Pubdate: Wed, 26 Apr 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Kristy Kirkup
Page: A4


NDP leader accuses Trudeau of having double standard on

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smoked marijuana as an MP but
he has not suffered the same consequences as Canadians who are slapped
with simple pot charges, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Tuesday - an
example, he says, of "abject hypocrisy."

Mulcair took aim at Trudeau for his assertion that he wants to make
things fairer for those facing pot-possession charges once marijuana
becomes legal - a comment he made during a segment with Vice Canada on

The NDP has repeatedly called for an amnesty on charges for possessing
small amounts of pot, to no avail.

Trudeau doesn't seem to care about Canadians who face charges, even
though a plan is in place to revoke the prohibition, Mulcair said
during a news conference.

"When you're of that background and you're privileged and you've
always had everything given to you and you are treated differently,
that's what he is used to, isn't it?" he said.

"He doesn't find it at all abnormal that he can admit to smoking
marijuana while he was a member of Parliament and at the same time
say, 'The law is the law and you will be prosecuted if you smoke marijuana.'

"That is abject hypocrisy by Justin Trudeau." Trudeau also shared a
story during the interview about an incident in which his late brother
Michel faced marijuana possession charges.

Trudeau said his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, was
able to bring the family's resources to bear on the problem, including
turning to friends in the legal community to help make the charges go

He also conceded that other Canadians, including marginalized people,
are treated unfairly in the legal system despite the fact "Canada is
supposed to be fair for everybody."

The Conservatives pounced on that story Tuesday in a fundraising email
to argue that Trudeau is a privileged elitist, out of touch with
ordinary Canadians.

"Once again, it's a case of one set of rules for the Trudeaus and
another for the rest of Canada," the email said. "Not having to worry
about a drug charge because your dad will just 'take care of it.'
Justin Trudeau is completely disconnected from the reality that most
Canadians live in."

The Prime Minister's Office said Trudeau is exploring ways to address
the issue, but did not delve into specifics on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told The
Canadian Press that blanket pardons for those with pot convictions is
not "on the agenda at the moment."

Governments have not historically issued generic pardons when there
has been a change in the law, Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young -
a lawyer who has advocated for Canada to change its legal approach to
pot for more than 25 years - said on Tuesday.

"They've also never confronted a situation where they've changed the
law and it has affected hundreds of thousands of people and young
people who have criminal records," Young said in an interview.

Trudeau could move quickly to decriminalize marijuana but refuses to
do so, Mulcair said Tuesday.

"Mr. Trudeau's lame answer is 'Oh, it is because organized crime would
somehow be selling marijuana,' " Mulcair said. "This just in: that's
the case now. That was the case when Mr. Trudeau admitted he was
smoking marijuana and that's going to be the case until the new system
is in place, but that's not a reason to prosecute young people for
smoking marijuana."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt