Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
The Liberal Party’s cannabis legalization plan for this summer will not move ahead if the Canadian Senate does not approve the legislation on Thursday evening, with pundits saying that the C-45’s future is somewhat uncertain.
Senators are set to hold a vote at second reading of the bill around 5:30 p.m., with the Conservative caucus formally against the legalization planned for July 1 of this year, a major platform item for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Due to Mr. Trudeau’s policy to only appoint Independent senators since the 2015 election, the Liberals have no way of forcing the newly appointed to vote in favour of the legislation.
To secure a win, some Independent senators were called back to Ottawa to make sure the marijuana bill passes to the next stage, as Conservatives could halt the legislation in its tracks and force the process to begin again in the House of Commons.
Parliamentary journalists say that a majority of Independent and Liberal senators do support legalization, but uncertainty lies in the potential that they may not vote together as a block or be present in the Red Chamber when the vote occurs.
The two groups of senators hold 54 of the 93 seats, enough to easily pass the bill if all do vote in favour.
However, CBC News’ John Paul Tasker reported that two Senate committees have other commitments, meaning that 20 mostly Independent senators will not be present, and others will be missing due to illness.
In reality, the risk is low that the bill would not pass, according to government sources speaking on background to CBC News.
It’s the slim margin that has lawmakers in Ottawa concerned, but a back up plan for the Liberals includes a final Senate vote on June 7, a timeline that the Senate agreed to last month, reports say.
Conservative Party say they have concerns the legalization of cannibas will endanger youth, increase smoking rates and complicate policing.
They also say the legalization would not slow illegal dealing.
Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, has stated his support for the legalization, but wants it to be a free market product instead of exclusively sold by a taxpayer-owned and LCBO-administered company.
Mr. Ford leads the polls by a large margin ahead of a provincial election on June 7.
More details to follow. Image of the Canadian Senate from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.