Justin Trudeau: Yes, he inhaled, and no, he’s not apologizing

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says MP demonstrated ‘profound lack of judgment’


QUEBEC – Justin Trudeau says, yes, he’s inhaled a few times and, yes, he was already a member of Parliament the last time he did and, no, he has no regrets about it.

The Liberal leader laid out his past marijuana use in a lengthy interview and in an exchange with reporters Thursday in which he made no apologies.

He said he’s smoked pot five or six times in his life — including three years ago during a backyard get-together — and never really liked it much.

Now that he’s come clean about using pot, he said, he’d like to move on and talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who have a criminal record for it.

Trudeau sought to shift the focus onto his policy of legalizing marijuana when asked by reporters about his drug use and whether it had been a mistake.

“No, it wasn’t a mistake,” Trudeau told journalists in Quebec City.

“I do not consume cannabis. I am not a big consumer at all. I tried it…

“I’ve never tried other types of hard drugs. I am not a consumer of marijuana but, yes, I’ve already tried it. I used it — maybe five or six times in my life.”

He said he believes public opinion has moved on and he’s confident that Canadians will judge him less harshly than his political opponents.

What matters now, Trudeau said, is ending a marijuana prohibition policy that he says costs law enforcement $500 million a year and has left 475,000 people with criminal records since the Conservatives took office in 2006.

He has said that issue touched his own family.

Trudeau originally made the marijuana admission in a candid interview with the Huffington Post, in which he also revealed that his youngest brother, Michel, was charged with marijuana possession shortly before his 1998 death in an avalanche.

He said he’s smoked pot only five or six times in his life, never enjoyed it much, and doesn’t do it anymore.

He said he was never known as the pot aficionado in the family. Trudeau also told the website that because he never smoked much he was never the one among his group of friends to buy the weed.

He said he last smoked marijuana about three years ago at his house in Montreal, outside on a patio by the pool.

“We had a few good friends over for a dinner party, our kids were at their grandmother’s for the night, and one of our friends lit a joint and passed it around. I had a puff,” he was quoted saying.

Trudeau was elected to Parliament in 2008.

Trudeau’s admission will doubtless give more fodder to the Conservatives, who’ve been pointing to his support for legalizing and regulating marijuana as evidence that he doesn’t have the judgment to be prime minister.

The strongest initial reaction came from Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

“By smoking marijuana as a Member of Parliament, Justin Trudeau demonstrates a profound lack of judgment,” he said in a statement.

“By flouting the laws of Canada while holding elected office, he shows he is a poor example for all Canadians, particularly young ones. Justin Trudeau is simply not the kind of leader our country needs.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was more guarded when asked about it, saying only that Trudeau’s actions “speak for themselves.”

The prime minister has said he’s never tried pot but attributes that to his asthma, which would make it painful to smoke anything including cigarettes.

The Huffington Post said the NDP leader’s office confirmed that Tom Mulcair has smoked pot “but sent strongly worded emails refusing to say when he last used the drug or where he procured it.”

Trudeau cracked a joke about it.

He said on Twitter that he had indeed made a mistake in being so open and was now coming under “vicious attacks” over his other admission in the Huffington Post interview: that he doesn’t drink coffee.

More seriously, he said, he doesn’t want children to use pot which is why he plans to squash the black market and replace it with a highly regulated trade.

He was forced to admit, however, that in his early days in Parliament his private actions were inconsistent with the drug prohibition policies he espoused at the time.

“Yes,” he replied, when asked whether he had done one thing and said another in the past. He said his beliefs on drug policy had changed over time.

He was also asked whether his recent talk about drugs was calculated, as a possible vote-winner. Trudeau said the reaction had been far from unanimous.

Indeed, social media contained a wide gamut of responses Thursday.

There were jokes — many of them about his atypical aversion to coffee. There were laments about his lack of judgment.

And there was one more serious accusation: that Trudeau had been hypocritical in smoking pot privately, while voting publicly for mandatory minimum sentences, in 2009, for marijuana production.

The Quebec City mayor did not appear at the news scrum with Trudeau.

Trudeau said he and Regis Labeaume had a “good meeting” in which they discussed rail transportation, the local port, the airport and the city’s infrastructure needs.

-With files from Martin Ouellet and Murray Brewster


Justin Trudeau: Yes, he inhaled, and no, he’s not apologizing

  1. Oh, isn’t that cute. Junior smoked weed – and he admits it. How about admitting that one of his aides/advisors and that of his brother is Elias Hazineh – a radical Islamist who raved at an illegal Al Q’ud rally in Toronto 3 weeks ago(taped) that Israelis who don’t leave should be shot – and he would do it himself – hmm, shouldn’t we be more concerned about Trudeau’s choice of advisors rather than his smoking pot?

    • Mike Duffy, Pammy Wallin, Pierre Poutine, Vic Toews, Tony Gazebo, Dean Del Mastro, Bruce Carson, Tom Flanagan, Bev Oda, oh gosh, so little time and so many screw ups…

    • Wow! Such a balanced blog. You must feel proud.

  2. I thought I heard that Harper had said in the past he had smoked marijuana. Can anyone confirm?

    • NO he hasn’t.

