Drug Free Prison Act

Elizabeth May : Mr. Speaker, I do think there is another reason beyond Conservative Party fundraising, and that is that we have seen a trend in legislation under the current administration where the shorter the legislation, the greater the public relations spin that accompanies it. Massive bills, like the 440-page bills that change 70 different laws, are slipped under the radar without a press release.

This one claiming to be a drug-free prisons act would bring, as she said, a currently normal practice into high relief with an overblown title. I suggest it is both for current fundraising and for future election purposes. A very short bill with one change to one subsection of the Criminal Code was called “protecting seniors from abuse act”. It did nothing of the kind.

If our goal is drug-free prisons, this would not get us there. I ask my hon. colleague to suggest what we might want to do if we were serious about drug-free prisons.


Megan Leslie : Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague’s preamble in its entirety. We have a cyberbullying bill that talks about cable bundling. Somehow, I do not think Rogers is really wrapped in the revenge porn scene.

What do I think is the actual solution?

I had wanted to talk about the Smart Justice Network of Canada but, unfortunately, I ran out of time. It is really working in a movement that is a new way of addressing criminal justice issues that solves the problems of crime rather than simply punishing criminals. It tries to address the profound connections of crime to mental health, addiction, employment, education, housing, and social inclusion. Advocates through Smart Justice Network emphasize dealing with crime to shift the focus on a strong component of treatment, training, and reintegration support, which would reduce the risk of reoffending without harmful and costly interventions.

The Smart Justice Network is growing. It has folks in Ottawa, people in Halifax whom I have met with, people in Vancouver. It is starting to grow and really spread its message around Canada and work with people who have expertise in this area, people who have been working in the criminal justice system for decades, to talk about needing a fundamental shift away from this crime and punishment model toward a system that would, in the long term, reduce crime. It is the only way to do it, as far as I can see.