Harper’s Brandon letter, the demon weed and Justin Trudeau

Paul Wells on the Conservative campaign against the Liberal leader

This is extraordinary: a letter from a sitting prime minister to voters on the eve of a by-election. There are no rules on prime ministers’ participation in by-election campaigns, but Stephen Harper has tended to follow Jean Chretien’s practice of staying out. (I’m sure earlier prime ministers followed the same rule of thumb, but Chretien’s where I came into this business and started keeping track.) By-elections are unpredictable; the real-world stakes are low, and the potential for embarrassment disproportionately high. While opposition leaders always campaign in by-elections because opposition leaders are always praying for new momentum, there is nothing to be gained by a prime minister who links himself too closely to the outcome. If his party’s candidate loses, he wears it. Harper has not set foot in any of the ridings that will vote next Monday, but now he has sent a form letter over his signature to voters in Brandon-Souris.

The letter mentions the Liberals exclusively. The NDP, which came in second in 2011 with five times the Liberals’ vote, do not rate a mention in Harper’s letter. One gets the impression the Conservatives are worried about losing a seat that has gone Conservative (or, in Rick Borotsik’s day, Progressive Conservative) for seven elections in a row — a riding where the Liberals came in fourth in 2008 and 2011.

(There is always the possibility that the Conservatives’ research shows they are comfortably ahead in Brandon, and that Harper’s letter was written so that after the victory he’ll get credit. But that seems too clever by half. No, probably the Conservatives sent the letter because their campaign needs some help.)

So what case does Harper make? First, four paragraphs on the economy. Reporters tend to skip that stuff because it’s repetitive and boring to us, but there’s a reason why it goes at the top. If taxes and budget deficits were growing and Canada were last in the G7 for job growth, that would go at the top of Liberal voter-motivation letters.

Second, nods to Conservative household gods: the elimination of the long-gun registry and the wheat-board monopoly, and a “tough’ stance on crime. But then comes the part that is making some Liberals apoplectic with the odd mix of amusement and nervousness Harper’s most audacious attacks always provoke in his opponents: “Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana will make it more accessible to our kids and encourage recreational drug use.” 

The argument in that sentence will be familiar to many Brandon-Souris voters who will have received this mailer at home during the campaign:

The Conservative plan to use Trudeau’s numerous comments on marijuana against him is much bigger than Brandon-Souris. On Nov. 7 I was driving from Sarnia to Toronto in a rental car. In three hours I heard a Conservative ad against Trudeau twice on commercial radio. That rate of repetition indicates a very heavy ad buy. The ad featured a mother’s voice worrying that Trudeau’s pot policies would make it easier for “our kids” to get drugs. The Conservatives are identified as the ad’s sponsor at the end.

The Conservatives have not announced these ads. I can find no transcript or online audio archive of their content. [UPDATE: Colleague David Akin at Sun News had better luck. Here's the audio.] But Twitter followers using the hashtag #SawAnAd, which a few of us scribes use to track unannounced party ad purchases, report hearing a lot of this ad across southern Ontario, in the Vancouver area, in Newfoundland and in Brandon.

I find most discussion of the Conservatives’ campaign against Trudeau on the pot issue to be monumentally complacent. Highly educated urban sophisticates have, almost universally, either used marijuana or been out with friends who used it. They are socialized to believe it’s no big deal and are floored when the Conservatives make a big deal about it. On Twitter some have expressed great hilarity at the notion that the Harper Conservatives are campaigning against Trudeau on pot in Vancouver, because as “everybody” knows, “everybody” in Vancouver smokes pot.

But Jodie Emery, who advocates for looser marijuana laws and whose husband Marc is in a U.S. jail on drug charges, gets it. “Vancouver has a big & growing immigrant community from strict anti-drug-use countries, so Harper Cons targeting them,” she wrote to me on Twitter.

What, on FM96 in London and Kool FM in Toronto? Not only. Those were just the stations I was listening to as I drove up from Sarnia. Here’s a Punjabi-language TV ad. You should really listen to the audio even if you’re not fluent in Punjabi:

But surely people are sophisticated, and surely they worry about the pernicious influence of drug prohibition, and all the lines we always hear when the subject of Conservatives, Trudeau and pot come up? I mean, surely nobody’s going to actually fall for this Conservative attack line?

Here’s the latest Nanos Party Power Index from the pollster Nik Nanos. It tracks general attitudes toward political parties by concocting a number that combines vote intention, “best PM” scores, and respondents’ assessments of leaders’ personal qualities. The Liberals have declined, by this admittedly rather fanciful measure, for four weeks in a row. In Ontario the decline has been 10 points in a straight line; in British Columbia, it’s 15 points. Go look at the graphs. Of course mainstream coverage of Trudeau’s comments on China, and of Tom Mulcair’s good work in the House of Commons, plays too, and in much of the country, maybe more. But I believe the pot ads are playing big.

One more thing. A month ago a Conservative political staffer sent me a transcript of Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray’s appearance on a Cantonese-language Fairchild Radio open-line forum. It took me a few days to verify that it’s an accurate transcript, and I’ve ignored it since then because I’ve been out peddling a book. But Murray gets hammered by callers (who could as easily be partisan plants as on English-language radio, or then again, maybe they aren’t plants) for the Liberals’ stance on marijuana. A few excerpts:

[Host:] Now we have Mrs. Cheung. Hi Mrs. Cheung.

Mrs. Cheung:

Hi good day to you and the lady. You guys only have two seats, don’t drag the Senate in, because if you count like that, then don’t the Conservatives have eighty-something seats? You can’t do that. Only two seats! Because [the Liberals] are corrupt, so they only have two seats.

What I also want to say is, you don’t put words into the Conservatives’ mouth. I’m not on anyone’s side, I’m not in any party. But don’t put words into their mouths saying they want to legalize marijuana. They stated clearly that marijuana is not to be legalized, just a few days ago. They launched that thing [free market in medical marijuana] because they are going to grow them collectively, because the police have said that it’s really hard to catch people, they are growing [marijuana] everywhere, claiming they are ill and then planting them. [The Tories] say you can’t do that, and from now on they must plant it at a centralized place, and you must get a doctor’s note proving that you really have cancer or are sick or in great pain, then you are allowed to buy it. It’s not that they launched this plan to go for the [legalization] path, don’t make things up. And the taxes they receive aren’t going to be beneficial to the parties that are friendly with them, [the money] is going to be used in the medical realm, they have already said that. The taxes are to be used on health care, to heal the drug addicts. So you make things clear and don’t lie to British Columbians. [Ottawa] made it clear that de-criminalization is not allowed, nor is it going to be legalized. That is only said by that dummy Justin Trudeau from the federal Liberal Party. He even takes drugs. He said many people in his family take marijuana, he said it himself.

Johann:

I got you, Mrs. Cheung. Thank you very much for your question.

(In English) That was Mrs. Cheung. She said that the Conservatives made it very clear they will not legalize or decriminalize pot. The reason for the privatization of the marijuana production was to make it easier for police to enforce, make it easier to have the tax revenue, and it’s easier to keep security there. But at the end of the day, the Tories are still against the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. So what’s your take on that?

Murray:

Well that seems a little conflicting actually, I mean, your caller has just pointed out that the government thinks it’s safer to have government control of this medical marijuana for 30,000 people. The same logic applies to any of the marijuana. I think the questioner and your listeners need to ask themselves – is it better to have the criminal gangs control marijuana and fight over the profits, or is it better to have government control marijuana, tax it, and use [the money] for health care and seniors? Because really those are the choices that we have.

Johann:

(In Cantonese) So Joyce answers Mrs. Cheung’s question saying that, what Mrs. Cheung said was actually a little conflicting, because how do you grow marijuana without regulating it? She said that now there are 30,000 people who need to use marijuana, and there are many who need it. So now who will be growing the marijuana for them to use? She said the fundamental question people should be asking is, do they want the marijuana to be controlled by gangs and have them fight on the streets for the profits, or have the government regulate it and decide who can or cannot get it, and also receive tax money for the treasury? People should seriously think about that.

Next we have Mr. Lau. Hi, Mr. Lau.

Mr. Lau:

(In Cantonese) Hello. I want to tell this MP that she is really stupid. I’m afraid the host will translate wrongly, so I’ll say that she is very (in English) stupid.

Johann:

Okay..

Mr. Lau:

(In Cantonese) Why? Because she can’t even distinguish between the recreational use of marijuana and the medical use of marijuana. The Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana must be allowed, our government has no way to stop that, so they have to deal with it by centralizing. And this is correct, of course. Justin Trudeau’s was recreational use of marijuana, legalizing the casual use of marijuana for parties. [Murray] can’t even tell the difference between these two things, how could she be an MP? This person is really silly. What she repeated twice still has no logic. How could we elect such a person to be an MP?

Johann:

(In Cantonese) Okay, thank you, Mr. Lau.

(In English) That was Mr. Lau. He said that we should make it clear between… the differences between recreational use marijuana and medical use marijuana, ’cause he said the Supreme Court has ruled that the medical use of marijuana cannot be prohibited, that’s why the Tories are setting up the privatized marijuana production to give them supply of medical use marijuana. But he said Justin Trudeau, the Liberals’ leader, is proposing a full legalization of recreational use marijuana, so… there must be a difference between the two.

Murray:

Well, Mr. Lau, I would encourage Mr. Lau to think about the safety of our children and the safety of our streets. So whatever the marijuana is used for, if it’s controlled by gangs, they will be fighting over the profits, and they will be pushing it to young people, and that’s bad for the safety of our streets, and the safety of our citizens and our children. It’s better to have government control it. And that’s exactly what the Conservatives are doing. But let me link this to another key issue, and that’s the economy. The amount of taxation that will go into government’s hands rather than the profits going into the criminal gang’s hands to fight over on our streets with guns, is in the hundreds of millions of dollars in British Columbia alone, in the billions of dollars for going into the Canadian economy. So, currently, we have a Conservative government that has been making deficits ever since… before the recession even started. They have been spending money we do not have in Canada. They’ve increased the national debt by some hundred and sixty billion dollars since they were elected. So they should be thinking about how we can actually get out of debt, which is what the Liberals did under Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien. And marijuana can actually contribute to that, by putting it into the hands of government, and taking it out of the hands of gangs.

Johann:

But here is my question. Does the purpose of use of marijuana matter here, whether it is medical use, whether it is recreational use, does it matter here?

Murray:

No, not in terms of the fact that criminals controlling it is bad for kids and it’s bad for the safety of our streets. Because whether it is… the marijuana was intended to go to one of the 30,000 medical users, or to someone to use instead of drinking that bottle of scotch, either way the product was being controlled by the criminal gangs. They were making [inaudible] and that’s why the Conservatives made this change for the medical marijuana, because they knew that the gangs were controlling it, it’s bad for society, it’s bad for our kids, and it’s bad for the safety of our streets either way. So that’s why it needs to be controlled by government, whether it’s recreational or medicinal.

Johann:

(In Cantonese) So just now Joyce was answering Mr. Lau’s question, saying that in fact, the most important thing is still the society’s safety. No matter what the marijuana is used for, medicine or recreation, as long as it goes into the hands of gangs, there will be danger. She said that, if marijuana is regulated, there will be a large amount of tax income, which can help the federal government leave deficit sooner and reduce national debt. She said that now the Conservatives are having a lot of debt issues. I asked if recreational or medical usages of marijuana is a focus in this discussion of marijuana legalization; and she answered that no matter what, currently marijuana is being controlled by gangs, that’s why the Conservatives want to control medical marijuana. But she said the most fundamental thing is that people should discuss whether marijuana is going to affect the society’s safety. If it will, then people should consider issues of decriminalization and legalization.

We now have Mr. Lui. Mr. Lui, can you make your question simpler?

Mr. Lui:

Yes. Actually I think this MP is not just foolish, she is obstinate. Why? Because this marijuana is just a gateway drug. For drug users this is just a beginning. After marijuana, drug users usually take stronger drugs, like amphetamine, barbital, heroin, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), midazolam, and countless others, and there are still more strong synthetic drugs. So, in other words, if your government… if the Liberals are in power and buy up the marijuana market, do you think organized crime won’t go ahead and fight for the heroin, amphetamine, barbital, MDMA, cocaine, etc. markets? Markets for those other drugs are actually the main market. And if the Liberals come into power, would they go and buy up other drugs too? In that case, a Canada under Liberal rule would be no different from countries like Columbia, where the government is the drug lord, and those ruled will mainly be drug users and addicts, and [the country]’s productivity and taxes…. You said [the government] will be able to get tax income, but when [the people] don’t have the energy to produce, to create, to engage in economic productive activities, who would be able to pay tax to the government? If everybody is addicts…. That’s why I think they are not only stupid, but also obstinate.

Johann:

Thank you Mr. Lui.

(In English) That was Mr. Lui’s question, but it was rather long, so I’ll take a commercial break right now and interpret it during the break, and we’ll get you to answer after the break.

Murray:

Okay. Thank you.

I believe the Conservative campaign against Justin Trudeau on marijuana legalization is by far the most ambitious partisan exercise they have undertaken since their ad blitz against Michael Ignatieff in the first few months of 2011.

 




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Harper’s Brandon letter, the demon weed and Justin Trudeau

  1. Campaigning against Marijauna is a losing argument that more and more canadians see as ridiculous. it might work with social conservatives but the socons don’t win the elections, the progressive conservatives do.

    • But the “socons” make the big donations and are Mr. Harper’s “base”.

    • Did you ever read the article? It’s about ethnic attitudes towards weed. Further, progressive conservatives win elections? Like who? Joe Clark? John Tory? Ernie Eves? The bi

      • One would think that an argument can be made to the ethnic communities that the majority of the gun and violence in their communities are drug related.

        • Yes, but entirely related to the prohibition of drugs and not the drugs themselves. Over and over we have seen countries who legalize recreational drugs not only find decreased levels of drug-related violence and crime, but also a decrease in hard drug use. “Tough on crime” is the most backwards, counter-intuitive approach to drug problems, and it’s no surprise that the “progressive” conservatives wholeheartedly support it.

          • I think the key point is that these voters aren’t likely to be persuaded by evidence or academic studies. Their gut instinct is that drugs are bad (mkay), and they have internalized all the supporting rationales for this position, regardless of whether they are supported by evidence. Hence the invocation of the discredited “gateway drug” theory in the transcript above.

          • Amazing isn’t it.

            Also, I’ve never seen the “gateway theory” applied at the national level. Not only with Pot Users –> Heroin but Canada as a whole –> Columbia.

            It doesn’t matter thought. Progress can be slowed, not stopped. Whether social consciousness shifts first, or the elderly… pass, just a matter of time.

            Then again, isn’t that the Conservative mandate? To slow progress and protect the elite class?

          • exactly. That is the selling point for the ethnic communities.

    • It’s not a losing argument. Any family with children will be very concerned with the fact that marijuana will be more accessible to their kids. To most Canadians, marijuana legalization isn’t even on their radar of priorities. Sure some urban hipsters may think it’s the most pressing issue facing the nation, but those are a very very small minority.

      Trudeau’s policy also leads one to wonder what he’d legalize next? Would Trudeau’s Liberals legalize all drugs in the future? If their MPs are actually making the case that it’s an economic decision, and the government needs the money, why wouldn’t they want to tax cocaine, heroin and meth as well?

      • Your first para actually makes a reasonable point – is it really a priority for ordinary Canadians? Probably not, until you consider it does at least make a case that regulating pot is at least one option out there for getting pot out of the hands of criminals and thugs.
        Your second para is quite frankly the raving of a right wing paranoid.

        • Since Trudeau is all about “evidence” and “science”, I’d really like to see the “evidence” that legalized marijuana takes it out of the hands of “criminals and thugs”. I mean, aside from the fact that growers will no longer be “criminals” because their activity is suddenly legal.

