Emergency Debate – Drug Shortages

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I hope members will bear with me. I want to ask a question that goes above and beyond the current moment of crisis.

We seem to have a persistent problem of accessing painkilling drugs globally and we recognize that. However, there has been an idea that has been floated for a number of years with the Senlis Council relating to Afghanistan. The hon. member may know where I am going with this question now.

There has been some very viable and impressive proposals to use poppies for medicine. In Afghanistan, there is an ongoing problem of development, poverty and conflict. A solution that makes sense to us in the Green Party is a system to develop painkillers from the poppy crops of Afghanistan. This industry would be legal and end the heroine trade, which is illegal and dangerous. It would provide painkilling opiates and the shura councils would be the local coordinators of this in Afghanistan.

I would add that this has been done in Turkey and it worked. It shut down the illegal opium trade by creating a safe, secure supply of painkilling drugs to the world, while also providing some sustainability to those farmers and that—

The Speaker: I have to stop the member there. The parliamentary secretary has about 30 seconds to respond.

Colin Carrie: Mr. Speaker, I did see the newsreels today with this proposition brought forward. Unfortunately, at this stage of the game I have not had a chance to really look at what the report had to say, so I cannot make an educated comment on her question. I will try to look into it further and see if we can have a conversation later.