The NDP has asked the federal Liberals to consider expunging records for people who have possessed a small amount of marijuana, which has been legalized in Canada.
According to North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney, the Liberal government says it is moving through a process of pardoning. One step is taking away the fee for the pardons.
“I see that as a somewhat positive step, but it is really a half-measure promise because it still leaves these records,” Blaney said in a Tuesday teleconference with media. “When they’re trying to travel, when they’re trying to get a job, when they’re trying to look for somewhere to live, it can prevent them from being able to take those steps. So it seems to not make a lot of sense that something that is now legal, a lot of people will still be dealing with the ramifications for many years.”
She notes that most of those with records are younger, racialized people.
Mayor Larry Jangula and other members of Courtenay council have expressed concern that municipalities will not receive a fair share of tax dollars derived from marijuana sales.
“A lot of municipalities, both within the riding and outside of the riding, came to me during this process, talking about the investment in training RCMP or their local police on how to address some of these issues, and how expensive it was,” Blaney said.
“The rollout of this process has not been as clean as I would have liked to see,” she added. “I think it left people with a lot of questions. I’ll continue to work with the municipalities and make sure their voices are heard in Ottawa around the concerns that arise.”