver, that this law is just not being enforcing. It is not the courts making that decision but the police departments.

We were also told that in smaller communities, where there is probably not as much crime, the police have more time on their hands. They are enforcing the law. As a result, our laws are being enforced in different areas in different ways, or at least that is what they are telling us. That just does not make sense. It is unfair to those people living in the smaller communities; or, perhaps, we are making it worse for those in the cities by being so lenient. However, from what I am told, I do not think so.

Mr. Paul Saint-Denis, Senior Counsel, Department of Justice: Senator, I think your observation is correct. However, it is probably also correct to say that it applies to any other number of offences; it is not just with respect to the possession of cannabis.

In the larger urban areas, particularly in recent years with diminishing resources, police forces have had to priorize their law enforcement efforts. Therefore, in some instances, they

will not seek out actively people who are committing offences in relation to possession of cannabis.

Having said that, though, the offences are nevertheless brought forward when, in investigating another offence, a law enforcement officer will come across an instance of possession of cannabis. Depending on the circumstances, the police have always had a certain amount of discretion as to how they will deal with an incident of a phenomenon of crime, if you wish. They can deal with it informally by simply taking the marijuana away and giving a warning to the person. Or, if he is someone on whom the police have had their eye for a long time, the marijuana possession offence might give them a certain amount of leverage in order to get that individual to comply with a particular type of behaviour that they like to see.

In short, you are right, senator, but this is not something that is particular to cannabis enforcement laws; it is with respect to any number of laws.

Senator Jessiman: We were told that at any one time in Canada between 2 million and 3 million people will be smoking marijuana. Is that statement terribly overexaggerated or is it correct?

Mr. Saint-Denis: I do not think there is any way to confirm or to dispel that statement. To my mind, that is a number that has been taken out of the air. It cannot be confirmed. We do not do surveys across Canada as to how many people smoke marihuana and when.

Senator Jessiman: When bands come to town there are sometimes between 20,000 to 50,000 kids who go to listen to this music. They smoke this stuff and no one does anything about it. I guess the reason they do not do anything about it is because they cannot. They do not have the forces to do it. However, maybe it is not hurting anyone.

Mr. Saint-Denis: Senator, I recall the witness who made the comment about large gatherings, in particular rock concerts, where there would be a tremendous amount of marijuana smoking going on and how that is not being enforced. I think that is true. I think the police are being very wise in that they do not want to create a riot by going into such gatherings. They are probably not enforcing liquor laws or several sanitation by-laws either. These are unusual events. The police exercise their discretion properly by not wanting to take a high-profile, interventionist attitude.

Senator Jessiman: Is it not true that liquor offences, or any of the other offences to which you have referred, other than smoking marihuana, are not criminal offences?

Mr. Saint-Denis: There are such offences as disturbing the peace, being found to be drunk and disorderly, to name but a few. I think there may be offences being committed other than cannabis possession offences which are not being enforced as well, although perhaps not as many as the possession offences. If your overall suggestion is that there are a lot of possession of cannabis offences going on in Canada at any one time, then your point is well taken.

Senator Doyle: On that particular issue, you mentioned that there has been a downsizing in funds available for the police. What you describe was the case 20-odd years ago when the Le Dain Commission found the same uneven enforcement and the same uneven respect for the law. There are several laws with respect to which the police might catch you. They might catch you on a liquor offence, depending on how much you have had to drink. I do not see how you can compare the two offences. One has a criminal record attached to it and the other rarely does, although liquor may be more damaging to the user and to the people around him than is marijuana.

I am just trying to sort this out in my mind. What I am asking for is some help you have not given us yet. Why is it that with marihuana the lightning rod goes up and the police are told to use their discretion; and, "If you are going to do it, do it in large groups"; and, "Don't do it on the West Coast"; and, "Don't do it in Toronto on Saturday night"?

Mr. Rowsell: I do not think we can answer your question, senator. I think that is the reason the request for Parliament to undertake an intensive review over this substance abuse was necessary. I do not think anyone in this room or elsewhere can answer adequately those questions for you.

You make some common sense statements. However, no one really has the answers. No one knows the underlying reasons and how we should approach dealing with cannabis.

This is the legislation that we have now. It has been modified by making it clearer for the police to deal with the difference between simple possession and trafficking. In the past, they often would not charge a person with trafficking because it was so much easier to reduce the charge to simple possession.

The hope now is that the ones which involve true trafficking will be handled more appropriately. That was the direction the members of the house were trying to get across.

As far as the bigger question is concerned, I think it requires an in-depth review.

Senator Doyle: Is it not true that when the government of the day decided not to proceed on the recommendations of Judge Le Dain it promised to hold an intensive study of the use of drugs in Canada and from that would proceed with a revision of the laws in several areas?

Mr. Rowsell: Those are the statements that are on the record in the house.

Senator Doyle: Whatever became of the study?

Mr. Rowsell: I am afraid I cannot answer that question either.

Senator Nolin: Senator Jessiman raised a question about users. I want to point out to Mr. Rowsell that his department put out in 1989 a technical report concerning the use of alcohol and other drugs by Canadians. In that report it is pointed out that 23.2 per cent of Canadians aged between 15 and 19 use marijuana. If you have numbers for that age group, what about

the other age groups?

Mr. Rowsell: All I can say is that those are the numbers that came back from that survey. That was a specific survey.

Senator Nolin: Do have you more recent numbers?

Mr. Rowsell: Yes. I think there is now a report for 1995.

Senator Nolin: Is it possible to have a copy of it?

Mr. Rowsell: Yes, certainly.

Senator Nolin: Did the numbers increase, decrease or stabilize?

Mr. Rowsell: I do not have the report with me. I am not familiar with the exact numbers. However, we can obtain that report for you, senator.

Senator Jessiman: What would that represent in terms of numbers? It says a percentage of people between certain ages. What are we talking about, 1 million people?

Senator Nolin: It is millions.

Senator Jessiman: I am sure we must have received a copy of this article entitled, "The war on drugs is lost" from someone in your department. Have you read it?

Mr. Rowsell: I have seen the article, yes. We did not provide it to you.

Senator Jessiman: This article is based on a symposium attended by seven outstanding people, including judges and chiefs of police. They say that the war on drugs is lost. The article to which I refer relied on Professor Michael Gazzaniga who supplied the background. These people say that the war on drugs is crazy, that it should be a health issue and not something for which you are charged with an offence if you are caught smoking. If you become an addict, that is your problem. You are only hurting yourself. They say that nicotine and alcohol are much more addictive than a number of these drugs.

James Q. Wilson, a professor from UCLA, wrote an article on behalf of the drug war. He set out the other side of this problem. Lo and behold, I found that he is talking about cocaine, heroin and whatever it is you put baking soda with cocaine and add a little water and boil it and then you can smoke it. What is that called? Crack.

(Take 1640 follows with Mr. Rowsell: You were just testing the audience, were you not?)

29May96-Legal-32087-DM

(What is that called? Crack.)

(Take 1640 starts here)

Mr. Rowsell: You were just testing the audience, were you not?

Senator Jessiman: Exactly. I am reading this article from the person in the United States who is defending it. There is a little footnote in the article. I cannot find it here now, but I know what it says. It says, "We are not even considering marijuana. It is not nearly as addictive." The person defending the war on drugs in the United States does not even think marijuana should be in any way part of the criminal system.

Mr. Rowsell: I think you will recognize as well from the article that the United States is looking very seriously at what is happening in Canada in that Canada has been way ahead of them in introducing the demand reduction approach and in taking more and more steps to trying to give people information and educate them and to deal with the treatment of rehabilitation.

The United States does not offer many treatment programs unless they are in the private sector, and so the approach that has been taken in the United States is quite different than what we have been trying to do here in Canada.

Senator Jessiman: I should like to think we go a quite a bit further.

Mr. Rowsell: We need a long way to go. I definitely agree.

Senator Milne: I had a small problem with your presentation here today when you quoted back to us what we have already heard. I thought you were here to go through these amendments with us and give us a brief overview of them. Would you do that, briefly?

Mr. Rowsell: Each individual one?

