Why Harper’s foes need to get off the pot - Macleans.ca

Why Harper’s foes need to get off the pot

Paul Wells explains why Stephen Harper’s opponents always underestimate the PM


Sean Kilpatrick / CP

Hey, did you hear Justin Trudeau smoked marijuana? I think it was in the news somewhere. The Liberal leader was asked whether he had taken a puff, and he answered at some length, at one point admitting that he had gotten high at a dinner party three years ago, after his election as a member of Parliament. After that, the press gallery went into one of our periodic frenzies, asking every adult who slowed down long enough to scrum whether they had ever used marijuana. Turns out many have. (But not Stephen Harper!)

While we were busy sniffing out used roaches in Centre Block restrooms, a debate over the propriety of smoking pot ensued. Peter MacKay, newly ensconced as justice minister, said Trudeau demonstrated “a profound lack of judgment” and set a “poor example for all Canadians, particularly young ones.”

There’s something to that. Prolonged marijuana abuse has been linked to memory loss, although of course it’s always hard to prove a direct causal link. For instance, in 2003 MacKay signed a pledge not to merge the Progressive Conservative Party with the Canadian Alliance. He forgot the promise almost immediately. But it would be unfair to blame pot.

Soon enough it became easy to find Liberals who would patiently explain, off the record, that Trudeau’s pot confession was part of a strategy to “brand” the Liberal as a “new kind” of “straight-talking” leader who would “not beat around the bush” but would instead “tell it like it is” because he’s “auditioning for a remake of The Mod Squad, which is the only possible explanation for this sudden outburst of 40-year-old slang.” Okay, I made the last part up. It was equally easy to find other Liberals who would explain that, by declining to hotbox the Langevin Block, Harper was coming across as a boring fuddy-duddy who did not understand the way things work nowadays.

Liberals, you see, are quite sure every Canadian is a Liberal whose vote was stolen by Conservative skullduggery in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2011. Canadians, in this view, think marijuana use is harmless fun, and they will blame politicians who want to harsh the national buzz. So a Liberal friend of mine was genuinely surprised when she plunked herself down behind the Liberal party table at a local community event and got her ear bent by voters, many of them from immigrant communities, asking why Trudeau was soft on drugs.

The realization that many Canadians believe illegal drugs should stay illegal is one surprise awaiting the Liberals. Another is that a lot more Canadians have complex, conflicting or frankly hypocritical views on drug policy— but that it’s not drug policy that will determine their next vote. Millions will vote based on their best guess about which party will best ensure a strong economy whose bounties improve their own life and their family’s. And Justin Trudeau just spent a month talking about something else.

This is something else that Liberals cannot understand: the notion that most Canadians are no longer properly grateful for the work Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin did to clean up deficits in the 1990s. In fact, a growing number of Canadians, even the ones who don’t smoke a lot of pot, have dim memories of the 1990s or none at all.

This helps explain a Harris-Decima poll from the end of August that inquired about respondents’ opinions of the national political parties. Trudeau’s net favourable impression is way higher than Harper’s and a fair bit higher than NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s. Respondents were likelier to believe Trudeau “shares your values.” He’s having a strong year in the polls. But Harper still has a slight edge over both Trudeau and Mulcair on “judgment,” and on “economic management” it was a blowout: 39 per cent prefer Harper to only 20 per cent for Trudeau and 15 per cent for Mulcair.

Trudeau hasn’t the faintest intention of campaigning in the 2015 election with pot legalization as his main plank. But changing deep-seated attitudes toward a party takes time. And because the Liberals took two years to pick a leader after the 2011 elections, Trudeau only has three summers to define himself before facing voters, and he pretty much just blew one.

For much the same reason, I’m not sure Tom Mulcair picked the right issue when he used part of his summer to travel coast-to-coast campaigning for Senate abolition. For reasons explained elsewhere in this issue, Canadians are angry at the Senate right now. That’s not the same as believing any party has the ability, once in power, to do much about it. His Senate tour illustrates a little-noticed difference between Mulcair and his predecessor Jack Layton. Layton came from Toronto city politics. He hadn’t the faintest interest in constitutional tinkering. The NDP stood for abolishing the Senate, as it always had, and Layton never talked about it. Mulcair comes from Quebec provincial politics, where a generation grew up believing that if you have no constitutional scheme to peddle you cannot be serious.

Layton’s prosaic fascination with voters’ kitchen-table preoccupations helped him supplant the Liberals as the first choice for voters eager to block the Conservatives. Next time around that vote will be up for grabs again. Mulcair and Trudeau both plan to try to take Harper’s economic credibility away from him. They haven’t gotten around to it yet, but they believe they have time. Harper’s opponents always believe they have plenty of time.

On the web: For more Paul Wells, visit his blog at macleans.ca/inklesswells


Why Harper’s foes need to get off the pot

  1. Remember when Paul Martin was supposed to win the biggest majority in Canadian history?

    Remember when The Liberals were polling way ahead of the Conservatives in 2009, because of the excitement over new leader Michael Ignatieff?

    Remember at the end of 2006 when Stephan Dion was leading the Liberals to a massive lead over the newly governing Tories?

