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Rae’s legalization digression: a clip some might find worth saving


 

I’m going to venture a wild guess that certain Conservative party operatives might be taking a close look at the video of Bob Rae’s final speech at the Liberal party convention today, particularly the part where he cracks a joke by way of introducing the touchy subject of legalizing marijuana.

“If you want to be part of a group of free-thinking, innovative, thoughtful, pragmatic, hopeful, positive, happy people, come and join the Liberal party,” Rae said, then couldn’t help adding, with a grin, “And after the resolution on marijuana today, it’s going to be a group of even happier people in the Liberal party.”

Good one, Bob. The line went over well in the room, and it wasn’t the first weed joke crack after the Liberals voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that read, in part: “BE IT RESOLVED that a new Liberal government will legalize marijuana and ensure the regulation and taxation of its production, distribution, and use, while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking, illegal importation and exportation, and impaired driving.”

In his speech, Rae framed this is a no-brainer. “Do you really think it makes sense to be sending another generation of young people into prison when you realize that the most addictive substances that are facing Canada today are alcohol and cigarettes? Let’s face up to it Canada—the war on drugs has been a complete bust.”

That’s a sensible starting point for a policy discussion, but only a starting point. Would marijuana be sold like prescription drugs? Or like cigarettes? Or more like liquor, maybe in provincial monopoly stores? Or like herbal tea? This is a case where clearing the first hurdle—deciding in principle that legalization is the way to go—hardly matters unless you’re able to jump all the policy and regulatory hurdles that must follow.

And then there’s the matter of Rae’s seemingly harmless joke about Liberals getting happier. Let’s say they were up against a stern, family-values, law-and-order party in the next election. Might such a party not incorporate a smirky one-liner like Rae’s into an attack ad? Who’s taking this issue seriously, mom and dad Canada? It hardly mattered that Rae played it straighter at his news conference later, remarking that before the Liberals put legalizing and regulating marijuana into an election platform they will have to consider “some practical questions.”

I should think so. In fact, Rae might have been better advised to consider those questions before digressing from his prepared text to have some fun celebrating and highlighting the legalization resolution from the podium.


 

Rae’s legalization digression: a clip some might find worth saving

  1. I doubt Rae will ever need to worry about it. He isn’t likely to be anything but ‘interim’

    And it’s not rocket science.  It would be sold in liquor stores….regulated, taxed, and only for adults

    Took us about 5 minutes to figure it out when booze Prohibition was repealed…..I doubt we’ve forgotten how to do it.

  2. It is pretty ridiculous to resolve the technicalities of cannabis legalization at the convention floor. The format is very ill-equipped. 

     The technicalities would take months to be resolved through Parliament, provinces and local governments – the people in power are paid to do things like these.

    • It’s not in the least difficult.

      That’s just another excuse.

      • Oh, no, Emily.  Resolving any technical questions of that nature on the convention floor was absolutely impossible.  The Board even got tripped up on their own rules when they couldn’t change something!

        Of course, resolving those details is also absolutely not the role of a policy plenary.  We hand over the ideas, the Board or the platform committee or whoever (I’ve been a member for three years, but I don’t pretend to have a handle on who does what) costs it out and sees how, or even if, they can make it work.  I think they will try hard with this one though, because it was very well supported I think, in fact it barely made it to a debate.

        And I would absolutely love for the Conservatives to use it in an attack ad directed at Mom and Dad Canada.  Please, how can we make this happen?

        • So would I. It would remind the Conservatives that the anti-pot affinity group is literally dying by the day.

          Face it, pot is mainstream.  This is the worst of worlds right now.  Al Capone types are running the industry now.  Let’s make them legal.

        • I’m assuming that you’re joking, since a motion at a political meeting was never expected to go into the ‘technical details’ of selling pot. The Libs aren’t even in power.  It’s a statement of intent.

          However, the technical details aren’t difficult, so it shouldn’t present any problems.

          Cons can’t make a ‘mom and pop’ argument over this….since alcohol is sold everywhere.

          But you don’t have to ‘make it happen’…..the old fogies in the Con party will do themselves in.

  3. The only GOP candidate in the US whose got any serious traction with younger voters is surely Ron Paul and it’s surely in no small part due to his views on the drug war. I think Rae should welcome the Cons trying to pin drug legalization on him.

