Legalization E-Petition Receives Sponsorship, Now Online

An e-petition that hopes to add public feedback toward the Liberals’ legalization effort is now online, after being sponsored by Green Party MP Elizabeth May.

The petition, e-18, calls for the repeal of prohibition on cannabis possession and cultivation, revisions to the Criminal Code, pardons for past offences and other changes to allow for legalization.

The advocate behind the e-petition, Sam Vekemans, said the goal of the petition is to “tell the Government of Canada that prohibition must end, and it’s time to get it out of federal hands, and let the provinces, first nations and territories deal with it.”

A clerk of petitions representative said the e-petition is one of only 24 to be featured online since the system was introduced in early December.

The staff member said now that the petition is online, it has 120 days to collect at least 500 signatures and become certified, at which time the sponsor MP (in this case, May) will present it in the house of commons.

“The government has to provide an official answer within 45 days of the presentation of the petition in the house and the answer to electronic petitions will be posted online,” said the representative, who pointed out that, although the government is required to provide a response to all certified e-petitions, they’re under no obligation to act on them further.

Vekemans said that support for the e-petition quickly eclipsed the threshold of 500 signatures and, as of publishing this article, support for the e-petition stands at 2,881.

Paper copies of the petition are also being circulated to the local offices of MPs, where different rules apply for these hard copies.

“Once a paper petition gets to just 25 signatures, the MP can present it to the petitions clerk, and table it to the House of Commons,” said Vekemans.

While MPs aren’t under any obligation to support the text of the petitions, Vekemans said that Elizabeth May does, and he hopes to speak with her in the near future.

“Blaine Calkins, Conservative (Red Deer -Mountain View) is an example of an MP who prefers the paper petition over the e-petitions system,” Vekemans said. “So he’s happy to have a paper petition collecting physical signatures, while  he probably would vote no to anything stated, it’s the role of a Member of Parliament to represent the concerns of the constituents.”

“As Canadians, we have the right to petition government when we see that the laws currently in place need to be repealed, changed, or new laws put in place.”