    Dief was right…polls are for dogs.
    Harper has one more win in him.

    • Yeah, but before Canadians weren’t aware of all the scandals Harper is involved in. New scandals are breaking weekly. And since when has Harper supported our troops? How many veterans have had their government support cut?

      Over 66% of Canadians want cannabis, at least, decriminalized. Harper is not doing himself, or his party any favors ignoring the masses.

      • Mr. Wells is obviously mad. Ignore his nabob nattering.

        I love that the Liberals are promoting this matter, and I hope they and their media/message board friends keep pushing it. It’s a winner gambit from any angle. (I’ll even take back my ‘Justin McGovern’ jest. There’s no way celebrating pot use can backfire on the party.)

        • It all depends on what Justin’s actual proposal will be. How will Justin propose to decriminalize and legalize pot? Any ideas?

          • What I thought was telegraphed, comic hyperbole got missed. Wells sees the danger for Trudeau and the Liberals. Being known as the Prince of Pot is campaign poison. JT IS McGovern 2.0 (for which the Tories should be grateful). Worry not, Francien. The sun’s in its proper orbit, all is falling into place.

          • Well we have a King of Scandals now. Liberals need not worry. The sun’s in its proper orbit, all is falling into place.

          • A “King of Scandals?” You jest, Amanda. Ephemera, mostly, the issues-du-jour that have occupied the MSM over the last few years. (What were they on about this time last year? And no researching it!)

            T 2.0 is a party poster boy, nothing more. Watch his polling numbers plummet the closer we get to an election. As someone who finds the whole concept of ‘Prime Minister JT’ risible, I encourage you and any other addled soul you can corral to make sure your man makes it to election day, if you have to carry him to the polls. Believe me, not a few Tories hold Trudeau to be our greatest electoral asset after Harper. It’s up to you to keep him hale and hilarious.

          • Watch what happens, then reach for your prescribed anti-depressants…your camp is now quite well mired in scandal
            while your PM screams repeatedly about accountability,
            except for his own accountability which he callously dismisses.
            Time’s running out; better start planning for a hasty exit.

          • I guess we’ll see come 2015. Even with this bogus ‘scandal’ I don’t like your chances, though. Harper may not be handicapped by scruples, but he’s going to look august compared to bumblepuppy.

      • Wells obviously is out of touch with the wants and wishes of the typical young suburban Canadian who will determine the winner of the next election. We know the Canadian economy will be just fine no matter who is PM. What we want is a compassionate and hip leader who understands the priorities of parents who want a world for their children where they can look forward to them having a leisurely life on the ski slopes with no fear of prosecution from using harmless soft drugs.
        Harper spends valuable time at the recent G-20 meeting talking to world leaders about the Geo-political situation in the Middle East and the importance of framing a debt to GDP ratio target as a question of balance when a Canadian PM like Trudeau could be talking to Merkel and Putin about legalizing weed.

        • But, Wells believes the reality that too many young suburbans just don’t vote

          • Only those who forget to vote.

          • People who want to vote don’t forget to vote.

          • It depends on how stoned they are.

          • Or if they received a robo call misdirecting them.

          • but they didn’t forget their Doritos to go with their cannabis….remember that is not smog you see hovering over the GTA…it is the ‘high times’ in ole GTA…wow man

          • tired CPC humor and cynicism from unhealthy bodies that leads to the anger (slow clap for you fatty)

            Squirm CPC squirm!

      • Oh yes, the scandals of the Harper regime. A $15 glass of orange juice, robocalls that a judge determined didn’t move a single vote, and a few appointments to the useless Senate that were poor choices. How awful. As a taxpayer these scandals have probably cost me $0.01 over the course of this regime. I’m outraged. Did you hear Stephen Harper doesn’t take communion and stashes the crackers up his shirt sleeve?

        Meanwhile Justin Trudeau is an admitted drug user, while he was a sitting MP. That’s so cool. If I was an MP, I’d be high as shit while I was in the HoC because that place is boring. Did you know that by legalizing weed we could balance the budget over night and there would be zero social ramifications? It’s true, a Liberal told me!

        But in all seriousness, the number of blue collar guys I know who work 10 hour days to provide for their family are mostly going to come out and vote for the weed guy. Their number one concern when it comes to the countries leadership is the guy who’s cool with weed. Some of them are immigrants who came to this country explicitly for our cultural view of marijuana.

        • You are clearly a one issue person rather than looking at the whole picture. People who support Justin Trudeau are of the same mentality. This reeks of entitlement and has no place in the future of Canada. The issues that Canadians are concerned about are far bigger than the petty demand to legalize pot. No one has the right to be Prime Minister when he or she is facilitating their own generation.

          • That’s silly. Rick Omen prides himself on misrepresenting ALL the issues.

        • Harper’s good fishing buddy admitted to smoking lots of pot. What’s you’re point again about Trudeau?

          $15 glass of OJ was Oda’s least spending offense. Lets not forget she also smoked in her office and billed Canadians for an air purifier. For her crimes, Oda got an early retirement and a gold plated pension.

