Article by Peter Mazereeuw, The Hill Times
The Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee won’t be able to examine all the ways the government’s cannabis legalization bill will affect Canada’s international treaties before reporting back to the Senate by May 1, says Saskatchewan Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk, who chairs the committee.
“It is going to be very difficult to accomplish what we are trying to do,” she said.
Senate committees won’t have enough time to put together in-depth reports on the cannabis bill because of the “tight” timeline laid out for their study of the bill, said Sen. Andreychuk and Liberal Senator Lillian Dyck (Saskatchewan), who chairs the Senate Aboriginal Peoples Committee, which is also studying the Cannabis Act.
“The timeframe is not realistic, so somebody has to continue to look at the consequences internationally,” after the committee finishes its work, said Sen. Andreychuk. She said the bill would affect Canada’s ability to fulfill obligations under three international drug treaties, as well as possibly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and perhaps others as well.
Five committees have been assigned to study the bill, C-45, and four of them have been given until May 1 to finish their work—nine sitting days, by the Senate’s ordinary schedule, from when they received the bill after second reading.
At least some of the Senate committees will likely sit extended hours to finish their studies.
The Senate Aboriginal Peoples Committee, which was asked to study the bill’s impact on Indigenous people, will have to keep its report short because of the “tight” timeline, said Sen. Dyck.
“This can’t be a really thick report because there’s just not enough time to write it and get it translated, that takes a while as well. So it will be a fairly condensed report: what we heard, what we recommend, and with any luck, suggested amendments,” Sen. Dyck said.