Pubdate: Mon, 07 Mar 2016
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Tom Parkin
Page: 13


It's difficult to understand why our prime minister continues to let 
anyone be criminally charged and convicted for possession of 
marijuana - a substance he thinks should be legal. A substance he has smoked.

As we learned years ago, Trudeau smoked marijuana in the time since 
being elected MP. Some Conservatives tried to make a big deal of it. 
But most Canadians gave the story a pass.

Back then, Trudeau and the Liberals voted with the Conservatives to 
set mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession. It was a 
terrible decision. But it was a Liberal caucus decision. And Trudeau 
was not leader yet. So Trudeau can again get a pass.

As an MP, Trudeau discussed his opposition to both legalization and 
decriminalization. "It isn't your mother's pot" he stated, adding "I 
lived in Whistler for years and have seen the effects. We need all 
our brain cells to deal with our problems." Given his own use it was 
hypocritical. But some politician or another is being hypocritical 
every day. So give it a pass.

After becoming leader, Trudeau switched to favouring marijuana 
legalization. During last year's campaign he promised "to move on 
this in a very rapid fashion." Legalization is "something we plan on 
moving on immediately." But now, the whole matter has sunk down some 
hole. Four months after his win, there's no process, timeline or plan 
for legalization. Again, Canadians give a pass to our new Prime 
Minister - he didn't understand the complexity or time required.

It's fine that Canadians are willing to extend free passes to Trudeau 
over this issue. And of course he' s happy to accept them. The 
problem is, Trudeau will not extend to others the same policy he 
accepts for himself.

"The laws haven't changed yet," said Trudeau last week. And recently 
- - and more hawkishly - his point man, MP Bill Blair, reminded 
Canadians "laws that currently exist in this country are in force and 
in effect and it's important that those laws continue to be obeyed, 
upheld and enforced." Pardons are "not currently under discussion" 
and "not being contemplated at this time," Mr. Blair said.

The PM's positions aren't just a question of logic - there's a 
question of integrity. A person who says marijuana should be legal - 
and has smoked it himself - can't also say other people should 
continue to be criminally charged for its simple possession. In 
Canada we don't pick and choose who will be subject to our laws.

Trudeau argues that his policy is legalization, not 
decriminalization. But his policy will take years to implement. New 
laws need to be passed federally and provincially. A complete, 
regulated, safe and secure system for selling marijuana needs to be 
created. It's a big task. And Trudeau should take the time needed to 
implement this policy without bungling.

In the meantime, Trudeau must extend to others the same generosity 
he's accepted for himself - and stop making criminals out of 
otherwise law-abiding Canadians. Marijuana possession is a crime 
because it's listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It 
can be decriminalized by Cabinet decision. The Prime Minister should 
do so as quickly as reasonably possible.


In last week's column, due to my editing error, I stated the Liberal 
tax cut will cost $20 billion over four years. This is the so-called 
"middle class" tax cut that gives maximum benefit to someone earning 
$200,000. In fact, this tax cut will cost $20 billion over five 
years. #taxunfairness
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom