Statements & Speeches

Cannabis: Promotional Campaigns and Events (Question Period)

October 17, 2018

Hon. Judith G. Seidman: My question for the government leader today concerns questionable promotional events and advertising campaigns undertaken by licensed marijuana producers, which have been widely reported by the media.

In July, Health Canada released a statement saying that the department was reviewing the actions of these licensed producers. The statement also said that those who do not adhere to the applicable advertising prohibitions will face serious consequences, which may include suspension of their licence.

Senator Harder, can you please tell us if Health Canada has taken enforcement action against these activities by licensed producers? If Health Canada has indeed taken action, what form did that censure take? If the department has not done so, why not?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. She is reflecting the deep and real concern by the Government of Canada that the legislation we passed in this chamber and in the Parliament of Canada with regard to the promotion of cannabis consumption is adhered to. This is a process that has brought, as the honourable senator’s question suggests, some issues to the attention of the government. It is examining those and, I can assure you, will take action when and if required. I would be happy to provide an update to the honourable senator with respect to actions that may or may not have been taken.

Senator Seidman: In its report on Bill C-45, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology urged the federal government to impose a moratorium on loosening the regulations on the branding, marketing and promotion of cannabis for 10 years. This observation was rooted in testimony from Drug Free Kids Canada, who told our committee that it would take at least that long to measure the true societal impact of the legalization of marijuana on youth.

Senator Harder, what is the federal government’s response to this particular observation from our committee regarding marijuana branding, marketing and promotion?

Senator Harder: Again, I will undertake to have an official response with respect to the observation being referenced. Let me assure all senators, and the questioner in particular, that the Government of Canada is giving vigilant attention to the appropriate implementation of this bill, as passed, so it meets the expectations of parliamentarians on all sides that it be respectful of the law.