Senators are living up to their tagline as Canada’s chamber of “sober” second thought by threatening to derail the Liberal government’s plans to legalize marijuana.
Two Senate committees have reported on the bill, and both suggest senators will push for major changes. The legal affairs committee says home cultivation of cannabis should be banned and there be a limit to how much of the plant someone can have in their home. (The bill allows for a household to grow four plants, and doesn’t limit the amount of product they have on hand.) The aboriginal peoples committee says the bill should be delayed a year to give First Nations more time to figure out how to manage marijuana in their communities. (The government is hoping the bill passes and marijuana is legal in a few months.)
The Senate is set to hold a vote on the bill on June 7. If senators make major amendments, the legislation is kicked back to the House, where MPs can decide to accept or reject the amendments – and kick it back to the Senate, a ping-pong game that could continue indefinitely.
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Canada and the United States are in high-level “exploratory” talks to change how asylum seekers are treated at the border. The Canadian government could be seeking changes to how refugee claimants are treated when they cross the border on foot.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who spoke to the Yellowknife Board of Trade yesterday, said that the overall health of the economy is making officials at Canada’s central bank “more confident” that interest rate hikes will be needed “over time.” He is, however, weary of the “shadow” cast by the record-high household debt levels in Canada and the impact that higher borrowing rates may have on the Canadian economy. “This debt still poses risks to the economy and financial stability, and its sheer size means that its risk will be with us for some time,” Mr. Poloz warned.
After a down month in January, Canada’s economy rebounded on broad-based gains. GDP grew by .4 per cent month over month and 15 out of the 20 industry sectors that Statistics Canada tracks saw increases.
Parliament’s Centre Block was supposed to close this summer, with MPs and Senators moving to new buildings. But the new chambers may not be ready in time and delays could cost up to $11-million a month.
MPs voted 269 to 10 to ask the Pope to apologize for the Catholic church’s role in residential schools.
Museums say they are concerned about a private member’s bill that would give Indigenous people the right to reclaim artifacts currently sitting in public institutions.
Sir John A. Macdonald’s first home in Glasgow has been demolished to make way for condos.
NDP MP Erin Weir alleges the harassment complaints against him are payback for him wanting to talk about carbon-pricing border adjustments.
Seven of the Bloc Quebecois‘s 10 MPs recently quit the party and are now thinking of starting their own.
And Kevin O’Leary is deeply discounting tickets to his events after a disappointing fundraiser last month that failed to pay down the debts from his leadership race. Ticket prices are being cut to $100 from $2,000. Mr. O’Leary is also trying to settle a lawsuit with the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Nova Scotia.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on B.C.’s condo shell game: “The practice is unconscionable and the fact that it’s been done with the real estate industry’s knowledge makes it even more egregious. Now that it’s been exposed, many in the field are ducking for cover.”
Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Doug Ford and the Greenbelt: “Toronto needs to develop parts of the city known to urbanists as the Yellowbelt – so named for the colour given on city planning maps to neighbourhoods zoned exclusively for single-family detached homes. Toronto contains more than 20,000 hectares of such land. Unlike the farm fields and forests of the Greenbelt, Yellowbelt areas are already connected to the grid, have access to transit, do not demand overlong commutes to downtown jobs and are easier on the environment. ”
Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on David Suzuki: “Mr. Suzuki is known by most as a twinkly-eyed old sage with a harmless message about living in tune with nature. But his messages are not benign. He doesn’t simply oppose fossil fuels, or the capitalist system. He’s a menace to scientific inquiry. And many of his views are well outside the scientific mainstream.”
Andrew Cohen (Ottawa Citizen) on democracy: “It’s not hyperbole. Democracy is under its greatest strain since the 1930s. Assaults on the press, free and fair elections, minority rights and civil liberties are common. Look around: the rise of authoritarianism is everywhere.”
Calgary Herald editorial board on candidate vetting: “Some people interested in pursuing politics might believe the questionnaire is intrusive, but if that’s their opinion, then they can decide not to seek the nomination. It’s also likely that if they bristle at providing the information, they have something to hide or be ashamed of.”
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The North Korea-South Korea border, site of the demilitarized zone, also used to feature massive loudspeakers that blasted propaganda. No longer, as people on both sides of the border began to dismantle the loudspeakers in the latest show of reconciliation between the two Koreas since a historic summit last week. Propaganda warfare, long a feature during the Cold War, was resumed in early 2016 after the North’s fourth nuclear test, when tensions were high.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has dozens of questions for U.S. President Donald Trump related to his ties to Russia and potential obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump blasted that the questions were “leaked” and said it was “disgraceful.” The New York Times obtained the list, which you can read here.
Israel insisted that it’s not looking for a war with Iran, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented purported evidence of previous work by Tehran on its nuclear program. Mr. Trump has given American allies a May 12 deadline to rework what he views as the Iran deal’s flaws. The deal was struck under the previous administration to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for economic relief. Chagai Tzuriel, the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence, is in Ottawa to seek support for the new allegations raised by Mr. Netanyahu.
The National Assembly of Armenia has rejected the appointment of Nikol Pashinian as the country’s new prime minister. He has been leading weeks of anti-government rallies that that resulted in the resignation of long-time leader Serzh Sargsyan. Mr. Pashinian is calling for a nationwide strike in protest of the 55-45 vote against his appointment.