  4. Rae is not the first Liberal leader to joke about marijuana. Paul Martin twice made light of it. He first joked about strange tasting Brownies. “The answer is: I never smoked. I never smoked anything, but there was an earlier time, years ago, when Sheila made some brownies and they did have a strange taste,” Later he had a little fun at Bill Clinton’s expense. “Did I smoke it? No. Therefore I didn’t inhale. But there is a rumour going around that I’ve eaten brownies.” Chrétien also made light of marijuana use. He joked about trying it once it was decriminalized. “I will have my money for my fine and a joint in my other hand.”

    Neither did it quite as artfully as Trudeau.

    Gordon Gibson explained Trudeau’s reaction Le Dain Commission thus: “The report was released as we were touring a bull-semen facility in Guelph, Ont. (I am not making this up.) The press cared not at all about productive agriculture and totally about weed. At an end-of-tour press conference, the prime minister was asked if he favoured decriminalization. We were in the semen facility’s boardroom and it had a blackboard with a permanent picture of Elsie the cow painted on, perhaps in recognition of the customer base. Mr. Trudeau was very quick. Saying not a word, he went to the blackboard, took the chalk and drew a cartoonist’s balloon out of the cow’s mouth. Inside he slowly wrote, “I like grass!” The room dissolved in laughter.”

  5. Rae is not the first Liberal leader to joke about marijuana. Paul Martin twice made light of it. He first joked about strange tasting Brownies. “The answer is: I never smoked. I never smoked anything, but there was an earlier time, years ago, when Sheila made some brownies and they did have a strange taste,” Later he had a little fun at Bill Clinton’s expense. “Did I smoke it? No. Therefore I didn’t inhale. But there is a rumour going around that I’ve eaten brownies.” Chrétien also made light of marijuana use. He joked about trying it once it was decriminalized. “I will have my money for my fine and a joint in my other hand.”

    Neither did it quite as artfully as Trudeau.

    Gordon Gibson explained Trudeau’s reaction Le Dain Commission thus: “The report was released as we were touring a bull-semen facility in Guelph, Ont. (I am not making this up.) The press cared not at all about productive agriculture and totally about weed. At an end-of-tour press conference, the prime minister was asked if he favoured decriminalization. We were in the semen facility’s boardroom and it had a blackboard with a permanent picture of Elsie the cow painted on, perhaps in recognition of the customer base. Mr. Trudeau was very quick. Saying not a word, he went to the blackboard, took the chalk and drew a cartoonist’s balloon out of the cow’s mouth. Inside he slowly wrote, “I like grass!” The room dissolved in laughter.”

  6. Steve Harper supports Prohibition. Prohibition is not a regulatory scheme. It cedes the market to organized (and disorganized) crime. That’s what Harper supports.

    • Subtitled “Harpo’s World”

  7. I guess perhaps it’s because we’re talking about legalization as opposed to “merely” decriminalization, but still.  It’s 2012.  The Le Dain Commission was almost 40 years ago.  Please don’t tell me that this topic is still considered “touchy”.  

    It seems to me that a substantial majority of Canadians support decriminalization, and that at least a large plurality support legalization (though I’ve seen polls indicating that a majority support legalization too).  It depresses me to think that this topic can still be considered “touchy” in the 21st Century.

    • I think the public is way ahead of the politicians on this issue.

      • I agree. That’s also why I just don’t see this as being very good fodder for an attack ad.

    • A substantial majority of Canadians does support decriminalization, including a good swack of dyed in the wool Harper supporters.  That’s not why Harper could get political mileage out of the issue if the Lieberals make it a prominent part of their next election platform.  This is because, whereas it may not be opposed by a majority of Canadians, it really isn’t a priority issue for many.  The opportunity for Harper to gain a political advantage on the issue would be in the context of “there are serious challenges facing our country and, rather than confronting them and telling us how they’ll be overcome, the Liberals would rather channel Bob Dylan:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd9j6wE26Bc&feature=related 

      • I certainly agree with that, in that no party should make legalization or decriminalization a PROMINENT part of their campaign. As you say, it’s hardly a pressing issue for most Canadians, even if most Canadians nonetheless agree on what should be done about it (in a broad sense).

