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Dan-in-Ottawa

Libs high on cannabis bill

There a lot of attention focused on Parliament Hill even though Parliament is in recess until March 18.

The focus is on the Justice Committee, which is hearing more details on the growing fallout of allegations of political interference coming from the highest levels of the Trudeau Liberal government.

MP Jane Philpott, the former Liberal president of the Treasury Board, just resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet, citing a loss of confidence in how the government has handled the SNC-Lavalin situation.

My intent is not to further discuss the ongoing SNC-Lavalin details, but rather another recent government policy announcement that was announced but largely overlooked as a result of the SNC-Lavalin situation occurring in Ottawa.

Last week, the federal government announced marijuana pardon legislation for those individuals who have a previous conviction for the simple possession of cannabis.

The Liberal government describes Bill C-93 as "An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis."

The Liberals would like to see the law passed by the summer of 2019.

The stated goal of the bill is to break down barriers for people with a criminal record related to cannabis possession now that legalization has occurred.

Currently, there is a $631 fee for a pardon along with a waiting period that are both proposed to be waived under this bill.

Estimates from Ottawa indicate this bill could apply to as many as 400,000 Canadians although it is unknown how many will apply.

Total costs for this bill with the processing of pardons could be in excess of $300 million.

It should also be noted that a pardon is not the same thing as an expungement that formally removes all records related to the office in question.

This is an important distinction because there can be situations when a pardon is not recognized at the border of another country resulting in a refusal of entry.

My concern with this bill is one of cost and fairness.

While I support the principle of issuing a pardon, I do not believe it is fair that Canadians without criminal records are paying for a program that requires no financial contribution from those who will access it.

My question this week:

  • Do you support Bill C-93 being fully funded by taxpayers?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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