The Bill 174 to regulate recreational marijuana sales in Ontario also contains a provision to allow photo-ticketing of drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
The two seemingly unrelated issues are packed into one piece of legislation from Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government.
Ontario’s cannabis legislation, Bill 174, would regulate everything about the sale of recreational marijuana in the province once legalization takes effect across Canada next July.
The bill would set the minimum age to buy pot at 19, create a new Crown corporation so the government can sell weed from shops and online, and it would dictate where pot can be consumed.
The same bill would also lay the groundwork to put cameras on school buses to allow automated ticketing of drivers who blow past school buses when stopped to pick up or drop off passengers.
PC transportation critic Michael Harris questions, “What in the world does school bus safety or camera safety legislation have to do with the Cannabis Act?”
He said that the Liberals put the two pieces of legislation together hoping the PCs will vote no over concerns about the marijuana sales regime. That would give the Liberals a chance to portray the PCs as being opposed to safer roads.
The Liberals deny they’re playing games by putting school bus safety legislation into the marijuana bill.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said, “Absolutely not. That thought did not even cross our minds,” “This is just conspiracy thinking in their own mind. There was no intention whatsoever on our part to play any political games with this.”
Naqvi said the government put the school bus camera law into the pot bill to get it passed quickly.
The marijuana bill contains a section on road safety. While it includes new legislation on detecting and punishing drug-impaired drivers, it also wraps in the school bus camera rules.
In Ontario, police in Ottawa and Thunder Bay have put cameras on school buses to try to catch drivers breaking the rules, while police and school officials in Waterloo region endorsed the idea.
A month-long experiment with cameras in Toronto in 2014 caught hundreds of drivers illegally zipping past the stopped buses.