Senator Milne: I think the people here deserve that, yes.

Mr. Rowsell: Certainly.

Senator Lewis: These are proposed amendments by whom?

The Chairman: By the government.

Senator Lewis: They have not yet been tabled?

The Chairman: No, nor have they been moved. We asked them if they would provide us with an explanation. The only one they have not done is one at the end, which I understand

is an amendment that will be moved by Senator Milne.

Mr. Rowsell: As a point of clarification, you wish to do these before they have been submitted and tabled, do you?

The Chairman: The problem is that once they have been submitted and tabled, you will not be here. It was Senator Milne's hope that you would provide the explanation and then she or someone else will move them later on your behalf.

Mr. Rowsell: I am sorry. This is the first time I have been through the procedures here in the Senate, and they are somewhat different from what we have done in the House of Commons.

Senator Milne: I am one of the good guys, remember? I might or might not move these on your behalf.

The Chairman: We are a much more flexible group.

Mr. Rowsell: Clause 2 is simply an addition whereby, in the House of Commons, Schedule II was omitted in the controlled substances definition. It is making sure that the wording in both English and French is accurate.

Mr. Gérard Normand, Counsel, Department of Justice: The next amendment deals with clause 31 on page 28 of the bill and arises from a comment made by one of the witnesses who appeared before you. When reading the English portion, looking at my copy here, there were some discussion about the concept of dealing in a controlled substance. At some point a comment was made as far as the French version is concerned in 31(1).

Currently, the bill deals with, as far as the French is concerned, "l'habilitant à faire le commerce de substances désignées ou de précurseurs". After further consideration, we felt that this French version was not similar to the English one, so we are proposing, in order to match the English version, which is more appropriate as far as we are concerned, to change the French text starting at line number 6 to read "à se livrer à des opérations à l'égard de substances désignées" instead of "à faire le commerce".

Later on, we have in "exerce son activité professionnelle" to add the commercial aspect there.

(French follows)

Legal\29 mai 1996\32087\1620.fes (Après anglais)(M.Normand) Alors, nous avions à ce moment-là à marier de façon plus juste le texte anglais.

(anglais suit) (Sen. Milne: )

(Following French)

Senator Milne: We do not want to have the whole long version of the reasons. Could you just go through this and say this if this is to make the French text agree with the English and agree with the original intent? That would do. However, I think we should go through each one.

Senator Jessiman: How is it that you can do it so quickly and it has taken 14 years and we still have not done the Charter?

Senator Gigantès: It is done.

Senator Jessiman: It is just simple translation. They had some problem with the English version here. Now they say the French is different than the English. Within a matter of minutes, can someone who speaks both languages take four or five lines and rewrite it?

Mr. Rowsell: With your approval.

The Chairman: If you could continue. I think we are on clause 55.

Mr. Normand: Clause 55 is the one that Mr. Rowsell referred to changing medical "use" for medical "application" because of concern expressed by the CMA with the word "use".

The Chairman: Have you in fact discussed this with the CMA?

Mr. Normand: No.

Mr. Rowsell: No, we have not.

Mr. Normand: Not to my knowledge.

Senator Bryden: Was this designed to address their concern?

Mr. Rowsell: Yes.

Senator Bryden: I cannot understand why you did not talk to them.

Senator Nolin: Their concern is much greater than that.

Senator Bryden: Unless it is a term of art that I do not understand, what is the difference between "use" and "application"?

Mr. Rowsell: When a physician is practising medicine or a pharmacist is dispensing, that is medical use. The interpretation of the Canadian Medical Association is that this drug is used to treat schizophrenia, where the intent here is that this substance is used as a medicine. In the drug approval process in Health Canada, we approve the certain uses of a drug, and we

ask what are the indications that that can be used in treating patients, what are the specific diseases or diagnoses that it will be used for, as opposed to the sense in this bill. We are trying to make a distinction between medical use, industrial use, or scientific use. The word "application" would be applied in medical terms, but the CMA were concerned that as a health department we would dictate how this drug could be used, and it is the only way that a physician could use it. That was the concern they were expressing to us.

Senator Bryden: How does "application" fix that?

(1650 follows - Mr. Rowsell: It is not a term that is normally used, unfortunately.)

29May96-Legal-32087-DM ("application" fix that? - 1650 follows)

Mr. Rowsell: It is not a term that is normally used, unfortunately. "Indications for use" is a term that would be in what we call a product monograph, the directions as to how a drug would be used.

Senator Bryden: In the little bit of literature that I read about new drugs coming on and so on, there is often discussion such as whether this drug will have an application to HIV, will it have application to cancer, does it have application in this area. It does not say, does it have "use". The terminology that is usually used in discussing new drugs coming on is what are the applications of these drugs.

Mr. Rowsell: For those of us that have practised or do practice in the health care field, that is not the way that we would interpret it.

Senator Bryden: Okay.

(French follows, 4:51, Ernie, Senator Nolin, Mr. Normand, Senator Beaudoin, Mr. Normand)

Legal\29 mai 1996\32087\1650.fes Le sénateur Nolin: L'Association médicale canadienne, avez-vous tenté de régler tous les problèmes qu'ils avaient soulevés ou seulement celui-là en particulier ?

M. Normand: Nous avons discuté des problèmes qui ont été soulevés, concernant entre autres les pouvoirs des inspecteurs. Nous estimions qu'il n'y avait pas de problème à cet endroit.

Le sénateur Nolin: Nous y reviendrons dans ce cas.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: Si c'est à la demande de l'association médicale, est-ce que vous leur avez montré vos amendements ?

M. Normand: Non.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: C'est bien de dire que nous allons donner suite, mais s'ils ne sont pas d'accord, nous faisons cela pour rien. Dans la vie il faut essayer d'éviter les erreurs.

M. Normand: Le problème était définitivement relié avec le mot «use», la raison étant qu'il n'y avait pas de difficulté avec le texte francophone à ma connaissance. Nous avons vérifié avec les légistes, à savoir si mettre le mot «application» en anglais, créerait un problème avec l'utilisation du mot «application» en français. On nous a répondu que, non. C'est dans cette optique que nous avons cru bon d'utiliser le mot. Effectivement, cela règlerait le problème. Depuis toujours c'est le mot «use» qu'ils ont suggéré de changer ce mot. Cela n'avait jamais été fait jusqu'à maintenant.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: N'oubliez pas les deux versions sont égales, et si vous changez un mot il faut que vous soyez très sûr qu'il faut le changer.

M. Normand: Oui, effectivement, mais nous avons vérifié avec les légistes pour savoir que les mots étaient des mots qui pouvaient vivre ensemble.

(Anglais suit) (Chairman: Page 39... - M. Norman: ...)

(Following French)

The Chairman: Clause 55, page 39.

Mr. Normand: In clause 55(1)(d) on page 39,the English version was lacking Schedule VI, although we had it in the French version, and of course it is needed to cover precursors. We are asking for the English version to be amended.

Senator Milne: May I ask where you found this one? I had not heard of this one before.

Mr. Normand: This has been known since the bill was printed.

Senator Milne: You did not mention it to me when you wanted me to move these amendments for you.

Mr. Rowsell: It should have been in the package.

Senator Milne: It was not.

Mr. Rowsell: Excuse me.

Mr. Normand: Clause 64 deals with some amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. It was rendered necessary because of the adoption of Bill C-45 during the First Session of the 35th Parliament. Bill C-8 modified Schedule II of this new act. Those amendments are what we call consequential.

The Chairman: As a procedural question, if we had passed this bill several weeks ago, would you have to introduce a consequential amendment bill in order to get this thing through?

Mr. Normand: My colleague François La Fontaine, who was the drafter of the amendments, is here, and he may be in a better position to answer that question, as it is a procedural question.

Mr. François La Fontaine, General Counsel, Legislation Section, Department of Justice: There would definitely be a problem, so we are trying to avoid the problem before it occurs. The act would now be referring to the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Act, which would be repealed, so we have to take care of that situation.

The Chairman: You are lucky we have been so sober in our second thought.