          • Harper just handed Communist China, another oil company. This time it is Novus Energy.

            Harper is bringing China into a massive resource project, in our High Arctic.

            Harper has given Communist China the keys to, the tar sands, mines, our forests and even selling China, our Canadian farms.

            Harper has also signed a deal with, the Communist China Army. Harper and China desperately want to force the Enbridge pipeline through.

            As soon as Harper ratifies his FIPA deal with Communist China? There will be thousands of Chinese coming over here, for a minimum of 31 years.

            Many of us signed against, Harper’s FIPA deal with China.

        • People delude themselves thinking that any party will ‘legalize’ MJ. It may be worse for them if they do. If it becomes legal it becomes controlled, sold in Gov’t stores, and taxed appropriately. This won’t satisfy true lovers of the stuff – controlled growing, potency etc. They will still do their own thing. This time it won’t be a slap on the wrist and lackidaisical pursuit by the cops. It will be the CRA. You don’t want the CRA after you.

          • Like all true lovers of booze make their own. Give me a break. It’s also not like you can’t get high level alcohol liquor. You can get Bacardi 151, which is 75.5% alcohol, at many LCBOs.

            Don’t try telling potheads our business. We know it better than those who don’t use, or are just casual smokers.

          • And?
            I brew beer at home, but also buy it in shops and go to a bar every now and then. If you put the work in why shouldn’t you raise your own? And as with home brew, why shouldn’t you invite a friend around to try it too?

          • Hint: between the police and Canada Revenue Agency, take the latter. You can go to jail when its the cops.

        • “A $15 glass of orange juice, robocalls that a judge determined didn’t
          move a single vote, and a few appointments to the useless Senate that
          were poor choices.”

          Not sure if the developers of the RickOmen algorithm are looking for feedback, but I would have gone with something a little more subtle, unless I was after laughs or people who immigrated to Canada…yesterday.

        • “Meanwhile Justin Trudeau is an admitted drug user, while he was a sitting MP.”

          Pretty sure Harper hasn’t denied using drugswhile sitting as an MP.

        • Rick–yea right…they must tending their ‘grow-ops’ or working 10hr days to pay the electric bill on their grow-op….most the blue collars I hang with are way more into BEER

      • yea between cannabis and beer it is a wonder Canada has a functioning economy at all. Maybe not for long…

      • Justin – About the veterans – some do very well compared to their friends who weren’t veterans.
        For example, In addition to CPP & OAS, my dad gets his drugs paid for, $200 a month for lawn & yard care ( no receipts or SIN from the “labourers” required), $1700.00 tax free allowance for his hearing loss, his hearing aids/exams paid for, dental, and vision care, Lifeline, . He owns his house, doesn’t smoke or drink or have any debts, eats with his adult kids every night, and has his lunch prepared by them, doesn’t travel, drive or spend money on entetainment.

        He has given one sisters $50 000.00 towards a new house, along with a monthly stipend for sleeping there and being driven back to his house while she is at work, given his EX son-in-law $48,000.00 towards his mortgage, along with handouts every week (the guy has to maintain his image after all), and birthday, wedding, Christmas, and graduation gifts for his kids and grandkids. And he donates to almost every charity that as him on a mailing list.
        And there are others like my father- whose living expenses are minimal, who are paid more than enough to cover their needs – and the biggest complainers about them not “getting enough” is the people who see these old folk’s incomes as their own.
        Ask any healthcare worker who works with seniors.
        They all seem to have parasites clinging to them, always wanting more.
        Maybe if finacial advisors were also assigned to the vetreran’s cases, and their expenditures were monitored, there wouldn’t be so many who seem to feel that they are being bamboozeled.

        If a person joins the armed forces, they know the sort of lifestyle they are signing up for, along with the pay.
        If they feel like they are worth more, eprhaps they should find employment in the public sector.
        Maybe if tehre weren’t so many available soldiers to send off to foreign countries, whose refugees oftentimes end up here, while their country’s leaders bask in the lap of luxury , while their people starve and beg from developed countries like Canada ( look at Assad’s wife for example- she seems to be quite a shopoholic- recently spending $6000.00 on a pair of shoesetc.)
        Maybe instead of offering these countries aid ( $45 million to Syrian refugees while Assad says ‘Let them eat cake?????!) the UN should hold these buffoons accountable and responsible to pay not only for social programs for THEIR poor, but also some of the costs incurred by foreign countries involved in their ocnflicts.
        After all, how are Canadians benefitting from our troops being in these palces ( other than the refugees who arrive here, penniless, and then go back to their homelands a few years later, and get in toruble and then sue US because we “let” them get caught??!

        • And how about the ones that have been permanently disfigured, and, or are suffering from PTSD, how is Harper looking after them?

      • 66% thats more than Harper recieved in his mini Majority robo call election ?
        time to perogue/ for lunch that is.

    • Remember when Allan rock told the public gun control was going to be 85 million and ballooned to 2 billion.Remember when Paul Martin was patting himself on the back because he had a surplus which he stole from the CPP.

      Polls are for the dogs. At the end of the day votes are everything.

      • Votes in the right places are everything.

