On November 14, the Member of Parliament for Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska–Rivière-du-Loup, Bernard Généreux, received a petition containing 9,600 signatures from Suzanne Duchesneau, provincial president of the Cercles de fermières du Québec, the province’s farm women’s clubs. The petition calls on the federal government to impose a moratorium on the legalization of marijuana until the provincial and territorial governments have implemented the necessary structures to regulate the legal sale of marijuana.
During Généreux’s meeting with Ms. Duchesneau at his Montmagny office, the latter spoke on behalf of her members across Quebec, who circulated this petition over the past few weeks to express their concerns about the proposed legalization of cannabis. The petition shows that these women would like to live in a safe society, where decision-makers make every effort to make things better. Their arguments for requesting the moratorium revolve around three main points: the Government of Canada is preparing to legalize marijuana consumption, a number of studies have been launched but not yet completed, and political, police and legal authorities say they are not ready to manage the situation.
The petition, containing thousands of names, was certified by the clerks of the House of Commons and presented on Monday, November 27, at 3:15 p.m., following question period.
In presenting the petition, Généreux condemned the “rushed and sloppily drafted” legalization of marijuana in the Trudeau government’s current bill and noted that most voters in his riding are against the bill. Nearly 82% of his constituents oppose the bill, according to a survey the MP commissioned in the spring of 2017. On the evening of Monday, November 27, Liberal Party and New Democratic Party MPs used their parliamentary majority to tip the scales and pass Bill C-45 at third reading, 200 to 82. The bill is now at the Senate, which must give the legislation sober second thought.
Although the Liberals are optimistic that the bill will receive Royal Assent by July 1, 2018, the deadline they set for legalizing cannabis, Généreux emphasized that the debate is far from over. Many Conservative and Independent senators share his concerns about the legislation, and they will use parliamentary mechanisms to slow the progress of the government’s legislation. If the Senate makes any changes to bills C-45 and C-46, they will have to be sent back to the House of Commons for further debate.