          • Maybe if you could comprehend what youread
            you’d be able to stop making the same false claims, over and over again.

          • Just google marijuana legalization and all your wishes will be full filled sir…it’s really not that hard.

          • The evidence goes both ways. Studies and polls are mostly a waste of time. Let’s just trying applying common sense instead of trying to stack up expert reports.

          • But then there’s your common sense and mine, and his and hers over there.
            It’s a bit of a buzz phrase right now, but evidenced based policy is the way to go.

          • But when the evidence goes both ways, then what? Common sense is all that’s left. So ask yourself – does government selling booze keep it out of kids hands? Answer = no. In fact, government selling is a sign to most that the government condones it – therefore it becomes more socially accepted – so more people do it – so more kids are exposed to it and have greater access to it.
            Look how socially acceptable it became when Trudeau admitted it? Suddenly a bunch of other people admit it. Sure, we all know people smoke dope – but legalizing and selling it will more likely than not result in more people doing it and less social stigma attached to it.
            Decriminalize it (or legalize it, but don’t sell it) and you’re saying – we don’t agree with using drugs, but we also don’t believe that people should have a criminal record for this offence.
            Which is the better message to kids? Which message will still keep it as a social taboo?

          • You are right, Realitybiteseh. Governments should not be in the business of selling substances. The Alberta government realized that it looked bad for them to be turning a profit off the sales of booze so they privatized the business and now all liquor stores in the province are privately owned. However, all the privately owned stores have to buy their alcohol wholesale from the Alberta government. It was a stunning move in terms of business savy and it creates a perception that the government is not profiting off of the suffering of its people.

          • So what you’re saying is that governments should not be in the business of selling substances…to individuals, but it’s ok to sell them to privatized former provincial companies who then sell them to individuals. That…is…much…clearer…

          • Well, prohibition does not work. Governments however, should not be in the business of gambling, cigarettes, booze, liquor and pot. It should be privatized. It is in Alberta and should be further privatized there and taxed with all funds going to healthcare to pay for people who suffer from illnesses related to abuse of substances and from destruction of lives relating to gambling addiction. It might be necessary to give people the option to indulge but it isn’t right to make money off of the suffering of those who can’t control their indulging.

          • So, you are saying you favour privatizing those “services” who cater to human misery and also favour allowing rapacious capitalists to become wealthy off said misery, making government step in only after the fact. Why not cut out the greedy middle man and use ALL the money for health care? Governments aren’t in it for a profit (at least they shouldn’t be) so it’s not a stretch to assume that if they had all the money instead of only a pittance, they could do much more with it. Besides, health care is already covered so no sweat.

          • alsandor, you misunderstand. There is no “rapacious capitalists”when the government is the wholesaler. Look at the Alberta model for instance. The government is the wholesaler of alcohol and there is a very small margin for profit for the private end marketer. Further in casinos, there has to be a non-profit fundraiser in order for the casino to run. Of course most governments are in it for profit. As for “healthcare being covered no sweat,” you are sadly deluded if you believe that addictions and mental health are not sadly underfunded…..Not to mention the effects cigarette smoking and alcohol have on cancer and heart disease, etc.
            Ask yourself Aslandor, if the capitalists are making so much money off of alcohol, how come it is so much cheaper in Alberta than in Ontario where there are no capitalists and the government is getting all the money? Maybe the liquor business is not so cheap for the govt to run, eh?

          • However, booze bins or casinos, the people who run them are in it for the money. If they can’t make what they want they can always lay off staff and pocket the wages. Rapacious capitalism is more complex than just jacking up prices. Either way, someone is profiting from human misery.

            As to health care, the people have access to it through the Canada Health Act. If the provinces are lacking resources, it’s because they are too busy trying to privatize of get into PPP arrangements. Those solutions are so 1980 it’s not funny. The money is there. Priorities aren’t there yet.

          • You’ve completely lost me with your “logic”, HI. If the government regulates it, taxes it and controls the wholesale distribution, then the only real benefit to private versus government retailers is that the government doesn’t have the hassles of dealing with employees and their unions. Much easier to keep the workers’ salaries low if they work for a bunch of independent retailers than if they work for a government monopoly where it is easier to unionize and demand highr wages &/or benefits.

          • Let me get this right, you’re saying the govt selling booze somehow makes it more socially acceptable and increases the exposure of people in general and kids to it? So, the corollary being that if we just kept on prohibiting it [ and pot] it would decrease as a socially accepted good. I think that argument has already met histories test, and utterly failed.
            There already is a huge problem with kids being exposed to illegal pot. Regulating is at least going to slow this process down.It already is socially acceptable for those who are using – including kids. It will not of course be a magic bullet for societies problems with drugs in general.
            In any case your common sense argument is flawed imo. When there is a split on policy evidence you keep on digging for better more conclusive evidence until you reach some kind of consensus amongst experts in the field – including those who actually work on the sharp end of addiction.

            “Look how socially acceptable it became when Trudeau admitted it? Suddenly a bunch of other people admit it”

            That’s a ridiculous correlation. You’re giving JT way too much credit.[ at least for recreational use. Which is fairly harmless for adults at least]
            Holding half a million people hostage to criminal records for which there is little or no consequence in court [ most cases get tossed]is a bizarre way to send a message to kids.

          • Without a doubt attaching something with a criminal penalty will act as a deterrent for many people – not all, but many. I, however, do not agree with prohibition – I think it should be decriminalized or legalized but without government selling it..
            How exactly will regulating it (selling it like booze) keep it away from kids? I keep hearing that, but no one can give me a convincing answer.
            If you are going to wait for science to give you a definitive policy answer, you will be waiting FOREVER. For every pro-weed study/article out there there’s an opposite study/article.
            You don’t think there’s any correlation between Trudeau admitting to smoking dope and then all those other politicians admitting to it after? Once JT admitted it, they had no fear of admitting it themselves – therefore, they felt it was more socially acceptable to admit to it.
            I’m not advocating for the current criminal regime. I think it’s a travesty that people are criminally charged for weed possession. It’s usually kids and those that are already on the margins or society. Rich white people smoking dope rarely get bothered by police.

          • You need id to get into a Liquor store…it’s that simple. Will that work 100%? No! But as i said parental responsibility doesn’t end because the govt stocks your favourite pot, nor does the law shut up shop.
            In any case i would not oppose decriminalization as a first step. Perhaps it will be enough, but i doubt it.

          • I got booze anytime I wanted it from the time I was in grade 9. Almost never an issue so the LCBO model does little to nothing to keep it away from kids. Kids are going to get booze and drugs if they want them…. why make pot even more accessible than it is already by selling it at a store?
            Most kids when I was in H.S. didn’t smoke pot b/c it was viewed as a drug for losers and because many kids didn’t want to associate with the people that “dealt”. Now a possible future PM does it and wants to sell it at the corner store…. if pot was sold at stores like booze when I was in high school, I’ll bet I would have done it a lot more back then. My friends didn’t do it back then b/c of the stigma attached to it and the people we’d (generally) have to associate with to get it.

          • Bootlegging will be a legit worry, how else can you get booze in grade 9?

          • I was in Ontario on a school trip in grade 10. The kids called a cab and the cabbie bought a 24 at the LCBO and delivered to us. Very slick.

          • Yeah, this is a worry. When i had theis convesation with the wife[teacher] it was the very first thing she brought up. In small towns like our it may not be that hard to keep the bootleggers at bay[ the cops know who they are] they simply wont be allowed to place any orders or any large scale orders. In the city it will be much more difficult.

          • Yes, have you heard of companies that deliver bottles of booze right to your door? They deliver it ANYWHERE, including to hospitals where addiction patients can meet them outside the lobby and guzzle. Do you know drug dealers get themselves admitted as well….captive audience of addicted rehab patients who are on the fence about quitting and are especially vulnerable to purchases. That is why I cringe when I hear that anything is “difficult to get.” It truly isn’t, whether government regulated or not.

          • The answer for this is not pathetic attempts to prohibit addictive substances, but focus on more effective treatment strategies. Prohibition doesn’t work. Spending endless amounts of oxygen and political capital on drug prohibition measures distracts from what could be done to actually help those impacted by addiciton. Prohibition is an easy excuse to neglect addicts and dismiss them as criminals who deserve their misery. Conservative opinions on this are just appalling.

          • I have never preached prohibition but I don’t think government belongs in the vice business.

          • So your solution is…?

          • I do not believe governments in all countries are in the vice business. In the US, you buy booze at the grocery store, not at a government operated booze store. Further, the government isn’t the wholesaler. Governments can still tax vice products without being involved in the sales or operation of them. If we were gun crazy in Canada, would the government be selling all the handguns too?

          • If you’re concerned about keeping these things out of the hands of minors, though, your chances are likely higher that proper rules re IDs, etc will be enforced by government employees than the staff at a mom & pop that’s struggling to stay afloat.

          • It is privatized in Alberta and believe me, they are strict about asking for ID just like they are in bars. Booze is also MUCH cheaper here. The privates are still regulated by the government and will be shut down if they don’t ID.

          • And I don’t doubt that the majority obey those rules. But some won’t; for whatever reason, they will value the profit above following the law. I used to see it all the time in NL – and bought a fair share myself while under age; no reason for me to believe Albertans are that much more upstanding & law-abiding. Those kids you keep talking about with their booze are getting it somewhere.

          • Keith, kids in grade 12 in Alberta are 18. The legal drinking age is 18. They provide it for all their friends in high school. Also, older brothers and sisters have always booted. My daughter turned 18 in Feb of grade 12. I had 7 older brothers and sisters myself.

          • Steal it from parents but mostly had older friends buy it. Never bought bootleg – wouldn’t have even known where to go to get bootleg – but the big LCBO was easy to find! lol.
            Criminals will still participate in crime even if this is sold by government – they will find another crime to commit, or they will sell stronger strains of weed.

          • So, when all is said and done, what is your point? Where do you stand on the issue? Fr all your comments – or perhaps because there are so many – I really don’t see what point you are trying to make re legalizing pot.

            Are you for or against? Are you suggesting prohibition of alcohol / tobacco instead? Because none of us really think teens don’t drink, smoke or toke now…

          • IMO – decriminalize it, or legalize it but the government should not be in the business of selling or promoting it.
            There are many things I haven’t heard from Trudeau about how his plan would look. If it’s still not ok for kids under a certain age to smoke pot, then is it still a criminal offence for them to possess it? If that’s the case, how does that prevent young people from ending up with a criminal record?

          • Pot possession should be decriminalized full stop. Governments should get out of the business of any kind of vice…cigarettes, booze, gambling and pot selling. To be making money off the suffering of the people who have an illness of addiction is sickening. Privatize is and tax the crap out it. Use the monies to treat people who have illness related to those vices.
            Further, people who consider themselves celebrities have a duty to the impressionable. If JT is foolish enough to really believe that legalizing pot will keep it away from kids than he is deluded but he must understand that like a hockey star, some people idolize him and if Wayne Gretzky went out and said, “I had two shots of Tequila before I went on the ice in the Stanley Cup final” or “I had a few hoots in my friends backyard”, it would be irresponsible because young people look up to celebrities and Wayne Gretzy and JT and tend to emulate them. JT had a choice, he didn’t have to be a celebrity but he chose to be one.

          • I can’t disagree with that in principle. But i think JT deserves more praise then scorn. Do you really think the Harper govt would now be thinking about decriminalization if JT hadn’t raised the stakes? It isn’t as if the status quo is working at all.
            As far as pot goes i think you’re too late, Trudeau is simply reflecting the societal norm that recreational pot use for adults is no longer seen as even risque behaviour.

          • I believe Harper will decriminalize possession and write tickets. The whole legalization thing is a bit of a nightmare. In Alberta booze is privatized so it stands to reason, pot would be too.

          • Harper cannot afford to look like he is suddenly switching to any
            Trudeau position — and look at how the language they are using to talk
            about this in the talking points — in the HoC, the ads, etc. They
            cannot very well talk the current talk and then turn around and say,
            “Yeah, what Trudeau said — vote for us and we’ll adapt the LPC
            stance.” Their tone has changed, to my ears anyway, since a few months
            ago when they seemed to agree with the Police Chiefs that possession of small amounts could simply be fined. I think they have decided to hammer this issue — could backfire, but I think there’s been a change of position and tone.

          • He won’t do that until right before the election and he will go on side with the police chiefs to say that he will be tough on the sellers but only write tickets to their victims…..those who they took advantage of an sold cannabis to.

          • He would flip flop just before an election on an issue he uses to pander to his base?

          • Isn’t that incredibly patronizing?

            And why do the government liquor monopolies escape harsh criminal penalties given the harm alcohol does (even though the majority use it responsibly)?

          • Say what????? I am not commenting on the ethics of the practice. I am just giving you my prediction of what I believe he will do because he has already talked about “writing tickets” and his best strategy in my opinion is to find a way to appeal to as broad a range of people as he can from immigrants to mainstream Canadians.
            You want me to explain the hypocrisy of government liquor monopolies? That is like explaining why cigarettes are still on shelf despite how clearly dangerous they are. There is no reasonable explanation except that governments will never give up the profits that being a sole liquor wholesaler brings in and who exactly would criminally charge them? Themselves?

          • Alcohol and cigarettes are legal because there is no popular support for prohibition. I don’t think tax revenue has much to do with it.

          • This is the best comment so far. Thank you. The war on drugs has not worked anywhere in the World. Even in places where you face death if caught. Legalizing it and having the Government grow and sell it would provide jobs as well. The Criminal element does not care about our kids and will plant their dealers in school yards, malls, and anywhere kids gather. It would give people a choice, as long as it was good pot. lol. The latest comparison the PM made between about Trudeau to Rob Ford just about made me heave. What a joke.

          • Did government prohibition keep booze out of the hands of kids? Answer = no.

          • Did legalizing and selling it keep it out of the hands of kids? Answer = no.

          • At what point does good parenting come into the equation? Don’t blame the Marijuana.

          • Except for the evidence that says marijuana is bad for ones health. That’s not the type of evidence that can be considered. We must only consider the evidence that supports your policies, right?

          • Sure Ricky, that’s exactly what EBP means…you nailed it bud!

          • What evidence, Rick? Can you point to some? We don’t have medical tobacco or medical booze, do we?
            Most of what I’ve read lately shows more positives than negatives fr all but the heaviest use.
            And no, I’m not a user.

          • The “evidence” may cut both ways, but that’s only because there is ten times as much money being devoted to study the potential harmful effects of pot than the beneficial effects. Marijuana has been used beneficially in many applications, which is why its medical use is legalized in increasing numbers of jurisdictions.

            If there were half as much money spent studying the benefits of marijuana (treating epilepsy, as an anti-carcinogenic agent, etc.) then we’d find that the evidence weighs strongly in favour of benefits.

            Same goes for the reality of harm-reduction when we’re looking at people who abuse marijuana: there are not a lot of studies to demonstrate whether usage rates go up or down when pot is legalized. What we do know are the exorbitant enforcement costs and clogging up of our justice system with needless litigation, not to mention the destruction of people’s lives by giving them a criminal record for pot possession. All of these are unnecessary costs borne by Canadian society as long as marijuana possession is illegal.

          • Hahahah, “studies are mostly a waste of time”. Absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical statement of the day goes to you, my friend. Great work. Please, use your entirely subjective “common sense” to solve all our problems.

          • Find me a study that definitively states legalizing weed will reduce crime, keep it out of the hands of kids, and not result in increased usage in the rest of the population – and show me that there are no conflicting studies. Good luck brainiac.
            By your logic NOTHING will ever happen with weed because there are NO definitive studies one can rely on. That’s why one must take the evidence that’s available and then apply their logic and common sense.
            Common sense is not common anymore however.
            “Let’s not use common sense”????? I think maybe your comment is the post of the day.

