Kevin Soren­son Re­ports

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Kevin Soren­son M.P. Bat­tle River -Crow­foot Con­stituency

Pri­vate Mem­bers Busi­ness

I want to ex­tend best wishes to all of the students, teach­ers, par­ents, and sup­port staff at the be­gin­ning of the school year. Students should be en­cour­aged to look for­ward to the in­crease in knowl­edge they experience as they progress year by year through the aca­demic process.

Some of you will know that when the House of Commons re­con­venes in Septem­ber, I am one of the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who can pro­ceed with a Pri­vate Mem­bers’ Bill (PMB). A PMB pro­vides an MP and his or her con­stituents the op­por­tu­nity to change Canada’s laws and present leg­is­la­tion on the floor of the House for con­sid­er­a­tion and de­bate by all MPs. His­tor­i­cally, very few Pri­vate Mem­bers’ items are passed into law.

At the be­gin­ning of each Par­lia­ment, a list is es­tab­lished for Pri­vate Mem­bers’ Busi­ness. The list is se­lected ran­domly – by lot­tery. Ev­ery MP (ex­cept the Speaker of the House, the Prime Min­is­ter, Cabi­net Min­is­ters and Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­taries) is en­ti­tled to be on the list. Many MPs never have a PMB op­por­tu­nity be­cause of the ‘luck of the draw’ or when an elec­tion is called be­fore their name comes up on the PMB list. A new Par­lia­ment (after the elec­tion) causes a new list to be es­tab­lished.

The pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment set a par­lia­men­tary record by pass­ing 43 Pri- vate Mem­bers’ Bills (PMB) - over three times as many PMBs passed than un­der any other Prime Min­is­ter in Canada’s his­tory. In fact, the PMBs passed into law al­most match the to­tal passed in the five pre­vi­ous Par­lia­ments com­bined. So far, the pas­sage of PMBs into law by the cur­rent Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in­di­cates a re­turn to the his­toric low-rate of suc­cess for PMBs.

I learned of my po­si­tion on the PMB el­i­gi­bil­ity list in Jan­uary of this year and I have spent con­sid­er­able time and ef­fort pre­par­ing a Bill that would have re­quired the drug fen­tanyl to be “tam­per re­sis­tant” be­fore be­ing dis­pensed in Canada. This would have gone a long way to pre­vent­ing the abuse of the drug. The abuse of fen­tanyl is at cri­sis lev­els in some lo­ca­tions in Canada (and the world). The abuse of this drug is killing Cana­di­ans at un­prece­dented rates. When mis­used, fen­tanyl is a deadly syn­thetic opi­oid. The RCMP has re­ported an in­crease in do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion of il­licit fen­tanyl.

My Bill would have caused the fed­eral Min­is­ter of Health to take ac­tion to help pre­vent the drug be­ing tam­pered with for the pur­pose of il­licit use. Last week, the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa an­nounced that six chem­i­cals used to pro­duce the drug fen­tanyl will be made il­le­gal to im­port or ex­port with­out au­tho­riza­tion. Fen­tanyl is now sub­ject to the same con­trols as co­caine, heroin and other il­le­gal drugs un­der the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances Act.

Pri­vate Mem­bers’ busi­ness is an op­por­tu­nity to shine light on prob­lems in Canada that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment should ad­dress. Opi­oid mis­use is a com­pli­cated is­sue and there is no sin­gle step that is go­ing to win this bat­tle.

If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns re­gard­ing this or pre­vi­ous col­umns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Cam­rose, Al­berta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail Kevin.Soren­son.c1@ parl.gc.ca.

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