OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana — a subtle warning that they should not attempt to thwart the will of Canadians or the government they elected.
The reminder comes amid some uncertainty over the fate of the pot legalization bill as it faces a second reading vote in the Senate this evening.
Ordinarily, second reading — a vote on a bill in principle — would not be a big hurdle but, in this case, the 33 Conservative senators are vowing to vote en masse against Bill C-45.
The Conservatives no longer dominate the 105-seat upper house but with more than a dozen independent and independent Liberal senators travelling on Senate committee business and a handful of others potentially voting against the bill, Senate insiders believe tonight’s vote could be very tight.
While the unelected Senate exists to scrutinize and suggest improvements to bills passed by the House of Commons, Trudeau says Canadians voted to end the criminal prohibition on cannabis when they elected his Liberal government.
He says the criminal regime has not protected Canadian kids, who are among the highest under-age users of marijuana in developed countries, and has put up to $7 billion every year in the pockets of organized crime.
“The current system does not work,” Trudeau said following an event in New Brunswick.
“This is not something that Canadians want to see continued.”
The Canadian Press