The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday edition that Ralph Goodale could table as early as this Friday federal legislation providing free and fast pardons for the thousands of Canadians convicted of possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis. The Globe's Mike Hager writes that before the drug was legalized, possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis was punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.
The upcoming legislation signals Ottawa's refusal to go further and expunge these criminal records -- a move critics say would make it easier to undo the harms imposed on hundreds of thousands of Canadians saddled with these convictions.
A pardon, or record suspension, means a person's criminal record is separated from other records and is only disclosed in limited circumstances. So, while a pardon does not erase a record completely, it can make it easier to get a job or travel. The Prime Minister has acknowledged that minorities have suffered disproportionately from discriminatory enforcement.
In December, the Commons began debating a private member's bill from NDP MP Murray Rankin that would expunge criminal records for what he said were 500,000 Canadians with convictions for simple possession.
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