Article by Alistair MacGregor, Cowichan Valley Citizen
After a long session in Parliament working hard on legislative affairs, we have finally hit summer weather where the real work begins: reconnecting with constituents that sent me to Ottawa and ensuring that all of your issues are well represented and defended in the House of Commons.
I know that in your working and busy lives you cannot possibly follow all the things that have happened in the spring parliamentary session, so I appreciate this opportunity to give an update on some of the highlights.
As the lead on the Justice and Attorney General file for the NDP, I have been kept busy with a lot of legislation that ranges from updating and improving our sexual assault laws to the legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis.
We have been debating changes to the impaired driving laws and the implementation of a cannabis regulatory system this past month. We will start extended committee sittings in the early fall where we will interview and question hundreds of experts about any amendments or clarifications we can make to the legislation.
It is reprehensible that despite legalization becoming a reality, we are still using valuable and over-stretched police and justice resources to criminalize Canadians for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. This law is being unequally enforced across the country, and it largely targets young and racialized Canadians.
There have been thousands of Canadians charged with simple possession since the Liberals took over from the Harper government despite promising to legalize the drug.
My NDP colleagues and I will continue to push the government to immediately remove criminal penalties for simple possession and then push for pardons for those who have been convicted in the past just for having small amounts of cannabis in their possession.
I have not been shy to applaud the government when they get things right, but I have been raising important questions on your behalf about the coming changes.