liberal party


The Canadian Liberals are piping up about pot….finally

As it turns out, marijuana legalization in Canada is not up in smoke.

The Liberal government announced last week they will introduce legislation on April 20 to approve the legalization of marijuana — legislation they hope will be active for Canada Day 2018. This declaration follows a 106-page report released by theTask Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, which was assembled in June 2016. The task force was created to weed out any issues pertaining to legalization and has set guidelines on how to proceed to approving the product.

The report has an extensive set of recommendations for the Liberal government, including who will be able to sell it, buy it, and how much it will cost. The recommended age limit is 18, but can be set higher if the province chooses. The Canadian Medical Association had a problem with the age restriction and suggested it be raised because the teenage brain is still developing at 18, but ultimately the task force believed this would fail to adequately solve the issue of young adults smoking unregulated pot.

If this legislation is approved, the government would control and license producers, though people would be able to grow up to four plants in their own home. As described in the report, the plants would have a maximum mandatory height limit of 100 cm and would need ‘reasonable security measures to prevent theft and youth access, with oversight and approval by “local authorities”.

The restrictions of marijuana would be similar to the Tobacco Act in that it wouldn’t allow advertising or endorsements. The packaging would contain company name, strain name, price, amount of THC in the product and any warnings. There would also be a seed-to-sale tracking system implemented to avoid corruption of the market. The price of weed would have to be competitive with street prices and would be lower to invigorate people to buy legally-regulated marijuana.  The report also discussed the criminal penalties after legalization. Criminal punishment will remain for illicit production, trafficking or possession, and trafficking to youth. There is also an imposed limit of 30 grams on a person at any given time, and vape houses will require a permit.

People have been buzzing since the announcement and it has been met with varied opinions. The Liberals have been in hot water as of late with their millennial supporters who are feeling snubbed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to not carry through with his promise of electoral reform, and many sense this is the government’s way of winning back support. It will be interesting to see whether legalization of marijuana sways the vote in the favour of the Liberals with the election looming in the following year.

Being able to grow plants at home deserves attention as well. Several people would adhere to the rules of only having four plants, but it would be hard to monitor people who would potentially take advantage of growing at home, and may use it as an opportunity to sell recreationally. The information provided on licensing and which producers would receive approval is also vague. It is concerning to think of massive producers getting contracts and making pot that is full of additives and chemicals similar to tobacco. The task force did emphasize licensing smaller producers as well, but more transparent information should be provided to the public ahead of that decision.

The legalization of marijuana is a progressive and smart decision. It is positive to see the Liberals keep their promises and commit to following through with a controversial and important initiative. Taking weed off the streets will help people get high safely and will help normalize a fairly typical drug of choice. Canada is finally becoming a ‘chill’ nation, and July 1, 2018, will certainly be a very relaxed day for most Canadians celebrating the new legislation.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Canada budget 2017 highlights transit and housing

At 4 p.m. on March 22, the Government of Canada released their 2017 budget. As Canada celebrates it’s 150th anniversary, this budget, entitled “Building A Strong Middle Class”, is being described by many as uneventful and uninspiring. There was a lot of emphasis on innovation and skill training; but at the same time, little money was dedicated to facing new problems such as immigration, refugees, and post-secondary education.

The budget creates a deficit of about $29 billion for 2016/2017. The Liberals plan on reducing that deficit to about $14 billion by the end of their term.

The Liberal government says this budget was created under a gender-based analysis, meaning that all aspects within the budget, even those that don’t pertain to gender, were assessed based on the impact it would have on women. A gender statement within the budget makes reference to the still-high gender gap in Canada and the additional violence women experience on a regular basis.

“When making decisions that significantly affect peoples’ lives, governments must understand to what extent their policy choices will produce different outcomes for all people,” the gender-statement in the 2017 budget reads.

“A meaningful and transparent discussion around gender and other intersecting identities allows for a greater understanding of the challenges this country faces, and helps the Government make informed decisions to address those challenges—with better results for all Canadians.”

Here are some of the other highlights within the budget:

Transit: The government has dedicated $20.6 billion, spread out over the next 11 years, to public transportation projects. This funding will be used to cover up to 40 per cent of new subways and rail light lines — which is big for cities like Ottawa and Toronto that are in the middle of creating large integrated transit systems.

At the same time, the government is eliminating the public transit tax credit, which allows transit users to claim 15 per cent of what they pay.

Infrastructure: With the growth of the affordable housing crisis, the federal government has decided to invest $11.2 billion over 11 years for affordable housing. This money will be divided into a few different programs, including $225 million will go towards improving housing conditions for Indigenous Peoples not living on reserves.

Child Care: The Liberal government is going to spend $7 billion on childcare, creating about 400,000 new subsidized childcare spaces in the next three years. Parental leave has also been increased to 18 months, and expecting mothers can claim Employment Insurance benefits up to 12 weeks prior to giving birth — it used to be eight weeks.

Skills/Training: Innovation Canada will be receiving $950 million over five years to support innovators and to build “super-clusters”. The budget also agrees to allow those on Employment Insurance benefits to apply to go back to school or undertake training, something which was not possible in previous years.


