Libby Davies has had a very busy few days, especially considering that her Private Members' Bill appeared before the Human Resources and Social Development Committee yesterday. I caught up with Davies after Question Period today.
Q: Your bill was at committee yesterday. How was that?
A: It went relatively smoothly. The bill is being reported back to the House as it was left before the prorogation.
Q: So there were no amendments?
A: No, there were no further amendments. Now it comes back into the House. The timing I have to double-check, but basically it drops down to the bottom of the Order of Precedence, and then eventually you come up again for your first and second hour of debate for Report Stage and Third Reading, and then you go to a vote. It’s gone through the next hurdle. It’s still very strong support – in fact, it’s growing, and I feel like we’re even beginning to make a little bit of headway with some Conservative members. I know a lot of people have been doing lobbying of Conservative members and writing emails, so I’m very pleased with that, and I certainly encourage people to do more, because we really do have a real opportunity here to make it across parties and focus on the issue, and not just sink into partisan politics and do something good.
Q: Last week you had this petition in support of Marc Emery. How did that come about?
A: We were approached by Jodi Emery, his wife – they had collected his mass of petitions – 12,000 is a lot of petitions, and they approached us and Ujjal Dosanjh from Vancouver and Scott Reid from Ontario, about whether or not we would present the petitions on the same day, which we all agreed to. I think it was a good moment. Petitions are usually quite routine, but I think the fact that a) we had so many, and b) we had three people from three different parties doing it together made quite a statement, that it is a reflection of the very broad support that Mr. Emery has on various levels. For some people, it’s more about marijuana, and the fact that he should not be convicted and that these laws are ridiculous. For other people, it’s more about the whole question about the US reaching into Canada and laying down the law, and then relating it to a sovereignty issue. So I think there’s various issues that people have around it. The Minister, as far as we know, has had the extradition order on his desk since January 8th, so the fact that they haven’t acted as yet maybe is good news, and I’m hoping that the visibility, and the very strong public support really across the political spectrum, will give them pause to think about what they’re doing, and that they really shouldn’t be sending Marc Emery to jail in the US. He’s already plea bargained – he was facing horrendous charges, so he already agreed to a sentence of five years, so I think he should be able to serve that in Canada. I don’t see any public interest being served by saying that he has to go to the US.
Q: Anything we should be looking forward to from you in the next few weeks?
A: One thing I’m beginning to work on now, which I’ve wanted for a while, is a Medical Marijuana Bill of Rights, similar to my housing bill, which spells out people’s rights. There’s a whole number of issues around Canada’s medical marijuana programme – it’s difficult to access, it’s fraught with bureaucratic problems. We get complaints about it all the time. Again, it’s a very big issue. It’s one of those issues that’s below the radar, but there’s a lot of support out there to make accessibility more fair and more open, and so we’re thinking of working on something around that.