Senator Nolin: If you recall, every year around Christmastime we receive a huge amendment to the Criminal Code and various other acts. I think that is what it is to achieve.

Mr. Normand: Clause 65 deals with the Criminal Code, and the amendment adds subsection 7(2). Clause 65 currently refers to the two sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances

Act. The former version referred to the concept of trafficking, which included manufacture. The concept of manufacture has been taken out of trafficking to be put under the production offence, which is 7(2), so we decided to add 7(2) to cover the notion of production, which is already covered in the Criminal Code under section 100.

Senator Bryden: I apologize because I would prefer to be more precise, but does the amendment create a new offence under section 100(2)(c), the offence of unauthorized production?

Mr. Normand: No. Section 100(2)(c) of the Code deals with firearms and restrictions that may be imposed in some cases. Currently it refers to the concept of trafficking. By definition, trafficking encompasses manufacture. In this legislation, the concept of manufacture has been taken out of trafficking and put in a new offence, which is production, which also includes cultivation. If we do not refer to 7(2), which is the production offence, then we lose this notion of manufacture which was already covered.

Senator Bryden: Is it the case that now a person who is convicted of possessing a marijuana plant could have his guns confiscated? If that is true, was that true before? "You can take my plants; you cannot take my guns."

Mr. Saint-Denis: I do not believe that the offence of possession is covered for the purposes of controlling firearms, so that someone found guilty of possession of marijuana --

Senator Bryden: But he is producing marijuana. He is growing a plant.

Mr. Saint-Denis: If he is producing a plant, that would be cultivation.

Mr. Rowsell: Not possession.

Mr. Saint-Denis: Those are two distinct offences. Your question was whether possession is covered.

(Take 1700 starts here - Senator Bryden: I am sorry, I used the wrong term)

df\96\05\29 Legal #32087

(Mr. Saint-Denis: Those are two distinct offences so possession your question was is possession covered--Take 1700 Starts Here)

Senator Bryden: I am sorry. I used the wrong term -- unauthorized production of drugs. Just so I am clear, it is my understanding that unauthorized production by growing marijuana was not included in the definition of "manufacturing" before. That is why "production" is now made very clear. It is my understanding that if a person is producing one marijuana plant in his living room, he is producing marijuana. Under this bill, in producing this one marijuana plant, he could lose his right to possess or to purchase weapons. Are you saying it has always been that way?

Mr. Saint-Denis: It is correct to say that this amendment will make it that way, and it has not always been that way. The distinction has been made at the level of trafficking.

What we have done with Bill C-8 is create two offences -- one of trafficking, which comprises certain elements of the present trafficking offence, and an offence of production, which comprises certain elements of the present trafficking offence. However, the offence of possession also contains the offence of cultivation. Bill C-8 does not have a distinct cultivation offence. It is subsumed in the production offence. The net result is that if someone is cultivating or growing a marijuana plant in his living room, he would be caught by this proposed amendment.

Senator Bryden: Then this is not simply a consequential amendment. It really does cause a penalty to be imposed that was otherwise applicable to trafficking, but it also now includes the production of a single marijuana plant. That was not so before.

Mr. Normand: It was as far as the manufacture portion of the offence is concerned, which is still the main portion of the production offence. Manufacture was common in trafficking. However, with respect to cultivation, you are right -- it was not there.

Senator Gigantès: This may be frivolous, but it scares me. I cannot tell a potato plant from a geranium until the flowers come out. If there are marijuana plants on my land and I do not know they are marijuana plants, am I or am I not guilty of producing marijuana plants?

Senator Beaudoin: No. There is no mens rea; therefore, no intention.

Mr. Saint-Denis: There is no intention.

Senator Gigantès: You would have to prove that I have intention.

Mr. Saint-Denis: Yes.

Mr. Normand: The intention to grow.

Senator Beaudoin: That may be difficult.

Senator Lewis: If they catch you fertilizing it, that would be it.

The Chairman: Perhaps we could move to the new clause under 65.

Mr. Normand: Clause 65.1 will be added as a consequential amendment in the new Firearms Act. We must bring an amendment to that act which did not exist before. Paragraph 109(1)(c) of the act must be amended.

With respect to clause 71, the same comments would apply as I made in reference to paragraph 65. It refers to the addition of subsection 7(2) to cover the manufacture portion, which has been left out with the change to the trafficking definition.

Clause 72 refers to the Criminal Code section which creates absolute jurisdiction offences and covers the numbering of items. It used to be ix and x, and now it is x and xi.

In clause 74, there is a reference in French to section 15 instead of section 16. That is on page 50. It should read section 16(1) instead of 15(1).

Clause 76.1 is an amendment that must be brought in because of the Firearms Act.

The same comment would apply to Clause 83.1 since section 176 of the Firearms Act modifies another section of the National Defence Act.

Clause 93.1 is a consequential amendment to the new Young Offenders Act.

There was some confusion with respect to clause 93.2 because it reads "If Bill C-7..." Bill C-7 is the act to establish a new name for the Department of Public Works. Its name will be changed. We needed to make a change in our act to cover that because we refer to that department under subsection 14(4).

Clause 93.3 deals with a change because the Firearms Act will need to be brought into our legislation.

Senator Bryden: Once again, it appears to me that this at least allows a judge to prohibit the use or ownership of firearms and the way that it applies to sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The cultivation of one marijuana is caught by section 515(4.1) of the Criminal Code, which is designed to take guns away from people who will probably do damage to themselves or to others. However, I do not think there is anything violent about growing one plant. There is no threat of violence. If the intention is to prevent the use of guns in violent acts or the threat of violence, is that not adequately covered under the general sections of the Criminal Code? Do we have to go so far as to have the judge take a marijuana grower's weapons or make an order that he may never apply for an firearm certificate?

Mr. Saint-Denis: Your point is well taken, senator. However, the offence of production does not just target those who are cultivating one plant. It also applies to those who are cultivating acres of marijuana plants. I can assure you that they are well-armed. It may very well be in our interest to ensure that those people, if they are convicted, are not allowed to have firearms.

As you pointed out, that section of the code gives discretion to the judge. It does not mandate the judge, and it does not impose an obligation on the judge to prohibit the possession of a firearm. However, the judge should consider whether or not the safety of the offender and other persons warrants a prohibition on possession of a firearm.

In my view, the judge is not likely to say to someone convicted of cultivating a plant that he cannot own a firearm.

Senator Bryden: Without analyzing the Criminal Code, it seems to me that there are adequate provisions in the Criminal Code for judges to prohibit people owning and possessing firearms if there is any offence with respect to which the continued ownership of the firearm might threaten public safety without singling this out. That is just an observation.

Mr. Saint-Denis: That is correct. However, you would have to say the same with respect to all other offences that are singled out under the Narcotic Control Act and the Food and Drugs Act. If you believe there are sufficient provisions -- excluding this particular provision -- that allow us to deal with firearms, then using that logic, there is no necessity to refer to other pieces of legislation which have resulted in convictions. Clearly, however, that is not the policy the government has intended to impose.

Senator Bryden: I get concerned when we attempt to sweep under the umbrella of the criminal system things that were not meant to be there. People are overly concerned that where there may be a violent act, there must be specific authorization for the judge to do various things. In the interpretation of most people, the Criminal Code gives the judiciary adequate authority to confiscate or prohibit weapons of any sort -- whether they are knives, guns or crossbows -- without singling out various offences.

Mr. Normand: As you probably know, section 515(4.1) of the Criminal Code deals with bail hearings. A judge can issue a condition for the course of the proceedings only. The judge must determine if it is required in the interests of the safety of the accused or of any other person. If someone else is involved, there would be more than one crime, for instance. This condition is only valid until conviction.

Senator Bryden: A provision in this bill allows for the confiscation of materials when an offence takes place. If the person is not charged or when the judge decides that the confiscated materials can be returned, the judge can have the person enter into some sort of recognisance. Presumably, he is not guilty of anything.