          • Let me address a couple fallacies you’ve put forth in you’re argument:
            1) I didn’t claim there were any studies that definitively state anything, what does your rant have to do with my statement?

            2) In the scientific community, studies do not determine absolute causation. We use them to guide our choices, they are small samples of what we are studying and must be regarded as such. I never once stated an absolute consensus must be reached before a decision is made. I simply stated that the assumption that studies are mostly a waste of time is an absurd statement. Scientific studies are the basis for the vast majority of advancements we’ve seen in health, medicine, and technology. Whether in a formal nature or done informally, the scientific method has been the driving force behind the industrial revolution. But I guess that is “mostly a waste of time”, or so your “common sense” tells you. My argument is that we cannot trust the common sense of the general population, and your counter-factual statement based on your own common sense supports my argument.

            3) If you chose to attack my intelligence using terms such as “brainiac”, please employ proper grammatical skills and a lexicon above that of my nephew, who is twelve, because it doesn’t bode will for your argument of possessing a superior intellect.

          • My point was not that studies are a total waste of time but that trying to find a definitive study that’s going to give you the answer you seek is a waste of time. You have to take the available information from every source and apply your common sense to that information to form a conclusion. I was just getting tired of people going on and on about flipp’in studies.
            (PS – I’m posting on a comment board not writing a formal letter so you’re not going to get me proof’ read or even use ‘proper grammar’ here)

          • It would also introduce and legislate punitive measures if certain standards aren’t held.

            Cutting up houses and making a grow-op (at least if I were to author such a hypothetical bill) would not be permissible if someone wanted a licence to grow – they would need to acquire the appropriate buildings, production methods, and equipment in order to properly run such a facility. Probably inspections done by the appropriate agencies, plant/facility security before it goes to market, and the like. Any legislator could rely heavily on existing liquor/tobacco laws and modify it to suit marijuana.

            Regulation by government should make it harder for children to access marijuana. I think it is safe to say that with the current systems set-up for tobacco and liquor that dedicated and entrepreneurial youngsters will be able to get their hands on either, especially if they have their hearts set on it. The same would go for marijuana – those youngsters would be able to get it. But currently, street-level dealers probably wouldn’t care if you looked thirteen – they want to make their turnaround as fast as possible and since they already operate outside the legal sphere – who gives a flip!?

            Criminals don’t magically become businessmen. If someone is selling hard drugs or engaging in ‘thuggish’ activity while also selling marijuana probably isn’t going to convert to legal growing the second it’s possible. The thugs would hopefully be weeded out quickly, because their brand of violent intimidation doesn’t last long in the upper echelons of business.

          • Grow ops can be regulated with municipal zoning, in industrial parks with buildings that have appropriate ventilation, fire protection, heavy duty electrical and inspections.

          • So let me get this straight. It’s going to be harder for kids to get marijuana because it will be against the law to sell to kids…. even though it’s already against the law to sell to kids?

            And criminals ARE businessmen, their businesses just operate outside of the law. If someone’s currently operating an illegal business, why would they stop just because some people are in the same business legally? They get to skip the regulation and the taxes.

          • You nailed it, smurt guy.
            Just look at all those gangsters selling moonshine to the kids and gunning each other down in chicago.

          • Well Ricky, I’ll give you some common sense:

            How many prosecutions of alcohol bootleggers in Canada do you know of in 2013?

            How many people do you know of that are currently incarcerated, and wasting millions of our tax dollars, for drinking a glass of wine to ‘unwind’ after work in 2013?

            Even though Canadian adults are casual consumers of alcohol at three times that of marijuana, when was the last time you heard about a profit-driven booze-gang on booze-gang shootout?

            If big business (with government endorsement and tax revenue) legally sells home-brew kits to Canadians, even the argument for/against growing at home is moot.

            Without need for an underground market, pot dealers as we know them will dry up…

            …and maybe, just maybe, we can finally divert our wasted marijuana-related police and incarceration resources to really fighting a war on (hard) drugs.

          • Well Rick, there is plenty of evidence, if you’d take the minimum effort required to search the interconnected network of computers. Hint: Portugal*

          • That’s it. Reducing crime by turning criminal activity into legal enterprise. Everybody wins. Well, except your son who ends up on academic probation at Uni because he’s smoking all day.

          • If he is that way inclined, the legality of his pot is not going to matter much one way or the other.

          • What about all the jobs it will create?

      • Any family with children will be very concerned that their kids might be saddled with a criminal record for youthful indiscretion.

        • Yes because the responsible thing for a parent who is concerned about there kids and the law should just advocate making it legal. Im all for legalizing pot, but there’s something about good parenting that your overlooking. I got arrested for possesion one time, im sure admist the furry that was laid down upon me there was some concern for my record, but more for me being idiot.

          • I didn’t say it was their only concern. Tell me though, if your kids were caught smoking dope, say on their 18th birthday, would you prefer that they have a criminal record or not?

          • Its not a question of what I perfer, its illegal. Any parent would perfer there kid not to get a record, thats a really stupid question. If you do illegal things you get a record. If you do it knowingling and willingly then you accept the consequences, bad luck if you get a record.

        • Give me a break. Nobody gets arrested and charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana in Canada anymore. It just doesn’t happen.

          on the other hand, any high schooler who gets arrested for distributing marijuana isn’t making a “youthful indiscretion”. They’re just selling drugs to school kids.

          • But, you obviously believe they should be.

          • “Since the Tories came to power in 2006, and slammed the door on the previous Liberal government’s muddled plans to reduce or decriminalize marijuana penalties, arrests for pot possession have jumped 41 per cent. In those six years, police reported more than 405,000 marijuana-related arrests, roughly equivalent to the populations of Regina and Saskatoon combined.”

            http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/10/why-its-time-to-legalize-marijuana/

          • That’s tragic.

          • Yes it does. I work with these kids, and they do get charged.

            And parents are often more concerned about the consequences of a criminal record for pot possession than they are about their kid using pot.

          • But in this case, conservatives don’t believe their parents know better.

        • So work to decriminalize marijuana so it won’t happen.

      • Any family with children knows that marijuana Can Not Be any more accessible than it already is… Ask any high school student you can find, anywhere in the country, whether it’s harder to get a dozen beer or a small bag of weed. I won’t even tell you the right answer cause I think the exercise might do you good.

        P.S. if you get arrested, or beat up, while interviewing high school students I will deny any responsibility for your actions.

        • Is some provinces in the country the legal drinking age is 18 so many grade 12 students are of legal age to purchase a six pack of beer.

          • That doesn’t actually refute my point. Perhaps that wasn’t your intention? I’m not sure.

            The point is, kids can get weed more easily than they can get alcohol. But only up until the point that they can legally buy alcohol, as you’ve cleverly pointed out.

            Touché, I guess.

          • Do you really think 18 year old kids in grade 12 don’t happily boot for their under aged friends? My daughter is 18 and I can tell you that some of her friends turned 18 at the end of grade 11. There was no shortage of booze flowing at any of the parties they attended.

          • Of course, kids still drink and always will drink but it’s not an either/or type of argument. The question is whether or not legalization and regulation of pot would make it more or less accessible to children. Perhaps kids that are close to the end of their teenage years find booze and pot equally accessible but kids in middle school – kids from 12-16 years old – certainly do not have easy access to liquor and they certainly do have easy access to pot.

          • Kids in grade 10 up have easy access (15 years of age and up). This is for the simple reason that they go to school with kids 18 years of age in Alberta. Sometimes kids as young as grade 9 (14 years of age) are also in the high schools here.

          • So, give us legal weed in Ontario, and keep it away from irresponsible provinces like Alberta and Quebec who let their poor impressionable 18 year olds buy fire water!!!

            ;-)

          • When I visited Ontario on a student exchange in grade 10 (15 years of age), we hung at one boy’s house when his mother wasn’t home. He called a cab and had a 2-4 of beer delivered. He was 15 as well. I don’t think you guys are doing such a stellar job either. I think you might be in a bit of denial though whereas I work in addictions and mental health and have done a stint with teens, I have no delusions.

          • I’m not at all going to claim that liquor control is perfect anywhere in Canada.

            I will, however, make the claim that your 15 year old friend could have just as easily picked up the phone and got 7 grams of pot delivered instead.

            It would have cost more though.

            I suppose my own point is less that legalizing pot will make it “harder” for kids to get pot than it is that it really couldn’t possibly be much easier.

          • I completely agree but then JT should NOT make the claim that government regulation will make pot difficult for kids to get because the truth is that it hasn’t make liquor difficult to get for under aged people. I find it bizarre how much in denial people are about what teens up to. When a parent says their 16 year old is drinking and smoking pot, people suggest the kid has an addiction problem. Good lord, what were this people doing at 16 years old? That is grade 11? Was everyone a saint? Is everyone deluded that their own kid is a saint and isn’t getting booze from a friend? JT might not know better because he has very young children but surely not everyone is in the same situation. I understand those who are new immigrants because (ala the Tiger mom) many are very strict and are very concerned about CANADIANS’ lax ways of parenting and THAT is what Harper and the CPC are playing to. Denying their concerns is not the answer because they, like seniors, get out to vote.

          • I get that, but I’d imagine that JT will stop with the hyperbolic claims that he’s doing this to keep pot away from kids when SH stops with the hyperbolic claims that JT wants to sell your kids pot.

          • Yes and no. As you yourself point out.. 7 grams of pot costs more. Legalizing it would lower the prices, and not just in legit markets.

            That alone would enable more kids to access it.

          • I’m not totally convinced that legalizing pot will make it cheaper. If it’s going to be taxed and sold in licensed establishments, I’d rather imagine that that price will be more expensive than what we pay now, and the black-market stuff will stay about the same price.

            Of course, I could be wrong, and I’d love to hear the Tories argue “but, if you let the government get involved then consumers will be able to get a cheaper product!!”

          • Wasn’t that part of the argument for legalization, however? The high price of drugs forces people to commit crimes in order to afford them. By legalizing, the price comes down, and those crimes are no longer required.

            Personally, I expect the price in the black market would come down because they’ll have to compete with the legit market, so unless the legit prices are ridiculously high (hur hur) it stands to reason that black market growers would have to reduce their profit margins. Then again, I’ll admit, I’ve got zero experience in this market, so I don’t know what kind of margin they operate on now. Maybe it’s already so low they can’t cut further.

          • Wasn’t that part of the argument for legalization, however? The high price of drugs forces people to commit crimes in order to afford them. By legalizing, the price comes down, and those crimes are no longer required.

            I don’t think so. Sure, I’ve heard the argument that people commit crimes to get money to pay for crack, or meth, or heroin, but pot? I don’t think there are a plethora of stories about potheads knocking over liquor stores or mugging people in alleys to get money for pot.

            Maybe in a “Reefer Madness” movie, but not in the real world.

          • Sorry LKO, I didn’t see this when I posted above.

          • People committing crime are addicted to drugs like heroin, crack and Oxycontin, not using marijuana recreationally.

          • You know them all, do you?

          • Personally, I surely can’t say that no one has ever committed a crime in order to get money to buy pot, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s less than the number of people who’ve committed crimes to get money to buy alcohol. More to the point, I’m not sure that anyone’s really argued that this is a reason to legalize marijuana. If they have, I think it’s a dumb reason, as I really don’t think it ever happens (or, to be more precise, not with the frequency worth worrying about).

            Now, that said, there’s another argument that legalizing pot cuts down on crime in the sense that organized criminals would no longer have a virtual monopoly on supply. There’s less sense to the Hells Angels or the Dixon City Bloods doing a home invasion of a grow-op in an environment in which anybody is allowed to grow their own pot, or buy it at a licensed store. As you’ve pointed out, it’s naive to think we’d ever necessarily ELIMINATE the black-market (just like we haven’t eliminated the black-market for DVDs, or toasters…) but I do think that turf wars lose their cost-benefit balance when we’re talking about a product that can be purchased legally, or grown at home (if that’s to be allowed). Just as we no longer have “St. Valentine’s Day massacre” style gang wars over alcohol distribution anymore, I suspect we’d see a similar decline in violence surrounding the pot industry. One also might expect domestic production to go up, which would arguably be an improvement over whatever imports we currently take in from Mexico, or Afghanistan, etc… (though I think our domestically grown supply is already pretty extensive, so I’m not sure how big of an issue that is… perhaps more of an impact vis a vis hashish than marijuana…).

          • Then you should realize that there is a huge difference in our society from smoking marijuana to smoking crack or meth or something like that. And yet the penalties are the same.
            Or if you compare it to legal drugs like alcohol, the health effects of marijuana are arguably less.
            And yet you can go to jail for possession of marijuana and you will never go to jail for simple possession of alcohol.
            The problem with this is that nobody takes the law serious. The kids don’t, the police don’t and it makes a mockery out of our justice system. If you can not rely on a legal system that is fair then you believe what you want to believe and it becomes a slippery slope.

          • I truly believe that the CPC will announce a plan to decriminalize cannabis possession before the next election. I am not aware that anyone has gone to jail for possession of cannabis. Of course the health effects are less from cannabis, however, I work with people who have illnesses of psychosis including schizophrenia and many people who suffer from psychosis have very bad side effects from smoking cannabis.

          • It does not fit in with their “get tough on crime” agenda. How can you get tough on crime and then decriminalize drugs?
            The problem with the get tough on crime is that it does not follow science or basic reason, but aims for the lowest common denominator. People who see the world as black or white and nothing in between. There is no such thing as decriminalize for these people.

          • If you think it is easier to get their hands on booze than pot, then you are delusional. Hell, it was easier to get pot when I was a teen – and that’s more than three decades ago, in small-town NL, where you buy beer at the corner store.

          • Keith, I never claimed it was easier to get booze than pot. I challenge the claim that it is difficult to get booze when one is underage. That is too different things. Underage teens aren’t having trouble getting drunk.

          • Yes and lots of kids have older brothers and sisters. But it’s my happy experience that many reasonable 18 and 19 year olds will not provide liquor to their 15-16 year old siblings and peers because (glory be!) they actually feel some sense of responsibility for their safety. Maybe they’ll buy them a six-pack but they won’t buy them a 2,4. Maybe a mickie, but not a 40. And any 18-year old that will give booze to a 12 year-old is still – thankfully – the exception rather than the rule. Even when the exchange of liquor is illegal it is done, in the main, with some sense of responsibility.

            But the people dealing pot to 12 year olds in the schoolyard are other 12 year olds who get it, in turn, from 14 year olds. There is no boundary between legal use and illegal use and therefore no corresponding sense of responsibility as between the user and the supplier.

          • Wow, you have really got some convoluted ideas when it comes to kids and liquor v. pot. I almost hate to burst your bubble that grade seven kids in the local school have been busted with both pot and hard liquor in equal amounts. I am not sure how much “happy experience” you have but does your “happy experience” give you any sense about girls in grade five doing fellatio on boys in grade 6 because that is happening as well in our schools and I was just wondering if you were in tune to that?

          • Okey-doke. I didn’t realize you are a crackpot. You pass for rational most of the time.

          • I learned the thing about the grade 5 girls/grade 6 boys from a psychologist for the public school. It was occurring on the school bus. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it up.
            There are all sorts of very troubling things like young pimps 16-17 years of age picking up young girls in the food courts of malls and getting them to run away from home. We learn these things in healthcare because the police come to talk to us so we can warn parents. This things are startling and very upsetting for parents but you have to deal with it.

          • Oh, you got that right !
            Don`t you hate it when some health care worker tells us how things really are.
            Why does`nt she just leave us alone to dream about how Justin will help the young boy and girl become a sophisticate pot smoker like himself.
            Go back to sleep Igarvin.

