August 1st, 2019

NDP: People Need Expungement, Pardons Not Enough

Matthew Green, NDP candidate for Hamilton Centre, made the following statement:

“Justin Trudeau's Liberals had plenty of time to get this right and we are disappointed with their decision to only offer pardons for cannabis possession through an application process. This is not enough. New Democrats continue to call for the automatic expungement of records for simple cannabis possession.

Possession charges affect a disproportionate number of racialized and other marginalized Canadians. In Regina, Indigenous people were almost nine times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people. In Halifax, Black people were five times more likely to get arrested for cannabis possession than white people.

The Liberal plan requires people to apply for a record suspension and, even after getting one, suspended records can be revoked and still have significant negative impacts on Canadians. Canadians have agreed: simple possession of cannabis is not a crime.

The NDP’s Murray Rankin tabled a bill that would erase these records, and the Liberals rejected it, showing they aren’t actually worried about the disproportionate number of people of color whose lives are being haunted by a simple cannabis possession charge.

The NDP is going to keep fighting for criminal records for Canadians convicted of minor cannabis possession to be expunged. Cannabis is legal, and having been in possession of a small amount of it should not impact your job, or your ability to travel.”