Legalization of cannabis: A clash of values for Bernard Généreux

After carefully studying the government’s bill to legalize cannabis in Canada in July 2018, the MP for Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, Bernard Généreux, announces that he will not support the approach proposed by Justin Trudeau (C-45, Cannabis Act, Second Reading) in the vote on Thursday, June 8.

“In view of the concerns raised by the way the Liberals are treating this issue, I am worried that the protection of children is not an absolute priority. My main goal is to safeguard the health and safety of Canadians, whatever the government’s election promises. My worst fears are confirmed when legalization is preferred to decriminalization of the possession of small quantities,” the MP stated.

As Mr. Généreux has said repeatedly, he has never been keen on legalizing a substance that poses serious risks to the health of users, particularly youth and vulnerable persons. Especially since legalization sends a message that cannabis use is nothing unusual. He does not believe that the Liberals’ goals of fighting organized crime and protecting children will actually be achieved. And after he looked at the work of the MP for Richmond—Arthabaska, Alain Rayes, who has conducted many studies and consulted a number of experts in various fields, his doubts were confirmed. For these reasons, he is today opposing the Liberals’ bill, which he believes is very poorly crafted.

 Results of surveys conducted by the MP

Over the last few months, before taking a definitive position on the legalization of cannabis, the MP consulted the public in several ways: a postal survey, one-on-one meetings, a telephone survey and a social media poll. A total of 2,575 people responded to a telephone survey on May 17, and with the undecided respondents excluded, 81.75% were against legalizing cannabis and 18.25% were in favour. For the MP, these figures are significant.

“Before taking a stance on this issue, I wanted to be certain that my position reflected that of the constituency’s residents. I see that many MLKRDL voters are sceptical of the Liberals’ approach,” said Mr. Généreux.

 Bernard Généreux wants to share the work of Alain Rayes, the Conservative caucus’s spokesperson on the legalization of cannabis

With the aim of showing the public why it would be beneficial to rely on education, health and the promotion of healthy lifestyles rather than the government’s approach, Mr. Généreux’s colleague, MP Alain Rayes, posted a summary of his research online: