HANSARD: Debating the Conservatives on opioid crisis

Debates of May 18th, 2023 / 4:40 p.m.
House of Commons Hansard #200 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session.
Opposition Motion—Opioid Crisis
Business of Supply
Government Orders

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, New Democrats absolutely support the idea that Purdue Pharma should be sued and made to pay. That is something the NDP called for the Liberal government to do a long time ago. I am glad that the Conservatives finally figured that out and are now on board.

However, to suggest that safer supply is somehow equivalent to what Purdue Pharma is doing is wrong. Purdue Pharma, by the way, was allowing for the drug to be made available and suggesting to doctors that this is an effective painkiller without acknowledging the addictive component of it.

With respect to safer supply, it is only applied to people at the highest risk who are already addicted, so it is a fundamentally different thing. Lisa Lapointe, the B.C. chief coroner, said that the drug poisoning crisis is the direct result of an unregulated drug market. That is what is at issue. That is what safer supply is trying to deal with. Is Lisa Lapointe wrong?

Garnett Genuis Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about the intention of the program. I do not deny that there are good intentions on all sides of the House when it comes to this issue. I am just interested in looking at the results.

The reason I see the Purdue program of overpromotion and of trying to minimize stigma about the substance to get more people to use it as very similar to, and in a substantive sense the same as, the safe supply program is that it was about flooding more supply of dangerous substances into the market, making them easier to access. At that time, and still today, that increase in supply is supposed to only go to certain people in certain kinds of situations. However, what we have seen is that when there is a big increase in the supply of dangerous drugs in the market, they do not only land in the hands of those who are supposed to get them. They land in the hands of children who have not used them before, and this increases the risks to everybody.

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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