For example, let us say that the court has his house or his farm. The court finds that it has not reason to keep it and gives it back to him. The person then breaks the terms of the

recognisance. He is now in violation of an order of the court, which makes him criminally responsible. I would ask someone to look at that. I can understand a person having his property confiscated until it is determined whether in fact he is guilty of the offence for which he is charged. However, under this bill, if he is found not guilty and his goods are returned to him, he is then put under some direction of the court. If he violates that direction, presumably that in itself is an offence and he can be charged.

Mr. Normand: Section 490(9) of the Criminal Code deals with instances where a demand can be made when proceedings have been instituted but where the continued detention of the property seized is not required for the purposes of evidence. We have had instances where cars were seized as offence-related property, but we did not need the cars for evidentiary purposes and had to give them back. Obviously we can take a picture and present it as evidence. At the end of the proceedings, once we had presented the entire evidence and the car was not around any more, there was no way for the government -- the Attorney General -- to use its power to forfeit and to sell.

The purpose of this is essentially to allow for this kind of recognisance if the property is returned while the proceedings are still in force.

Keep in mind that the judge has some discretion. The judge always has discretion over these matters. Ultimately if the property is not forfeited, then the surety will follow its flow and go back to a person. A car is forfeited to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to link the car to the offence. The car would be offence-related property.

Senator Bryden: And you are convinced that it does not go any further than that.

Mr. Normand: No, because of the link to section 490(9).

The Chairman: Senator Milne, have you finished with your questions?

Senator Milne: Yes.

Thank you, sir. I will move your amendments for you.

Senator Beaudoin: After this discussion of very technical problems, perhaps my question will look very general.

A minute ago, we were discussing the problem of the administration of justice. There is also the discretion of the police and the discretion of the Crown attorney. My first reaction is that perhaps we legislate too much, and perhaps we criminalize matters that should be decriminalized.

I have only one big question in mind with respect to this legislation, a question I consider very important. In my mind, we should take the following attitude -- criminal law if necessary, but not necessarily criminal law. In other words, if we may attain an objective without criminal sanctions, we should do so. It does not make sense to have this many laws

in society. I would like to know a more about that. I am sure that there are experts in Canada who can tell me if there is another way to reach our objective in this case instead of invoking criminal sanctions all the time. The problem is that, in practice, 1 million individuals or citizens in this country may be prosecuted. I think that we rely too much on the criminal law. There is nothing stronger than the criminal law, but perhaps we can reach our objective with some form of regulation. Have any of you thought about this?

(Take 1720 Follows -- Mr. St-Denis: Senator, you have raised essentially a fairly fundamental question which I do not think anyone can resolve...)

MA Take 1720

(1710 ends--Beaudoin...lawyers of the Government of Canada and the Department of Justice?)

Mr. Saint-Denis: Senator, you have raised a fundamental question which cannot likely be resolved in a conversation such as this one. However, as you know, the Contraventions Act is an attempt by the government to try to decriminalize certain types of behaviour which we do not support by reducing the criminal taint attached to a conviction.

The net effect of the Contraventions Act, when it comes into force, will be to direct, in a totally different stream, the individuals who have committed offences but who will not be criminalized as a result. They may be required to pay a fine. There may be a ticketing scheme attached to their behaviour.

While there will be criminal offences, the individuals who commit such offences will not necessarily be involved in the massive procedural aspects of the criminal justice system.

Senator Beaudoin: In the famous case of Oakes, heard before the Supreme Court, section 8 of the Narcotic Act was held ultra vires because the court said it is like killing a fly, une mouche avec un marteau pliant. It does not make sense.

(French follows--Beaudoin continu---Je ne peut pas pourquoi...\St. Denis\Nolin)

Legal\29 mai 1966\32097\1720.fes (après anglais) (sénateur Beaudoin) Je ne vois pas pourquoi on aurait des marteaux-pilons pour tuer des mouches. On a un problème ici et c'est un problème très grave. Des drogues sont très dangeureuses, et évidemment nous sommes tous d'accord là-dessus. On me dit que la marijuana est beaucoup moins grave, et je ne suis pas un expert; ce n'est pas mon domaine mais je m'interroge et je me dis que s'il y a un moyen de réglementer cela sans avoir recours au droit criminel, ce serait beaucoup mieux.

Il y a certainement des juristes qui se sont penchés là-dessus, sinon au Canada, du moins dans d'autres pays. Je me dis que c'est bien beau de décriminaliser une chose, mais il faut ajouter quelque chose à la place, et c'est cela qui me tracasse.

Le sénateur Gigantes: Peut-être un amendement constitutionel!

Le sénateur Beaudoin: Un amendement constitutionel, c'est bien clair et précis, mais là, nous sommes en droit criminel. Je pense que l'on s'appuie trop vite sur le droit criminel, parce que légiférer sur un crime, c'est facile. Un bon avocat va pouvoir rédiger cela et ce ne sera pas la fin du monde, mais régler un problème sans avoir recours au droit criminel lorsque ce n'est pas nécessaire, là c'est difficile.

Le fait est que je ne connais pas beaucoup de lois, même si j'ai étudié de nombreuses lois. Je ne connais pas beaucoup de lois qui ont réussi cela, mais il doit sûrement y avoir une possibilité. Je me demande si on n'est pas face à un problème comme celui-là avec le projet de loi C-8. Au début je pensais que c'était un projet de loi comme un autre, mais je m'aperçois que ce projet de loie est très, très important. Enfin, je soulève une question générale.

M. Saint-Denis: La solution à l'observation que vous avez faite serait que le Comité permanent de la santé de la Chambre des Communes, qui va examiner les politiques fondamentales en matière de drogue au Canada, pourrait en même temps examiner la question afin de déterminer quelle est la meilleur façon de régler les différents genres de substances. Ä savoir, est-ce que telle et telle substance devrait être régie par le droit criminel ou par d'autres moyens? On espère que ce comité agira en ce sens.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: On a d'autres problèmes. Certains disent que ce n'est pas pire que l'alcool ou le tabac. Il existe une situation difficile avec le tabac. Voyez la décision de la Cour suprême. Voici un produit que tous peuvent utiliser, dans notre pays, tout au moins, et on en prohibe la publicité. Mais le produit est parfaitement légal. Probablement que l'on doit se dire que c'est impossible d'empêcher les gens de fumer. C'est justement le même problème que l'on rencontre ici: on se dit que l'on va utiliser le droit criminel à une telle fin, sachant fort bien qu'il peut y avoir un million d'individus qui vont aller à l'encontre de la loi. Cela me cause un problème sur le plan de la conceptualisation. Enfin, c'est tout ce que j'avais à dire.

Le sénateur Nolin: Mais c'est une très bonne question, et c'est le coeur du problème.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: J'ai beaucoup de mal à vous dire que je pourrais régler cela dans une journée ou deux. J'ai de la difficulté à comprendre. Si nous sommes obligés, alors je voterai au meilleur de ma connaissance, mais je n'ai pas l'impression d'être très informé face à ce problème. Quand vous me dites que le comité de la santé va peut-être trouver un moyen de régler ce problème, alors, assignons-les comme témoins.

Monsieur St-Denis: Le comité permanent de la Chambre des Communes a déjà indiqué son intention de se pencher sérieusement sur ce problème. Ils vont examiner de fond en comble la question de l'abus des drogues, de l'usage des drogues, le contrôle des drogues, et essentiellement les politiques fondamentales en matières de drogues au pays.

En même temps, ils vont certainement se poser la question à savoir si la marijuana, par exemple, devrait être une substance contrôlée par une loi pénale.

Le sénateur Beaudoin: Enfin, je ne connais pas la réponse.

(English follows) Chairperson: Thank you very much. I have an announcement to make to the committee. The bells are ringing --

(Following French)

The Chairman: The bells are ringing. I would announce that the vote is set for 5:45 p.m. We will adjourn at 5:40 and return when the vote is completed.

Senator Gigantès: We have a representative here from the Department of Health. We have heard much contradictory information about marijuana.

Since last we saw you, I have received information by some people whom I trust. One is a former prosecutor. That information says that marijuana has 17 times more tar than tobacco.

