OTTAWA - The federal government's crackdown on drug-impaired driving
has taken a big step forward, as the Justice Department is set to give
its blessing to Canada's first roadside saliva test.
Once in use, police officers will be able to swab a driver's mouth to
test for the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Roadside saliva-testing devices were authorized by Bill C-46, a
massive overhaul of Canadaas impaired driving laws that passed in
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The government's leader in the Senate, Peter Harder, slammed the
committee's removal of the provision
OTTAWA - In a controversial move that may set up another showdown with
the House of Commons, a Senate committee voted on Wednesday night to
remove random alcohol testing from the government's impaired driving
The provision would allow police to demand a breathalyzer test from
any driver regardless of whether police had reasonable grounds to
believe the driver had consumed alcohol. Currently police need that
reasonable suspicion to make the breathalyzer demand, which drivers
are punished for refusing.
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Edmonton police will need about $1.4 million in ongoing and one-time
funding to prepare for marijuana legalization this summer, a report to
the police commission states.
Cannabis is set to become legal in Canada this summer and with it
comes higher policing costs, the Edmonton Police Commission heard Thursday.
Police officials outlined a laundry list of new technology and
training needed to enforce legal weed laws. Last month, the city
approved $1.4 million in one-time and ongoing funding to help the
police service deal with the impact of legal weed.
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OTTAWA - A Senate committee says Ottawa should put off legalizing
marijuana for a year until Canada and First Nations can negotiate tax
sharing, produce culturally appropriate education materials and ensure
First Nations are able to regulate for themselves whether they want
pot to be legal in their communities or not.
The Senate Aboriginal Peoples committee released a report Tuesday
after studying the impact the government's legalizing pot bill could
have on Indigenous communities.
While Ottawa plans to make pot legal sometime this summer, the
committee says Indigenous
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Canada's real estate industry organization is calling for a
moratorium on growing recreational marijuana at home until the
government sets out nationwide regulations for the practice.
Ottawa's proposed marijuana legalization regulations allow Canadians
to grow up to four marijuana plants at their residences. Medical users
are already allowed to grow at home after a federal court ruled in
2016 that the government cannot ban patients from growing their own
However, the Canadian Real Estate Association said the ban it is
requesting applies to home cultivation for recreational users when
marijuana legalized later this year.
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The Senate seems determined to slow the Liberal government's timeline
for marijuana legalization and Justin Trudeau seems just as determined
to deliver his legalization on time - give or take a few weeks.
The prime minister will get his way, but that doesn't mean the Senate,
and Indigenous leaders, are not flagging some important issues.
Opposition Conservatives would like nothing more than to push the
rollout of legal recreational pot into an election year, the better to
take political advantage of the inevitable stumbles that will come
with such a momentous move.
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OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't backing down from his
government's much-maligned timeline for legalizing marijuana, despite
a growing chorus of calls from senators, Indigenous leaders and others
to delay the plan for up to a year.
Trudeau says the plan to make recreational pot legal by this summer
will go ahead without delay.
"We're going to continue to move forward. We're going to bring in
legalization as we've committed to this summer on schedule," Trudeau
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When Justin Trudeau promised to legalize the use of recreational
marijuana, he no doubt felt it would be one of his easiest and most
rewarding tasks as Canada's new and uber-cool prime minister. He vowed
to make it a priority and change the laws within two years.
Fast-forward to last month, almost 2 1/2 years later, and Bill C-45,
to legalize cannabis, faced an unexpected pushback from a Senate that
threatened to send it packing. Trudeau took this chance to warn his
supposedly independent senators that their job description didn't call
for them to defeat bills proposed by the very government that had
bestowed upon them their most honourable appointments.
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OTTAWA - Last month, at a city council meeting in Kelowna, B.C., the
ranking RCMP officer was giving his quarterly update on policing when
a councillor posed a question about marijuana.
"I know that when I go out for the evening, I can have a beer, and I
know the alcohol content in that beer," said Coun. Ryan Donn. "I know
that one would be a good limit for myself to have before getting in a
car and driving.
"When I think about cannabis, I really, truly have no idea," he went
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A provincial government commitment to provide $ 40 million to help
municipalities cover the costs of pot legalization is a starting
point, says Mayor Chris Friel.
But Friel remains critical of the Ontario government's approach to the
legalization of marijuana saying the increased law enforcement and
safety costs are just one part of the overall picture.
"I'd say that it's a starting point because right now no one really
knows what the extra costs will be," Friel said. "But again I ask:
where is the public consultation?
