Cannabis in Qu?bec
The Parti Qu?bec has been asking all the right
questions but seems satisfied to ignore the answers.
In November of 1995 the Qu?bec provincial government sent out over
5,000 questionnaires to people involved in the health and legal aspects
of drugs. The questionnaires were also available on request from the Ministry
of Health, and the first question that they asked was “what do you think
about the legalization or decriminalization of soft drugs?”
The questionnaires came about because of discussion and comments by the
provincial Ministers of Health and Justice. Qu?bec Justice Minister
Paul Begin said in the Spring of 1995 that Qu?bec society should hold
an open debate upon the issue of marijuana legalization. After the
questionnaires had been distributed, Qu?bec Minister of Health Jean
Rochon said that he was happy the big question had finally been asked, and
added that there would be a public consultation in February of 1996,
once the questionnaires had been gathered and analyzed.
The day after the Qu?bec referendum, which was also the day that
Parliament first passed the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,
Jacques Parizeau resigned his position as Premier. He was replaced by
Lucien Bouchard, who gave up his position as leader of the federal Bloc
Qu?bec to lead the Parti Qu?bec and become Premier.
As well as being a former Conservative MP and a close friend of Brian
Mulrouney, Lucien Bouchard is also a true prohibitionist, and all talk of
a fair debate about the prohibition of marijuana ended when he became Premier.
Bouchard was part of the government that introduced Bill C-85, the
father of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. He also gave the Liberals
his blessing to pass the final version of the Bill on the day of the
Referendum, while the Bloc was boycotting Parliament.
When I asked Bouchard about the former Bill C-7, he just answered that as
usual the government of Canada would do anything to compromise the interests
of Qu?bec and that the Bloc was opposed to such a harsh bill. The
truth is that he allowed the unconstitutional Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act to pass Parliament on the day of the Qu?bec Referendum so that
he could maintain his popularity among all Qu?becers. I call that having a
fifth ace in your hand.
So for now we haven’t heard much in Qu?bec about the results of the
questionnaire, and there has been none of the open public debate which
was promised by Minister Rochon. Yet we cannot let this small start die on the
shelves of the National Library. Quebec MPs have started talking about
ending marijuana prohibition, and now is the time to push them into doing
something about the problem instead of ignoring the issue for political
expediency and out of fear of confrontation.
Contact Paul Begin by phone
at (418) 643-4210; fax (418) 646-0027; email
Contact Lucien Bouchard at: 885 Grande All?bec Est, 3e ?bec Qu?bec
PQ, G1A 1A2; phone (418) 643-5321; fax (418) 643-3924; email