House of Commons set to get bill from Liberals changing drug, criminal laws


OTTAWA —
The federal Liberals are expected to introduce a bill in the House of Commons today that would revive a legislative push to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences.

On Friday the government gave the House of Commons a procedural heads-up that a bill to amend the Criminal Code and federal drug laws would be introduced on Monday.

A previous bill the Liberals tabled in February failed to gain parliamentary approval before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kickstarted an election campaign in August.

Had it passed, the bill would have allowed for greater use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, counselling or treatment, for people who do not pose a threat to public safety.

The government’s thinking for the bill was that too many lower-risk and first-time offenders were being imprisoned, often capturing a disproportionate number of Indigenous and Black people.

The bill from Justice Minister David Lametti is one of several pieces of business scheduled for the House of Commons, including a push from the Opposition Conservatives to split a new pandemic aid bill in two so MPs could vote separately on support to businesses and workers.

The Liberals say they want the aid package approved before MPs go on their winter holiday break in two weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021.





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