January 30, 2021, 5:45 a.m.
A bill that would have legalized sports betting for a game in Canada has stalled again in the House of Commons.
Bill C-13, which aims to amend Canada’s Criminal Code to allow sports betting with a stake, was introduced in the fall of 2020 but remains idle on the floor of the house.
The Liberal government voted against speeding up the bill in December. Now Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, a proponent of single game betting, has questioned the government’s commitment to bringing the pastime to Canada.
“This government continues to tell Canadians that they are committed to passing these laws, but it is cutting the necessary debate for the second time to allow them to move forward through the House of Commons,” Masse said in a press release. “We already missed the boat when we got off before our US colleagues, and now that there are elections here, it doesn’t look like they really want this to happen at all. Another empty promise. “
A similar bill, C-218, will be debated on February 24 at second reading and supported by members of the Quebecois bloc, Conservatives and the NDP. With a minority government, C-218 would happen without liberal support. However, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, a Liberal, has promised to support some form of sports betting legislation.
Masse said time is of the essence because if the government falls and an election is called, C-13 must be reintroduced.
“By passing these laws, money will be withdrawn from the black market and organized crime, and the proceeds will go back to the state coffers for social programs like health care and education,” said Masse. “If we can do this right now and get it to the provinces and territories, it could help post the COVID economic recovery by creating jobs and doing new business.”