Don Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway, calls out the Senate’s “conflicts of interest and hypocrisy of the highest order” when it comes to the Cannabis Act, and if you believe in speaking truth to power, you will find his Jun. 13 speech in the House of Commons hugely satisfying.
You may even recognize some of the points he brought up as they’ve been mentioned in cannabis-friendly channels like this very website, but it is especially refreshing to see a member of Parliament come down firmly on the side of common sense and have the courage to call out the reckless fear-mongering of some Senators who even after six months of studying the Cannabis Act, appear to have learned little, if anything, about it.
Let’s take a look at some of MP Don Davies’ biggest points.
Questioning the unelected Senate’s legitimacy
He first takes aim at the Senate itself as an institution with both barrels blazing as he opens with,
“As I tuned in to listen to the Senate debate on the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, I was given the stark reminder of why so many Canadians have so little confidence in that unelected, unaccountable body.
“Certainly, it is legitimately questionable if an institution capable of producing such baseless fear-mongering and ignorance has any legitimacy blocking any legislation passed by an overwhelming majority in this democratically elected House of Commons”.
He also calls out how Trudeau was forced to swear in two new Senators hours before the Senate’s final vote on the Cannabis Act on Jun. 7th, who voted in lockstep with the Liberal government despite not being present for a single minute of debate, testimony, or review of the bill.
“After studying the legislation for 6 months, it’s not even clear if the 93 senators actually understood the most basic facts on cannabis”
MP Don Davies drew attention to Conservative Sen. Nicole Eaton’s infamous remarks from March when she said, “5 grams [of cannabis] is about four tokes”.
He clarifies how 5 grams is enough for about 10 joints, not “four tokes” as Sen. Eaton said unless she secretly has a lung capacity that would put both Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson to shame.
The hypocritical anti-cannabis crusaders who stand to profit from legalization
Mr. Davies pointed out the two Conservative senators who were forced to abstain from the final vote because while they publicly opposed the Cannabis Act, they had privately invested in cannabis.
Can you guess which senators?
It was previously mentioned “four tokes” Sen. Eaton and her Conservative colleague Sen. Linda Frum. He quoted Sen. Eaton when she declared her conflict of interest “due to an impending investment in the cannabis industry”, and called out how she still voted against the Cannabis Act at second reading before she had to recuse herself.
Sen. Frum had to recuse herself because she has a property that will be “leased for the purpose of selling recreational cannabis”.
Don Davies went on to call out “the same police officers and government officials who have spent their years prosecuting the War on Drugs, [who have] already begun staking [their] claim to the recreational market”.
He then listed off half a dozen of these offending former government officials and police officers such as Julian Fantino, saying
“It is a travesty of justice and hypocrisy of the highest order that those who fought hardest for legalization may benefit the least from it, while those who spent a lifetime enforcing Prohibition are now lining up to fill the boardrooms of the cannabis industry”.
Asking, “Are [cannabis activists] now supposed to sit back in admiration at the moral flexibility and business acumen of their former detractors?”
“This bill is not about legalization, it is about making cannabis less illegal”
“If this legislation were truly about legalizing the cannabis plant, it would have heralded the end of criminalization, the end of stigmatization, and the end of the Prohibitionist approach to cannabis policy that has been such a failure over the last almost hundred years.”- Don Davies
He went on to say that “instead, this legislation creates an incredibly complex criminal framework that legal experts and police chiefs predict will result in more, not less, cannabis offences post “legalization”’.