Member of Parliament John Weston introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons last week that would make it an offence to procure the ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine drugs such as ecstasy and crystal meth.
Weston's bill goes further than another similar bill put forward by Peace River MP Chris Warkentin that died on the table as a result of last year's snap election. Weston's bill allows for conditional sentences for offenders, while expanding its scope to include ecstasy.
"The Attorney General asked me if I would introduce this bill, and I leapt on it because I feel it speaks to the needs of the people in our riding and what I'm hearing from educators, coaches and others," said Weston. "There is a lot of public awareness and concern over these two drugs."
As a father of three, Weston said he is concerned that youth are particularly vulnerable.
"Kids who experience these drugs can drop out of school. In some cases their futures are ruined, they end up on the streets in some cases. There are families that have been destroyed. Some embark on criminal careers to support their habits. And no family is immune, no matter what demographic group they belong to or their economic class."
Weston is also concerned that Canada has been identified internationally as an exporter of both drugs, while the drugs themselves can endanger lives if they include toxic or poisonous substances. Doses are not regulated or uniform in any way, and as a result people can overdose on what they believe is a small amount.
Private Member Bills are selected for reading based on a lottery system, but can remain on the docket until an election is called. They seldom become law because of the sheer number of bills in the hopper, and the limit of 20 bills to be discussed in rare Private Members' Hours in the House of Commons.
However, Weston is confident Bill 475 will move ahead.
"I've worked hard to liaise with opposing parties, and I'm hoping to get 20 members to co-sponsor with me in the House to show the widespread support... I also have the support of the Attorney General so I'm fairly optimistic," he said.