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Health committee hearing from health officials, Indigenous leaders on cannabis legislation


MPs on the House of Commons health committee are hearing from health care officials and Indigenous leaders as the committee conducts day 4 of hearings on the government’s cannabis legislation.

  • MPs urged to push forward with legal pot despite calls to slow down
  • ‘Impossible’: Senior police officials tell MPs they won’t be ready for legal cannabis

Among today’s witnesses are:

  • Canadian Nurses Association
  • New Brunswick Medical Society
  • Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
  • Métis National Council
  • Chiefs of Ontario

Week of hearings

The committee is holding five full days of hearings this week.

On Wednesday, MPs were urged by a senior public health representative to push forward with legal cannabis despite calls to slow down.

“You have also heard calls that we are not ready for legalization. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time as Canadians are already consuming cannabis at record levels,” Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association, told the House of Commons health committee on Wednesday.

Culbert’s message came one day after senior police representatives told the committee that they will not be ready to enforce new laws by next summer and are asking the government for more time. That echoes the message that several provinces have been delivering in recent months.

“If legislation is ready to go July 2018, policing will not be ready to go Aug. 1. It’s impossible,” said Rick Barnum, deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.

“I think we are very close. I agree that something had to change. This is a great step …, but we’ve got to do it right and do it slowly and properly,” said Barnum.

Goodale says government is sticking to pot timetable1:37

Despite concerns, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government was sticking to its timetable to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018.

“We believe that the timeframe we’ve set out is reasonable. We’ve put new money on the table to help achieve the objectives and the mood among all of those that need to work on this is a constructive mood,” said Goodale. 

CBC Politics is live streaming the committee hearings all week.

Along with hearing from witnesses, the committee has received 112 written submissions.


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