One of our researchers in the Liberal Party told me that a new strain of marijuana has been bred in Holland which is 30 time more potent, psychedelically speaking, than existing strains. We also hear that the Dutch are considering whether to lower the limit from 30 grams to 5 grams, presumably because marijuana is now much more potent.

Mr. Rowsell: They already have.

Senator Gigantès: The official perception of the harmfulness of marijuana is based upon what studies? When were those studies made and by whom?

Mr. Rowsell: The Department of Health has not collected all the available information on marijuana. That is another reason why we have supported the health committee study in the House of Commons. There has been much information recorded over many years. That information is changing. As you report, there are studies of genetically-derived forms, hydroponically grown, which are much more potent and have a higher hallucinogenic property than what we have been seeing.

Most of the information is not necessarily scientifically based. Much of it is anecdotal. We feel the best way to resolve the matter is to search out as much information as possible from the scientific community and the people who have been involved with these substances.

(Take 1730 follows--Join checked)

MA\\1730

(Take 1730 follows--Join checked)

Senator Gigantès: Do I understand that you will likely commission a study by scientists to analyze marijuana, including the ramifications of these new super strengths? Will you tell us about the possible harm of this drug? Is it different than what we hear from the pro-marijuana witnesses? Is it different than what we hear from the anti-marijuana witnesses?

We need some scientific evidence up to today. I realize that some clever geneticist will change things later to make marijuana look like geranium plants, for instance, so that the evidence can be more easily disguised.

I feel unequipped to take a decision on this because you tell me you have done no studies. The house committee will not do studies; it will hear witnesses. I believe that a group of expert scientists should be commissioned to do a real scientific study and tell us where we are at, at this time.

I am changing my mind on this until then because of what I have heard about Holland. I feel I cannot maintain my earlier intent to de-criminalize minor marijuana possession of 30 grams or less because possession of 30 grams of this new highly potent marijuana is possession of a very dangerous thing. I would like to know more about this. Until then, I am not prepared to decriminalize or to lower the limits.

Senator Nolin: Maybe we should have the study to which you refer so we can share that information. I do not have that.

Senator Gigantès: I am asking for a public study.

Senator Nolin: I refer to the evidence upon which you base your change of opinion.

Senator Gigantès: I am not sure about that evidence. It may be anecdotal. I was told by one of our researchers about the new plants in Holland, and I was told by a former Crown prosecutor about marijuana having 17 times more tar. The Crown prosecutor is not a scientist. Neither is the researcher.

That is why I am asking that scientists look at this issue. Until then, just in case the researcher and the former Crown prosecutor are right, I am not prepared to move towards decriminalizing something which may be a time bomb.

(French follows--Nolin at 5:33--Ernie)

légal\29 mai 1996\32087\1730.fah Le sénateur Nolin: Tout comme le sénateur Gigantès, vous admettrez que la Loi sur les stupéfiants et la partie III et IV de la Loi sur les aliments et drogues, jusqu'à maintenant, remplissent bien leur rôle. Si on ne l'adopte pas assez vite, cela ne changera pas grand-chose. Il n'y a pas d'urgence.

On pourrait très bien continuer à vivre selon la Loi sur les stupéfiants, la partie III et IV de la loi sur les aliments et drogues et attendre que le fameux comité de la santé ait étudié toute l'étendue de la stratégie sur les drogues comme le disait notre collègue le sénateur Beaudoin. Ä ce moment-là, on prendra les décisions appropriées qui s'imposeront.

(anglais suit) (Chair, I think I would like to use the last time

(Following French)

The Chairman: Gentlemen, we should use our remaining time to specifically ask questions of these witnesses. We can get into a debate later.

(GO TO TAKE 1800 !!!! (no 1740 or 1750))

MA Take 1800

(Join checked--CHAIR continuing)

Senator Gigantès indicates that he has finished his questions. Senator Nolin, you are back on.

(French follows--Nolin -- 6:04 p.m.--Carmelle)

(Following French)

Mr. Rowsell: No, we have not examined in detail the statistics from these countries. The majority of clauses in this bill will address supply control. The only aspects which really contribute toward demand reduction are those aspects which refer to treatment and rehabilitation.

Other steps are being taken by the department such as initiating needle exchange programs, working with the AIDS community, working in education and working with the provincial governments in helping to provide direction for treatment and rehabilitation. In my own bureau, we operate the methadone program, trying to make substances available to assist physicians in treating addicts.

You have focused on the directions which have been taken in some of the states of the United States, Australia and the Netherlands. Those three countries are all signatories to the conventions.

As Senator Jessiman observed, in some Canadian cities, a conscious policy decision has been made not to enforce the legislation. The United States also has made a distinction between the federal jurisdiction and the next level of government. Decisions have been taken at the state level to move away from observing the conventions, but, at a national level, those authorities have been signed.

I am not familiar with the data as to whether there has been a reduction or not. My only knowledge is based on a case in Alaska where the use of marihuana actually did increase. Because of the problems they were experiencing, the community decided to change the law.

(take 1810 begins, Mr. Rowsell continuing--Whether Alaska may not be representative of any other state.)

May 29, 1996/Legal/32087/lp

(Mr. Rowsell continuing)

Alaska may not be representative of any other state. There may be circumstances there which led to that. Those things must be examined. Again, I do not want to sound like a broken record, but it is exactly the questions you are raising which we feel need to be brought out in an objective assessment of the issues. We believe that is what should be done by the House of Commons committee. We will try to pull together as much information as possible to provide to the house committee, but it would be up to them to make the judgments in the most unbiased way possible.

The bill focuses on supply control; the import, export, and manufacture of substances. It really is not designed to deal with the demand reduction component of the strategy. Many departments are contributing to the strategy. Each has a role to play. Our role with this legislation was simply on supply-control and on how to bring all of these other partners together to deal with Canada's drug problem.

Senator Nolin: Do you not think it would have been appropriate for your department to undertake to look at those jurisdictions to at least learn why they are doing that, and perhaps to gather some results to provide the government to show what is going on out there? We are not living in a vase clos here in Canada. We are very much involved in the --

(French follows -- Nolin -- Carmelle 6:12 p.m.)

LEGAL/29 mai 1996/32087/1810.FCR (Après anglais) (Sen. Nolin) La civilisation canadienne n'existe pas, on vit dans un monde planétaire et ce qui influence les Américains influence définitivement les canadiens, et vice-versa. (Anglais suit)

(M. Rowsell: No, I agree. You quoted earlier the statistics from the alcool and other drugs group...)

(Following French).

Mr. Rowsell: I agree. You earlier quoted the statistics from the alcohol and other drugs group. They are a unit within our Health Programs and Services Branch. They are the ones that take the lead on the demand reduction. On that side, they may have done these analyses. I, unfortunately, am not aware of some of the work that is being done by that part of the department. It may be that they have those results.

You asked earlier whether we should put this bill on hold and undertake the study. Senator Gigantès asked what we know about the potency of these substances; marihuana in particular. In Health Canada laboratories across Canada we do analyses for the police forces. When a substance is seized, our laboratories conduct the analyses for the court system.

We certainly have data which shows that the potency of marihuana in some areas, grown under some conditions -- namely hydroponic growth -- has substantially increased. In the early years, it was normal for us to see potency of around 3 per cent. We are now finding samples with up 28 per cent potency. There is a much higher potency of THC delta 9 in the country now. I am sorry that I do not know the answer with regard to the levels of tar.

You have often heard it said that we have 35,000 deaths due to cigarette smoking and none due to marihuana. One of the reasons for that is that we do not collect the data. When a death due to smoking is reported, there is no differentiation made as to what that person was smoking. That distinction has not been made in gathering the statistics. It is easy to say that we have zero deaths due to marihuana, but we do not know that.

Senator Nolin: On that point, Statistics Canada is producing those numbers. You have probably read the brief the Canadian Bar Association presented while the House of Commons was studying Bill C-7. Their numbers are from Statistics Canada from 1990. So you have numbers. It is not new. Someone out there is looking at all those numbers and comparing them. That is what I am trying to get.

