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

Just Posted

Giants invite fans to toss teddy bears at Langley game

The annual Teddy Bear Toss takes place at this Sunday’s home game in the LEC.

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Life advice from Cloverdale’s Elfreda Anderson, a 103-year-old world traveller

‘You name it, I’ve been there’ : Elfreda on life, love and always having a suitcase on hand

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

Fort restores a musical Christmas tradition this weekend

The Old-Fashioned Musical Christmas is back at the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

VIDEO: Carollers bring festive sounds to Langley City most Fridays

Shoppers will once again be entertained by choirs, musicians and bands this month in McBurney Plaza.

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Families enjoy an Aldergrove Christmas

Santa and Mrs Claus along with Moana and other special guests made it a special day

TransLink to look into late-night SkyTrains on weekends

Review follows demand from public, mayors and police to extend services in Metro Vancouver

Police release sketch of man who propositioned girl, 12, for sex at East Vancouver park

It happened on Nov.29 near Princess Avenue and East Pender Street

Family of Vancouver Island RCMP officer killed by drunk driver sues

Lawsuit seeks financial compensation from Kenneth Jacob Fenton

SPCA seizes 74 animals from Barriere property

Constables removed sheep, piglets, chickens and more

Penticton addiction recovery centre plan halted by neighbours

Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Most Read