          • Yes, you just have to hate it when those Cons ignore the experts. Isn’t it great that Liberals are some much more sophisticated. They just never rely on their own experiences and call experts “crackpots.” Can’t wait until they are running the country again.

          • Dude, where did THIS come from? Embarrassed for you. You ARE crackpotty, as lgarvin notes. Just wow.

          • Embarrassed for me, Dude? Why, because you and Igarvin as parents are so hip to everything that is going on in typical schools based on your own experiences as 2 very experienced and in the know parents? Just like the Cons, you don’t have to listen to any experts because they only deal with “atypical behavior”. It isn’t like they study exhaustive research on typical behaviors. Why would anyone bring up the reality of what is going on in our school systems, when they can rely on patchouli and Igarvin to tell them all about their experiences of raising children and then just generalize that to all children. Throw out all the textbooks and fire the experts because patchouli and Igarvin can just start a blog. Fire the government scientists as well. I bet JT can give the two of your own senate seats and you can start advising on all kinds of issues. However, best to read up a little bit because it isn’t good to show shock when hear what is really happening in the schools…. you might want to watch a bit of Dr. Phil so you don’t find yourself calling the experts “crack pots” or accusing them of being drunks when they reveal some one the inappropriate sexual behavior and some cases of alcohol abuse that is going on among our young students. I can see it now, Igarvin denying an expert’s credentials because his kids never drank until they were 16 and patchouli accusing the expert of being a drunk him or herself.
            Are you sure you aren’t Ron Ambrose, patchouli? Your response was very much like hers when she heard physicians were treating heroin addicts with heroin….”You ARE crackpotty…..Just wow.”

          • Wow – you consider yourself an expert? On what, exactly?

          • Addictions and mental health, Jan. I have a 4 year degree and 18 years work experience plus my registration requires that I update my education and research yearly. If that doesn’t qualify me as a expert in the field, I am not sure who is. Perhaps, the parents who raised 4 teens…..now, I was going to ask you about sexual assault as a diversion in the case of Collin Kennedy, the former liberal senator….

          • Really? Maybe we have a different definition of expertise. I have a BA in Criminology and field experience in the east end of Vancouver and would never have the nerve to pretend to be an expert in addiction.. If there is a field with shifting knowledge, its got to be addictions. Except in Calgary apparently.

          • I’d be a hell of a lot more comfortable with my 17 year old getting baked than getting wasted on alcohol. Not that I would encourage either, per se, but given that teens will be teens, the risk of really bad consequences is much higher with alcohol, in my estimation.

          • Okay…..but to pretend that government regulation keeps them accessing alcohol is naive.

          • They can still get it more easily; the dealer delivers to where they hang out, while buying booze means going to the store (& remembering to bring ID).

          • And…?

          • And highschool students in Alberta….15 years and up are getting all the liquor they want because their 18 year old friends in grade 12 are supplying it for them.

          • Nothing new there; been happening since we were teens; probably long before that. And weed was easier to get than beer even back then.

          • Yes, that is true so JT should not claim that legalizing cannabis will make it hard to come by for the under aged. Booze isn’t hard to come by and neither will pot be. This ridiculous claim that kids who are 15 or 16 and drinking must have substance abuse problems is really troubling as well. It irritates me to no end. That is typical teenage behavior. Regulating a substance can only do so much, it doesn’t turn teens into angels or devils.

      • I reject your assertion only because I have observed that the current reality is that weed is already very easily available to anyone of any age.

        It may be a winning argument for a select few people naive enough to think weed isn’t easily obtained, but that’s the extent of it.

      • Anyone who is concerned about our legal system will know about the hypocrisy of our laws.
        Legal drugs far more powerful than marijuana are given to people who drive around and become addicted.
        Then they throw your son in jail for smoking marijuana.
        For people who never grew up with marijuana in the community do not know better than what they are told. But even the Baby Boomers who are at retirement age realize the unfairness of this issue.

      • “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.” – Adolf Hitler

      • Urban hipsters like this group –

        stoptheviolencebc.org/coalition-members/

      • Less accessible.

      • I have 2 children and both don’t do drugs but know who are the drug users, pot heads and stoners in their schools. They would be able to get any drug they wanted in about 2 hours. To say that drugs and in particular marijuana are so accessible that it is harder to get alcohol – which they can get in 2 – 3 hours if they wanted to. This whole premise that marijuana will be more accessible is ludicrous and comes from people that are so out of touch with reality.

    • Except that with a divided left, the Cons only need to secure their 30 some percent to win the election.

  2. “or is it better to have government control marijuana, tax it, and use [the money] for health care and seniors? ”

    Why is it seen as OK, without any questioning, to add new taxes, such as that consider on MJ? Adding taxes by any means accomplishes only one thing – it increases gov’t size/spending, and that’s exactly what we don’t need.

    I want to see some party advocate legalization, taxation of the new commodity AND a corresponding reduction in personal income tax by the amount of tax gained from MJ.

    We are taxed to the extreme in this radical left country. Stop it!

    • Really? Extreme “radical left” taxes? Federally???

      Canada’s highest federal corporate tax rate is 15%. Our highest federal individual rate is 29%.

      In the U.S., the comparable federal rates are 39% corporate, and 39.6% for individuals.

      • Even the Harper govt likes to boast taxes [as a % of gdp] are at the same level they were in Dief’s time. But that’s never enough for the no tax is a good tax crowd.

        • To be fair, I don’t have a problem with people arguing that taxes should be lower than they are, just with the notion that our taxes are somehow “extreme” or “radical”. Even in “radical” Quebec the richest taxpayers pay a combined rate that is still 1% lower than the combined rate paid by residents of California.

          • It’s not the lower per se that bothers me so much – i wince when i see the deductions on my pay slip too. It’s this insidious notion of labeling taxes as “evil”…and all for political/marketing reasons at bottom. Eventually it will gut the heart out of the concept of democracy as a tool of consensus or communal well being.

          • Democracy isn’t supposed to be a “tool of communal well being”. It’s supposed to ensure our government represents the people. If the people want lower taxes, then that’s exactly what democracy will and should result in. Unless you think democracy = communist dictatorship, as Trudeau apparently does.

          • “Democracy isn’t supposed to be a “tool of communal well being”.

            That’s hilarious coming from the nanny-stater who believes the state should have the power to arrest and incarcerate me for making the personal choice to grow and/or consume a narcotic plant.

            Why should the state have that power? Oh yeah, communal well-being. Think of the kids!

          • Trudeau’s policy wouldn’t allow you to grow marijuana anymore than the current law does. He wants it regulated, thus there won’t be anybody growing their own dope at home.

            And I fail to see how having all marijuana go through the government decreases the nannyism of the government. Seems to me if anything it increases it.

          • “Trudeau’s policy wouldn’t allow you to grow marijuana anymore than the current law does.”

            Evidence?

            “And I fail to see how having all marijuana go through the government decreases the nannyism of the government.”

            Indeed. Allowing the government to regulate marijuana rather than empowering them to force entry to to my home, arrest and imprison me, should they have reasonable grounds to believe I possess marijuana, is definitely an increase of nannyism.

            You sure are smurt.

          • According to a Colby Cosh article here on Macleans Online, the Liberal party plan for legalizing cannabis won’t be allowing for citizens growing more than 5 pot plants I believe. You can look it up. The proposed rules on how much a person could possess and were they could obtain it from were quite stringent. If you are interested, look it up.

          • lenny, this legalization isn’t exactly a freedom to possess and grow as much pot as you want to….the Liberals seem to have a plan of sorts in place….did you miss Colby’s article or are you all in denial?

          • Expecting to go from prohibition to total liberalization is unrealistic. Heck, many provinces still have government liquor monopolies after 90 years. The perfect is not the enemy of the good.

          • Okay but as Colby argued, expecting a “wine” sort of industry isn’t asking too much. In Canada we have a real successful wine industry in Ontario and BC. It isn’t a big stretch that we could have a pot industry that is run the same way with boutique growers and instead of vineyards, you would have pot farms with tourist areas, etc. Why not? However, that isn’t the plan at all. You yourself said you would rather your kid got “baked” than drunk so how is that know we need to be more restrictive of pot than alcohol until the Libs plan, given that we are going to only be selling to adults?

          • Nothing in the Liberal plan prevents later laws to further liberalize the production and sale of marijuana. I’m not going to criticize a move in the right direction.

          • I am not so sure it will turn out to be a move in the right direction if a joint costs as much as a bottle of wine, how many kids will be happy to get it from the pot store? Meanwhile, all these kids who have been smoking it under age are magically going to stop?

          • No fewer than are currently happy to buy marijuana from a pot store, which is zero (as they don’t exist).

          • About as many who are hapy to get their wine from a wine store – none (legally). They are kids; they are underage.

          • Exactly. All of those kids who are supposedly smoking now at 12 years old are going to quit until they are 18 and can get it legally? The argument Keith is not whether booze is easier to get than pot but whether kids (underage) can get booze and they can. This belief that no one boots for underage kids is a fallacy.

          • No one says they can’t. But it is even easier when there are no government controls in place. Even adults buy illegal booze & cigs. But the pot trade is more lucrative, and is the major driver of a substantial amount of organized crime. There are many benefits to be had from legalizing it. None that I can see by continuing the prohibition. Your arguments go nowhere.

          • I don’t believe Trudeau will get in and I don’t think it will get legalized. I think it will be decriminalized for possession. Did you see john’s source material. Even in the states they are legalizing it, the government wants to make so much tax money that the fear is, the prices will be so high for the legal stuff that there will be a huge underground illegal black market.

          • In denial of what? I asked for evidence of the assertion that the Liberal proposal would still criminalize the personal cultivation of cannabis.

            Your comment above claims it will be allowed.

          • 5 pot plants will be allowed.

          • The practice of open honest and accountable democracy certainly does help create communal well being. But thx anyway for missing the point.

          • But his openness and honesty are politically motivated. He wasn’t open and honest about his drug use when he was voting for minimum sentences, it was only after he was running for leadership. He had to inoculate himself from Mark Emery and others that knew he smoked pot and would bring that up during the course of the election.
            In terms of posting expenses online – if you want to be open, make them post their expenses going back a year or two. It’s like telling criminals that we’re going to start conducting surveillance on them so they had better behave.

          • I wasn’t talking specifically about JT, but whatever. Getting out ahead of stories that may come to hurt them is what pols do – good ones anyway.
            And your info is old. Emery has come out and apologized to JT for exaggerating their drug exploits. And he’s praised Trudeau’s change of heart and mind on legalization. Call that opportunistic if you like – but it was smart politcs on JT’s part.

            Agree about posting expenses online.

          • I just assumed since “open, honest, and transparent” are JT’s catch-phrases.
            I know all that about Emery and JT – but it doesn’t change the fact that JT basically lied or hid his drug use when he voted for minimums.
            YOU NAILED IT – “SMART POLITICS” – it’s got NOTHING to do with JT really being “open and honest”.

          • Funny you couldn’t be bothered to mention Emery’s retraction and apology in JT’s favour before…but then you aren’t being partisan at all are you?

          • Mention in his favour? Who’s JT’s? I thought what I was conveying is that he’s a liar? He’s not open and honest…. he’s a political opportunist (is that better? lol)

          • No, i was wondering why you didn’t mention ME’s point in JT’s favour if you already had that info? You were quick enough to use the outdated info against Trudeau.
            Fact is ME gave JT some credit for changing his mind.

          • yes he did. And I agree that JT is (sort of) taking the right approach. I don’t agree with his admission about it… but I understand why he had to admit to it. I’m just not a fan of the government selling it. We’re too immature as a society for the government to be selling us drugs and to assume we’ll use them responsibly.
            I believe to keep it away from kids it needs to be more difficult to find, rather than easier. That’s just been my experience – and I do have experience ;)

          • All i can say is, it already is ridiculously easy for kids to score pot in my town.

          • And how do you propose to make it more difficult to find? Spend tens of billions on enforcement, random drug screenings with jail time for anyone who tests positive for marijuana use?

          • I don’t “propose to make it more difficult to find”. My point is if it’s sold from an LCBO or whatever it’s EASIER to find. You can follow that logic right?

          • Well then that would put him about on par with Harper wouldn’t it? He’s been preaching that line since opposition days – and keeps going rapidly in the other direction despite the rhetoric.

          • Correct. Trudeau is no different than Harper.

          • Now, why would Emery be smoothing things over for Justin ?
            Probably dreaming of becoming Deputy Minister of Pot in some future Gov.

          • Your info is a bit out here too. Trudeau did vote for MM and it’s arguably craven, but it was a whipped vote. How many mps would take a stand against their party, AND make an admission they had smoked pot while an mp when there was little or no political upside for them? Very few if any, even if they ought.

          • Well…. If Trudeau were in fact “open and honest” I would expect to take a stand “for Canadians” about what he felt was right – not what his party tells him to do.
            Isn’t that a huge part of what he’s running his election on? Openness, honesty, and speaking with Canadians?

          • No argument on that from me. But politics requires strategic thinking and a measure of cunning whether you or i approve or not.
            I’ve been saying the same thing about Harper forever…no sign of him listening to me yet. Do you really expect JT to run as a kind of totally unprotected naif against the likes of Harper or Mulcair?

          • No we’re on the same page! No…. I don’t expect JT to run a kind of unprotected naïf against Harper…. that’s why it drives me crazy when he says so and when people believe him. He’s no different than any other politician…. the goal is to win, not necessarily stand for your principles.

          • It was beginning to sound as if you expected him to.
            I guess politicians convince themselves that it is possible to do both. Politicians are not like us ordinary folks, but in many ways it’s an impossible job, so i chose not to be has hard on the ones who at least try to aim higher.

          • Unfortunately I believe that those that enter politics with the very best intentions are swimming against the current and eventually they learn it’s easier to swim with the current.
            Not a job I would ever want.

          • I think we can agree on that at least. I’m afraid either i would be no better or simply get run out as not a team player from the get go.

          • I was like to end the day on an agreement. lol.
            This is healthy debate though and the sort of debate Canadians should be having.

          • It was, and is; although i doubt we changed each others mind on legalization. Nice to debate with open minds.

          • Maybe not changing minds, but exchanging ideas we may not have had before and exploring other solutions. This does not have to be complete prohibition or full legalization. Have a good one.

          • Is it any worse than Harper’s campaign for open and accountable government? That was, in my opinion, a much greater betrayal (at least Trudeau is doing the right thing now).

          • You’re so naïve. It’s all politics. Trudeau’s open and honest campaign is about as genuine as Harper’s accountable government campaign.

          • “If the people want lower taxes, then that’s exactly what democracy will and should result in.”

            Except that it’s always sold as a consequence-free action. Anyone who is peddling across the board tax cuts should be required to identify where the service cuts will be. And preferably extending analysis beyond their next election.

          • @ Kathryn: Right on, Kathryn! This rush for lower taxes is a race to the bottom, where services of every kind get cut. The Harper Conservative party tell all the heads of Ministries of every department to thwart and stall and refuse to give information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, so Canadian citizens and so the other MPs are not properly informed as to the ramifications of all these cuts. This *has* to be coming as direction out of the PMO, because it has been such a consistent and prevalent action from all the government Ministries i.e. stall and delay and finally refuse to give over any budget info, projections of how the cuts are going to affect services… it could NOT merely be coincidence that all the departments are acting the same way.