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Investment firm head says he'd spend $25,000 to fight
cannabis-impaired driving provisions
As experts warn of flaws with the cannabis-impaired driving provisions
of Bill C-46, a high-profile Canadian cannabis industry executive has
vowed to bankroll a future court challenge against that aspect of the
Chuck Rifici, the CEO of cannabis industry investment firm Wheaton
Income Corp., and the former chief financial officer of the Liberal
Party of Canada, said he would commit up to $25,000 to fund such a
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Scientists and lawyers are raising a series of concerns over Ottawa's
plans to combat drug-impaired driving, saying the proposed regime is
not based on evidence and will struggle to withstand legal challenges.
Bill C-46, which would create new drug-impaired driving offences, is
currently being studied in the Senate, where there is growing pressure
on senators to amend the proposed legislation before it comes into
law. The government wants the new rules in place before cannabis is
legalized for recreational use, a move expected in late summer.
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OTTAWA * The military is currently wrestling with the implications of
marijuana legalization, Canada's top general says - including time
restrictions on using the drug before going on duty.
"We're going to try to be smart about it," chief of defence staff Gen.
Jonathan Vance said on Monday. "But in the end, this is dangerous
duty, this is serious duty for the country, and we don't want people
doing it stoned."
Vance's comments came during an appearance before the Senate defence
committee, where he was largely grilled on the troubled military
procurement system, peacekeeping and efforts to stamp out sexual
misconduct in the Forces.
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City officials are looking for input as they deal with the
ramifications of legalized recreational marijuana.
"There are a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns and I think it's
important that we try to come up with a 'made in Brantford' solution
to some of these issues," Mayor Chris Friel said Tuesday.
"I think we need to hear from more people, let them know what the
issues are and see what we can come up with.
"We need to hear from the chamber of commerce, the health unit,
police, real estate people as well as our own staff in social services
and bylaw enforcement."
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The ongoing effort in the Senate to derail the passage of the Liberal
government's bill to legalize marijuana is not an exercise in sober
second thought, as its Conservative proponents claim, but an attempt
to obstruct democracy. The Trudeau government should use the tools at
its disposal to push this important legislation through the Upper House.
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and C-46, which would tighten rules on
impaired driving related to marijuana use, have been before the Senate
since the Commons passed them in late November. And they may languish
there forever if the government does not invoke so-called time
allocation, a tool for curtailing debate that the Liberals have
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The federal government is threatening to force a vote in the Senate to
speed up the adoption of the marijuana-legalization bill, stating
industry and governments need a clear timeline to a legal-cannabis
This government has never imposed time allocation in the Senate, but
it says it will have no choice if Conservative senators use procedural
tricks to delay the legislation.
In a speech on Tuesday, the government's representative in the Senate,
Peter Harder, said he wants a vote to send Bill C-45 to committee
before the start of a two week break on March 1. He said that if he
does not obtain all-party support for his proposal, he will move a
motion to force a vote.
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OTTAWA - The federal government is moving to ensure the Senate doesn't
hold up its plans to legalize recreational marijuana in July.
The government's representative in the upper house, Sen. Peter Harder,
served notice Tuesday that he wants second reading debate on Bill C-45
wrapped up by March 1, after which it would go to committee for
detailed examination before returning to the chamber for a final
debate and vote.
If the various Senate factions won't agree to that timetable, Harder
warned he will move a motion to impose time allocation to cut off
debate - the first time he's threatened to resort to that tactic since
taking on the role of government representative two years ago.
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The country's biggest airlines, train and trucking firms, construction
companies and transit authorities are urging the government to allow
them to conduct mandatory drug tests for key members of their work
The issue of testing is currently in front of the Senate, where two
bills are being studied: C-45 to legalize cannabis by the summer, and
C-46 to make it easier for law-enforcement authorities to crack down
on impaired driving.
Ottawa wants C-46 to be adopted before the prohibition on cannabis is
lifted to deal with the potential consequences of increased
consumption. Among other things, the legislation will create new
drug-impaired driving offences and make it easier for police to
conduct random roadside tests for alcohol.
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Three federal ministers are set to defend their government's plans to
legalize cannabis in the Senate amid widespread concerns over Ottawa's
ability to crack down on drug-impaired driving once the recreational
market opens up later this year.
The Senate is currently studying two bills, C-45 and C-46, that
respectively will lift the prohibition on the recreational consumption
of marijuana and create new drug-impaired driving offences.
On Tuesday afternoon, the federal ministers of Justice, Health and
Public Safety will appear at a special session of the Senate to answer
questions about the plan to legalize cannabis for recreational use by
all adults by July 1.
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The federal with a handful of minor revisions, passed its third and
final reading in the House of Commons November 27 and has moved on to
the Senate for further review and discussion.
A total of 200 Members of Parliament voted in favour of the
legislation - Bill C-45 - with 82 voting against it.
Following the final vote, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted "we're
one step closer to legalizing & regulating marijuana. #BillC45 means
less money for organized crime and harder access for our kids."
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