National Newswatch

Senate deal to vote on pot bill on June 7 means no actual sales before August

Feb 15 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Canadians will have to wait until at least early August — and maybe as late as early September — to legally purchase recreational marijuana. That's the bottom line now that senators have struck a deal to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will usher in the legal cannabis regime. As recently as […]

Tory senators not inclined to rush debate on bill to legalize cannabis

Feb 14 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservative senators are balking at an attempt to speed up consideration of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which the Trudeau government hopes to have in place this July. Sen. Larry Smith, who leads the Conservative caucus in the Senate, indicated Wednesday that his senators need more time than the government wants to allow to […]

Government threatens to cut off Senate debate on pot as July deadline looms

Feb 14 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is moving to ensure the Senate doesn't hold up its plans to legalize recreational marijuana in July. The government's representative in the upper house, Sen. Peter Harder, served notice Tuesday that he wants second reading debate on Bill C-45 wrapped up by March 1, after which it would go to committee for detailed […]

After 5-year struggle, PBO to get data needed to measure cost of tax avoidance

Feb 13 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — After a five-year battle with the Canada Revenue Agency, the parliamentary budget office is finally being promised the data needed to evaluate the amount of revenue Ottawa loses each year due to offshore tax havens and other tax avoidance schemes. The budget office has been demanding the data since December 2017 and has even threatened court […]

Front-of-package symbols proposed for foods high in sodium, sugar, saturated fat

Feb 9 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal government wants to make it easier for consumers to choose healthy foods with front-of-package warnings on items that contain high levels of sodium, sugar or saturated fat — ingredients linked to chronic health problems like obesity, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Currently, consumers must check the nutrition facts table on the back of packages […]

Legal pot on track for July but actual retail sales may take longer

Feb 7 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government insists it's on track to legalize recreational pot in July — but whether that means it will actually be on sale by then is uncertain. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told senators Tuesday that provinces and territories have indicated once Bill C-45, the legislation setting up a legal cannabis regime, is given royal assent, they'll […]

Tories pan Liberal caucus proposal to decriminalize use of all illegal drugs

Jan 29 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The war on drugs may move to a new battlefield in Canada, if Liberal MPs get their way: the 2019 federal election campaign. They're pushing the Trudeau government to go much further than legalizing recreational marijuana. In a priority resolution they hope will be adopted at the Liberals' policy convention in April for inclusion in […]

Liberal MPs urge dropping criminal penalties for all illicit drug use

Jan 16 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Even as Justin Trudeau prepares to deliver on his promise to legalize recreational marijuana, Liberal MPs are pushing the government to eliminate criminal penalties for simple possession and consumption of all illicit drugs. The prime minister has so far drawn the line at pot legalization, but he's now being pressured to go much further in a resolution developed by the national Liberal caucus for […]

Paper ballots protect against hacks, but other election cyberthreats loom

Jan 13 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — As the potential for cyberattacks to undermine the democratic process becomes alarmingly clear, Canadians can take some comfort in the fact that national elections in this country are still conducted the old-fashioned way. Canada is not immune to cybermischief aimed at suppressing the number of people who vote or manipulating how they vote. But once ballots are cast, not […]

PM wraps cabinet retreat with hint of pot pardons to come – after legalization

Jan 12 2018 — Joan Bryden — LONDON, Ont. — Canadians convicted of simple marijuana possession will have to wait until recreational pot is legalized later this year before learning if they'll be pardoned for something that will no longer be a crime. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out Friday declaring an amnesty before the new law goes into effect in July. "We recognize that […]

Canada’s tough guy move at WTO will gain U.S. respect, says trade minister

Jan 11 2018 — Joan Bryden — LONDON, Ont. — The Trudeau government appears to have adopted a good-cop, bad-cop strategy for saving NAFTA — coming up with some "creative" new proposals in response to unpalatable U.S. demands while simultaneously signalling its willingness to aggressively attack what it considers unfair American trade practices. But while the government is hoping for the best from negotiations to renew […]

Trudeau boasts about byelection results, Tories and NDP defensive

Dec 13 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says the results of four federal byelections Monday night show the Liberals are on the right track with their focus on middle-class Canadians. Not surprisingly, the prime minister was the only party leader to express unalloyed pleasure Tuesday in the results, which saw the Liberals score their second byelection upset in as many months. The Liberals snatched […]