Peter MacKay's Guide to the Safe Practice of Democracy -

Peter MacKay’s Guide to the Safe Practice of Democracy

How to never talk to your kids about public policy


Rule #1, Children should not be exposed to discussions of policy proposals that Peter MacKay disagrees with (ie. “bad policy”)

Last week, Justin Trudeau spoke to a group of school children in Brandon, Manitoba. In response to a question from one of the kids about his position on marijuana, Mr. Trudeau apparently explained his preference for legalization and regulation.

A day later, Justice Minister Peter MacKay declared himself outraged, proclaiming in a written statement that Mr. Trudeau was “directly delivering a message to children now that recreational drug use is okay.” The evidentiary record provided for the statement from Mr. MacKay’s ministerial office was this tweet by the managing editor of the Brandon Sun. (Scroll down and you’ll find a subsequent tweet from the editor noting that Mr. Trudeau said marijuana was “bad for kids.” A year ago, when he merely supported decriminalization, Mr. Trudeau specifically warned a different school group about the dangers of smoking marijuana.)

In the fundraising letter, Mr. MacKay explained of Mr. Trudeau that, “His plan to make marijuana available like alcohol and cigarettes available is bad policy, but this crosses the line. Promoting his plan to children is completely unacceptable and grossly inappropriate.”

Probably, to be entirely safe, school children should be shielded from all discussions of public policy, but at the very least adults should be careful not to discuss policy that is not government policy in the company of children. Provided said government policy is not “bad policy.” (Note: government policy is never “bad policy.”)

Rule #2, If a child asks you a question that relates to a policy position you hold, but Peter MacKay disagrees with said policy position, do not answer the child’s question directly.

This seems fairly straightforward. Mr. Trudeau’s comments on the legalization of marijuana were apparently in response to a question from a student about the legalization of marijuana. Rather than answer the child’s question with a full explanation of his position, Mr. Trudeau should have simply and only told the young person that drugs are bad. Children cannot understand complexity and should not be expected to do so. (Note: Same goes for adults.)

Rule #3, Statements made by backbenchers in the company of children are less concerning because backbenchers are basically powerless to do anything about whatever they say.

Mr. MacKay appeared on The West Block this weekend and was presented with the fact that Conservative MP Scott Reid had, just two months ago, explained to a class of students why he favoured legalizing marijuana. Here is how Mr. MacKay responded to that fact.

Well I disagree with Scott Reid as well but I can tell you number one, he’s not a leader.  He’s not in a position to ever change the law. 

Now, granted, some might argue that this sort of statement amounts to “bad policy,” of the sort that should probably not be discussed in front of children. Presuming there are no children reading this, we might note a couple issues.

Philosophically, this is at least a rather restrictive reading of what an individual MP can do as compared to what the leader of a party might accomplish. Of course, due to the power that is possessed by a party leader, he or she is better positioned than the average MP to initiate and compel a legislative initiative. But whatever the levers of power, the party leader and the average MP have the same basic ability to propose a bill and they face the same threshold: win the support of a majority of the House and Senate for your proposal and your proposal can become law.

Mr. MacKay’s position is also literally and historically problematic. Since the Conservatives formed government in 2006, three Conservative MPs and two Conservative senators have proposed amendments to the Criminal Code that were passed into law. Conservative MP Joy Smith has managed to get two such private members’ bills passed. Conservative MP John Weston successfully initiated a change to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. And Conservative MP Dan Albas successfully initiated an amendment to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act that makes it easier to transport wine across provincial borders.

Probably that last one should not be discussed in the company of children, lest they get the idea that their elected representatives were encouraging the consumption of alcohol.

Revised Rule #1, Children should not be exposed to discussions of policy proposals that Peter MacKay disagrees with (ie. “bad policy”), until said children reach Grade 10

Mr. MacKay noted one other difference between what Mr. Trudeau did and what Mr. Reid did

As I understand it, those were older kids.

The exact ages of all of the children in the room when Mr. Trudeau discussed his views on marijuana policy are not entirely clear, but Mr. Reid is reported to have spoken to a room full of Grade 10 students. It is unfortunate that Mr. Trudeau did not more rigorously follow this widely accepted cut-off.

All matters of public policy can be freely discussed in the company of those who have successfully graduated from Grade 9 and begun their Grade 10 year. Those who have not reached that point should be restricted from any discussion that might involve mention of a “bad policy” and so should probably be locked up in their bedrooms without access to the outside world or, at the very least, instructed from an early age to check with the Justice Minister after hearing any discussion of public policy so as to ensure that they are not led astray.


Peter MacKay’s Guide to the Safe Practice of Democracy

  1. Much simpler to go with a rule #4 don’t give the job of upholding the law in this country to a half wit clown like Mackay.

    • Ya, much better to give it to a pot smoking, dictatorship loving trust fund baby like Trudeau.

      • Actually Ford wants to be PM now too. You may be able to forgive his rich upbringing, and pot smoking (lots of it), but are you really willing to forgive that Ford is a huge Obama supporter Rick?

        • zinger!

          “Rob Ford – the white Obama”

      • You forgot the nice hair.

  2. I would like to know, when Chopper(peter) Mckay was air lifted out of interior NL. by the SAR helicopter back a few years ago, was he over seeing a grow operation ?

