Canada Day 2018 shouldn’t be about legalizing marijuana: Bill Blair

Canada Day 2018 shouldn't be about pot: Blair

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s point man on pot says Canada Day 2018 should not be about legalizing marijuana but about recognizing the country’s history.

Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, said Wednesday he’s a proud Canadian who believes July 1 is a day to celebrate the country’s birth “for that reason and that reason alone.” 

“I believe that … a reasonable goal is to have all this work done by the beginning of July, but by that date and on that date are very different things,” Blair said in an interview.

“I don’t think that’s an appropriate date. That’s my opinion.”

Blair was responding to recent headlines saying marijuana would be legal by Canada Day next year after legislation to do so is introduced next week in the House of Commons.

There are other dates by which the new law could be enacted, he said.

“I’m probably out on a limb on this one but … I don’t believe July 1 should be an implementation date for anything; it is a day of celebration for the anniversary and founding of our country.”

Blair would not confirm that the legislation would be introduced next week — only that the government will live up to its pledge to bring forward legislation this spring.

“I don’t want to be obtuse with you but I have no authority to confirm that date.”

Beyond legislation, the government’s plan must include building a regulatory framework with the provinces and territories to ensure appropriate tools, technology and regulations are in place, Blair added.

The timing of the legislation, if it indeed comes next week, would provide a dramatically different context for 4/20, the annual April 20 celebration of pot culture that culminates in a massive — and decidedly hazy — gathering on Parliament Hill.

Without the bill, the gathering likely would have become a massive protest against a Liberal government already known for breaking or stalling a number of high-profile campaign promises, including electoral reform.

The Liberals made the legalization of marijuana a key promise in their election platform in 2015, which was followed by the appointment of a high-level task force to study the issue.

The task force, led by former cabinet minister Anne McLellan, recommended storefront and mail-order sales to people 18 and older, personal growing limits of four plants per person and a 30-gram limit on personal possession.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BCHL hockey is back with announcement of Okanagan Cup

The BCHL four-team tournament starts Friday, Sept. 25

Okanagan Beach Club fined for not complying to COVID-19 rules, tiki bar closed

Interior Health order the tiki bar closed due to non-compliance with Provincial Health Officer orders

Men’s volleyball’s 2020 incoming class spikes talent at UBCO

UBCO has recruited six new players for the 2020-21 season

Drugs, weapons seized from downtown Kelowna residence

Search warrant was in relation to an active criminal investigation into suspected drug trafficking

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Straight from DeHart

New bar bistro opens at Airport Village

Transgender B.C. brothers debut fantasy novel as author duo Vincent Hunter

‘Transgender people are being misrepresented in popular fiction and media, and we aim to change that’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kiera Bourque’s sentence ‘an embarrassment’: family of deceased Penticton teen

Bourque was sentenced to one year in prison for her role in the 2017 death of Devon Blackmore

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

COLUMN: COVID-19 statistics are the stories of people

This pandemic is ultimately about people, not just about numbers

EDITORIAL: Clearing the smoke

Wildfires have resulted in heavy smoke and poor air quality

Most Read