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Aggressive ecstasy, crystal meth bill gets new legs in Parliament

A private member’s bill re-introduced in the House of Commons on Monday would allow law enforcement officers to arrest those who procure ingredients with the intent of manufacturing ecstasy or methamphetamine.

The proposed legislation, Bill C-475, An Act to Amend the Controlled and Substances Act, was originally tabled by Peace River MP Chris Warkentin in 2007, received unanimous support in the House and reached the Senate before being effectively killed by the 2008 election.

On Monday, John Weston, a Conservative MP from West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky reintroduced the bill.

“It is something I’ve been trying to work with John for the last month and a half; we’ve been working to get it in place so he’d be able to present it again,” Warkentin said yesterday by phone from Ottawa.

“I’m very pleased it’s moving forward.”

The idea for the original bill came when a Grande Prairie realtor, whom the MP declined to identify, approached him and expressed concern about the growing drug problem in the area, particularly the increasing prevalence of crystal meth.

“She was a realtor who had been in and out of people’s homes and had seen the effects of drug abuse,” Warkentin said.

“And in some cases, she was concerned about the fact we had people that were strong contributors to our community, people who were involved in all kinds of community events, but who had become addicted to drugs and as a result had been forced to sell their homes.”

The conversation piqued Warkentin’s interest “and when I started to look into the issue, I found Canada had moved from an importing nation of crystal meth, to an exporting nation of crystal meth, and that in fact our legislation was out-of-date in comparison to many other countries.”

What this bill would do, he said, is give law enforcement one more tool in their fight against drugs and current legislation more teeth in that fight.

“The thing about crystal meth and ecstasy is that it is a combination of legal ingredients put together to manufacture something that is illegal,” he said.

“What there isn’t right now in Canada is an opportunity for the RCMP or police forces to intervene on the supply side of the precursors (ingredients) for this drug. So even in a case where the RCMP know absolutely that the precursor is being used to produce crystal meth, they actually cannot intervene unless they can charge the perpetrator with something different than the intent to produce.”

Barring another election, Warkentin said he remains confident this version of his bill will eventually become law.

“Because my bill did reach the Senate and went into the Senate committee with unanimous support of the House and unanimous support of senators, I believe that had there been more time it would have become law. I suspect that situation will replicate itself; at least I’m very hopeful that that will be the case.”

source: http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com

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