        It’s a first past the post system … per riding.
        Give a up few, hammer hard on a half dozen and bam, an elected majority.
        Polls are grouped together in unrepresentative groupings that exist outside of electoral districts. That’s partially why they’re useless in determining electoral outcomes. It’s the wrong metric.

    • But that win may turn out to be a minority one

      • That’s what I’m expecting – as much as I’d like to see him out on his ass…

      • But it may turn out to be another majority. No one, not even you, knows how it will turn out.

        All Wells is saying, that if Trudeau does not start making some serious comments about the economy, he may do so at his own peril.

    • Nope,you’re wrong. In 2015,in order to cut costs,elections are going to be held the same way Hollywood hands out Oscars,only insiders will be allowed to vote.

      The MSM will elect our new PM,Trudeau,with a 99% share of the vote.

      He has nice hair and excellent teeth,what can possibly go wrong?

    • The polls did such a great job of electing Danielle Smith and Adrian Dix as Western premiers

    • that was humorous indeed
      most didnt get beyond your
      ” remember when’s” snore
      two of those people were never considered threats at anytime.
      Harpers spin Doctors destroyed all chosen ones but haven’t dented Justin Trudeau’s armour once. he is the real thing son!

      • They haven’t even started…

        The NDP will be throwing everything they have against him just to stay in opposition. Harper has tens of millions of dollars to spend…even before the election begins.

        JT’s gonna get sandwiched worse than Paul Martin did when Layton and Harper sandwiched him on purpose.

    • We are not in the Dief era but in a world where people are expecting to communicate as we are now spontaneously on the internet, and to move forward ‘faster’ with policy changes because our ideas and voices are easily assessed and quantified. Information on these topics are numerous – prohibition is not the answer and more and more average Canadians want a change. The first party to put a good policy and approach in place – frankly could win by just this one topic alone for it could have massive positive impacts on their budget proposals, tourism estimates,… It is so funny that my fellow conservatives could not see this as a steam roller that is aimed squarely at us.
      The liberals have a half approach to it – but the conservatives are showing the type of response my 90 year old mother may take (yes she remembers that Dief had ruled at one time but likely can not remember when).

      You think they will win – sorry just based on these threads i am assuming they will not – yes based solely on this one policy discussion for it will continue to grab the spotlight and one such spotlight will grab the attention of all the youth and all those with common sense – prohibition has never worked.

      Conservative fundraisers are calling people asking for contributions to fight Trudeau’s policy on legalizing marijuana… They are helping the crush our own party.

      Dief? Do you remember when the conservative party almost totally dissolved? It was from a lack of attention to what Canadian’s were asking for, and for a lack of policy statements to align with those desires.

  2. Legalize the ganja!

  3. Has Harper ever tabled a balanced budget?

    Yet, he gained the reins with just that and a surplus!

    Harper. Can’t pick Senate appointments and can’t balance a budget.

    • It’s not just the senate. Look at people like Bruce Carson, or Arthur Porter.

      • Apparently, our esteemed bought the ‘master strategist’ mantra as they detested the Liberal gov’s.

        Funny thing, Harper has outpaced the very arrogance that he promised to replace

  4. What really concerns me is that industrial civilization is unsustainable, yet we’ll focus on legalizing a substance most anyone can get whenever they want it rather than what are we going to do when the resources run dry? Who in our political circles are actually dealing in reality be they pot smokers or not?

    • Valid points. My whole view on the Liberal weed crusade is that they’re attempting to fix what ain’t broken. Our jail’s aren’t filled with people who were caught with a half an ounce of weed on them. Even if you are dumb enough to get arrested for marijuana possession, you’re going to get a warning, and be on your way. No employer who doesn’t do drug tests is going to give two hoots (pun intended) about a minor marijuana charge. And the employers who do drug tests will still test for marijuana.

      Canadian pot smokers have it as good as almost anybody in the world. Maybe instead of making pot smokers happy, the guy should focus on what’s ailing the country.

      • What about the money spent chasing down organized crime? How’s that working out? What about the money SPENT by pot smokers that ends up entirely in the hands of drug dealers? We’re paying cops to (as you say) issue meaningless warnings, paying cops to chase after drug dealers (and, through no fault of their own, failing). It seems like a helluva lot of money going out the door. I’m not entirely comfortable with what Trudeau is proposing, but we DO need to take a long hard look at how we’re managing pot now.

        • So then tell us how Justin Trudeau will put the pot decriminalization and legalization into reality. What then IS his plan other than a slogan.

          • I’m not sure why you’re urging me to defend or explain Trudeau’s position when I clearly stated that “I’m not entirely comfortable with what Trudeau is proposing.” I DO, however, have problems with the status quo re: pot enforcement/legalization/management, and I’m happy the issue is being discussed.

          • But Trudeau is not proposing anything! That is my point. JT is merely throwing some slogans out there: “Let’s decriminalize and legalize pot!” but that means nothing in reality if he cannot come to terms as how to do those things.