            I am so sick and tired of people who think a government’s only purpose is to lower taxes… and these people are, by and large, living very comfortable lifestyles and don’t want for anything. They refuse to see the correlation between taxes to all sorts of services we hold dear. Do you like camping in our national parks? Well, guess what, parklands don’t just automatically stay in pristine condition or have the services and amenities that campers expect. Do you have relatives who have had extended stays in hospital for illnesses such as cancer, or perhaps had surgeries such as triple bypass surgery? Well, guess what… that has bankrupted many people in the US, and our tax dollars go towards the healthcare system we love to bash… but which all of us have used throughout our lives. Do we want our food supply and our transportation system to be safe? Taxes go to that, too (although the Harper administration has made huge cuts to these departments and deregulated some of the transportation system, and we have been seeing some terrible consequences for that).

            Huge tax cuts would have disastrous consequences in so many ways, and could very well lead to great social unrest. Huge tax cuts do not serve the interests of society or community, and leads to a world of petty self-interest.

      • I don’t give a hoot where the taxes come from, when you add ‘em all up Fed,Prov,Municip, income, sales, tires, MJ, booze, gas (and don’t forget EI when you do that, it is a tax just like all others) you find out that well over 2/3rds of your $ go to one tax or another. It is absurd.

        Worst is EI – a tax on employment adding to both personal and corp tax rates. Scrap this horrid and ineffective tax!

        But to suggest MJ as a new revenue stream is to simply support even bigger gov’t, even bigger share of $ taxed.

        Yet people joyfully espouse even more taxation, willfully destroying individual ability to look after themselves in favor of government waste and wealth redistribution.

        • But to suggest MJ as a new revenue stream is to simply support even bigger gov’t, even bigger share of $ taxed.

          Well, it doesn’t HAVE TO BE that way. What if someone proposes taking the income from pot taxation and applying it directly to a decrease in EI premiums?

          • Except that you know that nobody is proposing that. Trudeau wants to tax marijuana so that his government would be able to spend more, he’s said so himself.

            Peter’s exactly right. And we all know what happens when government gets a new source of revenue, they get addicted to it. It would be a matter of months before the government was advertising marijuana and pushing it to consumers. Is that really what we want the federal government doing, just so they can raise a few more bucks?

          • Good point, NotRick.
            We’ve already got the government advertising booze and putting those “this is good for you, do it lots!” labels on cigarettes. Why wouldn’t they do the same with marijuana?
            Gawd, yur smurt.

          • No, no one is proposing that, I was simply responding to the notion that a new tax in area X somehow automatically means that taxes as a whole go up, when in fact, it’s entirely possible for taxes in area Y to nonetheless go down.

          • Look at the top of the thread, my original beef was exactly to tax MJ, but de-tax personal income by the same degree.

            But that’s not what the left will advocate, they’ll take the revenue for more and more entitlement programs and further gov’t bloat.

            Canada needs, more than anything else, a tax revolt. Using the word RAPE to describe our tax level is entirely appropriate.

          • Using the word RAPE to describe our tax level is entirely appropriate.

            Actually, no, there’s no universe in which that is remotely appropriate.

          • They will never designate that revenue from pot taxation go to a decrease in EI premiums. Do you have any idea how much addictions treatments and illness-related medical issues cost our health-care system. Alberta got out of the booze-selling business so they would not be seen to be profiting off of the misery of their population (of course they remained the wholesaler after they privatized) and then they could continue to make excuses for under funding health services, especially to addictions and mental health. My guess is the pot stores would be run by the provincial govts just like the booze is with both govts taking a chunk of taxes. If governments really cared about the population would Ontario be supporting race tracks? How many gambling addicts have lost everything at those?

          • I agree that this particular example won’t happen, I was more making the rhetorical point that an increase in tax revenue in area X doesn’t have to mean an increase in tax revenue across the board. It could coincide with tax decreases in other areas.

            Think of the Liberals and the GST. They introduced, and later increased the GST, but they also lowered income taxes significantly during their tenure.

    • RE: government controls/taxes marijuana.

      We already know what happens when given that option. It’s happening in Colorado now. In short, the taxes make it many times more expensive, so people keep buying it illegally on the black market from dealers.

      Perhaps some journalist should ask Mr Trudeau how he thinks he can prevent what’s happening in Colorado from happening here.

      They should probably also ask him about the CFO of the Liberal party too, but that’s a different story.

      • Presumably there’s a sweet spot, however, is there not?

        It’s like with cigarettes. Tax them too high and you get rampant smuggling. One solution is “OK, then just make cigarette’s illegal”, but another is “So, lower the taxes a bit and see what happens”.

        There’s a tax rate that would probably get us all making bathtub gin again too, but that problem shouldn’t be solved by criminalizing alcohol, imho, but by not setting the taxes so high.

        No product is immune from these pressures. It’s not like this is unique to pot. Set the price of DVDs too high and people will get pirated copies from China. Make cable too expensive, and people will steal cable. The main difference with pot, as far as there is one, is that people don’t have the option of growing DVDs or HBO subscriptions themselves.

        • LKO, you make very insightful remarks. However are you aware that Canada is one of the worst offenders when it comes to pirating movies? We have an infamous reputation. It is so bad in fact that they often delay premiering new films here. My point is that although it might be wise not to tax pot too high, governments don’t always jump at the wise decision, instead looking for the easy buck. Further, it is much more difficult to make bathtub gin than to grow your own weed or get some on the street. Also, Canadians are paying exorbitant prices for alcohol in comparison to what they pay in the US. Have you every purchased it there? Also, Canadians pay very high prices for cigarettes, that is why FN’s who pay no tax have a ready black market for sales.

          • Also worthy points. It’s not a “simple” issue, but imho the benefits of legalization VASTLY outweigh the purported advantages of criminalization.

            As to this point specifically: Further, it is much more difficult to make bathtub gin than to grow your own weed or get some on the street. I wholeheartedly agree. Which was kinda my point. There’s a comparatively easy way for citizens to avoid getting their weed from blackmarket dealers – they can just grow their own. Now, how many would do so, versus how many would buy on a regulated market, versus how many would go to the black-market is an open question, but pot does have that third “make your own” option available that’s not as realistic in the context of alcohol, or even cigarettes.

          • Benefits of legalization = Disadvantages of criminalization. I think you missed a negative there.

          • Thanks, re-worded that to have it make more sense.

          • No, although some people do make their own beer and wine from kits. I foresee a lot of people growing their own pot but if that option is not available to them (which a Colby Cosh article suggested it wouldn’t be), I can see many Canadians breaking the law if the pot they can buy legally is too expensive.
            I think john is right. I don’t think the pot for legal sale will be cheap. I believe the government will take the opportunity to tax it to the extreme and I believe we will end up no better off because the illegal market will still be around selling other illicit drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth, crack cocaine, heroin, etc. and it woudl be any skin off of their back to keep pot in their repeitoire of drugs for sale.

          • We have a lengthy history of regulating our illicit substances so that this has not been a problematic factor (most price point problems have come from having some cheaper cigarettes available within the Canadian market). There’s not much reason to assume it would suddenly become a problem, I mean, there may be an illegal wine trade in Canada but I doubt the police are losing much sleep over it.

          • Did you read john’s source info about what is happening in two states where they are legalizing it and it will be offered for about $250.00 a pound after taxes?
            In Canada, it isn’t illegal to make your own wine or beer. However, if what Colby Cash says, it will be illegal to grow you own pots plants for your own use. If it is a high price to buy at the pot store, do you think people from BC will buy it or grow their own gold? It isn’t like making bathtub gin or cigarettes, it is easy to grow there.

          • it’s difficult to assume that the price of spirits is being kept reasonable because of the threat of home-made kits.

            john g’s thoughts are interesting but hardly determinative.

          • The price of spirits is not reasonable in Canada. Have you ever gone to the US? We pay outrageous prices for wines. What we $12.00 for, they pay $3.00. We are being highly taxed. John isn’t just sharing this “thoughts”, he is sharing the real experience of what is occurring in two states that are going through the legalization of cannabis. If the US is taxing pot so highly and they hardly tax alcohol, Canada will apply huge sin taxes. According to Colby Cash, the liberals aren’t even planning to let Canadians grow some of them own v. letting us make our beer and wine.
            Where exactly do you live Dylan in Canada? I live in Alberta and we are likely the province that pays the least for alcohol.

          • but we don’t have, as far as I know, a huge criminal element making cheaper alcohol availble to us, right? I mean, probably somewhere, but not moreso than any other item.

            Also remember market forces. Your illegal marijuana seller takes an enormous hit when it becomes illegal to continue his clandestine trade. To keep up with the more accessible, legal competitor and still make the same $, what must he or she do? That’s right, run the same risk of being shut down, but charge much higher prices.

          • dylan, you are forgetting that the illegal forces are still going to be selling all the other illicit drugs….heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, crack cocaine, ecstasy…. Having some cannabis available at a lower price than you can buy it legally isn’t such a big deal.

          • not likely, remember, it still has to be supplied at the same cost.

          • Why? They are a black market?

          • Cost of production remain fixed. It’s the demand that tanks.

          • Production costs are not what will elevate the price at the government pot store. It will be incredibly high sin taxes. Don’t you know that is why cigarettes are so much money as well liquor and gasoline. We are paying huge taxes. The gangs can undercut the government because they don’t pay the taxes.

        • Legalize it, but don’t sell it. Let people grow their own for their own use. The message to kids is that the government doesn’t necessarily condone it’s use b/c they’re not selling it, they don’t have the regulatory nightmare that would go along with growing and distribution, you still take a good chunk out of crime (BTW – I don’t believe for a second that legalizing pot will reduce crime – it will reduce marijuana offence, but that’s it – real criminals will still be involved in crime), and you still may be able to maintain some sort of social stigma about it which helps keep kids away from it (JT sort of screwed that up when he admitted to using it though – the message he sent to kids is that it’s not a big deal and that the possible future prime minister smokes it…. that’s not the message I want for my kids – he also sent the message that if you don’t necessarily agree with a law, you don’t need to follow it…. oh, and swearing an oath really means nothing).

          • I don’t mind a legalize it , don’t sell it, approach at all, personally.

            That said, I also don’t particularly buy the “social stigma” argument. Based on my own anecdotal experience, I just don’t see how the social stigma could get any lower. Surveys tend to show 9-10% of Canadians admitting to smoking pot in the last year, and around 20% of people aged 15-24. Put that along side survey‘s showing roughly 65%-70% of Canadians want to loosen up our pot laws (with around 35% wanting outright legalization) I just don’t see much stigma, or much hope of creating one.

          • I bet if you went into an elementary school and asked them what they thought about drugs and people that do drugs the answer would overwhelming be that drugs are bad and people that do drugs are bad. While that may not be true, for some that perception will stick. There’s lot of people that smoke, but wouldn’t go out and admit it to their boss or certain friends… why? Because of the social stigma it can carry by those who blindly believe that all drugs are bad. Even if that’s not true, that’s not a bad message for kids to believe. When they’re older, they’ll form their own opinions.
            But when a potential future PM is smoking it and it’s sold at the PCBO (Pot Control Board of Ontario) how do you tell your kids it’s bad and that they shouldn’t do it?

          • How do you keep elementary students from drinking alcohol, or having sex, or playing violent video games, or going skydiving?

            PARENTING.

            I just don’t buy this “adults shouldn’t engage in adult activities lest we lose the moral authority to tell kids not to engage in adult activities” line of argument. If parents are really relying entirely on a simplistic “do as we say, not as we do” line of argument with their children in order to keep them from doing things that only adults should be doing, well, that’s just bad parenting. And I see no justification for my freedoms to be infringed in order to make it easier for parents to be lazy parents. That line of argument leads to us shutting down all of the Tim Hortons franchises, on the grounds that it’s just too easy for kids to stunt their growth with caffeine and raise their girth with donuts if they see all of us adults drinking coffee and eating maple dips all the time.

          • You are right LKO. However, parenting means open communication with kids. Sometimes it is listening to things that makes one cringe….like “boy A was feeling up girl B in assembly” (even though they are both in grade 7) and not panicking. It also means not being judgmental because if you are, they might not tell you stuff that could be life threatening. Look at every communication as a teaching moment and stay calm.
            After working in psychiatry, NOTHING shocks me and I know many people on here have said I have lax attitudes toward some parts of parenting but I can tell you, most kids do very well. The best advice is never to panic and be realistic about the real importance of the problem because most issues are small bump in the road to adulthood. Kids are very smart. They just want your assurance that they are doing okay and that even make mistakes, it is nothing that cannot be resolved, which is usually the truth. Making mistakes is part of growing and maturing. Having someone to trust who loves unconditionally is the joy a child receives from their parents.

          • Also: adults should never have sex, lest we impart to our children the notion that sex is not a filthy sinful thing.

      • You’re comparing state legislation in Colorado to federal legislation in Canada?

        Someone in the dead center of Colorado is maybe a three-hour drive to an uncontrolled border with a state that has different laws.

  3. Wells needs to think of it another way as well. MAny Canadians possibly don’t care about pot one way or the other, so the Tory approach isn’t going to make them vote Tory anymore than they already might.
    However, it paints Justin as even more of a “dude” who is “in way over his head”. By talking endlessly about legalizing pot it puts the Liberals into a fringe party category. This shouldn’t be the main focus of a grown up political organization and next to the Conservatives it makes them all look collegiate.
    For the urban sophisticats who vote Liberal anyway it appears eye-rollingly appalling, but to the reams of low-information voters, they are left with the impression that Justin is “that pot guy” and the Liberals want lot’s of legal pot.
    In other words…not a serious party to vote for.

    • It isn’t the main focus of the Libs but the Conservatives have done a good job of making it look like that.
      They have found an issue to hit Trudeau over the head with, can’t fault them for that.

      • It isn’t the “main focus” of the Libs? Then why is it the only thing close to a defined policy that Trudeau has come out with? The only thing he’s said definitively that he’d do if he were PM is legalize marijuana, nothing else. He’s said nothing about taxes, or government spending, only legalizing marijuana.

        • Fair enough but to say it’s the main focus of the Libs is like saying the main focus of Rob Ford’s time in office is crack smoking.

        • Trudeau has laid down some markers; but policy that can be attacked the libs are avoiding two years out.[ i actually think this is too cautious] To call it a main focus is pure spin. But that’s all you do anywho.

          • Then please tell me what his main focus is, if it’s not marijuana promotion.

          • Da middle class!

            As mushy as that concept may be. Two minutes on the liberal website will reveal as much to even you. It doesn’t cost anything to visit you know, nor will you catch the liberal bug. You’re definitely immune

          • Yes, yes. I know he keeps saying his “focus” is on the middle class. But how? What will he actually do to make the lives of the middle class better? Outside of legalizing marijuana, that is.

            Will he lower taxes? Will he implement social programs targeted at the middle class? He hasn’t said anything. He just repeats platitudes and cliches.

          • You’re just miffed because he wont put all his cards on the table for you to p*ss on them. Harper played pretty much the same game before the 06 election.

          • Everybody knew what Harper stood for before the ’06 election. Lower taxes, less intrusive government, etc. Nobody was surprised by the resulting tax cuts, getting rid of the gun registry, wheat board, etc. All things where Harper had taken public stances.

            Trudeau: nothing. Nobody knows if he thinks we should be taxed more, or less. He might revive the gun registry, he might not. Same with the Wheat board.

            It’s not that he doesn’t want to show his cards, he’s bluffing about having any cards at all. While Mulcair and Harper are playing poker, Trudeau’s sitting at the table with a hand full of Uno cards.

          • Rubbish. Trudeau has taken stances on most of those issues. He just hasn’t put them into a platform, and why should he now?

          • Geez Rick, I can`t believe you left out Harper`s big ones – transparency and accountability.

    • Good points – it seems like a major red herring of an issue.

      I can’t see it being on many people’s radar as pressing business. However JT has alluded to it on several occassions now and in the absence of any other noteworthy policy the Conservative can use it to further their campaign of portraying JT as a lightweight.

