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Excerpt from

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
Tuesday, April 11, 2000

(2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 138, Issue 47)

The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker

. . .
Review of Anti-Drug Policy
Motion to Form Special Senate Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Nolin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cohen:

That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to reassess Canada's anti-drug legislation and policies, to carry out a
broad consultation of the Canadian public to determine the specific needs of various regions of the country, where social
problems associated with the trafficking and use of illegal drugs are more in evidence, to develop proposals to disseminate
information about Canada's anti-drug policy and, finally, to make recommendations for an anti-drug strategy developed by and
for Canadians under which all levels of government to work closely together to reduce the harm associated with the use of
illegal drugs;

That, without being limited in its mandate by the following, the Committee be authorized to:

- review the federal government's policy on illegal drugs in Canada, its effectiveness, and the extent to which it is fairly enforced;

- develop a national harm reduction policy in order to lessen the negative impact of illegal drugs in Canada, and make
recommendations regarding the enforcement of this policy, specifically the possibility of focusing on use and abuse of drugs as a
social and health problem;

- study harm reduction models adopted by other countries and determine if there is a need to implement them wholly or
partially in Canada;

- examine Canada's international role and obligations under United Nations conventions on narcotics and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and other related treaties in order to determine whether these treaties authorize it to take action
other than laying criminal charges and imposing sentences at the international level;

- explore the effects of cannabis on health and examine whether alternative policy on cannabis would lead to increased harm in
the short and long term;

- examine the possibility of the government using its regulatory power under the Contraventions Act as an additional means of
implementing a harm reduction policy, as is done in other jurisdictions;

- examine any other issue respecting Canada's anti-drug policy that the Committee considers appropriate to the completion of
its mandate.

That the Special Committee be composed of five Senators and that three members constitute a quorum;

That the Committee have the power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses, to report from time to time
and to print such papers, briefs and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the briefs received and testimony heard during consideration of Bill C-8, An Act respecting the control of certain
drugs, their precursors and other substances, by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs during
the Second Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to authorize television, radio and electronic broadcasting, as it deems appropriate, of any
or all of its proceedings;

That the Committee be granted leave to sit when the Senate has been adjourned pursuant to subsection 95 (2) of the Senate
Rules; and

That the Committee submit its final report not later than three years from the date of its being constituted.- (Honourable
Senator Hays).

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, it had been my intention to speak to this particular motion. I am very mindful of
the fact that Senator Nolin is eager to move the motion along and to have the various variables and elements set into motion.

Having said that, honourable senators, I must say that I thank Senator Nolin for his initiative in bringing this matter forward. I
should like to place on the record very fairly and squarely that I think that senators' initiatives in the vast area of the study of
public welfare are welcome and are to be supported and encouraged.

It had been my intention to bring forward some questions in relation to the subject matter that perhaps Senator Nolin might bear
in mind when the committee gets going; however, I can bring those issues forward once the committee is in operation.

Having said that, I am prepared to hand the floor to Senator Nolin so that he may go ahead and move his motion. I thank him
for his initiative.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to inform the Senate that if the Honourable Senator Nolin speaks now,
his speech will have the effect of closing the debate on this motion.


Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I move that the motion be adopted.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

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