“First time in 150 years” Canadians to Watch Upper House Debate on Pot Live

Canada legalizing marijuana is not only historic on an international level, but it is also putting the focus on its Red Chamber, the Upper House or the Senate. 

The Upper House will be holding a special televised hearing on Tuesday to grill the Liberal’s government lead team on Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act. If passed this July, Canada will be the first developed nation to legalize cannabis and the second country after Uruguay.

The Senate will meet in a committee of the whole. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and justice and health parliamentary secretary Bill Blair will appear and take questions from Senators.

“This is an attempt to ensure that on an issue of such importance to the Senate, we hear from ministers early. It is also an opportunity for Canadians to see the Senate in action on such an important bill,” CTVNews quoted Government Representative Peter Harder in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Government House Leader Bardish Chagger told CTVNews the expected meeting was “a two-way conversation” to engage and inform the Senate as their study of the legislation continues.

Kady O’Malley, a veteran Hill journalist at iPolitics and Vice News, said Tuesday’s meeting is historic in Canadian politics.

“For the first time in its century-and-a-half history, the Senate has agreed to allow the cameras into its inner legislative sanctum during a working session of the committee of the whole,” she wrote.

The grilling session will surely be entertaining.

Before becoming Canada’s second-youngest premier, Trudeau as a Liberal Leader created more of an independent upper house, paving the way for non-partisan politics but not necessarily a hiccup-free road for Liberal party’s Cannabis Act.

Upper House
A woman smokes a joint during the annual 420 marijuana rally on Parliament hill on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Ottawa. (File image via Canadian Press)

With 11 seats still vacant, the Conservative party has 34 Senators or at least 36 percent of the unelected upper house, with Liberals running as independents, and no real ties to the Liberal parliamentary machinery.

However,  O’Malley thinks otherwise.

“It’s worth noting that it was the government’s official Senate representative, Sen. Peter Harder, who initially put forward the proposal to televise the ministerial Q&A,” she said.

“This suggests the Liberals may see a strategic advantage to boost the visibility of this next round of deliberations, which would normally take place off camera.”

The committee of the whole meeting will take place in the Senate chamber on Tuesday afternoon, and is set to go from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. EDT. So stay tuned!