Senator Harder seeking Senate special hearing on marijuana bill
Harder is asking that the two hour-long meeting be televised and photographed, which is a rare occurrence in the upper chamber.
Published Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4:41PM EST
OTTAWA – The government representative in the Senate is looking to have the Red Chamber hold a special televised meeting on the government’s marijuana legalization bill.
On Tuesday, Sen. Peter Harder gave notice of a motion asking the Senate to meet Feb. 6 in a committee of the whole, to question the slate of Liberal ministers responsible for the major policy change.
A Senate committee of the whole is a special proceeding that lets all senators meet at once to consider legislation or other often time-sensitive matter.
In his motion, Harder is asking that the two hour-long meeting be televised and photographed, which is a rare occurrence in the upper chamber.
The motion calls on Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and justice and health parliamentary secretary Bill Blair to appear in the Senate at that time.
The last time a committee of the whole was called to study a bill was when the Senate was examining the physician-assisted dying legislation in 2016.
Harder’s office said the intention is to supplement the debate on the marijuana bill, in addition to the study that will be done by a dedicated committee.
The federal marijuana legalization legislation, Bill C-45, passed into the Senate in late November. It is currently at second reading stage in the Senate.
The bill, once passed, would allow adults in Canada to possess and use small amounts of recreational marijuana legally. It sets out the parameters around the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of marijuana. It also creates new Criminal Code offences for selling marijuana to minors. The proposed federal law spells out that it will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to buy pot, but is leaving it up to the provinces and territories to set a higher age.
The House committee that studied it made some minor amendments to the law, and senators have already expressed intent to do a deeper dive on the potential implications of the new regime.
It is expected that senators will vote on the motion after Harder moves it on Wednesday.
I have given notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move a motion to receive @Puglaas @CDNMinHealth @RalphGoodale & @BillBlair to the Senate in February for Committee of the Whole to consider the Cannabis Act #C45 #SenCA #cdnpoli— Peter Harder (@SenHarder) December 12, 2017