February 23rd, 2018

Tory senators not inclined to rush debate on bill to legalize cannabis


By The Canadian Press on February 14, 2018.

Senator Larry Smith arrives for the funeral of Pierre Claude Nolin in Montreal, Thursday, April 30, 2015. Conservative senators are balking at an attempt to speed up consideration of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which the Trudeau government hopes to have in place this July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

OTTAWA – Conservative senators are balking at an attempt to speed up consideration of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which the Trudeau government hopes to have in place this July.

Sen. Larry Smith, who leads the Conservative caucus in the Senate, insists his senators aren’t being obstructionist but they are determined to do their duty, which is to provide “constructive evaluation” of legislation.

The government’s representative in the Senate, Sen. Peter Harder, says he wants second reading debate on C-45 wrapped up by March 1, after which it would go to committee before returning to the Senate for a final debate and vote.

If the various Senate factions don’t agree to that timetable, Harder says he’ll move a motion to impose time allocation to cut off debate – a tactic he’s avoided using before now.

Smith says he’s got 17 senators who want to speak during second reading on the complicated bill.

He says he hopes Harder will agree to be “flexible” about the March 1 deadline.

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