POLITICS
06/07/2018 19:44 EDT | Updated 06/07/2018 22:39 EDT

Tory Senator Hopes He Won’t Be Alive To See Pot Legalization 'Damage'

He also compared Bill C-45 to a Greek tragedy.

Twitter/SenatDagenais
Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais told his colleagues it would be a "shame" if the Senate passes Bill C-45 at third reading before Parliament rises for summer break.

OTTAWA — A Conservative senator told his colleagues ahead of a final vote on the government's marijuana legalization bill that he hopes he isn't alive to see its consequences.

Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais made the comment during a Thursday speech in which he compared the handling of Bill C-45 to a "Greek tragedy."

Dagenais said it would be a "shame" if C-45 is passed by the Senate at third reading, calling it a possible missed opportunity for the institution to salvage its reputation and gain credibility.

Watch: How Marijuana Affects Young Brains

"And I hope that I don't live to see the damages that it will have on our society," he added.

Dagenais also took a shot at his Independent colleagues by questioning their independence. He accused members of brushing aside the Senate Aboriginal Peoples committee's recommendation to delay the legislation by up to a year.

The Quebec senator isn't a fan of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Last year, he shared a video mocking Trudeau while gift wrapping a box of tissues for the prime minister.

Legalizing marijuana is a key election promise the Liberals campaigned on in 2015.

A dozen senators spoke before Dagenais. They raised concerns ranging from worries about the impact of marijuana on young people's brains to how police officers will be inadequately prepared to implement the new laws.

Canadian doctors and researchers submitted a report to the Senate this week concluding there's little evidence that legalized marijuana will pose a significant risk to public health and safety.

Some senators applauded their colleagues for their hard work after being given a short timeline by the government to study the bill. But if the bill gets royal assent, marijuana wouldn't immediately be legal.

The provinces and territories want at least 12 weeks to prepare for legal marijuana, which could be for sale as early as August if the legislation doesn't face further delay.

Bill C-45 clears major Senate vote

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 56-30 with one abstention.

After six months of study and debate in the Senate, the amended bill now heads back to the House of Commons for review. After MPs approve and reject amendments, it will return to Senate again for another vote.

Senators said the whopping 45 amendments made to the bill is a reflection of a Senate that's doing its role in improving government legislation.

"What better testimony to the chamber of sober second thought," said Independent Sen. Yuen Pau Woo.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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