Federal New Democrats are calling on a Conservative MP to apologize to victims of Canada’s opioid crisis for suggesting legal marijuana is “just as dangerous as fentanyl.”
Tory MP Peter Kent made the remark in the House of Commons this week while debating the Liberal government’s Bill C-45, which will legalize pot.
The comment drew a blistering response Wednesday from Vancouver NDP MP Don Davies, his party’s health critic, who said in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by Kent’s words.
“This is an outrageous and dangerous falsehood. Worse, it is grossly insensitive to those who have lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses,” Davies said. “Trying to capitalize on their personal tragedy for political purposes is shameful, callous and unsupportable.”
What makes Kent’s remarks even “more perverse and illogical,” Davies said, is the data suggesting cannabis can be helpful to opioid addicts.
Davies called on Kent to correct the record and apologize. HuffPost Canada has reached out to the Thornhill, Ont. MP for his response.
Kent delivered a speech in the House Tuesday where he called the government’s pot legalization an “ill-considered, unsound and wacky” campaign promise that deserves to be broken. Kent accused Liberals of rushing through legalization despite concerns from some police services and other groups who fear they are going too far, too fast.
He also took exception to how the plan will allow for a maximum of four marijuana plants per household. The health committee heard testimony that four plants of 100 centimetres in height could produce up to 600 grams of marijuana, Kent said.
In response, Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux accused Tories of being “out of touch with Canadians” by not understanding that the government must act to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in profit away from criminals. Lamoureux said the plan will do more to protect children than the “status quo.”