When the Trudeau government’s marijuana legalization took effect in October 2018, they announced they would bring in a free, expedited pardon system for Canadians with marijuana possession convictions.
And, when they introduced Bill C-93 in March 2019 to put these marijuana “record suspensions” in place, their estimates as to the number of Canadians eligible were quite significant. According to this CBC article (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cann… “Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair said research indicates as many as 400,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple possession, but the government expects between 70,000 and 80,000 are eligible to apply.”
So, when the top officials from the federal Public Safety department and the RCMP testified before the Senate Legal Committee in June 2019 about Bill C-93, Senator Denise Batters asked them about their estimates of how many Canadians will be eligible to apply for these free, expedited pot pardons. Their estimates were dramatically smaller than what Minister Bill Blair told the Canadian public when Bill C-93 was introduced only 3 months earlier. These top officials tell Senator Batters that an estimated 250,000 Canadians (as opposed to 400,000 stated by Minister Blair) have marijuana possession convictions. And, they estimate that FEWER THAN 10,000 Canadians are eligible for the free, expedited marijuana record suspensions under Bill C-93. This is several times less than the estimated number of 70,000-80,000 Canadians Minister Blair stated only 3 months earlier when the Bill was introduced.
Could this wild discrepancy have anything to do with the fact that when Bill C-93 was introduced, the Trudeau government was embroiled in the hottest part of the SNC Lavalin scandal — given Jody Wilson-Raybould’s explosive Justice committee testimony only two days earlier? They were desperate to change the channel, and bigger distractions were needed.
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(June 13, 2019)