        That said, barring the Liberals deciding to make this a major focus of a campaign, which I HIGHLY doubt they’d do, I just can’t see the 2015 election campaign including an attack ad using a (pretty innocuous) clip of a joke from a 2012 Bob Rae speech.

        • Wells made the same point better in his piece, but I can never resist any opportunity to hyperlink to my all time favorite Dylan tune.

  8. The weed motion that passed easily this week-end may have been initiated by a few part-time stoners in the Young Liberals, but it was supported by the establishment, not because of principled reasons, but as a desperate measure to appeal to certain voting groups, especially many of those who voted for the NDP in Quebec last year.

    • Didn’t see you there, Calvin.  But thanks for telling me both who I am in the Liberal family, and why I voted as I did.

      Problem with that is, I’m a Liberal.  And we don’t take that well to being told that sort of stuff unless it comes from our own conscience.

  9. I think “mom and dad Canada” might surprise Mr. Geddes with their response.


  10.  Let’s say they were up against a stern, family-values, law-and-order party in the next election.”

    Remind me which party ran on the “family pack” platform last election?  The Liberals.  The late Jack Layton prefaced his sneezes with “Working families”.  Family values as Conservative monopoly is mere projection.

    Law and order?  Let’s take a closer look at the weed resolution: “while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking, illegal importation and exportation, and impaired driving.”

    By “strict penalties”, they mean jail.  Mandatory minimums.  Yeah.  The Liberal resolution specifically advocates jail for illicit weed dealers, just like Harper.  Oh, and Justin Trudeau is very, very opposed to legalizing weed, and given his family history one can understand why.

    Do we want a stoned nation?  That’s the question.  Don’t talk about child poverty while advocating for a stoned nation.  Don’t talk about voter apathy and ignorance and crap.  To advocate for a stoned nation is to advocate for poor health outcomes, endemic mental illness, low productivity, child poverty, apathy, shiftlessness,. and in general to destroy the reason-based society we are today and the reputation of Canada abroad.  Trust me, the rest of the world isn’t nearly as impressed with Canadians’ fondness for getting stoned as some in the media are.


  11.  Let’s say they were up against a stern, family-values, law-and-order party in the next election.”

    Remind me which party ran on the “family pack” platform last election?  The Liberals.  The late Jack Layton prefaced his sneezes with “Working families”.  Family values as Conservative monopoly is mere projection.

    Law and order?  Let’s take a closer look at the weed resolution: “while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking, illegal importation and exportation, and impaired driving.”

    By “strict penalties”, they mean jail.  Mandatory minimums.  Yeah.  The Liberal resolution specifically advocates jail for illicit weed dealers, just like Harper.  Oh, and Justin Trudeau is very, very opposed to legalizing weed, and given his family history one can understand why.

    Do we want a stoned nation?  That’s the question.  Don’t talk about child poverty while advocating for a stoned nation.  Don’t talk about voter apathy and ignorance and crap.  To advocate for a stoned nation is to advocate for poor health outcomes, endemic mental illness, low productivity, child poverty, apathy, shiftlessness,. and in general to destroy the reason-based society we are today and the reputation of Canada abroad.  Trust me, the rest of the world isn’t nearly as impressed with Canadians’ fondness for getting stoned as some in the media are.

  12. Has everyone completely lost their sense of humour?  The legalization and taxation of marijuana seems like a no brainer, but here we have a ‘serious’ discussion about the interim leader of a political party having the audacity to crack a joke about the effect it has on those who toke.  Would there be a similar ‘serious’ discussion if he had made the same kind of ‘seemingly harmless joke’ about Liberals who imbibe?

  13. Aw, don’t be such a killjoy.  This is the first interesting thing the Liberal party has done in years.

  14. If this ridiculous side-track is the best thing the liberals can come up with, that the party is over for the has-beens on the left. In case nobody noticed, we’re up to our ears in debt, the liberals suggested nothing to address that. Mind you, if pot was indeed legalized, and was only sold through liqour stores to 18 year olds and above, I can only imagine how much time and effort would be expended arresting kids for smoking illegally acquired drugs, and then the howls when the indians start selling from the reserves. We have the most expensive wine on the world thanks to the lunatic LLBO Taj Mahal system, can you imagine applying that to pot? All you toking lefties need to get a life.

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