Wednesday: Senate committees look at cannabis bill

A marijuana plant at the AmeriCanna Edibles facility

Wednesday: Senate committees look at cannabis bill


UPDATED March 28, 2018 4:05pmET

Senate committees tackle cannabis bill

A quartet of Senate committees examine Bill C-45, following last week’s closely-watched second-reading vote on the legislation to make cannabis legal in Canada.

Bill C-45 makes Ottawa responsible for duty collection and the licensing of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing. The provinces and territories oversee distribution and the retail market.

Ottawa recently released the outcome of Health Canada consultations on cannabis regulation — everything from labelling and packaging to medicinal products.

As for an excise tax, the federal government will keep 25% of revenue, up to an annual limit of $100 million. The rest goes to the provinces and territories.

Read and Watch More on C-45: Selling and Taxing Marijuana

Back to Bill C-71

In the House of Commons this afternoon, second-reading debate winds down on the firearms bill (C-71), with a vote to follow. This follows yesterday’s passage of a time allocation motion.

Timeline: Bill C-71 and Firearm Regulation

The bill includes:

  • RCMP licence background checks considering a person’s entire lifetime, not just the previous five years;
  • Requiring sellers to confirm a buyer’s valid licence;
  • Requiring commercial retailers to keep complete sales records, which police could access via warrant. The previous government made this record-keeping voluntary;
  • Returning the RCMP’s power to classify firearms (non-restricted, restricted, prohibited) without a cabinet override. A government to make changes would need legislation to amend the Criminal Code;
  • Requiring permits for the transport of all restricted and prohibited firearms — except to and from a shooting club or range.

The House of Commons first considered C-71 on Monday. Debate was short, though, since MPs passed a Conservative motion to adjourn debate after less than an hour, citing their continued desire for a briefing on the India controversy by national security advisor Daniel Jean.

Crime in rural Canada

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs has a motion calling for committee study of crime in rural Canada.

Here’s the full text from Stubbs, whose Lakeland, Alta. riding stretches north and east of Edmonton:

That the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security be instructed to undertake a study on rural crime in Canada and consider factors, including but not limited to:

(i) current rural crime rates and trends,

(ii) existing RCMP and other policing resources and policies in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, particularly in relation to population density, policing geographic area, and staff shortages,

(iii) current partnerships with provincial, municipal, and Indigenous police forces,

(iv) possible recommendations to improve rural crime prevention and to curb emerging crime rates, and that the Committee report its findings to the House within six months of the adoption of this motion.

The Alberta government recently announced a $10-million investment to hire additional RCMP officers for rural communities.

Also Wednesday:

  • The parties hold their weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill
  • Transport Minister Marc Garneau visits the Commons environment committee to discuss the government’s environmental assessment bill (C-69). LIVE ONLINE at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT
  • Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly unveils the government’s five-year plan for official languages. LIVE at 12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT
  • With the controversy over Facebook data use still in the headlines, the NDP plans to call for a “digital charter of rights” at a Parliament Hill news conference.

-Andrew Thomson