Alistair MacGregor demands that the government stop handing out posession convictions

 

Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford): Mr. Speaker, young and racialized Canadians continue to receive charges and criminal records by the thousands for simple possession of marijuana, and yet the Liberal government refuses to do anything to stop these harmful arrests for at least another 15 months.

 

Criminal records have serious consequences. It makes it harder to get a job and it makes it almost impossible to travel. What does the Liberal government plan to do to support Canadians who have been convicted of a crime that the Prime Minister himself has admitted to?

 

Hon. Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre): Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to introducing a strict framework that would regulate and restrict access to cannabis in order to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals. Decriminalization will not achieve these objectives.

 

Creating a comprehensive and responsible system will take time, but that is necessary to get this right. We look forward to bringing forward comprehensive legislation later today.

 

Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford): Mr. Speaker, that was more of the evasiveness and dodging. Canadians expected immediate action on updating Canada's marijuana laws, yet 18 months later we continue to see cases of Canadians charged and convicted for simple possession. That means that approximately 60,000 could have criminal records during this government's mandate. That is a shameful statistic.

 

Will the minister acknowledge this harm, and will she commit to pardoning Canadians who have been convicted of possession of marijuana?

 

Hon. Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to inform the member that he will not have to wait longer for legislation because we are introducing comprehensive legislation later today.

 

Our government has committed to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis in a careful way in order to keep it out of the hands of children and youth and to stop criminals from profiting. Canada's current system of controlling cannabis through the criminal justice system does not adequately protect the health and safety of Canadians, especially youth. We look forward to introducing comprehensive legislation today.