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
[continues 491 words]
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.
[continues 517 words]
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.
[continues 305 words]
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.
[continues 636 words]
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.
[continues 586 words]
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."
[continues 383 words]
The legalization of cannabis in coming months will offer a clear
opportunity for provinces to shut down the black market for the drug
and put an end to any notion there are still "grey" areas in Canadian
law, top Liberal officials said.
In a joint interview, federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor
and her parliamentary secretary, former Toronto police chief Bill
Blair, said the new regime for legal marijuana will vary by province,
as different rules are being put in place for distribution and retail.
[continues 1190 words]
OTTAWA - A new Health Canada survey shows that Canadians are hazy on
the risks of driving high.
Only half of respondents who had consumed cannabis in the past year
felt that marijuana use affects driving, according to the Canadian
Cannabis Survey, released Tuesday, compared with 75 per cent of all
respondents. Another 24 per cent said it depends, while 19 per cent
said cannabis doesn't affect driving.
Of those who had used marijuana in the last 12 months, 39 per cent
said they had driven within two hours of consuming cannabis at some
point in their lives. Forty per cent of those said they had done it in
the previous 30 days, and 15 per cent said they had driven after using
cannabis in combination with alcohol. Only two per cent reported an
interaction with police related to driving under the influence.
[continues 403 words]
Bill C-45 is horrible legislation which will not achieve its
objectives and should never see the light of day. The Senate will do
its job and thoroughly study the Bill, but Canadians will be
well-served if it is defeated, writes Alberta Senator Betty Unger.
It's difficult to remember the last time the federal government and
the provinces came to an agreement on revenue sharing in a single day.
But that's what happened last week when the feds agreed to give the
provinces 75 per cent of tax revenue generated by the sale of marijuana.
[continues 787 words]
Legalized marijuana will 'enslave our youth" and turn the federal
government into "the new pusher on the block," a Chatham politician
says - drawing a rebuke from the community's top publichealth official.
Dave Van Kesteren said that nothing about the federal government's
Cannabis Act is good, but he's particularly concerned about how it
allows youth ages 11 to 17 to carry up to five grams of cannabis.
"Doctors have been saying, psychiatrists have been saying, that
because the brain is still forming and is not fully formed by the time
somebody is 25, somebody below that age should certainly not be using
it," the Conservative member said in an interview.
[continues 426 words]
On Monday, Nov. 27, The Cannabis Act passed third reading. This was
the last vote in the House of Commons before the legislation goes to
the Senate for review and approval. The government's plan is to have
marijuana on the market for recreational use starting July 1, 2018.
I voted "no" to this legislation. Here's why:
The Liberal government has been told by numerous authorities,
including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, to slow down.
There's no reason the legislation needs to come into effect on July 1,
2018 and law enforcement agents have warned the government of the
negative impact its rushed time frame will have on officers and the
safety of Canadians.
[continues 782 words]
Liquor branch will be sole distributor, retail system to be
British Columbians will have to be at least 19 years of age to buy and
use marijuanaonce the federal government legalizes recreational pot in
B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the minimum age limit
Tuesday in releasing a series of policy decisions on the regulation of
He said the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch will be the wholesale
distributor of marijuana in the province.
[continues 726 words]
The federal government is moving on a number of fronts as it pushes
toward the legalization of cannabis by next summer, including
launching public consultations on the proposed excise tax of $1 a gram.
In addition, federal officials are putting the finishing touches on
complex regulations that will set the rules for the production and
distribution of cannabis "from seed to sale." Once they are made
public in coming weeks, the regulations will be the subject of
separate consultations, with the government seeking input of everyone
from producers to consumers to health experts.
[continues 617 words]
Market needs legal structure, official says
OTTAWA - Police are warning it could be "impossible" for law
enforcement to get trained up in time for legal marijuana in July 2018.
Testifying at a House of Commons health committee Tuesday, police
leaders expressed concerns about the Liberal government's impending
deadline to create a legal weed market. Organizations will need to
know the new laws and regulations backwards and forwards before they
can prepare their officers for duty, they said.
Mike Serr, deputy chief constable and chair of the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police drug advisory committee, said the
government should consider extending its deadline. "We ask that
established legislative framework be put in place prior to
legalization that will provide law enforcement with clear direction
and assistance regarding funding and training," he said.
[continues 495 words]
Supreme Court affirms landmark ruling on court delays
OTTAWA - All players in the justice system need to do their part to
target the "root causes" of unnecessary trial delays, the Supreme
Court of Canada said Friday in affirming its landmark ruling on timely
The high court ruled unanimously that a Newfoundland and Labrador man
facing drug and weapon charges should not go to trial under new rules
spelled out last July for determining unjustifiable court delays.
The latest decision comes amid intense public and political debate
over the time limits for trials, including a Senate committee report
this week that expressed concern over accused criminals walking free.
[continues 465 words]
Supreme Court rejects plea by five provinces that intervened in case
of accused drug trafficker dismissed because of delay
The Supreme Court has taken a tough line on delay in the criminal
courts, rejecting a plea from the provinces to be more flexible after
a year-old ruling spread turmoil through the justice system.
In its first chance to revisit delay since its groundbreaking ruling
in R v Jordan last summer, the court spoke bluntly to five provincial
attorneys-general who intervened in the case of James Cody, an accused
drug trafficker whose charges were thrown out for unreasonable delay.
The provinces had asked the court to make it easier to justify delay.
[continues 935 words]
Legalizing pot shouldn't be this hard to get right
The move toward marijuana legalization is
still not as coherent as
it could be, let's say.
The Liberal legislation, unveiled last month, would establish rules
around THC-impaired driving that may well prove unconstitutional:
science has yet to establish a solid link between a given level of THC
concentration in a driver's blood or saliva and his level of impairment.
Frustratingly, there are still those who use this as an argument
against legalization - as if it would create pot-impaired drivers
where there are none today.
[continues 734 words]
The federal Liberal government released their plan to legalize
marijuana last week in Ottawa, however, anyone thinking that it is
going to happen overnight is in for a rude awakening.
Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski says the legislation actually
contains two bills - one bill on marijuana legalization and another
bill amending the criminal code to enact harsher impaired driving
penalties, for both marijuana and alcohol.
First, the legislation has to be introduced into Parliament for first
and second reading, before going to an all-party committee meeting.
That committee can call in experts ranging from doctors to lawyers to
police to testify on the merits or shortcomings of the bill. From
there, recommendations are sent back to Parliament, which are rolled
into a third reading.
[continues 826 words]
Jim Warren should have told us what age he figures is old enough to
join the army to kill and die for your country if he figures the
government should be protecting children from cannabis until they are
I figure if you're old enough to kill or die for your country, you're
old enough to engage in vices. Governments were never intended
to protect children from adult vices. It is the duty of parents to
instill ethics and morals in their children, not the state.
[continues 122 words]
Ottawa will have to launch a series of negotiations as soon as it
tables its long-awaited bill to legalize marijuana on Thursday,
needing to strike deals with the Senate, the provinces and the U.S.
government in its bid to lift the 94-year-old prohibition on the drug.
For starters, the Liberals will need to adopt a raft of legislative
changes in the House of Commons, where they have a solid majority, but
also through an independent Senate that is increasingly asserting its
desire to study and amend government bills.
[continues 660 words]