  4. I believe the Conservative campaign against Justin Trudeau on marijuana legalization is by far
    the most ambitious partisan exercise they have undertaken since their
    ad blitz against Michael Ignatieff in the first few months of 2011.

    Of course it is. Part of their “define the new leader” strategy, which they are pretty much obligated to do for themselves since the media is not going to do their job for them to the extent that they do for the Liberals. On that front, they have to fight the media who do damage control on Justin’s behalf.

    Maybe they needed a bit of time for Justin to provide them with a good enough messaging opportunity that their focus groups indicate they could capitalize on, or maybe they are just building on “Justin over his head”, but at this point, given the track record of their advertising team I’m not betting against the CPC’s knowledge of their target market.

    • Gloria[ i believe she may be a feminist] speaking out on JT’s behalf! That’s all you got for evidence of media bias? That’s pretty lame.

      • Then there’s also all the apologists who insisted Trudeau’s comments were just a joke. And then the others who insisted it was really a comment on Harper’s governing style.

        Not to mention the absolute failure of most media outlets to report the idiotic statement until well after Sun News had publicized it.

        Though I do find it funny that you keep demanding evidence from others while never ever proving any of your own.

        • Apologist speaking on JT’s behalf are hardly evidence of a media bias. And please don’t hold up Sun media as an example of serious journalism. They’d sell their birth right for a chance to plant one on a Trudeau, living or dead.

          I was impressed by your bringing evidence to the table for once yesterday. Maybe we wont have to wait another 2, 3 or more years for you to try it again?

        • “Apologists”?
          You mean like people who make excuses for Rob Ford and then turn around and say Trudeau is terrible for smoking weed while NOT in office?

          • Um, Trudeau has admitted to smoking weed while he was a sitting MP. Also has never made any indication that he has or plans to quit. He’s probably out smoking Chongers as we speak.

          • So just like Rob Ford?

        • Sun Media was the only news organization that attended the event…

      • Gloria speaking out is not bias. The CBC rushing to jump up and down and scream “See! One feminist doesn’t think it was sexist! Justin did nothing wrong!” most certainly is. I can guarantee you that had Steinham been of a different opinion her story would not be on CBC’s web site.

        Keep in mind, the same journalist who wrote that story works in the CBC’s US bureau and didn’t bother to ask Steinham about what Martin Bashir said only a couple of days prior.. Tells you everything you need to know about what the CBC’s agenda was there

        • Oh for god’s sake. I guess Gloria having her say is NOT still news then? Who’s Martin Bashir? Get the point?

          • You don’t who Martin Bashir is?!
            Uh, I don’t know either, actually. But whatever. The CBC needs to ask her about something he said. Canadians demand to know!

            But seriously,if you hadn’t noticed, john is a kook for whom everything is evidence that the media is out to get him.

            Almost every daily paper endorsement going to the Conservatives? Ah ha! They’re just trying to throw you off the scent of their super-stealthy scheme to make you love the Liberals.

          • Whew!! I was worried someone might call me on that one. ‘You don’t know who M. Bashir is? Have you been living under a rock or something!’
            JG’s been pushing that line for some time now. It never seems to get old.
            I try and limit as much as possible my own hostile media effect to biased refs who call too many penalties against my nhl team.
            One of the most famous studies of this effect and cognitive dissonance in general centres around the Nixon Kennedy debates. Both sides watched the same debate, both sides swore the other side won and the media coverage was biased.

          • His sources, when he offers them are seriously bat shit nutz sites.

          • Yes, you just illustrated my point perfectly. Rush Limbaugh calls someone a “slut” and everyone knows who he is. The CBC tells us all about the backlash from his advertisors.

            Martin Bashir is a regular MSNBC host. He said that someone should “p*ss and sh*t in Sarah Palin’s mouth”. And you don’t know who he is…because he’s not Rush Limbaugh.

            A more perfect illustration of my point, there could not be.

          • Got a link for that one? I don’t get either MSNBC or Fox so I have missed this latest hysterics between the two.

          • Oh, go look it up lazy one !
            Don`t bother trying to find it at CBC.

          • Everything illustrates your point, kook.
            I have indeed heard of Limbaugh. I believe he’s the top rated radio host in the US and has been for longer than I can remember.
            Martin Bashir is a host I’ve never heard of, of a show I’ve never seen.
            What’s newsworthy to me is that you can now say, “p*iss and sh*t in Sarah Palin’s mouth” on US teevee without getting bleeped. The last time I watched US news, even the word “ass” was to strong for their delicate viewers’ sensibilities.

            At least we can be thankful the CBC doesn’t infantilise us like that.

          • Martin Bashir did a famous interview with Michael Jackson right before he got accused the 2nd time for child molestation.

          • You CBC`ers keep proving john g`s point over and over again.

          • And my point is you shouldn’t be surprised if CBC calls a famous feminist for her opinion of JT’s ladies night, assuming she didn’t offer her opinion to CBC. At worst it’s lazy journalism.

        • Obviously you don’t Gloria very well.

    • So you have told me you do not work for the conservatives. I cannot help but notice that you must spend a whole lot of time combing every single possible news site out their for “evidence” that fits your paranoid conspiracy theory, while steadfastly ignoring the evidence that contradicts it. (Hint: the proper way to do this is to examine ALL the evidence, but I digress..)

      So anyway – you do all this without being asked or paid for your efforts. I am starting to feel sorry for you. What kind of life is that?

      • Gayle, john brings forth source info that it relevant to the arguments. Why harass him? Are you on the Liberal Party payroll or what?

        • Just so we’re clear – responding to a comment on a blog post is now equal to harassment, at least when the comment is directed at a Conservative Party of Canada supporter.

          Also, this means you are on the payroll of the Liberal Party of Canada.

          We’re through the looking glass you guys.

          • Is this you Gayle, or TJ? If it is you Gayle, you are getting really paranoid? According to you everyone is a CPC operative?
            Can’t we just have a discussion without you constantly questioning the politically motives? Of course it is your right to do so however, it becomes really tedious and weighs down the comment thread?
            For future reference, I do not work for the CPC. I am not sure who I will vote for in 2015. I comment on things that interest me and I feel free to criticize what ever I want to. I especially like to ponder about politically strategy and what makes politicians do certain activities.

          • Is there someone there who can help you with your reading comprehension?

          • Go back and reread.
            You will see where Gayle accuses john g of being paid by the Conservatives.
            This is a frequent habit of Liberals when they are losing an argument.
            You should be familiar with that.

          • You mean when she says “So you have told me you do not work for the conservatives.”

            Also, again, a comment on a chat board is not harassment.

        • Ha ha.

          John brings forth a paranoid conspiracy theory about how the big bad media are out to get the conservatives. It is not harassment to mock him for such a silly and unsupportable stance, any more than it is to point out that his “research” is one sided.

          But the fact you think his information is relevant to anything kind of discounts your claim that you are non partisan. Not that I needed any more proof of that.

          • Sorry Gayle, that wasn’t the comment of John’s that a found interesting. The one that I was alluding to was the difficulty they are having in the US with instituting the legalization of pot in the two states. The prices have become prohibitive due to heavy taxing their is concern that citizens will turn to black markets. I mistakenly thought you were after John for that comment, not the one you went after him for which was deserved. Now as to your continued belief in my partisanship….have on.

          • I will, but thanks for the clarification.

        • Ha – have you seen his sources, when he actually has them?

    • John, have you seen some of Chantelle Hebert’s article’s about JT? They are not positive.

      • Yes. Chantal is one of the few journalists whom I trust to call it without the filter of partisan politics clouding her view. Her, Wells, Paikin, and Coyne, and lately Akin are pretty much the only ones I trust to do that

  5. I don’t know, this just seems to be two parties talking past each other to their bases. The conservative base is a lot more cautious about drug legalization, The LPC base is a lot more open to it. Let the market of ideas sort it out.

  6. A month ago a Conservative political staffer sent me a transcript of Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray’s appearance on a Cantonese-language Fairchild Radio open-line forum.

    Hmmmm. Pretty obscure. Not any more.

    Mission accomplished.

    • I can flat guarantee you the original audience for that broadcast was far larger than the readership for this blog post. “Obscure” is not a word that should be used for “I don’t understand that language.” Unless you’re…. well, you.

      • Different demographic. And cumulative. You are ADDING.

        What do you think is the overlap between the listeners of that talk radio program, and who follows you here on Macleans, and on twitter with your numerous RT’s and pickup by the other members of the PPG?

        Reminiscent of the Oily the Splot campaign a few years ago that was only run on a few gas pumps in Ontario, until it was picked up by the bloggers here.

        • Wait, I’m starting to get it. You’re the guy who spent two years in a protracted and thoroughly pathetic state of apoplexy because I covered what the government’s appointees did to Rights and Democracy.

          Your thesis seems to be that I should not write about events in Canadian politics because somebody might read it. I am sorry to disappoint. No, wait, actually I’m not sorry. I’m delighted to disappoint.

          • You’re STILL stewing over that? If it was “two years” it was only because you kept writing about it for that long. And it still comes up, to this day. Wow.

            No, keep writing on your chosen topics. I’m sure your translated transcripts would impress RCMP Cpl. Horton. But, he probably is used to criticism, such as he got this morning on the CBC’s The Current for including irrelevant info, according to one guest. Part of his job, I suppose.

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Wow. Passive aggressive.

            You sure publishing my name is legal? I don’t recall authorizing you to do that.

          • Btw, just to be accurate, as I believe you are entering , if not in, libel territory, I have taken issue with indiscriminate censoring by certain individuals. And requested that their activities in this regard be removed, reviewed, or assumed by others within Macleans.

            I have never attempted to have anyone “publicly humiliated or dismissed by their employers.”

            Go for a walk, reconsider your rant, and kindly delete it.

          • I wonder if I made that list? I hope so.

          • Nope. Quality, not quantity. Besides, doubtful you have tenure somewhere.

          • I just remember you and me having a fair go around over D&Rs. Otherwise i haven’t a clue what this about.

          • Jeez, get over yourself.
            Your self-importance is best left to yourself.

          • Too lazy to figure out I had a history with Dot during the R&D scandal, or too dense to draw the implication?

      • Not obscure, but not representative either. For every anti-drug immigrant, five are from countries where it’s grown and smoked openly.

        Given the history of the Opium Wars, asking Chinese about drugs is like asking a Cuban if they’ve ever heard of Miami.

        • Most new Chinese immigrants to Canada come from Mainland China where mandarin dominates. If new immigrants are in fact the target group.

          • The same older, established conservative Chinese crowd used to campaign against Insite. Judging by their success on that, I think JT has nothing to worry about.

          • My former partner, who attended the school where Wells is speaking next Friday, came from mainland China, as did many of her classmates (one of whom was in Tiananmen Square around that fateful time – all of whom spoke mandarin).

            Her generation holds politicians in very low regard for obvious reasons. I’d be surprised if they would have engaged as indicated, so I think you’re right.

            But then again, Cantonese/Mandarin; Hong Kong – Fujian Province/The rest of the Middle Kingdom – what’s the diff?

  7. “He said[Trudeau] many people in his family take marijuana, he said it himself.”

    Those callers sure don’t sound partisan at all. But it is clear from the tone that persuading some folks in the ethnic communities is going to be more of an uphill struggle then JT and his team first thought. I wonder if there’s going to be the same kind of concerted push by the liberals in those communities[ ads too] to attempt to match the Tories scummy propaganda? Because to baldly state that there is an overt intent to expose more kids to drugs[ whatever the merits of the legalization case] is partisan politics of the lowest order. But hey, that’s SH’s calling card. Most of us recognize it by now. Trudeau had better dig in for a real fight.
    I also wonder what other issue may carry as much weight in those communities that the opposition parties might use to counter some of this pushback?

    • I think the callers are partisan and likely were asked by the party to call, but I also agree that will be part of the battle.

      • Id like to know if it is customary to be so personal and rude in Chinese society when criticizing someone. Somehow i doubt it, so i agree with you, they’re parisan plants.

  8. Those callers are making the exact arguments against marijuana legalization that voters will. The Trudeau policy is incredibly simplistic, and they think they can overcome opposition by repeating talking points. It ain’t going to work.

    The Trudeau policy WILL result in more kids using marijuana, and seeing it as more socially acceptable to use. We’ve spent decades and untold millions of dollars telling kids that using drugs is bad, but Trudeau would undo that in one fell swoop.

    I also find it disturbing that his MPs are using the revenue side of this as an argument for it. What other currently illegal activities that are profitable for organized crime would Trudeau have the government take over? Just because crime is profitable is no reason for the government to start taking over those businesses.

    • “Just because crime is profitable is no reason for the government to start taking over those businesses.”

      You mean like gambling? To torque this as what else will they legalize? is essentially good old fashioned idiotic fearmongering.

      Regulating the pot will NOT cause kids to go clamoring to go with mummy and daddy or big brother to the liquor store…get a grip! The kids that use pot can already access it at the drop of a hat in most communities.

    • So you want to go back to having liquor distributed by organized crime. That way we won’t be sending the wrong message to the children.

      • Um, when did I say or imply that? It’s Trudeau’s policy that would turn what is now organized crime into legitimate business.

        • Yes, and your position is that the government should not be selling intoxicating agents of any kind. So get out there and start banging your drum for the return of prohibition.

    • “they think they can overcome opposition by repeating talking points. It ain’t going to work.”

      Coming from you, particularly, this is hilarious!

      • Rick doesn’t do irony…probably thinks its a drug or a liberal plot or both

  9. odd, usually it’s the right who want immigrants to be “more Canadian.”

  10. One of my biggest gripes with Canada’s msm is how white it is. Other than professional hockey player, mainstream journo is whitest profession in Canada. Media orgs have done very poor job in assimilating ethnic people into mainstream conversation. Wells, you are one of my fav journos in Canada because you understand your job better than most of your colleagues but this would be better convo if there were Asians involved.

    I don’t know if those callers are Con partisans or not but their attitude towards drugs does not sound suspicious to me. I lived in S Korea and they harshly anti-drug but they drink alcohol in enormous quantities. My neighbours are Chinese immigrants and they are anti drug – I have smoked a joint or two in my backyard and if my neighbours smell it I walk away with flea in my ear.

    I am pro legalization of cannabis and few other delightful products that add funk to our brains but it will never happen when it is 420 dudes like Trudeau making the argument. There are health benefits of cannabinoids, hemp products but people get freaked out by drugs. I have no idea what it is but people go wackadoodle when the convo is about drugs but alcohol is no problem even tho it is worse for health and makes people aggressive and unpleasant.

    I am in Guelph and there more stores called 420 or wacky tabacky than there are beer stores. What do people think are sold in those shops? And the cigarette papers at corner shops – are there really that many Drum smokers who roll their own?

    • Both prohibition and full legalization are poor policies IMO

      • I would be satisfied if a few minor, lesser drugs were decriminalized. I think people buying small amounts of weed and ending up with criminal record is not helpful.

        • I think it should be decriminalized, or legalize it, but the government should stay out of growing and selling it. It sends the wrong message.

  11. To Wells’ question of if these callers are CPC plants.
    Mr Lau used an odd phrasing (perhaps lost in translation), referring to ‘our government’ rather than ‘the government’. Perhaps it is a subtle nuance and I am over-analyzing, but it stuck out to me…. reading below, even Rick Omen uses the phrase ‘the government’ rather than ‘our’.

    • Nah, that’s probably in the possessive = of/by/for the people sense. It doesn’t really sound that ominous in Cantonese.

  12. We have remember that Trudeau says his plan will make marijuana harder for teens to get than it is with the high school drug dealers.
    But he has to flesh out details of his legalization and control plans. If he’s planning an LCBO type system he should get it out there.

