Senate will hear from 4 key ministers in February on legalization bill

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Courtesy of Lift Magazine

The Senate will be hearing from four key ministers next year as the Red Chamber debates Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, at second reading.

The Senate passed a motion today that was first presented by Senator Peter Harder on Wednesday, Dec 12 to bring Jody Wilson-Raybould., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health; Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Health into the Senate to help answer their questions.

Debate in the Senate around the motion focussed on some senators’ desire to bring in more ministers, with Senator Claude Carignan introducing his own motion today to add more senators and extended sitting days in February.

Senator Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate, emphasized that his motion to bring in the four Ministers at second reading was not intended to to limit further question periods with other ministers, but simply to start the process. The Senate received Bill C-45 on November 28 and has only debated it for one hour since then.

Senator Joyal: I have no objection to the list of ministers. My only question is why would we not afford the opportunity to the minister responsible for Aboriginal people, Minister Philpott, to also be there. Because, as you know, the cannabis issue is a very important matter for the Aboriginal people, and we should have an opportunity to question and get from that minister additional information.

Senator Harder: It’s a very good point, honourable senator. What I was trying to do is have the principal ministers involved. This is the start of the discussion. I’m sure there may be opportunities for other ministers who are involved such as you suggest.

This is by no means attempting to limit, but from conversations that have been held it was thought that having the principal ministers involved for a two-hour period would be a good start. But by no means does it mean to be exclusive.

Senator Carginan’s own amendment to the original motion called for the Senate to hear from, in addition to the first four ministers: Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs; Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport; Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour; and Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, all on Feb 7, 14 and 15.

Senator Carignan’s amendment failed to pass, with 37 yeas, 39 nays and two abstentions. Sen Harer’s motion passed 43-32 with 0 abstentions.

On 3:30 pm (ET) on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Senate resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and to hear from: Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health; Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and Bill Blair. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

The discussion

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