Mitchel Raphael on what Justin learned from his Whistler days and a Helena homage

‘It’s Not your mother’s pot’, Why he put forward that bilingual bill and Butter-tart war


Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

A large cloud of marijuana smoke rose above the packed front lawn of Parliament Hill as pot activists (mostly teenagers) gathered for the annual marijuana demonstration. The Liberal party’s position has been for decriminalization for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But Liberal MP Justin Trudeau is not in favour of decriminalization at all and feels that would be a step in the wrong direction. “It’s not your mother’s pot,” notes Trudeau of the stronger marijuana grown today, in contrast to the weed from hippie days. “I lived in Whistler for years and have seen the effects. We need all our brain cells to deal with our problems.” The day after the protest, a homeless man was seen combing through the Hill grass, looking for marijuana leftovers.


NDP MP Yvon Godin of New Brunswick is the man who introduced Bill C-232, which aims to have all future Supreme Court of Canada judges be bilingual. The bill is now in the Senate. It could be the first bill introduced by the MP to become law since Godin was elected in 1997. He was motivated to put the bill forward after talk that former (bilingual) Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache might not be replaced by a bilingual judge. In the end his replacement was bilingual, but Godin wants to make sure that people can be heard at every level of the federal court system by judges who understand their language. At the moment, they can, he says, except at the Supreme Court where there is one unilingual justice, Marshall Rothstein, who was appointed by Stephen Harper and was also on a short list of Supreme Court nominees compiled for the previous Liberal government.


The Dairy Farmers of Canada held a reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier with cheese platters and desserts, including butter tarts with a sign that stressed they were made with “real butter.” Labelling is a big issue for the dairy farmers. Tory MP Ted Menzies, parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, noted that the huge tariff on butter has kept the price high in Canada, “so there is a reason people cheat.” Sandra Buckler, Stephen Harper’s former director of communications who is now International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan’s chief of staff, checked out the tarts and proclaimed them good but said there was room for improvement. Buckler has been on a quest for the perfect butter tart, like the one her mother made. Unfortunately, that recipe was never passed along before her mother died.


International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda is settling into her new seat, which is right behind the Prime Minister. She shows up on TV when he rises in the House. It’s the first time Oda has been in a second-row seat; she says it’s harder to hear people there so she relies more on her earpiece. If she’s not careful when she takes it out, though, it messes up her hair. Not good when you’re on TV. Oda says no one told her what to do or watch out for while seated in a spot that often has you seen on prime-time news. Fortunately, she sits next to her old seatmate, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, who has had some experience being in the PM’s camera shot. Ambrose reminds Oda not to use her BlackBerry, for instance, when the PM is on his feet. Because of the minority situation in the House, several NDP MPs sit on the government side of the House and are often in the camera shot when certain Conservative ministers stand up. For a while, the NDP had mastered the art of shaking their heads when the Conservatives spoke, but those theatrics have recently lapsed. Still, last week, when Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn rose, NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, who is in Blackburn’s TV shot, flipped his non-existent hair as an homage, he joked, to when Helena Guergis sat behind the PM before getting the boot.


Mitchel Raphael on what Justin learned from his Whistler days and a Helena homage

  1. That's just…I mean, Justin, man..It's like…what was I saying?

  2. "Ambrose reminds Oda not to use her BlackBerry, for instance, when the PM is on his feet."

    How about actually paying attention when questions are asked during ALL of QP instead of playing with your Crackberry? Guess I'm living back in the 1990's when people paid attention when someone was talking and the most important thing was actually communicating with the person you were with rather than paying attention to everything and anything else.

    …and Justin, get a grip. So what if it's more powerful? If he lived in Whistler for years, is he trying to tell us something? Like Bill Clinton before him, did he not inhale?



    • Careful, you're risking sounding like an old timer – "Of course I used to wear an onion on my belt, which was the custom at the time."

  3. Well he lived in Whistler so that practically makes him an expert on marijuana, then. Why read studies or policy arguments when a few ski vacations will do?