    • The government legalizing and selling pot will not keep it out of the hands of teens. That is just not the reality (but I wouldn’t expect JT to be in touch with reality).
      Please, please explain how legalization will keep it away from kids.

      • LCBO Pretty much works. And in Ontario adults don’t really dare buy for teen at the liquor store door.

        • So are you trying to tell me that alcohol is being kept out of the hands of teens and kids b/c the government is regulating and selling it?
          I know you’re not really going to try and tell me that, are you?

          • They are more or less equally dangerous. Or Maybe alcohol more so.

          • You didn’t answer my question….. but hands down alcohol is WAY more dangerous than pot (if we’re talking about when used in excess – I think booze and pot in moderation are not really dangerous at all).

          • To sum it up folks, you’re either with Trudeau, and at least some control, or you’re with the high school drug dealers and pushers, and their drug gang, organized, underworld, crime masters..

          • Far too simplistic analysis. Full prohibition or full legalization are not the only 2 options.

          • Poor Vic Toews forgotten already.

          • I don’t think people are really arguing that alcohol is being kept out of the hands of kids, full stop, they’re arguing that for most kids in Canada, getting their hands on alcohol is more difficult than getting their hands on weed.

          • I know they’re arguing that, but it’s just not true. Way more kids are drinking than smoking pot – the reason (IMO) – because alcohol is more socially accepted and b/c it’s readily available (friends buy it for them, they steal it from parents, etc). The same will hold true for pot if it’s legalized and sold by the government.
            I’m all for legalization – but government should stay away from selling it.

          • They get it at home.

          • Oh, for sure, but if you’re going to steal your parents’ booze, you’re going to steal your parents’ pot too. To my mind, the solution to kids getting intoxicants from their parents isn’t banning intoxicants, it’s better parenting.

        • You do know that not everyone lives in Ontario and that in some provinces, the legally drinking age is 18. Kids are still in high school at age 18 meaning that they don’t need an adult to buy them liquor. These 18 year old teens can buy liquor for themselves and all their under age friends. I understand that JT and you grew up in a province that has an older legal drinking age but surely you are educated enough with what happens in the rest of the country to understand that you cannot generalize the experience of a few provinces to every province and make pronouncements. It does not work that way.

          • Your average teenager graduates from high school at the age of 17, so your entire premise is faulty. Sure it happens that some small percentage of kids are still in school when they turn 18… and if they happen to live in a province where they are legal at 18 then then can consume liquor as adults. Which is severely beside the point of protecting the poor innocent children who are teetering precariously on the knife edge between a saintly existence and utter debauchery.

            Remember them? The ones we are protecting from that merciless drugpusher, Justin Trudeau.

          • How does the “average teenager graduate from high school at age 17″, when high school is over at the end of June and at least 1/2 of the graduating class would have celebrating a birthday in the first of the year, prior to the end of June making them 18 years old. Also, you are denying that 18 year old teens are happy to provide booze to all of their younger friends whom they party with in high school, unless now you are going to try to tell me that grade 12 students only socialize with other students in grade 12 and don’t date or socialize with those in other grades despite the fact that they are on the same sports teams as they are, etc.
            I am not only the mother of two daughters, one who happens to be a new grad and 18 years old but I am a nurse with 18 years experience in addictions and mental health, including on the adolescent unit. If you are going to mock my knowledge on the issue, perhaps you could provide your credentials for proving my assertion wrong. As for calling JT a “merciless drugpusher”, I never did that. However, yours and his assertion that under age teens have difficulty getting government regulated substances is incorrect.

          • Ease up, Expert. I didn’t “mock your knowledge” although I can and will mock your attitude of offended dignity. If you want to play dueling credentials you’ll have to play with someone else. I am merely a parent and part-time driver/security for a big-city mayor. In my experience, most teenagers leave high school at 17 or shortly after their 18th birthday. Don’t take my word for it, check the tapes.

            All of which is completely beside the point. Your assertion is that alcohol and weed are equally accessible to younger teenagers, I’ve argued the opposite. Teenagers will do either or both depending on what’s available to them, of course. I take the position that pot is more available under the prohibition model than it would be if regulated. Short of hiring a bunch of teenagers to go on a scavenger hunt, I can’t test my hypothesis (Nor can you test yours), but I can make logical assumptions and observations, which is what I’ve been doing.

          • Maybe you do not understand but working in addictions and mental health as a bachelor (4 year university degree) prepared nurse, I test my hypothesis regularly. Underage teens have no problem accessing alcohol.

          • Well, perhaps your job has coloured your judgement. I have raised (almost) 4 teenagers and my experience has been, I’d suggest, more typical than your own. You deal with those who are troubled and addicted. I’ve dealt mostly with what I would term the untroubled teenagers who experiment, dabble, screw-up, and grow-up in a relatively trauma-free experience.

            None of them took a drink before 16-17, but any one of them could score a bag of weed in 20 minutes at the age of 14. It’s just the way of the world these days and incidentally it was exactly the same when I was in high school over 30 years ago.

          • You know what this is ….it is irony. There is a complaint that Rona Ambrose in particular and the Harper government in general IGNORES scientists and medical experts when it comes to discussing issues and yet here you are, saying my education, my 18 years experience and my up to date studying of the latest scientific research disqualifies me and “colores my judgement” in a way in which it renders me incapable of judging the truth of what the “typical experience of teen is”. Therefore, I should bow to you who is the parent and has raised 4 children.
            Now what if I told you that I am the 8th of 9 children and have 17 nieces and nephews (the youngest of which is 18) as well as two children of my own (the youngest of which is 18). Would that be enough for you to put aside my expertise and think me able to judge the behavior of a “typical teenager.”

          • Look, you’re obviously determined to take offense. So go ahead and take it. I’m unconvinced by your glowing self-references but I’m sure you’re sincere in your beliefs.

            So am I.

          • Yes I am sure are. You are exactly as sincere as Rick Omen. He doesn’t believe Heroin addicts should be treated with heroin either and you doubt that mental health experts know anything about “typical teens.” Next time you are going to slam the other political party, think about what you might have in common…..your certainty that you each are right about what you believe in without believing in anyone who is actually working in the field.
            By the way, I promise NEVER to comment on the driving/security of a big city mayor because that is YOUR field of expertise.
            ….and I really do come from a huge family….I have always maintained that.

          • As the evening progresses, I am persuaded the expert nurse drains the last of her box of wine and just goes for it. Always gets offended; always gets on her high horse. Always just slightly misses points. And occasionally gets a little too shrill.

          • Wow patchouli, last time you said my kid had a substance abuse problem and was arrested in a bust by police (due you claimed to lax parenting) Now you have moved on to my having a substance abuse problem. In the past you also went after a sixteen year old girl whose mother (whose name was announced) was foolish enough to announce to Justin Trudeau that her 16 year old daughter had used alcohol and weed. You are a real class act. I am sure your friend Justin Trudeau is really proud to have you shilling for the party (not). You are everything you supposedly disdain in the Cons. Keep it up. I am sure you are making your Con in laws in Saskatchewan really proud.

          • Also, in those same provinces, it is legal to drive at 16.

            The point is, you can have different ages for different things.

            So, it is entirely possible, the legal age to purchase would be 21.

          • Yes, you can go to war at 18 and you can vote for the country’s Prime Minister at 18 but you can’t smoke that so-called harmless drug cannabis until age 21. In the meantime, try these cancer sticks at age 18…… yes, I can see how that is going to work.

  13. Another possibility for the Liberals’ decline is that after multiple foot-in-mouth incidents, people are coming to the conclusion that other than telegenicness (yeah, not a real word) and a sterling (at least to Liberals) political pedigree, Trudeau does not appear to offer much as a would-be leader.

    Just contrast Trudeau’s and Mulcair’s Commons performances w.r.t. the Senate fiasco and ask yourself which one appears to really know what he’s doing.

  14. If they want to hammer Trudeau on pot legalization, fine, but they’d best get around to throwing Rob Ford under the bus, and then backing it over him once or twice. They’re mildly tut-tutting Ford while portraying Trudeau as the devil incarnate. Doesn’t wash.

    ‘Their plan to legalize marijuana will make it more available to minors.’ While this seems like a reasonable assumption, I’d really like some data or evidence to back it up. I’m generally all for legalization, but this aspect is the one the troubles me most. I’d really like to know if this assertion is the correct one.

    • Do you believe the assertion that legalizing it will keep it away from kids? That’s JT’s pitch. Don’t buy it for a second.
      I agree the Cons should be harder on Ford, but I understand why they’re not. That said, Ford is running for PM or advocating for the legalization of crack.

      • That’s your opinion. I’d like evidence. Mind you, JT hasn’t provided much in the way of evidence re: availability to minors. But other than opinions on the matter, no one (including you) is providing evidence.

        Re: Ford — the Conservatives have made it clear that they believe using an illegal drug while in office is reprehensible in Trudeau’s case, but simply ‘troubling’ in Ford’s case. Sorry… if it’s going to be reprehensible and unforgivable for one guy, it has to be reprehensible and unforgivable for the other guy. No matter how much you count on Ford Nation.

        • There is “evidence” out there. But it goes both ways so you’re wasting time looking for hard evidence. What I wrote on an earlier post:

          But when the evidence goes both ways, then what? Common sense is all that’s left. So ask yourself – does government selling booze keep it out of kids hands? Answer = no. In fact, government selling is a sign to most that the government condones it – therefore it becomes more socially accepted – so more people do it – so more kids are exposed to it and have greater access to it.
          Look how socially acceptable it became when Trudeau admitted it? Suddenly a bunch of other people admit it. Sure, we all know people smoke dope – but legalizing and selling it will more likely than not result in more people doing it and less social stigma attached to it.
          Decriminalize it (or legalize it, but don’t sell it) and you’re saying – we don’t agree with using drugs, but we also don’t believe that people should have a criminal record for this offence.
          Which is the better message to kids? Which message will still keep it as a social taboo?

          • That’s an argument, and a plausible one, but it’s not evidence. I can come up with a plausible one for the other side, too. All I’m saying is, evidence would be nice. Your opinions, while valid, don’t sway me.

            I agree that there may be more of a general acceptance of pot smoking if it is made legal, but how much do we have to pay in legal and enforcement costs to maintain that nebulous sense of ‘taboo?’ Are THAT many more people going to smoke pot than they are already? I’d like to see someone at least take a stab at quantifying that.

          • Don’t get me wrong – I don’t advocate the current system. Decriminalization or legalization without the government getting involved in its sale and distribution IMO is the way to go.

          • Right now, drug dealers are getting rich, we’re spending a sh*tload of money chasing after them, and a whole helluva lot of people are smoking pot, regardless of what the government is doing. A serious rethink of the status quo is definitely in order.

          • What I believe will likely is happen is that Harper and co. will get as much campaign fund raising on JT’s as possible and right before the actual campaign they will announce a plan to decriminalize for possession of cannabis and hand out tickets.
            A government should not be in the business of selling booze, pot or cigarettes and gambling unless they are willing to turn the profits back into the treatment of conditions related to those vices. If they want to legalize it, they should privatize it.

          • Agreed. Legalize it and allow people to grow for personal use. No gov. involvement so they’re not seen as condoning it – it’s still not available at the local corner store – much less policing – cuts into crime proceeds (but I believe criminals will just move on to something else – so I don’t buy the reduce crime argument unless you keep the argument in a vacuum or you’re only talking about the 18 year old kids with a gram of weed as the “criminal”.)

          • The “social acceptance” theory doesn’t work on a societal level when we already have so many people using it. The only thing that will clearly change is the lack of “social punish” in its use, and the inclusion of “social acceptance” in immigrant communities who are outliers to the general Canadian attitudes.

            Arguing for a “common sense” approach to deciphering weather it will get more marijuana into the hands of kids makes no sense when there’s actual studies that have been published that haven’t been able to find an answer. How does your one-minute “common sense” deliberation beat someone else’s thousand-hour PhD study in reliability?

          • Wrong. There are still a lot of people that think ANY drug use is wrong.
            If there is a 1000 page study saying legalization is good and a 1000 page study that says legalization is bad, and their both reputable studies, then what? huh? Do nothing b/c there is no “study” that definitely gives us an answer? No, you apply your logic and common sense – or, you do nothing (unless you have another solution).

        • Jason Kenny did go after Ford, calling him dishonorable and saying he should leave office.

          • Harper and the Conservative Party would be wise to follow his lead if they insist on demonizing Trudeau. Even in the hypocritical business of politics, it’s beyond the pale to do otherwise.

          • They have fundraising to do. Meanwhile, they double team to make everyone happy. Jason placates those in the party who are outraged by Ford. Flaherty and Harper placate the Ford nation.

    • How many dealers ask for ID? A stupid Con talking point, easily handled by my previous question.

      Canadians are smarter than Harper thinks.

  15. HARPER is starting to show his desparation and it iis creeping into the campaign. There is no victory for them in this. They have carried this riding for 50 years so a Conservative victory is not news.

    By making this about Trudeau, the HARPER CONS had better hope they (Conservatives) win Brandon. If they LOSE now they have set themselves up for a MASSIVE DEFEAT.

    Loosing Brandon would be a major defeat in and of itself, but now that they have made it about Trudeau, anything but a absolute victory will be a DISASTER for HARPER.

    • You should really consider making your post in all capital letters. That would make it much more persuasive.

      • It’s a copy/paste – he had the same post yesterday. I really doubt he’s a Former Tory – probably a Liberal Troll.

        • Nice try but then again, Harper isn’t really a Conservative is he.

        • But while I have your attention, care to comment on the substance of my post or are you just here to sling mud, insults and abuse.

          If all you can offer in rebuttal is insults then you have pretty much admitted I am right and you can’t refute what I say.

          • Sure… if you really want me to. It wouldn’t be good for them, but I don’t think it would be a “DISASTER”.

          • A riding they have held for 50 years should be a lock in. Ratching up the rhetoric and making it about Trudeau increases the cost in political prestige and reputation. should they lose.

            After that, after making it all about Trudeau – to lose would be a disaster because it says, in spite of everything they have said and done, in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country – Harper was still rejected.

            Many, many people will start to question the strategy, their direction, whether they can support them and even more fundamentally, whether they can support them with money.

            Remember – people like to associate with a winner and they don’t like to be associated with a loser.

          • Makes sense. If Harper sending a personalized attack[ for the first time in a long time according to Wells] on a third party leader in a very safe seat isn’t doubling down, i don’t know what is.
            Lose and it raises other questions other then drug policy; questions about Harper rather then about JT.

      • That would be a bit much – hard on the eyes.

        The words speak for themselves but thank you for commenting.

  16. Paul, Paul, Paul… many of these people also come from places that also execute gays.

    Harper panders to a shrinking base of ignorant people who haven’t learned about Al Capone yet in ESL class at his peril.

    The Trudeau brand is historically linked to pot. Harper’s gang of trolls are taking the bait and looking like idiots.

    • Also, the Chinese probably aren’t the best immigrant group to poll given their authoritarian nature and the history of the Opium Wars. Ask a Jamaican or South Asian who grew up where it grows wild.

  17. The Conservatives are betting the bank on immigrant “swing” ridings…It’s paid off for them in the past. The Liberals need to get on this.

    • Agreed. Love the avatar.

  18. Being a “highly educated urban sophisticate” doesn’t mean you have any common sense and if you’re always smoking pot, it does tend to cloud your judgment. So maybe only the sophisticates think they’re smart!

  19. This letter stinks of desperation. Harper has sunk to a new low.

  20. That ad aimed at the Punjabi community is pure propaganda. Typical over the top Harper bilge, even if it did pass the focus test. JT wiil have to find a creative way to push back against this fear-mongering garbage Luckily by now communities of all stripes are familiar with the Harper MO, but that’s no excuse for complacency on the part of liberals.