Do you have an opinion on the 2017 budget? Let us know in the comments below!

Wish the Minister of Status of Women good luck. She may need it!

In an act that is sure to have journalists abuzz with excitement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his Minister Mandate Letters to the public.

Mandate letters are meant to outline the Prime Minister’s expectations and priorities. They have always been private documents, but today, Canadians were treated to an inside look at the Liberal party’s platform.

“Today we are demonstrating that real change in government is possible. For the first time in our country’s history, we are making these letters public, so Canadians can hold us accountable to deliver on our commitments. We are ushering in a new era of openness and transparency in Canada,” Trudeau said in a statement.

The general theme, which was expressed regardless of position, is the need for openness and transparency. The letters almost read like a message from a teacher—lets all get along, listen to each other, and respect each other’s opinions. It was a fascinating read.

The Minister I was most interested in was the Minister of Status of Women. Below are a few highlights from her mandate letter, and I have to say I don’t envy the amount of work she has on her plate:

As Minister of Status of Women, your overarching goal will be to ensure government policy, legislation, and regulations are sensitive to the different impacts that decisions can have on men and women.  During our time in government, I expect to make meaningful progress on reducing the wage gap between men and women and to encourage an increase in the number of women in senior decision-making positions and on boards in Canada, as well as make progress towards better representation of women where they have traditionally been under-represented, such as in the skilled trades.

In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

  • Work with experts and advocates to develop and implement a comprehensive federal gender violence strategy and action plan, aligned with existing provincial strategies. You will be supported by the Minister of Justice to make any necessary criminal code changes and by the President of the Treasury Board who will develop strategies to combat sexual harassment in federal public institutions.
  • Work with the Privy Council Office to ensure that a gender-based analysis is applied to proposals before they arrive at Cabinet for decision-making.
  • Support the Privy Council Office as it develops monitoring and reporting processes to ensure that the government’s senior appointments are merit-based and demonstrate gender parity.
  • Support the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in ensuring that no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn by growing and maintaining Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.
  • Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in reviewing current gender- and culturally-sensitive training policies for federal front-line law enforcement officers to ensure that they are strong and effective.
  • Support the Minister of Employment, Workplace Development and Labour and work with your ministerial colleagues in taking action to ensure that Parliament and federal institutions are workplaces free from harassment and sexual violence.
  • Support the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to develop a process and mandate for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Read the full letter at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-status-women-mandate-letter#sthash.bcj6CS09.dpuf

Let’s just hope this new transparent government hasn’t bit off more than they can chew.

Is there anything in this mandate that you feel was looked over? Let us know in the comments below!

To the women offended by Trudeau’s invitation: Get over yourselves

On Wednesday Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tweeted out an invitation to an event for women in Toronto.

The event, obviously a fundraiser at $250 a plate, was geared towards women who would like to get to know Trudeau and talk about issues facing women today — both in general and in politics it would seem from the sample questions scrawled on the invite.

The invitation that was tweeted out includes a checkered Andy Warhol-esque photo of Trudeau and carries the name “Justin Unplugged” in scribbly writing. The squares not occupied by Trudeau’s face ask some questions that give an impression of what the event would be like: What is the biggest issue facing women today? What’s your favourite virtue? Who are your real life heroes?

This prompted response from Huffington Post contributor Kathryn Marshall who criticised the event and called the picture “creepy, patronizing, and unbelievably ridiculous” to boot. (Scroll down to view the full invitation)

Um, what?

I’m sorry, are you upset that the leader of one of Canada’s three big political parties, a possible future Prime Minister, wants to offer his ear up to women and find out what they want out of life and government?

I’m sorry, is it not good enough for you to be invited to take part in a conversation that you can steer whichever way you please, be that policy or broader concepts?

I’m sorry, are you so gung-ho on getting offended that you need to pick apart even the photo used on the invitation?

Women have been ignored by so many people at so many levels for so long that it truly shocks me to see this opportunity for a male political leader to connect with and learn from women being thrown back in his face.

A politician is, surprisingly, inquiring about a little more of the lives of potential voters than what they think about low or high taxes. Virtues are important for leaders of all kinds, to see a leader asking what people appreciate shows that he is ready to assemble a team that reflects the values of all Canadians. The biggest issues that face women today could do with access to reproductive health, or proper natal care for native women in Canada, maybe the wage gap, or the number of female CEOs, or perhaps even government childcare and daycare services for parents who need to return to the workforce — to see a leader asking what these issues are shows that he is ready to take the right actions to protect our rights and freedoms as women and do more to help those who need it.

Would we not be offended if his campaign paid no attention to the unique issues and challenges that women in Canada face every day?

To the women who are offended by this, reserve your anger for the real creeps. Get angry about politicians like Rob Ford groping women without permission. Get angry about politicians in Saudi Arabia preventing women from driving cars. Get angry about the politicians in the US and Canada who try to restrict access to abortion.

Don’t waste your time in faux horror when someone asks you for your thoughts because the invitation doesn’t measure up to your standards and take an opportunity where an opportunity is given.

In the meantime, get over yourselves.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.