The Hon. Diane Marleau
Minister of National Health & Welfare
Room 256 – Confederation Building
House of Commons
Dear Ms. Marleau,
I am shocked and outraged that your Ministry chose to pass Bill C-7 on the day of the Quebec referendum, in the
absence of the official opposition. It frightens me that my government is passing important and controversial
legislation under these circumstances, without any opportunity for real public debate and awareness.
I am in complete agreement with the conclusion of Canadian Bar Association’s submission on Bill C-7, which states:
The prohibition approach to drug control is outdated and has proven ineffective in decreasing drug use, reducing
crime, or improving public or individual health. Bill C-7 will result in a significant increase in rates of
incarceration and in lengths of sentences, and will place additional stresses on an already overburdened criminal
justice system. It will not contribute to public health but will accomplish exactly the opposite.
Bill C-7 represents a misguided approach to drug control, one that is unnecessary and costly to Canadians.
I am very disappointed that the subcommittee on Bill C-7 chose to ignore this testimony, as well as that of the
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, the Addiction Research Foundation, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the
Toronto Department of Public Health, and the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse. All of these groups called for
a drug policy based upon tolerance and harm reduction.
Instead of following the opinion and advice of these experts in the field of law, health, and drug policy, your
Ministry chose to pass this bill as the last act of Parliament on the day of a possibly nation-breaking referendum.
It is hard for me to have faith in a government that acts in such a capricious and secretive manner with matters of
such primary importance to all Canadians.
I am also dismayed that Bill C-7 makes no provision for the medical use of marijuana. Marijuana is a safe and
effective medicine for many ailments and should not be denied to those sick and dying people for whom its use
could be a benefit. I do not understand why cocaine and heroin are allowed for legitimate medical use and marijuana
Paul Szabo stated in Parliament that his subcommittee had made certain recommendations to the Standing Committee
on Health. The first recommendation was that an expert task force be formed to devise rational criteria for schedules
1 to 7 of the control of drugs and substances act. The second recommendation was that the House of Commons Standing
Committee on Health undertake a comprehensive review of existing drug policy.
Mr Szabo also stated “I am pleased to report that the Minister of Health has already informally given her concurrence
that a comprehensive review of our drug policy should be conducted.”
It is my opinion that Bill C-7 should not be passed until the scheduling task force and drug policy review have been
completed. There is no sense in allowing bad legislation to become law when it is not necessary, and Bill C-7 is
definitely not necessary.
I would like to know exactly when this task force will be formed, and when the comprehensive review of existing
drug policy will take place. I also ask to be kept informed of all further developments in this regard.
Thank you for your time and attention. I hope to hear from you soon.