      • Justin Trudeau, like many poeple, have seen the unfortunate effects of pot smoking.

        Legalizing it will be a societal message that it isn't a harmful drug, which is not true.

        Brain shrinkage is the last thing our society needs, and recent studies show that pot smoking does precisely that.

        Justin's right, the self-styled "experts" like Dan Gardner, wrong.

        • Pimping for the nanny state, jarrid? If you could just cite something that clealry demonstrates that dope causes so much harm to the user and society generally as compared to the harm caused by the current regime to users and society generally, I would be grateful.

          Dan doesn't self style himself an expert, jarrid, you style him as self styled. He does what his profession is supposed to do and reports on the published scientific studies and evaluates them using his legal training and demonstrable intellect. What are your bona fides?

          • Or another recent study on the relation between pot smoking and brain shrinkage:

            "Long-Term Cannabis Users May Have Structural Brain Abnormalities" (ScienceDaily (June 3, 2008))

            The article states: "Long-term, heavy cannabis use may be associated with structural abnormalities in areas of the brain known as the hippocampus and amygdala,…"

            And the money quote:

            "The hippocampus, thought to regulate emotion and memory, and the amygdala, involved with fear and aggression, tended to be smaller in cannabis users than in controls (volume was reduced by an average of 12 percent in the hippocampus and 7.1 percent in the amygdala)."

          • Jarrid, what you've done here is what criminalization advocates always do: they point to evidence that marijuana can be harmful, fold their arms, and rest their case.
            But here's the thing, Jarrid. All drugs can be harmful. Same for all substances — even fresh water can kill if you drink too much too fast. If that's your standard for what should be criminalized, well, the police will be busy.
            Then there's the small matter of whether criminalizing the substance actually reduces use and related harms. I've seen heaps of evidence that says it doesn't.
            And THEN there's the matter of unintended consequences like enriching organized crime.
            It's only by comparing the full consequences of a policy of legalization and regulation with the current policy of criminalization that you can judge which is best.
            It was just such a comparison that Be_rad asked you for. You ignored him. Which is all too typical of how these debates go.

          • Phew! Saved by Obi Wan :)

          • Thanks for the response Dan and you're qyite right for pointing out my non-response to Be_Rad.

            Here's my response. De-criminalization will send the wrong message at a time when the science is showing that this stuff is bad news. I have no difficulty with possession of pot being treated as a relatively minor offence. Those profiting from it should get treated harshly by the law.

            Decriminalization will encourage the consumption of a harmful substance, why would do that. Laws are prohibiting conduct do work. They have an educative function. That's where we part company.

          • I can read the findings of real experts, not pseudo-experts like Dan Gardner.

            For example: "Cannabis Damages Young Brains More Than Originally Thought, Study Finds" (ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2009))

            An article about the study summarizes the key findings:

            "The damaging effects of this illicit drug on young brains are worse than originally thought, according to new research by Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a psychiatric researcher from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The new study, published in Neurobiology of Disease, suggests that daily consumption of cannabis in teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have an irreversible long-term effect on the brain."

        • I agree with him – I came of age in the 60s, the 70s – and got fed up with pot smokers who never wanted to grow up. They just grew older. Sloppier, fatter, and with less ambition than a non pot-smoker.

  4. When he says "It's not your mother's pot" I'd guess he'd know whereof he speaks. His mother had quite the rep, back in the day.

  5. It's not your mother's pot

    This argument is kinda like spirits. Sure, liquor is stronger, but you don't down it in big draft glasses either…. well I don't…. except when I'm watching QP….. now where did I leave my glass…….

  6. Why does Justin think my Mom's pot is inferior to mine? My Mom has a job. She's buying the good stuff too.

  7. Kudos to Justin Trudeau

    And he's bang on about needing all of our brain cells to deal with our problems.

    Just say no to drugs. It leads to a dead end street.

    • Marijuana use does not effect or kill brain cells.

Sign in to comment.