REALity May, 2018 Ottawa, ON
The controversial marijuana Bill C-45 is now before the Senate for review. It will be voted on by the Senate on June 7th, 2018.
In order to speed up the review of this bill, it was been broken down into four parts, with four separate Senate committees reviewing different aspects of the bill. After their review, these four committees are required to send their report to the Senate Social Affairs Committee which will make the final decision on the various recommendations. The Social Affairs Committee is chaired by former Liberal Minister Art Eggleton who is a staunch old-time Liberal. His committee will decide whether to adopt the amendments proposed by the four supplementary committees.
On April 19th, 2018, REAL Women testified before the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, one of the four committees, regarding Bill C-45.
Prior to our presentation, the Foreign Affairs Committee heard a presentation from a Washington D.C. organization funded by George Soros, the US philanthropist who believes in no restrictions on human behaviour. The two representatives from his organization painted the future of marijuana as being acceptable worldwide with no restrictions. They also claimed that Canada need not be bothered by a trivial matter such as Canada’s ratification of UN drug treaties which prohibit use and distribution of marijuana. The Liberal and Independent Members of the Committee ate up this testimony, regarding it as the gospel truth on marijuana.
REAL Women then followed with a quite different testimony which the Liberal and Independent Senators did not like, not one little bit.
We pointed out that Canada had previously ratified the three UN treaties on drug control which requires the criminalization of the production and distribution of marijuana. Canada has also ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child which provides in Article 33 that children must be protected from illicit drugs and prevented from being used in the production and trafficking of drugs.
The Declaration on the Rights of the Child was confirmed and approved by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March, 2013.
The three UN drug control conventions were reviewed at the UN meeting held on April 2016 in New York City. This was the first time in twenty years that such a review of the drug treaties had taken place. At this meeting, the three international drug control conventions were confirmed and approved.
Sections 8 and 9 of the marijuana Bill C-45 permit adolescents (defined in section 2 of the bill as between 12 and 18 years of age) to possess and distribute up to five grams of marijuana or 10 joints and that section 12 (4) (b) provides that private homes may grow up to 4 marijuana plants without legal sanction. This allows adolescents full access to marijuana, contrary to the UN Declaration on the Child.
Similarly, since Bill C-45 provides for the decriminalization and recreational use of marijuana, it fails to comply with the three drug control treaties.
This was confirmed by the UN Narcotics Control Board in its 2017 annual report which stated that Canada’s Bill C-45 was incompatible with the obligations assumed by Canada under the Drug Control Treaties.
According to Mark Gwozdecky, the Assistant Deputy Minister of International Security and Political Affairs at Global Affairs Canada, in his testimony before this same Committee in March, 2018, Canada will not be withdrawing from, or seek reservations to, or take “any treaty actions regarding the three drug conventions”. That is, Canada plans to ignore the drug treaties and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In 2013 Uruguay was the first country to regulate marijuana at the national level.
An unexpected consequence of Uruguay’s marijuana law is that the U.S. government invoked the Patriot Act which prohibits U.S. banks from handling funds for distributors of marijuana. International banks with U.S. headquarters have prohibited their Uruguayan branches from providing services to the distributors of marijuana.
Thus, distribution of marijuana in Uruguay has been cut off from the entire financial services market as every business associated with the newly legal marijuana industry risks being in violation of the U.S. drug laws and would lose its access to U.S. banks and dollar transactions.
This financial isolation in Uruguay will also occur in Canada if Bill C-45 is passed.
REAL Women also made clear that by ignoring its treaty obligations, Canada will be setting a dangerous precedent for other countries to also violate UN treaties.
Bill C-45 puts in jeopardy significant treaties such as the non-proliferation nuclear treaties, treaties against war crimes, and the seven human rights treaties. This creates major problems for world order and international governance. This is not a trivial matter.
If Canada continues with its intention to pass Bill C-45, despite its many problems both in respect to its domestic application and to international law, Canada, which prides itself in being a democratic country, will be an embarrassment. It will also be harmful, not only to Canada, but also to international law and governance.
The Liberal and Independent Senators did not like REAL Women’s testimony at all, as accurate, and truthful as it was.
Several other Senate Committees were not as obliging as the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommended that there be a prohibition on the home cultivation of marijuana, and the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the government delay legalization for a year.
That is not what the Trudeau government desires, so these recommendations will not likely pass Chairman Eggleton’s scrutiny, and his instructions from the Prime Minister who has made it clear that the bill must not be delayed.