          • Sure, OK. Again, you’ve mistaken me for praising Trudeau. I’m not. I am saying I am glad we’re discussing how we deal with marijuana. If Trudeau hadn’t brought it up, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I don’t say that to praise Trudeau, but I am acknowledging it as a happy byproduct.

          • She does a lot of mistaking, it’s her style.

          • Look at it this way: I am not opposed to decriminalizing or even legalizing pot. But how one tries to accomplish that is my ultimate concern. Slogans is all we have right now. Nothing concrete or even something coming close to being realistic proposals are being discussed.

            If the masses really think for a moment what Justin T is proposing, they would have to conclude that he has proposed nothing but the empty slogan of decriminalizing and legalizing it. That tells me that a lot of Canadians are willing to believe in some empty statements.

            Nothing else has been established in regards to the pot announcement.

          • I do know that a lot of Canadians, like me and (apparently) you are ready and willing to discuss the merits of marijuana legalization/decriminalization. I also know that the issue is getting more ink than it likely ever has. I’m happy with that. And, if Trudeau, Harper and/or Mulcair can come up with some robust proposals on how we can move forward with some reforms, that’d be wonderful.

          • Yes, but in the meantime, Justin is soaring in the polls because he throws out some empty slogans. That then indicates to me that a large majority of the ones being polled do not care, really, about concrete proposals.

            That then is what scares me more than anything else in modern politics.

          • Or maybe his numbers are, um, high because people are just damned tired of Harper but don’t want to swing all the way left.

          • Yeah, I have heard that before for three elections in a row.

          • So the voters gave Harper his majority and, aside from repealing the gun registry (something that shouldn’t have required three mandates) just what has he done?
            Meanwhile, his government is smelling worse than last week’s catch. And the stench keeps growing.
            The old adage is that the opposition doesn’t win the election; the government loses it. Maybe I’m just being opitimistic, but I think the best Harper can hope for in 2015 is a minority.

          • His numbers are up because we don’t report undecideds in polls and the Senate is moving Conservative votes to the bench. That’s all. Pot is not a ballot box issue.

          • No pot isn’t changing one person’s vote. Conservative grassroots voters are saying “undecided” because the Senate IS a ballot box issue for them.

          • But Conservative voters are well aware that the senate abuse is done by Liberal senators as well. Perhaps Liberal voters are not aware of that fact.

          • Then tell us you feel about the Action Plan ads full of BS. Remember the job Grants. Outright lies.

          • You’ve got to forgive Francien, she uses any and all excuses to bring Trudeau into the conversation, even when he has nothing to do with the topic. She also likes to assume that if you don’t stand with Harper, you stand with Trudeau.

          • Excuse me, but have you read the article above?

          • I did, but we all know your reading/writing skills aren’t so good. So let me guess, you think that I stated Trudeau has nothing to do with this article. If that’s the case you are wrong again. I never said Trudeau had nothing to do with this article, just that even if Trudeau has nothing to do with the article, you will still find away to bring it up.

          • “You’ve got to forgive Francien, she uses any and all excuses to bring Trudeau into the conversation, even when he has nothing to do with the topic.”

            Then please provide us all with some evidence that even if Trudeau has nothing to do with the article, I will still find a way to bring it up.

            In what instance, for instance?

          • Look at your user history Francien. You can deny all you want, but everyone of your posts is viewable by everyone on these forums. It’s as simple as clicking on your name.

          • I know my user history. And I say that each and every time I invoke JT into my post, it has relevance to the article or post being discussed.

          • There’s times the article doesn’t mention Trudeau, or has anything to do with politics. You have the biggest crush on the man.

          • It’s like not taxing income trusts – a device used to reel in a demographic that are probably ready to vote away from the sitting government anyways.

          • The taxing of income trust had become a necessity because too many business were taking advantage of operating under an income trust, thereby negatively effecting the outcome of NOT taxing the income trust.

          • But I thought Harper campaigned on not taxing them to reel in the vote of a certain demographic, then did the double cross.
            Surely a practitioner of labrynthian logic algorithms such as yourself can see such a simple parallel.

          • Same model as alcohol. You Cons really have no imagination, do you? Especially on the cannabis issue. You act like its new and has never been legal before.

          • So, is Justin suggesting that we open up pot stores all across the country?

          • Add a section to the liquor &/or beer stores… why not? They are already used to handling controlled substances and checking for IDs.

          • And would Justin be OK with that?

          • See, there you go again, small imagination, and can’t think of anything other than Trudeau. Trudeau is not the be all, end all for potheads. Get over your crush already.

          • The article by Wells is about Justin being serious enough to talk about substance once in a while. Wells thinks that Justin had a great opportunity this summer to have laid out some serious thoughts on the economy etc, but blew that chance.

          • Harper didn’t talk anything until 2 weeks before the election. What’s you point?

          • Harper talks many times about many issues all the time. Just today he let out that he thinks Putin shouldn’t have veto on world security.

            There is not election campaign going on, is there? Or is there one to be announced within two weeks?

          • “Harper talks many times about many issues all the time. Just today he let out that he thinks Putin shouldn’t have veto on world security.”

