OTTAWA — The federal minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, seems to be trying to “encourage” court challenges to citizens of the prohibition that wants to enact the government of Quebec on the cultivation of cannabis at home, ” said Wednesday the minister Jean-Marc Fournier.
This is the reason for which the minister of Relations, the canadian was invited by the senate standing committee on legal and constitutional affairs to propose an amendment to the federal bill C-45, a history to dispel the confusion sown by the words “not useful”, “doubtful” and “ambiguous” required by the minister Wilson-Raybould before the same committee a month ago.
“Since the federal minister has encouraged the protest, the citizens would challenge, I guess — and we would gain. Therefore, the federal law should make a clarification to prevent citizens going to test the law (quebec) in front of the court,” he argued in a media scrum after his testimony.
A legal challenge on the question of the cultivation of cannabis at home is quite plausible: while the federal bill would grow up to four plants per household, the project of law quebecers would ban. The minister Fournier estimated that in opting for prohibition, Quebec is perfectly within its competence on the constitutional plane.
“The federal government has not written, and cannot write, that it authorizes one, or two, or three, or four plants at home – the permission is under provincial jurisdiction – it merely prohibited five plants or more at home. The criminal law is prohibitive. Federal jurisdiction could not be exercised as to prohibit the acts and not to allow practices”, he pleaded.
Principle of “cooperative federalism”
He also argued that the federal minister of Justice would have had to demonstrate a greater respect for the power of the provinces and territories to legislate, in the name of the principle of “cooperative federalism”. Manitoba, he mentioned, has also chosen to propose to prohibit the cultivation of cannabis at home.
In march last, before the same committee, Jody Wilson-Raybould said that the federal government did not intend to challenge the provincial legislation. However, she noted that “if a person opposes an act of the legislature because she wants to grow cannabis legal in his home, it is his prerogative to do so and the federal government would then take position.”
“There is clearly a government that says to its citizens: “We are with you to challenge the law of the province”,” late Wednesday, Jean-Marc Fournier.
In the office of the minister Wilson-Raybould, we may not have wanted to do such a thing, on Wednesday night.
“The remarks of the minister were clear. She said that our government does not object to the validity of provincial laws. It would be necessary for a citizen to do that. This is not a way of encouraging; this is the way that the legal challenges work”, wrote in an e-mail to David Taylor, director of communications Ms. Wilson-Raybould.
Bill C-45 is currently in the stage of the study in front of five major senate committees, which focus on its various aspects. Under the schedule set by the leaders of the various groups of senators, it should return to the upper house for a final vote on June 7.
Even if the bill is adopted, the cannabis will not be legal in the country for several weeks, and not in July 2018, as hoped, initially, the federal government: the provinces will need eight to 12 weeks to put into place their plans of sale.