Article by David Brown, Lift News
The Standing Committee on Health is expected to begin hearings on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act by this September, says committee vice-chair Don Davies. Committee member and NDP Justice Critic Alistair MacGregor will also be joining Davies to discuss aspects of the bill.
Although there have been rumours of a summer session for the Health Committee, Davies says he spoke with committee Chair Bill Casey about the issue on Friday and he had indicated they will likely begin to look at the bill when they return in the fall.
“I’ve heard those rumours, as well,” said Davies in a phone interview with Lift today. “I had a brief discussion with Bill Casey, and his indication was that we would begin to study the bill in September. He indicated that there was some desire expressed by certain parts of the government to hold summer hearings, but it was his view that it was better to start in September.”
Davies says he thinks this timeline makes sense, as the proposed legislation is complicated and important, and the committee’s job is to carefully consider all aspects of the bill and hear from a variety of Canadians before providing their report back the House.
“It appears to me that September is the appropriate time to begin the study for a number of reasons: it’s extremely important legislation, I don’t think it should be rushed. I know that there’s great interest in the Canadian public and a wide variety of stakeholders in this legislation, I think that it’s important to get it right, and and frankly there’s no urgency to it.”
“The Trudeau government has indicated that it wants this legislation in place for July 1, 2018, which is over a year from now, and that gives them an entire parliamentary year from September to June to move through all the proper stages including the House and Senate. So I see no reason to rush it, and I think we want to make sure that we canvas this bill in the detail it deserves and hear from as wide a part of society as possible on it.”
Davies says he will be joined on the committee by NDP Justice Critic Alistair MacGregor, who spoke extensively on the bill during its second reading. This is in part because Davies says they expected this bill to dealt with by the Justice Committee, not the Health Committee.