Trudeau Liberals aim to repeal mandatory minimums for drug offenders

The bill will also aim to allow more alternative sentences rather than jail for those who are not a great threat to the public's safety

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

The Trudeau Liberals will introduce a bill on Monday that aims to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences, in an effort to bring life to a bill that failed to gain traction in February of this year.

According to The Canadian Press, the Trudeau Liberals gave the House a "procedural heads-up" that a bill to amend federal drug laws would be brought forward on Monday.

The bill will aim to allow more alternative sentences rather than jail for those who are not a great threat to the public's safety. These options include counselling, house arrest, and treatment.

Bill C-22 was introduced by Attorney General David Lametti, whose spokesperson said in a statement to CBC: "Serious criminals deserve to be seriously punished and kept away from our communities. But too many lower-risk and first-time offenders, including a disproportionate number of Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians, are being sent to prison and locked up for too long because of policies which are proven not to deter crime or help keep our communities safe."

During it's February introduction, the bill received both praise and criticism. Both the Greens and the New Democrats have both called for decriminalization of the possession of drugs.

"While there are positive steps in this bill, it's very disappointing not to see them take the opportunity to right a historic wrong by failing to include expungements and by failing to actually decriminalize drugs," said NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in a statement.

"Today, the Liberals could have made a huge difference by erasing criminal records for simple marijuana possession."

Prime Minister Trudeau entirely ruled out the decriminalization of possession of illicit drugs.

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole said previously that he too is open to less severe penalties for drug offenses.


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