    • Well, he’s never smiled, and I’m sure a puff or two would’ve put a smile on his face, so probably not.

  3. Oh no! So that’s what was in those ‘brownies’ that everyone was so fond of at the last Liberal Party Convention. Everyone there seemed to be in much too good a mood for it to simply be the effects of one too many martini’s or margarita’s. It was the marijuana.

  4. Parliamentary Press Gallery alert alert,
    No one in the Conservative caucus has ever smoked marijuana. INVESTIGATE!

  5. not sure, but I don’t think their is a law in the criminal code that someone can be charged for smoking pot, but I know their is a law for possession of pot. could I be wrong ?

    • So, when you smoke it you don’t possess it while you are smoking it? That is cute.

      • One cannot possess one’s pot and smoke it too, Geoffrey.

        • lol

          • the truth is, you cant charge anyone for admitting they smoked pot, so Justin didn’t break any law. I never thought their was a law for that.

          • if you could be charged for admitting you smoked pot, 3 mps on PnP tonight, should’ve been arrested.

      • Shotgun. :-)

    • There, not ‘their’

  6. It is highly unlikely that Trudeau, if elected PM, will legalise marijuana. He will decriminalise it, but that is as far as he will go. Harper might do the same thing, or at least give the impression that he would and advocate abolition of the Senate. Both men will say whatever they think will turn out the under 30 vote. And the man with the beard will campaign for legal weed and no senate but what he would do, if elected PM, is far short of these policy objectives.

    Any one of these leaders will avoid legalising pot, once in power. You can bank that.

    And they won’t abolish the Senate, because that would open a can of worms. Nobody wants to deal with the disruption that senate abolition would have on the voting system. It would make proportional representation necessary, and Quebec won’t like that; it will surely seek to ‘opt out’ of it as it has done in so many other things. Proportional representation would make majority governments impossible, which won’t turn the crank of any leader or candidate. Any one of them wants a majority which would make them dictator for 5 years; they won’t choose to pass that up.

    The next election, whatever the hype, won’t change much. You can count on that.

  7. This guy is turning into an interesting leader to watch. He didn’t have to tell this to anyone but chose to. Which Canadian leaders have admitted to smoking pot? JT, Mulcair but woudl not say when the last time was, Stockwell Day did on TV today, Brad Wall did a few years ago to the media. So JT is the only one who has acknowledge toking as an MP, is that correct? The Con talking point on this is that he showed bad judgement by smoking pot as an MP. But does he also show poor judgement for openly telling us? After all, he’s on the record with a policy aiming toward legalization and regulation of pot. And depending on your age, we all likely know professionals who smoke various amounts and also are productive and successful — it’s not as though we believe in Reefer Madness-type hype any more.

    It will be interesting to see the reactions of Canadians about this — do they care about pot at all any more? I think I read that the Police Chiefs Association recently suggested ticketing fines for possession — and they said more than 57,000 minor arrests last year needlessly sucked up resources.

    • He had to do this because he knew the other side had the information and would be willing to use it.

      • No, the reporter had earlier asked all the leaders about whether they had smoked pot, and when, and after that, JT’s office contacted the reporter and said JT would speak to her for 20 minutes in his office about cannabis. It was Althia Raj and she spoke about this on Power and Politics today.

        • Yes, but he knew disclosure was necessary, not something he could avoid. He knew the other side would know it and use it. This was a gesture of survival, not bravery.

          • This is simply a power play by the boy from Papineau. Justin wants to get in on the lucrative medical marijuana market, because if his motivational speaking gig stops bringing in some extra cash, and he loses his position as leader of the Liberals, he’ll need something to fall back on. A chain of M@M stores across Canada? A guy could retire comfortably on that steady source of income.

          • How do the conservatives know he smoked pot in his back yard 3 years ago?

          • Let’s put it this way; it was a tactical disclosure, because he knew it would haunt his campaign particularly if he evaded the question or denied it. There is no bravery in a tactical disclosure.

          • Put it any way you want, but a few facts to back up your theory would be helpful. Otherwise it looks like you are making stuff up.

    • The only trouble is, for every person that has a pleasurable experience, there are some that don’t. I tried and it made me sick. It was the first time in my life I felt sea sick. I just wanted to throw up and lie down.

    • Both Pierre and Margaret Trudeau smoked pot….as did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Obama, Soros, Sarah Palin……

      Pretty much everybody but me apparently. LOL

  8. Peter MacKay should be the last person in Canada to complain about someone else’s ‘profound lack of judgement’!

  9. Let’s face it, if anyone needs to mellow out and get the stick out of his a$$, it’s Helmet Head. He might actually become a little human if he toked up a little. As it is, he is just a plastic Ken doll without a personality.

  10. Moral high grounds are tenuous by nature. Those standing on them today may not find themselves standing there for very long.

    How many MP’s have knowingly driving a car while impaired?

  11. Great. I’ll choose which law I consider ridiculous and break it. I should get the support of all kinds of smart people. Maybe not remitting the GST? I could tell the judge that a member of parliament figured it was ok not to obey a law, so I figure it’s ok as well.

    If Trudeau thinks that the marijuana laws are silly, he is in a position to put forward a private members bill, or run the next campaign on the issue, and change the law.

    • Cough….that’s what he’s doing.