Mr. Rowsell: Last year, two delegations from the United Nations met with members of the House of Commons trying to convince them of the urgency of passing this legislation because Canada is a conduit for the diversion of drugs into many other countries. Large supplies of benzodiazepines have been diverted into eastern European countries and developing countries in the Caribbean, South America and Africa. This bill will give us the opportunity to stop the dumping of these drugs through Canada.

Senator Nolin: Can we not do that now?

Mr. Rowsell: No.

Senator Nolin: Why is that?

Mr. Rowsell: We have no legislation to control the import and export of benzodiazepines or precursor substances. Many people are coming to Canada, mainly from the United States and

Europe, to buy precursor chemicals. They can take them back for use in clandestine laboratories. We presently have no authority to deal with that problem. The United Nations is very concerned that we are not upholding our obligations to deal with these problems internationally.

This bill deals with the concerns about marihuana much better than does the current Narcotic Control Act; be it simple possession or trafficking. If we do not move forward with the legislation, we will deal more harshly with people with regard to marihuana than if we do move ahead.

(French follows -- Senator Nolin -- Carmelle -- 6:18 -- take 1820 follows)

LEGAL/29 mai 1996/32087/1810.FCR Le sénateur Nolin: Vous avez référé à l'étude que le comité de la Santé de la Chambre des communes veut entreprendre et il n'y a pas de doute que nous avons un intérêt depuis que nous avons commencé l'examen du projet de loi C-7 et maintenant C-8; définitivement que nous avons un intérêt aussi grand, sinon plus, à voir se faire la lumière sur toutes ces questions. C'est vrai que nos préoccupations -- et surtout par les témoins que nous avons entendus. Je ne pense pas que, pour le point, pour la question que vous venez de soulever à l'effet qu'il y a des drogues qui... il y a des activités criminelles qui ont cours au Canada et que l'on doit les réprimer de toute évidence.

La suggestion que je faisais tout à l'heure, devrions-nous suspendre la décision d'approuver cette loi, le temps requis pour faire cet examen? Et après cet examen, prendre les décisions appropriées d'un point de vue pénal -- donc, C-8 c'est une loi pénale -- et recommander au gouvernement de prendre des mesures plus sociales appropriées, compte tenu des découvertes que ce comité fera? C'est pour cela que, finalement, à la fin je vous posais la question: est-ce qu'il y a urgence? Et vous avez soulevé un point et définitivement, si vous en arrivez à la conclusion qu'il y a des activités criminelles qui ont cours au Canada et que l'on devrait les récriminer le plus rapidement possible, j'aurais aimé savoir cela plus tôt; on aurait adopté d'urgence ces mesures, quitte à retarder l'application du reste de la loi.

Si on peut amender immédiatement la Loi sur les narcotiques sur les stupéfiants ou la Loi sur les aliments et drogues qui existe en ce moment, faisons-le. Je pense que l'on ne doit pas -- et c'est le but de ma question -- l'on ne doit pas maintenir cette approche prohibitive face au contrôle des drogues, soit parce que l'on adhère à des traités internationaux, soit parce que des étrangers viennent nous dire qu'on devrait agir plus rapidement ou parce qu'on l'a toujours fait.

Il faut prendre une décision éclairée. Et le comité, je pense, offrira ce genre d'information. Le Barreau canadien -- comme avocat, je dois vous avouer que je prête beaucoup de foi à l'opinion de l'Association du Barreau canadien -- est très dur dans son mémoire. Je voudrais vous en citer un passage:

[...] l'Association du Barreau canadien s'oppose à l'adoption du Projet de loi [...]

A ce moment-là c'était C-7, maintenant c'est C-8. [...] La Section [...]

-- nationale du droit pénal. [...] estime que la criminalisation de l'usage des drogues s'est révélée inefficace pour en faire diminuer l'usage, réduire la criminalité ou améliorer l'état de santé au sein de la population en général. Un grand nombre des changements prévus par le Projet de loi pourraient se traduire par une augmentation importante des taux d'emprisonnement au Canada, de même que la durée des sentences. [...]

C'est quoi vos commentaires ou vos réactions quand je vous lis cela. Je présume que ce n'est pas la première fois que vous entendez cela. Quels sont vos propos? Qu'est-ce que vous avez à dire sur ces commentaires-là qui, selon moi, sont très durs?

M. Normand: D'abord, vous avez juste en disant que cela référait au projet de loi C-7. Ce

mémoire a été écrit, si ma mémoire m'est fidèle, avant les derniers amendements. Ils ont été repris à tout le moins, mais c'était essentiellement les mêmes commentaires qu'avant que les derniers amendements soient apportés au niveau des pénalités dans le projet de loi C-7.

Effectivement, il y avait eu des modifications qui avaient été apportées initialement, soit par l'instauration d'amendes maximales qui n'existent pas actuellement, mais que le juge a toujours le loisir d'imposer quand même. Il y avait eu également une addition au niveau des pénalités, au niveau de possession simple de substances, sous l'annexe 1.

Ces choses-là ont été modifiées à la toute fin de C-7. On a ramené les pénalités à ce qu'elles sont actuellement. Alors, le commentaire, dans la mesure où il s'applique aux pénalités, je pense que cet aspect a été corrigé.

Le sénateur Nolin: Mais, ils ne référaient pas uniquement aux pénalités.

M. Normand: Non, je comprends. Mais, la fin du commentaire référait aux pénalités.

Pour ce qui est de l'approche à savoir si la criminalisation est une bonne chose, mon rôle n'est pas de défendre la politique, mais d'expliquer le projet; alors c'est pour cela que je vous parle des pénalités.

Le sénateur Nolin: Ma question s'adresse à vous. Le rapport Le Dain a plus de 25 ans?

M. Normand: Oui.

Le sénateur Nolin: Qu'en est-il arrivé finalement, à votre ministère, de ce rapport? Quelles sont les mesures que vous avez jugé appropriées de prendre suite aux recommandations de ce rapport?

(Anglais suit) (M. Rowsell: The report was submitted to the Parliement. And it was up to the members of Parliement to give direction to departments.

LEGAL/VAucoin

(Take 1820 begins with French. Following French)

Mr. Rowsell: The report was submitted to Parliament and it was up to the members of Parliament to give direction to the departments. I was not involved with these substances at that time. Back in those days, I was a very young man.

Senator Nolin: So was I. I was in law school.

Mr. Rowsell: I was dealing with the submission of new drugs, not with narcotics and controlled substances. I am not familiar with what direct action was taken back then by the department.

(French follows, Sen. Nolin. Time: 6:25. Carmelle is the reporter.)

LEGAL/29 mai 1996/32087/1820.FCR Le sénateur Nolin : Est-ce que la mémoire corporative du ministère se souvient si l'examen entrepris par le juge Le Dain se faisait dans le cadre d'un examen législatif d'un projet de loi en particulier ou si cela se faisait en parallèle des travaux législatifs?

(Anglais suit) (Sen Nolin: Do you know about that? Was it in the course of examining a bill or was it outside... the Commission, a Royal Commission)

(Following French, Sen. Nolin continuing)

**Do you know if it was in the course of examining the bill, or was it done by way of a royal commission?

Mr. Rowsell: Yes, it was a royal commission that reported to Parliament.

Senator Nolin: It was not in the course of studying a specific bill?

Mr. Rowsell: No.

(French follows, Mr. Saint Denis. It is 6:26 p.m. and Carmelle is the reporter)

LEGAL/29 mai 1996/32087/1820.FCR M. Saint-Denis: Je peux vous dire que dans le contexte du gouvernement -- pas du gouvernement de l'époque où le rapport Le Dain a été publié, mais par après, dans la fin de 70 et début 80 -- il y a eu une initiative de la part des trois ministères: Justice, Santé et le Solliciteur général, de préparer un document qui aurait pour but de traiter, dans une certaine mesure, de l'usage du cannabis. Et, pour une raison ou une autre, l'échéancier politique et caetera, cela n'a pas abouti. Et l'intérêt, qu'on avait à cette époque à vouloir réduire les effets de la criminalisation de la marijuana, a diminué durant les années 80, aux États-Unis plus particulièrement, mais aussi à travers le restant du monde, à ma connaissance de ce qui se passait au niveau international et l'on a adopté une position plus sévère face à l'usage des drogues.

