Pubdate: Tue, 19 Aug 2014
Source: Journal-Pioneer, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2014 Journal-Pioneer
Author: Lee-Anne Goodman
Page: A7


OTTAWA - Health Minister Rona Ambrose is denying that the federal
government's proposed marijuana awareness campaign is aimed at Justin

"Telling kids to not smoke pot is not a partisan attack on Justin
Trudeau by Health Canada," Ambrose told a news conference Monday on
the sidelines of the annual Canadian Medical Association meeting.

"It is a sound public health policy backed by science. Whether pot is
legal or illegal, the health risks of marijuana to youth remain the
same, and we should all be concerned about them."

It was Trudeau who "made this a political issue," Ambrose said, noting
the CMA itself had asked for a marijuana awareness campaign, and
Ottawa simply responded to that call.

The Liberal leader lashed out at Conservatives last week over reports
that Health Canada has approached three doctors' groups to sign onto
an anti-pot advertising campaign directed at youth.

All three - the CMA, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and
the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada - have declined
to participate, saying the campaign has become a "political football."

It's not the first Health Canada marijuana awareness campaign aimed at
young Canadians. The socalled Drugs Not 4 Me campaign launched in
December 2007 and wrapped up in 2012.

Trudeau, however, has suggested the Health Canada move was meant as an
attack on his support for legalizing marijuana. The proposed campaign
came on the heels of several Conservative cabinet ministers, including
Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino, publicly maligning Trudeau's stance.

"We know that Canadian taxpayers are getting extremely frustrated with
the fact this government tends to use public money for ads that do
more for its partisan aims than for actual public service," Trudeau

The health minister also weighed in Monday on the heated debate over
medical marijuana, saying Canada's doctors should not feel pressured
into prescribing it.

"Health Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, nor is it an
approved drug in this country, nor has it gone through any of the
clinical trials that other pharmaceutical products that are approved
in this country have gone through," she said.
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