    • Something wrong with the minister of defence riding in a chopper?

      • There is when it is for personal use! How does that play out as an example for children?

        • You don’t know much about military training flights, do you?

          • This was not a military training flight. A tip off on that can be found in the communications between MacKay’s office and the military over the several days prior as they re-tasked an active SAR helicopter to pick up a self-important aging frat boy himbo from a luxury fishing resort.

            The part where an official states they can do it “under the guise” of a training exercise is pretty much the kicker.Legitimate training exercises do not ever require guises. Ever.

          • I can’t say I do, but I do know that training flights, as you prefer to term it, generally don’t start by picking someone up at a private salmon fishing camp and end by taxiing them directly to a meeting elsewhere. Sources told CTV News that the demonstration wasn’t planned until the minister’s office ordered rescuers to pick him up. The 30-minute flight likely cost more than $16,000, according to calculations using estimates from the Defense Department. So if you wish to believe this was strictly a training mission, well just keep drinking your blue Kool-Aid. Oh and by the way, I don’t believe that Jesus would wish anyone to harm another being in His name, at least not the Jesus I pray to.

      • Yes their is ! using it on the taxpayers dime for personal use. something like john baird having his bunga, bunga parties with his buds in Canadian embassies around the world.

  3. Oh, Mr. Wherry .. you’re just having entirely too much
    fun these days …

    • it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it

  4. “Scott Reid… but I can tell you number one, he’s not a leader.” – Peter Mackay

    Taken out of context, that quote looks pretty bad. And who’s “number one”?

    • Mr. Pierre Poutine (aka Mr. P. P.)?

    • Refers to what he’s about to say. Like, “Here’s some good ol’ NS horseshit for you.” Another is when he says, “I’m not gonna lie to you.” then he does.

  5. Is Peter Mackay promoting the global drug cartels “brand image” over open honest discussion? Rodrigo Canales: The deadly genius of drug cartels #TED :

  6. It’s good to know that Rob Ford’s activities through the years have all been acceptable to the Conservative Party in Ottawa.

  7. “Promoting his plan to children is completely unacceptable and grossly inappropriate.”

    And, really, a waste of time, given that they can’t even vote for him.

    • Well, Peter can afford to be outraged at JT tapping into all those non voters, whereas he’s only disappointed with Ford nation, presumably because they aren’t non voters.
      Geez, even the highest officer of the law [political anyway] isn’t immune these days from the 24/7 crapola of the political spinners and liars.

  8. Amazing…in all the years Canada has existed we’ve discussed abortion, gay marriage, war and conscription, rape, murder, suicide, capital punishment, the holocaust, Killing Fields and various other things without ever having to card the audience.

    And in the home… can see all that plus Rob Ford on the news at pretty much anytime.

    But marijuana policy is taboo??

  9. Every time Mackay does something or opens his mouth he embarrasses himself worse. And we thought the low was lying to his party and then backstabbing them. This is what he did when he had power.
    It is no wonder that they took it away from him and explained it to him that “Backbenchers are in no position to make policy. Now go sit down and shut up”!

  10. Peter MacKay is incapable of intelligent and thoughtful opinion.

    His righteous indignation over Justin Trudeau’s comments were nothing more than parroting the PMO’s talking points.

    Peter MacKay should stick to what he know best…
    whatever that may be.

    • Any idea at all what that might be?

      • fishing at Burnt Rattle (near Gander)?

  11. What would Mr. MacKay know about democracy?

  12. Referring to Mackay as a half wit is charitable of you.

    • He’s spotting him a quarter out of sportsmanship.

  13. The Cons are BC (Buffoon Central).

    • Hey!

      • Oops! I guess the new term in politically-correct ancient history lingo is BCE (Before Common Era), supplanting BC (Before Christ).

        They remain, however, Buffoon Central.

        • S’ok – I’ve survived some Ford style insults with those initials – my skin is thick. Carry on. :-)

  14. Another media tongue bath for Justin, carefully devoid of facts…

  15. I think Mackay was hamstrung by being forced to explain his position from Wonderland to the Real World. A far better method would have been to bring fellow Con, Rob Ford to help explain the proper containment of the “controlled” substance, where not to buy the seeds, how not to grow, prepare or package it, what to look out for on the street to ensure avoidance; how it should never be rolled or – assuming you’ve broken all these rules – lit with either match or butane lighter. Final demonstration of the difference between deep inhalation and merely pretending to inhale for purposes of future denial even when there are witnesses present – granted, a legal technicality but nevertheless, widely recommended – as well as the effects should you breach this final caveat could be impressed upon nascent minds and hearts. A few of the tikes could assist leading His Honour to the door.

  16. Well I disagree with Scott Reid as well but I can tell you number one, he’s not a leader. He’s not in a position to ever change the law.

    He continued:

    “I mean, really… like an MP can have any effect on the laws of Canada. And a backbench MP at that! Why he’s almost as low and pathetic as the rest of you peasants… to think that such a pathetic wretch could ever hope to have any sort of influence on legislation is just laughable.

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to see about purchasing a fleet of Justice Copters so I can get to my next ribbon cutting.”

  17. This explains why the Con talking points never rise above the Grade 10 level. Poor Reid, he has to campaign on -‘vote for me, although I have absolutely no influence’.