Bill C-218 Advances through Parliament Without Amendments

Bill C-218 amendments image
Parliamentary Vote. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bill C-218, which is expected to legalise single-event sports betting in Canada, has been officially resubmitted to the Senate without amendments.

The long-anticipated legislative proposal, known as Bill C-218, which is expected to decriminalise betting on single-game sports events, has been resubmitted to the Senate.  Bill C-218 was initially introduced to the legislature by Kevin Waugh, a conservative MP from Saskatoon.  The bill’s passing would allow Canadians to bet on single events instead of only parlays and is expected to reduce the amount of sports betting done through offshore websites. 

Although the bill received overwhelming support from across the country, particular concerns had been raised last week.  Namely, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake criticised the bill, noting that it would harm the wellbeing of First Nations dependant on gambling and betting income.  Additionally, the council argued that the provinces would see the most benefit from the new legislation.

Request Denied

Despite the objections from the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, Bill C-218 has passed the Senate’s Banking, Trade, and Commerce Committee. The legislation will now head back to the Senate for a final reading.  As expected, the committee did not introduce any amendments to the bill following the First Nation complaints.

Currently, sports betting is only offered by provincial regulators. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake argued that the legislation would exclude them from the gambling expansion and would cause harm to the tribe’s established local online gambling industry. Expectedly, the committee’s intransigence has left the council with a bitter taste in its mouth.

In response to the bill’s progression, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake released a statement saying that the tribe is appalled by the Senate’s Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee for its disregard of the council’s request. In the statement, the council notes that the committee has rushed the bill’s introduction, thus adversely impacting Kahnawake’s ability to manage its economic interests optimally.

The statement further warns that indigenous communities have been ignored and disregarded, with their future once again being decided by others. During the live feed, several senators offered encouragement and support to the council regarding its view of the bill, although no further action was undertaken.

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