Alors, l'intérêt de vouloir décriminaliser a diminué. Maintenant, petit à petit, l'on semble changer encore un petit peu. C'est un peu, si vous voulez, c'est la pendule qui fait son voyage traditionnel. Ce n'est pas que le rapport Le Dain n'a rien donné, c'est juste que, malheureusement, cela n'a rien donné de concret. Il y a eu des efforts mais cela n'a pas abouti.

Et, si je me souviens bien, je pense que le Sénat avait déjà eu un projet de loi concernant la décriminalisation?

Le sénateur Nolin: Deux fois.

M. Saint-Denis: Alors, vous voyez qu'il y a eu des efforts, c'est juste que cela n'a pas abouti.

Le sénateur Nolin: Vous avez définitivement -- puis, je le présume, parce que vous avez assisté aux témoignages de ce qui se disait et ce que les autres témoins ont donné comme recommandations. De façon brutale, ces gens-là ne peuvent pas tous avoir tort et uniquement vous avoir raison; comment peut-on concilier tout cela?

Le sénateur Gigantès: Le contraire aussi, de façon brutale, ces messieurs ne peuvent pas avoir tort et les autres avoir raison.

Le sénateur Nolin: Oui, oui, absolument, c'est cela. Il y a certainement une zone médiane qui est raisonnable, qui rejoindrait tout le monde. Comment concilier tout cela?

M. Normand: Par rapport à quel?

Le sénateur Nolin: Alors, prenons, je vous ai lu quelques passages du mémoire du Barreau canadien. Il y a eu toute la question soulevée pour le Canadian Fondation for Drug Policy qui nous ont même réécrit récemment pour continuer à nous alimenter en éléments de preuve. La plupart de ces témoins nous ont dit que l'on faisait fausse route, la prohibition ce n'est pas la bonne méthode; la bonne approche c'est celle qui est suivie ailleurs.

Je comprends que vous allez me dire que vous recevez des instructions politiques et que ces instructions c'est la prohibition; et l'on introduit un projet de loi qui s'appelle C-8. Est-ce que je dois comprendre que si la Chambre des communes, via son comité sur la santé, déclenche

une enquête approfondie sur la question de l'usage des drogues au Canada, vous allez aider ce comité à démontrer que la méthode prohibitive n'est pas la seule et que les autres méthodes peuvent aussi produire des résultats efficaces?

(Anglais suit) (M. Rowsell: We want to see as in-debt, objective...)

MP/May29/Legal/32087/take1830

Mr. Rowsell: We want to see an in-depth, objective analysis of the situation. I think everyone wants to see that. Whether it is a swing in the pendulum or whatever, the time is now for us to really look at what evidence is out there. You have heard, as you mentioned, some of the witnesses. During the House committee, we had representations from the international community, the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and they would give you different perspective. I think there is a need for a body to sit down and weigh the evidence on both sides and decide what is right for Canada.

Senator Jessiman: I would like to just paraphrase two statements from 1972 regarding this subject. The first said that now -- 1972 -- is the appropriate time for the principled discussion of the use of the law as an instrument for solving social problems about the non-medical use of drugs. Another statement said that there is a standing tendency for drug problems to lead to law abuse. Those statements are from 1972. That is how long ago this was. This is the problem I am having. They were saying the same thing then.

Senator Gigantès: They have been calling for abolition of the Senate since 1867.

Mr. Rowsell: Yes, those statements they were made, but that was a Royal Commission which made a submission to Parliament, and we did not receive direction to do anything differently.

Senator Jessiman: I am sorry, I interrupted.

(French follows, Nolin, 6:32 p.m. and it is now Michelle who is the reporter)

Legal/le 29 mai 1996/32087/1830.fmg Le sénateur Nolin: J'aurais deux autres questions. Ma deuxième question portera sur la drogue qui n'apparaît sur aucun annexe de nos lois.

Si nous demandions à la Chambre des communes d'entreprendre son examen et qu'à la même occasion, nous leur disions que du fait qu'ils nous aient envoyé un projet de loi C-8 , nous avons décidé d'adopter certaines mesures urgentes, mais que pour le reste,que nous ayons décidé de garder les vieilles lois que l'on avait en attendant que l'examen se fasse -- examen auquel nous faisons référence depuis tout à l'heure -- et qu'à la fin des travaux de ce comité que nous modifieront ou adopteront tel qu'il est le projet de loi C-8 ou qu'il sera selon les conclusions de cette étude.

Quelle serait votre réponse si je vous disais que nous prenions cette décision?

(Anglais suit) (M. Rowsell : I do not know, honestly. I think as I tried to explain that...)

(Following French)

Mr. Rowsell: I do not know, honestly. As I tried to explain, there are a number of administrative advantages to the current bill, Bill C-8. It may seem insignificant, but for manufacturers and pharmacists and physicians who have to try to balance the requirements between Parts III and IV of the Food and Drugs Act and the Narcotic Control Act, it is a very onerous burden for them.

Senator Nolin: But it is not urgent.

Mr. Rowsell: It is not urgent.

Senator Nolin: You have told us what is urgent. The rest is to ease the life of professionals.

Mr. Rowsell: Yes.

Senator Nolin: If we look at the LeDain report and what happened after the LeDain report, obviously we do not want an in-depth study of the usage of drugs in Canada, done by the House of Commons, to receive the same treatment as Justice LeDain's report received 25 years ago. That is why I am saying such a study done in the middle of examining Bill C-8, with all the pressure that comes with the examination of the bill, would provide sufficient leverage to at least consider the findings of such an in-depth study. Do you not agree?

Mr. Rowsell: I can only say that while I have been involved with this bill, under both a Conservative government and a Liberal government, we have been directed to bring forward this legislation. I think the government does want to take the time to look at the policy issues surrounding substance abuse, and I do not know how much time they wish to take or how they will proceed with it, but they want to deal with that and then come back. They may come with an entirely new piece of legislation or take marihuana out of this bill and put it into a new bill but we would still have this piece of legislation that we could administer on behalf of Canada.

(French follows and it is Mr. Norman and it is 6:36 p.m. and Michelle is still the reporter)

Legal/le 29 mai 1996/32087/1830.fmg M. Normand : Un des facteurs principals qui a été présenté puis qui serait sûrement la question primaire en début de révision aurait sûrement trait d'abord et avant tout à la question de savoir si l'on devrait décraminaliser la possession de la marijuana.

Cette aspect peut-être traité de façon très rapide par un simple amendement par un ordre en conseil ou en amendement la loi que l'on appelle la loi sur les contraventions. Cela pourrait résoudre le problème. Pour toutes les autres choses qui touchent aux offenses ou à la structure, nous mettons sur pied un système de saisi complet.

Ä l'heure actuelle, les policiers doivent tantôt utiliser les dispositions de la loi sur les stupléfiants, et à d'autres occasions le Code criminel, dépendamment s'ils veulent saisir une substance ou des biens qui sont reliés à une offence. Cela est ramené dans un contexte unique.

Il y a des pouvoirs de saisis sans mandat, pour des raisons exceptionnelles qui suivent finalement les décisions récentes de la Cour suprême du Canada.

Nous avons également eu des problèmes récemment dans l'Arrêt de la Cour suprême en ce qui a traità la saisie dans un contexte ou nous nous rendons dans une maison d'habitation. Ce que nous mettons de l'avant réglerait cette situation.

La partie III qui touche aux dispositions des substances, nous avons un système complet qui n'est pas présent actuellement. Nous avons un système mais le système de la partie III s'avère beaucoup plus complet qui existe qui a trait justement, par exemple, à des gens en possession de substances saisies, et qu'elles sont détruites par la suite sans fondement, nous pourrions les rembourser. Cela n'existe pas actuellement.