            “But Trudeau Harper is not proposing anything! That is my point. JT SH is merely throwing some slogans out there: “Let’s decriminalize and legalize pot!, take away Putin’s veto” but that means nothing in reality if he cannot come to terms as how to do those things.”

            Oh sh!t, I make myself laugh.

          • To say that Putin should not have a veto on world security is an opinion.

            We will see in the next few days what Harper will have to say about that. Justin’s pot slogans have been doing the rounds now for at least 4 weeks. Give Harper at least a few days.

          • But Trudeau Harper is not proposing anything! That is my point…etc, etc,

            Yes, we shall see in the next few days as Harper fleshes out his plan for removing Putin’s veto. And if he doesn’t – watch out – FV will turn every topic on MacLean’s into “Where’s Harper’s plan for removing Putin’s veto”.

            You sure it’ll be a few days, though? I’m pretty sure Harper promised to reform the Senate years ago and we still haven’t seen his plan. Do you think Putin’s veto has jumped the queue?

            Which reminds me:

            “But Trudeau Harper is not proposing anything! That is my point. JT SH is merely throwing some slogans out there: “Let’s decriminalize and legalize pot!, reform the Senate” but that means nothing in reality if he cannot come to terms as how to do those things.”

            Keep teein’ them up, Francie.

          • Maybe Harper will get Russia to agree to not use their veto if he agrees to appoint Putin to the Senate?

          • Maybe he should run some BS ads and tell us.

        • I think you absolutely right about the pot issue and drug dealers but drug dealers will be around because even when pot is legal, other drugs won’t be. Drug dealers will be dealing hash, cocaine, meth and every other drug.

          • That’s true, unless we contemplate the legalization of all narcotics (and I’m not there yet). I do think it’s safe to say that it would represent a significant dent in drug dealers’ business. Also, I’d like to know what the projected impact of legalized pot would be on the prevalence of other drugs. I’m sure pot dealers ‘up-sell’ other narcotics to their customers. If a toker gets some legally, he won’t be exposed to that salesmanship. But, honestly, I have no idea.

          • It’s not like all drug dealers sell all drugs. Many dealers who only traffic in cannabis do so because they don’t agree with hard drugs. Even organized crime sets limits for their organizations, on what drugs are expectable and which ones aren’t.

      • Yeah, wasting money on enforcing draconian laws, isn’t broken. Though you Cons where all about fiscal responsibility, or is that just what you tell yourselves to help you sleep at night.

      • You’re wrong, the system is broken.

        24% of Canadians admit to smoking pot at some point in their lives. That’s 1/4 of Canadians! Each year about 110,000 people are charged with drug offenses in Canada. But HALF of all drug offenses charged by police are dismissed. Most of them because they are minor offenses for marijuana possession. That is a lot of police and court time spent dealing with minor offenses that will never end up in conviction, and have zero impact on violent or property crime.

        Total costs to criminal justice system: the conservative estimate for 1992 is $400 million ($330 million for drug-law violations per se), which is 29% of the total economic costs for illicit drugs. (http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/sen/committee/371/ille/library/riley-e.htm)

        Making pot legal won’t eliminate drug crime. But it will have a massive reduction in illegal drugs. It will deny money to criminal organizations and gangs. It will create more taxable income for the government and it will free up both police and jails to deal with real criminals.

        Right now, it is easier for kids to get weed than to get liquor and beer. Making weed legal and controlling it will eliminate that disparity.

        The savings are enormous. To society, to our wallets and to our conscience.

  5. Mulcair talked about the economy for a year and the media alternated between ignoring him and deploying economists to attack him.

    • mulcair talked about the economy and what he said confirmed him to be a deluded socialist twit…thus the media ignored him, called him out and he is slowly sinking into oblivion…one only has to look south of the border to witness what chaos awaits us should you socialists take the reins….

      • Legislative deadlock?

      • That’s awesome. George W Bush inherits a booming economy and a surplus. He does nothing to prepare for hard times, and creates a trillion-dollar deficit. Obama inherits that mess, and you blame him and call him a “socialist.”

        Interesting – Stephen Harper inherits a booming economy and a surplus. He does nothing to prepare for hard times, and creates a structural deficit just in time for the economic crisis. And I’m sure you’ll be here blaming his successor for the mess, and you’ll call that successor a socialist.

        Hey, if this is how conservatives manage a budget, I say give the socialists a crack at it.

        • Oh give me a break. Bush inherited Clinton’s bubble economy that was based entirely on a dot-com delusion.

          On the other hand, while Obama did get dealt a bad hand, he hasn’t improved things one iota. American unemployment is stuck at all-time highs. It will never recover under Obama.

          • US unemployment rate: 7.3%

            Canada unemployment rate: 7.1%

          • Yeah, but that 0.2% is massive

          • You know, Robert, that those numbers are not comparable, right?

            You’re a long time advocate of factual discussions and I’d be loathe to think you might be accidentally leading people astray.

      • You use the word socialist like it is a bad thing and it isn’t. Not that any N American has ever really experienced anything close to socialism, so where you get your basis for your attitude from is beyond me.
        Democratically created socialist countries like Sweden and Norway don’t appear to be doing too badly for their dalliance with moderate leftist policies and they have a lot less debt and imbalance than the so called fiscally responsible capitalist countries.

