QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner issued the following statement on Bill 36:
“I voted yes on Bill 36 today because I believe a retail model with regulated dispensaries across the province is the best way to end the illegal, unsafe, underground market.
The previous government’s monopoly plan to open 40 government run stores would do little to stop the criminal market.
Public safety, including getting organized crime out of the cannabis market, should be our ultimate objective. I think Bill 36 gives Ontario a good chance of delivering on that.
I base my decisions on evidence, principle and input from my constituents. I campaigned on changing the retail model for cannabis and will support that change regardless of the party putting it forward.
As legislators, we have a responsibility to support good ideas, whoever is advancing them. I want to change the toxic culture at Queen’s Park, where parties criticize each other simply for the sake of criticizing. It is not constructive and does not help our democracy.
So while I disagree with the PC government on many issues and would like to see Bill 36 tweaked, I support the general direction that Bill 36 takes.
I urge the government to make amendments in the future in two key areas. First, our children should not be exposed to cannabis smoke in parks and other public spaces. I hope the government will consider aligning consumption rules with alcohol rather than the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Second, we should not replace a government monopoly with a private monopoly. And legalization should not be a windfall for big corporate players. That is why I have been arguing for caps on the market share or on the number of licenses that any one company can hold. I encourage the government to consider this in regulations.
I will continue standing up for fair access for small businesses, local entrepreneurs and indigenous communities.”