National Newswatch

Marijuana bill goes back to Senate after House rejects 13 amendments

Jun 18 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A federal bill to legalize recreational cannabis was bounced back to the Senate on Monday, where the government's representative argued it's time to get on with lifting Canada's almost century-old prohibition on marijuana. The House of Commons voted 205-82 to reject 13 amendments passed by Senate, including one which would have authorized provinces to prohibit home cultivation of […]

Ex-Tory Senate leader blasts former colleagues for gutting impaired driving bill

Jun 15 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A former leader of the Conservatives in the Senate is blasting her erstwhile colleagues for spearheading a move to gut a bill aimed at cracking down on impaired driving. Marjory LeBreton, whose daughter and grandson were tragically killed by a drunk driver 22 years ago, says she's "appalled" that her former colleagues have succeeded in stripping […]

Embassy angered by Tory MP linking Mexican visitors to illegal drug trade

Jun 15 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Mexican government is taking a Conservative MP to task for implying that many Mexican visitors to Canada are involved in the illegal drug trade. Sarnia, Ont., MP Marilyn Gladu made the suggestion Wednesday during debate on the Trudeau government's bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Her reference to Mexicans came as she was arguing that legalization will actually […]

Government rejects 13 Senate changes to pot bill, including ban on home growing

Jun 13 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal government set the stage Wednesday for a possible showdown with the Senate over legalization of cannabis after it rejected 13 amendments approved by the upper house — including one recognizing the authority of provinces to ban home cultivation of marijuana plants if they choose. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the occasion to call on Conservatives to cease […]

Feds invoke British wartime spirit as they stay on high road with Trump

Jun 12 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — As Canada teeters on the brink of a potential trade war with the United States, the Trudeau government has adopted the same motto invoked by the British as they braced for the Second World War: Keep calm and carry on. That was the message Tuesday as U.S. President Donald Trump continued to take personal shots at Justin Trudeau, blasted Canada's dairy […]

Senate defeats Conservative bid to impose blanket ban on homegrown marijuana

May 31 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Senate has rejected an attempt to prohibit Canadians from growing a small number of marijuana plants at home once recreational cannabis is legalized. Conservative Sen. Vern White proposed Thursday an amendment to Bill C-45 that would have banned home cultivation entirely across the country. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 40-33. […]

Tory senators lead opposition to random roadside alcohol testing

May 24 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservative senators are leading a charge to gut legislation aimed at cracking down on impaired driving — voting to delete a measure Conservatives have previously championed. The Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee voted late Wednesday to delete a provision from Bill C-46 that would authorize police to conduct random roadside breathalyzer tests, without needing reasonable grounds […]

Government cuts short debate on election law reforms, opposition outraged

May 23 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government shut down debate Wednesday on a massive bill to overhaul federal election laws, rushing in a bid to ensure the reforms can be implemented in time for the 2019 election. After four days of preliminary debate on Bill C-76, the government invoked time allocation to cut off further discussion, force a second reading vote and send the legislation off […]

PM open to election law reform amendments amid threat to cut short debate

May 22 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says he'll welcome amendments from opposition parties to his government's proposed reforms to laws governing federal political parties and elections. The prime minister stressed his openness to amendments to Bill C-76 in response to Conservative demands Tuesday that government advertising and ministerial spending announcements and travel be banned during the three months preceding an election call. And […]

Tory staffer lobbied senators to delay legal-pot bill weeks before being fired

May 15 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — An employee of the Conservatives' lead Senate critic on marijuana legalization had been lobbying independent senators for several weeks before he was fired last week for urging them to postpone a final vote on the matter. Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar says Malcolm Armstrong approached her three different times after committee meetings to discuss his concerns about […]

Tory staffer fired for urging senators to delay final vote on pot legalization

May 11 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Senators are being encouraged to postpone a vote on a bill to legalize recreational cannabis by a now-former employee of the Conservative's chief critic of the legislation. Sen. Claude Carignan said Friday he did not authorize Malcolm Armstrong, whom he'd hired on contract to advise him on the marijuana issue, to propose delaying the vote. The Conservative senator called […]

Farmers urge resolution to Commons-Senate standoff over transport bill

May 10 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Frustrated farmers are calling for a swift end to a rare standoff between the Senate and House of Commons over a bill that would help ensure rail shipments of grain don't get backlogged again. They're putting pressure on both MPs and senators to find a quick resolution that will allow Bill C-49, which has been bouncing back and […]

Banning home-grown pot would be paternalistic, unenforceable: task force chair

May 9 2018 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Banning Canadians from growing a few marijuana plants in their homes or backyards once recreational cannabis is legalized would be both paternalistic and unenforceable, former federal justice minister Anne McLellan says. McLellan, who chaired the federal task force on cannabis legalization, offered that opinion Wednesday during an appearance before the Senate's social affairs committee, which […]