    • And if Mulcair is smart, he’ll stay on issues that Canadians care about — eventually the media catches up.

      Worked for Layton; works for Harper.

      As for the substance of his ideas — I certainly don’t like it, but on the other hand he probably can cobble together 40% of the country that does.

  6. I feel sorry for the Conservatives.
    When they were unpopular kids, the cool kids were smoking pot an they were excluded. Now that they are unpopular adults the cool politicians admit to smoking pot, and they once again, have to relive the pain of extreme uncoolness.

    When will this all end, and we as a society can recognize that Stephen Harper is really, really cool?

    • Ya. Justin Trudeau’s been smoking pot ever since he was a kid. Still hasn’t quit. Perfect guy to be PM.

    • You feel sorry for Rob Ford? He admitted he was smoking “a lot of pot”.

      • And it shows ;-)

        • The person who has probably benefited the most from Justin Trudeau’s admission about pot is probably Rob Ford. It wasn’t long ago that the Globe and Mail was doing an expose about his family and their ties to drugs, including hash. Then Justin made his “confession” and suddenly EVERY politician is an admitted pot smoker and Rob Ford is the biggest pot head of all. Thank you Justin.

          • that’s probably a bridge too far. The Globe story was essentially that the Fords were a mid or high level organized crime syndicate. I find the idea of legalizing an interesting and probably positive suggestion, and even I shudder to think about what the Fords were supposedly up to.

          • Crime syndicate? Really?

      • Didn’t his brother sell it? I guess it was easy fro him to get.

        • I wouldn’t even fathom a guess, however, I am a little dubious (pardon the pun) about these people who say they used to smoke it but pretend they don’t anymore….right! Or even better, I smoked it but didn’t like it.

          • I smoked it a couple of times in university but didn’t like it. Ditto cigarettes. Does that make you dubious of me?

            (Not a fan of hard liquor either. Don’t drink much but when I do I stick to beer or wine.)

          • If you were STILL smoking weed in your forties and saying you didn’t like it, I would be very “doobie-ous” indeed.

          • See, if I were Emily, I’d have to smack you down for ageism ;-)

  7. Paul wells, can you tell Canadians how many jobs have been lost since Harper took power (Please don’t tell me about creating Mcdonalds like jobs)? Only in the minds of people like you who lives in his ivory tower is Canadian economy better. I know trolls like you and Cons. ones have Greece to compare us with, but I would rather compare Canadian economy with Norway, Denmark, Germany and the U.S. than with Greece. The Canadian economy should not be compared to the lowest denominator which is the Cons. way, how low can we go and as long as we are not all eating out of the dustbin, we should be grateful.

    • You’re having so much fun making up my answers, I’d hate to ruin the fun by interrupting.

      • Majority of Canadians are tired of lazy journalism. Where has all the bold, invetigative journalist gone? With all the nonsense going on with Canadian politicians especially the ones by this Govt., systematically eroding our democratic rights before and during elections, lack of Accountability/Transparency, missing/misuse of our tax dollars, Senate scandals, lies/deceit, blatant attack on our environment, diversion of money to pet projects just to name a few, you would think Harper running a communist Country where no one even the journalist are afraid to speak. Harper does not have any regards for Canadians especially those in the media because he realises that, they are too chicken todo their job and can be manipulated easily. Harper has bycotted the media since day one, yet you have media elites who does not see any problem with the fact that, the leader of a country will not hold press briefings to answewr questions of te day. I would think the press will be bold enough to ignore him when the time comes for a photoup and not reprot anytjing about his party until until he starts having briefings like every other world leaders. It’s simply not acceptable for the media to regurgitate talking points of any political party. Those in the media might not know it, alot of people still see the media as the only truthful way to get the truth most of the time and until they start holding people like Harper’s feet to the fire, the trust among Canadians will continue to erode.

        • Very. Well. Said. I was married to an old-school journalist and knew several other old-school journalists and comparing what I read now to what their output was is, to be polite, disenheartening.

          Thanks, truthcop, for putting into words what has been the erosion of objectivity in our news media. Bravo!!!

          • So the media don’t write what you want them to write anymore. What do you attribute this to? Is it because Paul Wells is in the pocket of Rogers Media, the massive corporation who’ll do anything in their power to keep the Harper government in power so that they can do things like bring in foreign competition like Verizon?

          • The media is biased towards liberals and socialists. They predictably campaign against Cons. and for the leading progressive political party for FREE. Everybody knows that.

          • Nah even Rove and the guys who created the myth of the “So Called Liberal Media” admitted it was all BS and a way to get the rubes and teabaggers all riled up and moving in the same direction. It’s the inbred kin of those rubes and teabaggers who imported the concept into Canada and accepted it as fact.
            A similarly stupid statement would be to say that “all Conservatives are stupid, everyone knows that.” They aren’t, but there are precious few real Conservatives around today, just wannabe teabaggers who have stolen the name and they, my friend, are really really really stupid.