  21. Since a few folks[ beyond Ricky who wont actually read them, much less give them some thought] have been asking for evidence for the case for legalization i asked someone more knowledgeable then my self over at the libs. This is what i have so far.

    The Long and Winding Road

    - Unraveling the Quandries

    - Drug Information Online

    - Sensible BC

    sigh…the links don’t seem to work. I guess you can google them.[ along with the tag, legalization of marijuana.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03625.x/full
    http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00050/full
    http://sensiblebc.ca/faqs/

  22. If we legalized marijuana it would create jobs in a whole new industry.
    My question to everybody that I still have not received satisfaction is why is oxycontin a legal drug in Canada and marijuana is not?
    The more you think about that question the more the answers scare you. But that question should be asked to politicians, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, police and everybody else that comes in contact with these drugs.

    • Hogwash, the ‘jobs’ are already there…just underground.

      My worry is that the only reason politicians want to legalize is that they see it as a great way to increase taxes even more than they are today.

      Aside from the reduction in policing costs, there is no other financial rationale for legalization…certainly not jobs (except maybe in further bloated prov gov’ts).

      I support legalisation, but the rationale you state is false.

  23. I haven’t lived in Brandon for 20 years. I grew up there, and the city wasn’t terribly political. Mostly a solid, small-town kind of mindset and very pragmatic in their attitudes as you might except from a prairie town/city, and thus primarily conservative.

    I see that it seems to have a lot more immigrants and visible minorities now. I wonder how that is changing the politics in the city, if at all.

  24. Stephen Harper’s legitimate concern is that there are simply not enough Jazz musicians for everyone to become sexually attracted to once we all become addicted and “hopped up on the stuff”

  25. I dislike the gateway drug theory. I have used cannabis since I was 12 and I have never ever used anything else stronger then that. I think I’m more hooked on my coffee then pot. What would be a greater theory is to call high fructose corn syrup a gateway drug, as most of our children can not get enough candy and sweets…

  26. I really think the most telling part of this article is the fact that Harper is clearly afraid of what will happen in Brandon. Maybe the liberals will win, and maybe they won’t. But Harper is worried. First a safe seat in Calgary was at risk to go liberal and now in Manitoba. Harper better hope his marihuana fear mongering works.

    • It won’t. The ‘children’ tactic was tried in Washington and Colorado by weed bigots and failed miserably.

  27. If this letter continues to cause controversy and backfires for the Conservatives, maybe we will find out that the letter was not penned by Stephen Harper, but by his new Chief of Staff, and that Stephen Harper is “outraged” that he was “deceived” by his Chief of Staff, since Harper would never have penned such a letter himself!

    • Ha ha!

  28. Who calls into a Cantonese-language Fairchild Radio open-line forum that uses translators for English? I am willing to bet it isn’t a cross-section of the immigrant community. This represents a narrow segment of the immigrant population.

    • People who call into a talk radio show area always going to be a weird slice of the general population, but being in Canada, and with most politicians not Cantonese-speaking, translators (actually the hosts translate, not dedicated translators) are the norm.

      Especially if you’re a party without any Cantonese speaking local MPs, like the Liberals, you make do. The Tories would’ve likely sent Alice Wong. Even the Dippers might have to either send an English speaker, or a non-MP notable like Gabriel Yu.

      Point is: this isn’t a narrow portion of the immigrant population, at least compared to any mainstream talk show. Also, Fairchild’s show is on Saturday around noon, which means a lot of people with regular jobs can call in, unlike a lot of mainstream talk radio.

      • I’ve always understood, from the politically connected in the Lower Mainland, that Fairchild radio is a big deal for the local Asian community and the absolute #1 way of influencing them and reaching them.

  29. Look up. Way, way up, everyone. Somewhere up there, is the point of Wells’ post. Which I suppose you’re all indirectly and unintentionally demonstrating, but nevertheless have missed in stunning fashion.

    • I read it, I just don’t agree.

  30. Guess Harper is really getting nervous that a Trudeau might take his place…

    • Looks like.

  31. I was at a customers house when she got a phone call from the Conservative’s . She said they told her that “if Justin Trudeau got elected he would legalize marijuana, and you don’t want that do you? We need $200 donation so we can stop him”

    • I’d rather spend that $200 on an ounce. Which will drop to $50 once JT is PM.

      • Note that there was an article in the BC Edition of the Globe earlier this week on the fact that the price of pot has already dropped significantly in BC because of legalization in Washington State. One would think that the “pro-consumer” Harper government whould approve.

  32. Nearly every comment I read (admittedly not all of them…too monotonous) entirely missed the point of this article. Is it perhaps the effect of drugs on concentration and attention span?

    Here’s an idea if you don’t like attack ads: whenever you hear one, contact the offending party and inform them them that you’ve just donated ten dollars to the party that was the object of the attack. Don’t forget to tell them why you did so.

  33. Legalizing marijuana will make it more available to minors? What about weed and alcohol? are they available to minors? NO, and by the same logic marijuana will not be available for minors.

  34. It makes no sense for the government to actively regulate pot. The Cons position makes sense – license its production for medical use, otherwise it is not legal. I would whole-heartedly support decriminalization of possession of small amounts. But that is a simple step compared to creating a entire fedderal bureau of marijuana regulation. If you think that bureau will be efficient and effective, you’ve been smoking too much.

  35. Harper is running a crime ring.

    If he was telling the truth about the Senate scandal Sen.Irving Gerstein would be fired by now.

    The whole country knows the Prime Minister is a liar now.

    Demonizing weed is just another horrible play from the PMO Short Pants crew.

  36. I love how the people we designate as leaders feel comfortable picking and choosing what they can take advantage of versus what they don’t like about our immigrant population. What? Are you going to wear that dark menacing tent over your whole body all day? Please dress like we do. Huh? You really don’t like drugs – and love spouting long-disproved myths? perfect, same as us!

    Partisanship is decadent and diseased. This is the kind of rot you see when it’s taken too far. I’m so sick of the Conservatives manipulating our democracy.

  37. That Punjabi language ad blew me away! Thank you Paul Wells for doing real reporting. It is refreshing and reassuring that we the people can learn more than just journalist opinions and biases from the media.
    Because the media and its pollsters have inflated expectations that the Liberals can win in Brandon-Souris after having come from near dead last in 2011, this byelection has been turned into a “national” laboratory for the Conservatives to test their tactics and theories for the 2015 national campaign. To learn what works and what doesn’t work. It would be an amazing achievement for Justin Trudeau to come second in B-S, but the danger now is that unrealistic expectations have created the situation that if he doesn’t win it is a failure.
    As to the marijuana issue, the picture of the pamphlet says it all. Justin Trudeau has announced he has nothing to say about the economy until 2015. This is a huge error for which Harper and Mulcair are going to make him pay. Ms Freeland in T-C is already humiliatingly reduced to repeating Justinian banalities about the mythical middle class. She may win in T-C due to Liberal nostalgia but it is definitely a harbinger of difficulty ahead.
    By advocating marijuana legalization in the absence of any inkling of what he thinks about the most important issues of the day regarding jobs and the economy, Trudeau has focused attention onto something that is trivial but at the same time still alarming to a big segment of the population (ie, parents). As a parent myself, I would prefer my children to have more access to jobs and less access to narcotic drugs. Get a job and don’t use narcotic drugs is probably typical parental advice still. I am sure many parents think as I do and even without understanding Punjabi I get that is what the target audience of the ad. Until I read Paul Wells’ piece I was a little surprised that the Conservatives were not going after this issue harder. Now I know that they are.

  38. I have read numerous of the top comments and counter-comments, and to me, it looks like most people are missing the point of the article. This isn’t an article which debates a public policy issue, such as where does the greater harm lie, in marijuana criminalization or decriminalization or legalization?

    This is an article about the Conservative party’s successes at voter-targeting, using dishonest portrayals of another politician’s statements or beliefs or actions, to smear their character to a particular voter base, who is anxious to have their inherent biases endorsed by a political group.

    The most alarming element to me in this article, but also in recent weeks’ of media coverage of the Rob Ford mess, is that we clearly have a very large pool of voters in Canada who apply no critical thinking to what they hear and see from marketing messages. This is the case whether the marketing is of a product or a politician. There will not be any message from any group that dissuades voters who currently support Rob Ford from voting for Rob Ford. It just does not matter, because those voters are not interested in information, evidence, common sense, public interest, reputation, policy, or even their own personal wellbeing. If Rob Ford went out tonight and murdered someone with an axe, these voters would claim that he was pushed to it, by a biased leftist media. They are interested in voting for someone who confirms their pre-conceived biases and who will never stop marketing the same inane message, regardless of the evidence.

    The portrayals of Mr Trudeau and of his statements are dishonest and painfully, stupidly twisted, to fit a welcome narrative for particular groups, to fit with and incite their worst prejudices and biases. It looks like not much is as satisfying to a human being as attacking someone else, and the Cons are good at making their opponents the “common enemy”. Therein lie the roots of their successes. They don’t build policy based on evidence but on dogma and bias and self-interest. And sadly, very sadly, this is what works.

    I’m sure Stephen Harper, Tony Clement, and Peter MacKay couldn’t care less about Justin Trudeau smoking a joint 3 years ago. However, they are united in the tactic of mis-portraying Justin’s actions and words, and torquing the situation up for all it’s worth. Doesn’t matter if you, I, or Paul Wells think this or that about marijuana use, or what the evidence shows. The point is making Justin Trudeau out to be an enemy of “family values”, the “common guy”, Joe the Plumber.

    What we should all be seriously examining is why so many Canadians prefer never to think, never to search for the motive behind the message and behind the messenger. I think this communicates some major downfall in our educational systems, and, where immigrants are concerned, a major breakdown in their own original countries’ educational systems. Most voters can be herded like sheep by the Conservatives, never seeing the butchering knife behind their backs nor understanding what the funny smirk on Harper’s face means.

    • @newcycle:disqus I absolutely agree with you! Your comment is the best analysis and synopsis I have read about this… and that includes the editorials from political commentators. I wish your comment were printed as an opinion piece in the media.

    • The Liberals have chosen a leader with zero life accomplishments and no record of principles and leadership and career successes upon which voters can form an opinion about his qualifications to be Prime Minister (the Liberals could have chosen an astronaut but they didn’t). The Liberals seem to cling to the “voters are stupid” theory which seems to mean they expect the voters to elect a celebrity with good looks, a famous last name and a blank resume just on “star” appeal alone.

      There is no dishonesty in the Conservative advertising. Trudeau has nothing in his background that suggests he has any idea about to do about what matters to Canadians and what to do about the challenges we all face. He has announced he has nothing to say about the economy until 2015. It seems he needs to find people who can tell him what to say because he lacks the intellectual ability and the personal experience to figure it out himself. His position on personal marijuana use shows him to be shallow and supercilious. It also reveals that his view is that using cannabis is OK and is no big deal. Some voters agree but many do not, especially parents. It would be a huge mistake for the Conservatives to not use this weakness as a basis for their advertising. The Conservatives do not treat the voters as being stupid. They know that they are not paying attention but when their attention is drawn to something they understand what it means to them and the country. Trudeau compounds his weakness with his counter-advertising which responds directly to the Conservative advertising by trying to justify legalization which then brings the attention back to the Conservative advertising. Mission accomplished. Both Conservative and Liberal advertising confirms “Justin Trudeau’s Liberals Have a Plan to Legalize Marijuana.” People are now free to make up their own minds about this.

      • You’ve just demonstrated my point. Conservatives and their supporters are not interested in what the policy is, but in attacking the person. I could refute your argument line by line, but that would be pointless, as you are very likely among the flock of sheep who will protect the butcher right up until the moment your throat is slashed open, hoping that your support will help you join the butchering executive.

        • I’m not arguing I am just saying. If the roles were reversed the Liberals would be doing the exact same thing to the Conservatives. We know this because “attacking the person” is the approach used very effectively by the Liberals in 2000 (attacking Stockwell Day) and 2004 (attacking Stephen Harper). The Conservatives learned how to do this from the masters, the Liberals. It is no surprise that the Conservatives are doing what has been proven in the past to work. Its called politics.

  39. Dear Justin wants to legalize pot and thinks that Communist China is a model of good government. He’s just the sort of person we want to lead our government.

  40. Marijuana should be legal for all adults. It should be taxed and regulated.

    I say this for the following reasons.

    1) Cartels. In Mexico right now, La Sinaloa and Los Zetas are at war with the government. The best way you can disarm these cartels is to take away their source of funding. They derive much funding from illegal drug sales, just as Al Capone drew his funds from illegal liquor in the US and terrorized Chicago. If these cartels have to compete with the low prices that will result from the free market competing to grow the highest quality marijuana for the lowest possible cost, they will leave the market the same way the Mafia left the liquor market.

    2) Incarceration ruins lives. An 18 year old kid that gets picked up for simple possession has to live with that on her/his record for the rest of their life. They can be denied entry into the US from that point forward, be denied access to the job market. That’s a bit extreme for such a minor charge.

    3) Revenue. Canada’s doing great economically, but we could do so much better.

    4) Control. If the market is legal and regulated, it can be controlled. Say we know there is a major problem in a given area. Simply deny licensees to marijuana businesses in those areas.

  41. cannabis cures cancer believe it(need proof go to pheonixtears)

  42. Quote: “I mean, surely nobody’s going to actually fall for this Conservative attack line?”

    And there you have it. By making this observation/comment, you give Canadians credit for being intelligent, and I would very much like to believe that we are; after all, I am part of the crowd, and that is how I see myself.

    But the current federal governing party sees us as not all that bright, and, sadly, history lends some credence to that premise. I am often awestruck at electoral results. Some months ago I read a new term, but I lost the article, and cannot remember it. Its essence was that many people vote as their parents/grandparents/great… as if it was genetically programmed in their DNA; with absolutely no sense of correlation between their voting choices and their life situations. Truly, it is incomprehensible.

    • This point may have been subtle or badly made, but my implied answer to my own question was, “Of course people will fall for it.”

  43. I love the counter-arguments by the callers. “This lady is stupid because (insert irrational fear-based opinion with no basis in reality here).”

  44. well,if harvesting pot equals businesses not eligible to every body,then whyu create again more power for government. as long as the power is brought to business start ups and dealt like so,as just another plant, who cares if the end user puts it in his brownies or smokes it. instead of regulating it as if it was an out of space plant, we should just treat it as it is. love Harpers letter to Brandonsouris district where he also includes the decentralisation of wheat.. why would pot be different. its is discrimination against an organism that is enslaved by bureaucracy.

  45. Cannabis = green jobs

  46. I heard the conservatives ad earlier today. As a teen who uses marijuana daily, I can assure Harper it is way easier for someone my age to get a hold of marijuana than alcohol or cigarettes. Does he think that a dealer cares about the age of their customers?

    Even as a pot smoker, I can still regularly function. I can wake up in the morning, attend school, go to work, run, all after 5 years of marijuana use. I can go away for a long weekend and not once have the urge to break into a neighbouring house and sneak around looking for a toke. I have also NEVER once been violent while smoking bud, I have on the other hand become aggressive numerous times while intoxicated.

    Marijuana legalization is simple, sell limited amounts at a time (perhaps 1oz or half oz) in provincial liquor outlets to people who are the age of majority (whatever it happens to be in that province). The war on drugs can continue, the only difference being that the police are going after those who we actually want off the streets, the gangs and dealers who traffic marijuana for tax free stacks.

    Harper needs to get with the times and listen to the Canadian public. Other countries have had huge success with legalization or decriminalization in the past decade. The benefits are endless, increased safety, extra revenue, control. Harper is being completely ignorant and irrational with this issue.

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