Article by Heather Scoffield, Times Colonist
It was the final week of Parliament before Christmas, and all through the House…. the Liberals did their best to make sure no one had any time to think about ethics or fundraising before heading home for the holidays.
By the time MPs agreed Wednesday afternoon to rise until the end of January, the government had announced a new opioid strategy, ramped up negotiations with the provinces on health care funding, welcomed a complicated blueprint on how to legalize pot, set up a different system for new Canadians to bring in their parents and grandparents and launched a review of the assisted-dying law.
None of that kept the criticism at bay, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly found himself being asked why he believes it’s acceptable to consort with — and accept $1,500 fees from — donors with vested interests.
In a policy-heavy week, there were more than a few things worth pondering. Here are just three of the ways politics touched everyday lives, from how the government wants to control drugs to how the Conservatives deal with economics.
Even as Ottawa moved to more strictly control opioids, it also got a step closer to legalizing pot. A government-appointed task force finally made public a blueprint that would allow those 18 and older to buy regulated marijuana from stores and through the mail.
Taxes should be high enough to discourage too much toking, but low enough to undermine the black market, the task force recommended. And strict controls should be placed around distribution to keep pot out of the hands of children.
Legislation is expected in the spring, but since the issues around legalization are complex and controversial, and a new regime has to be put in place, it could be quite a while before pot is available for legal sale in Canada.
And while the Liberal government has made positive noises about the task force’s recommendations, the police are generally leery about their ability to deal with drug-impaired driving.