La partie IV, qui traite au niveau des inspecteurs, clarifie les pouvoirs et s'assure que les inspecteurs ne pourront pas inspecter les dossiers de patients. C'est une addition qui n'est pas là actuellement. Vous avez plusieurs choses qui militent en faveur de la loi mais qui advenant une étude avec des résultats dans une, deux ou trois années qui iraient dans le sens de décriminaliser ou d'adoucir l'approche face à certaines substances. Ce sont des choses qui pourraient se faire facilement par ordre en conseil en changeant une substance d'un annexe à un autre ou en l'enrayant tout simplement et en l'embarquant dans une autre loi.

C'est pour cette raison que nous n'avons pas eu de commentaire outre certains de façon particulière de témoins qui sont venus critiqués, sinon en ce qui a trait à l'approche globale face à la Marijuana.

Pour le reste, nous avons présenté ce projet de loi que lorsqu'il a été public à des organismes au Québec, un peu partout à travers le Canada. Récemment, j'étais en Colombie-Britannique et tout ce qui en ressort est positif. Cette question reste centrale et c'est la chose chose que l'on parle quand on traite de sévisme sur la question de la possession.

Nous considérons que c'est quelquechose qui pourrait se résoudre très facilement par un

simple amendement sans avoir à passer par tout le processus parlementaire, si le Parlement effectivement décidait de recommander suite à cette révision en ce qui a trait à la marijuana que l'on réduise les effets.

M. Saint-Denis : Est-ce que l'on pourrait séparer certains éléments de ce projet de loi et recommander que ces éléments soit mis en vigueur et que l'on suspende le projet de loi et que l'on garde en vigueur les deux lois sur les drogues?

Je ne suis pas certain que techniquement l'on pourrait faire cela si facilement. Ce projet de loi forme un tout qui est difficilement séparable.

Le sénateur Nolin : Oui, je comprends. Nous ne pouvons pas dire que nous en prenons une partie et ne pas prendre l'autre.

M. Saint-Denis : Avec la structure des infractions et la relation des infrations et des pénalités avec les différentes substances, cela serait difficile d'arriver à un régime qui permettrait de corriger plus particulièrement le problème auquel a référer M. Rowsell avec la question de...et puis de laisser le restant en suspend, d'une part.

D'une autre part, vous aviez suggéré qu'en suspendant le projet de loi, cela inciterait la Chambre des communes à arriver à une conclusion rapide...

Le sénateur Nolin : Ce n'est pas tellement d'en arriver à une conclusion rapide mais à tout le moins donner un effet aux conclusions, de là ma préoccupation.

M. Saint-Denis : L'effet que nous pourrions donner aux conclusions si c'est le genre de conclusions que nous pourrions envisager, c'est que nous pourrions avoir un projet de loi totalement différent de ce que nous avons ici.

Ce que fera le comité permanent sur la santé, ce ne sera pas simplement de regarder la question de la marihuana, ce sera aussi les autres stupéfiants, les autres drogues et l'usage des médicaments. Il s'agit de quelquechose de plus fondamental que simplement le cannabis.

Le sénateur Nolin: Je suis entièrement d'accord. C'est une nouvelle approche face à l'usage des drogues et cetera.

M. Saint-Denis : Il est possible que la structure de ce projet de loi, même en suspend, ne serait pas le genre de véhicule utile à y apporter des modifications fondamentales à notre approche sur les drogues.

C'est fort possible que nous ayons besoin d'un projet de loi qui ressemblerait à quelquechose tout à fait différent de cela. Que nous le gardions en suspend ne donnerait pas grand chose. Naturellement, cela est toujours basé sur l'hypothèse que la Chambre des communes serait prête à accepter ce qui serait un amendement finalement.

Le sénateur Nolin: Parce qu'il y a une toute autre situation.

Le sénateur Beaudoin : Ah!

Le sénateur Nolin : Nous pouvons bien penser ce qui serait bon pour les Canadiens, mais faut-il aussi que les Canadiens se sentent interpellés par ce genre d'examen. Notre dernière intentions serait de forcer les Canadiens à prendre une décision, et qui selon plusieurs est peut-être contraire à leurs intérêts à l'heure actuelle.

C'est pour cela qu'un examen en profondeur m'apparaît juste. S'il existe des conclusions, et il y en aura toujours, nous voulons les voir appliquer ou nous ne les prendrions pas.

Nous désirons que les conclusions et le travail de ce comité soient crédibles, que le travail de notre comité soit crédible, il faut que l'on soit capable de dire aux Canadiens ce que nous avons accompli et voici les résultats.

Le problème survenu avec la décision du juge Le Dain et avec les deux amendements du Sénat dans les 25 dernières années, a donné 0 exposant 0.

Aujourd'hui, nous sommes dans une situation ou le Canada opère dans un processus de prohibition qui ne porte pas les fruits escomptés et la population de plus en plus est préoccupée par l'usage du cannabis parce que ce sont leurs enfants qui les utilisent. Qu'il s'agisse de deux ou trois millions, il n'en reste pas moins qu'il existe une donnée du ministère qui me semble effrayante. Un quart des enfants de 15 à 19 ans utilisent du cannabis. Ce sont les enfants des canadiens. Les Canadiens ont le droit d'être préoccupés. Nous devons les interpeler. Ils doivent se sentir interpeler par le travail que l'on fait.

Je crainds que l'on repousse sous le tapis tout cela et que nous passions un projet de loi prohibitif et qui a définitivement de très bons côtés et que nous confions à un comité, comme en début des années 1970, à un juge, très crédible, qui a fait un très bon travail, le soin d'étouffer la préoccupation des canadiens et en bout de ligne, 25 ans plus tard, rien n'est changé.

M. Normand : La différence est qu'à ce moment-là ce n'était pas un comité parlementaire qui avait entrepris la révision mais une Commission royale.

(Anglais suit -- next take) (M. Rowsell : The big difference here is ...)

RC\Legal\32087\May 29, 1996

(After French)

Mr. Rowsell: The big difference here is that the Royal Commission was independent of government. Therefore, the government had to accept or to decline its report. Members of the house will be doing the study now. Believe me, they have exactly the same concerns as you have expressed, senator.

Senator Doyle: No, they do not.

Mr. Rowsell: I am sorry, but, yes, they do. Many members of the house expressed exactly the same sentiments as have been expressed here today.

Senator Jessiman: Is Bill C-8 exactly the same as Bill C-7?

Mr. Rowsell: No.

Senator Jessiman: There are some changes contained in it, then?

Mr. Normand: Just the ones that you were given today, senator.

Senator Jessiman: Did you know that Great Britain will be striking a royal commission on drugs?

Mr. Rowsell: No, I was not aware of that.

Senator Jessiman: Forget for a moment that you are members of the government.

The Chairman: Senator Jessiman, they are here to represent the government.

Senator Jessiman: As individuals who know a lot about this, do not you really agree that --

The Chairman: That is an unfair question, Senator Jessiman.

Senator Jessiman: Just a moment, Madam Chairman. Do you not agree that it is not the use of drugs that is really the problem but that it is the abuse of the stuff, just as it is with alcohol, that is the problem?

Mr. Rowsell: That is the distinction I was trying to make earlier. Many of these substances have very valid medical uses. They are very potent substances, though. Therefore, yes, they are subject to abuse.

In the last few days you have heard about the medical uses of marihuana. We do not have the scientific evidence yet to look at those uses. It is anecdotal information only. People will claim, "Yes, it worked for me." We need to be able to assess on a scientific basis that these

things work or do not work.

Senator Jessiman: Do not take another 28 years, though.

The Chairman: On behalf of my colleagues I thank all of you for your presentations today.

Honourable senators, I suggest that we not do a clause-by-clause study of the bill tonight but that we do it on Tuesday morning.

Senator Nolin: Madam Chairman, my caucus has requested that we have a thorough discussion on this bill next Wednesday. Can we do something else on Tuesday and wait until Thursday to look into Bill C-8?

The Chairman: That is perfectly acceptable, Senator Nolin. We will try to line up departmental officials to discuss Bill C-28 for Tuesday morning. Barring that, we will deal with Bill C-243 and hear from Election Canada officials.

The committee adjourned.

Converted by Andrew Scriven

Updated: 24 Jul 2001 | Accessed: 23638 times