        • How about holding Justin’s feet to the fire? If double dipping is considered an abuse of the system when Duffy does it, why not consider it an abuse of the system when Justin Trudeau did his double dipping????

          “On April 20, 2012, for example, Trudeau earned
          $20,000 for a speech he gave to Literacy for Life in Saskatoon. In the House of Commons, other MPs were debating and voting on a pension reform initiative.”

          “On Jan. 31, 2009, MPs debated and voted on changes to employment insurance benefits. There is no record Trudeau voted on that initiative or participated in the day’s proceedings. But he did give a speech that day to the Toronto-based group, The Learning Partnership, for which he was paid $10,000”

          • If this is the only crime JT has committed (which is not, according to the Ethics commish), then you are grabbing at straws as always FV. With the damages done to the Country by Harper and his party, No politician past or present will ever top the stench emanating from the GOVT of the day.Canadians thought they bought Transparency, Accountability, stronger Democratic institution but all they got was the most secretive, unaccountable, lying, thieving, thuggish, morally ands economically bankrupt Govt. in the annals of this Country. If you think speaking fees by JT is what is ailing the Country, you and your likes are beyond reasoning.

          • But if a man like Trudeau is already to show us what he is capable of as an ordinary MP, then I fear what may come next.

            In any case, if Trudeau’s double dipping practices don’t bother you, or if it does not bother many other Canadians, why then would you be bothered with the double dipping practices of Duffy????

          • You can justify Harper and his actiins all you want but when the time comes, Canadians will be deciding if Harper deserves to be re-elected based on his lack of Transparency, Accountability, missing $3.1b, $50m gazebos, misuse of taxpayers money for partisan purposes, appointment of Ex.Convicts, criminals to public positions, systematic destruction of our democratic rights through Robocalls, In/Out schemes, environmental destruction, senate scandals (shall I still keep going). Those of you partisan trolls does not see anything wrong with this picture but majority of Canadians are wise to Harper and they are not going to buy that product anymore. JT might be inexperienced but if Harper’s experience is what it take to rule Canada, I and majority of Canadians are willing to try the so-called inexperienced JT. You can keep repeating your talking points, it is not going to make a difference to me and majority Canadians. Harper has given us a enough of his experience nonsense to try something fresh even inexperienced. Experience is highly exaggerated.

          • I’ll have a double-dip and a double-double tp go, please!

          • :))

        • …. and exactly what Pierre Trudeau did so effectively and with the added contempt of his massive intellect. Harper is learning well from Pierre and Jean too. Maybe Justin should study Canadian political history, but we know he abandoned teaching in 2002 to become an engineer, failed at that, tried an acting gig in a CBC mini-series, then tried a post-graduate masters of environmental geography but abandoned that to become a politician requiring no qualifications whatsoever… and he won the MP Jackpot in 2008; his first full-time job at the age of 36 (which he treated as a part-time job while out on the speaking circuit raking in thousand$$$). This guy Justin just reeks with charisma, MJ and Leadership!!!

          • Could you imagine JT mingling with the world leaders right now in Russia??

          • Yes and I could imagine him not having to lock himself in a toilet in Brazil while he has a tantrum too.

          • And what would Justin talk about? Pot?

          • He would probably talk about many things and coherently too. See when you have an upbringing that exposes you to many different ideas and points of view your world outlook is broader. That means you can talk to people from other countries and see things from their perspective. When you don’t you become certain that only your perspective matters and that what you think is the only correct way to think.

            Hence after Boston Trudeau suggested that more efforts needed to be made to stop these things from happening by looking at root causes. While the nuanced point of view of the Harper Party channeled Sheriff Bud Boomer and insisted there was no need for thinking, this was a time for action.
            Whatever topic Trudeau spoke with world leaders about I reckon he’d represent Canada to a much higher level than the anorak wearing mail boy

          • At least he started off with a real job – teaching, which does require some formal qualifications. The mailboy who currently inhabits the PM’s office is proof that not only do you need no qualifications to be PM, but you don’t even have to be able to run any kind of business or organisation prior to being voted in. I’m pleased I never voted for the pigeonhole filler.

          • Harper was an MP for a long time, then decided not to run for a while and took on the job as President of the NCC. The NCC is an organization which deals with political issues.

            A job teaching drama and such does not give one the experience of being politically engaged in a meaningful way (although teachers can be political).

          • You do realise the NCC like the CTF and the Fraser institute are astro-turf sources of wingnut welfare who invent stories to further the interests of their rich sponsors.
            It’s not so much a job as a place to look like you’re working for pay when in fact you are a cabana boy to the movers and shakers of the 1%.

            If that’s your idea of a great resume for the people’s representatives then we will differ.

          • Pierre and Jean can’t touch Harper when it comes to what ails politicians. Harper is in a class of it’s own. As for JT, Educational qualificationto be PM, so far has proven to be more in tune to Canadians than your so called failed economist who with his Economies degree has not been able to forcast anything worthwhile to the benefit of Canadians economically. Classroom education is highly exaggarated when it comes to politics. Just like Harper who thinks he is smarter than a sixth grader, your over the top bashing of JT’s educational qualification does not diminish his actual educational qualification because every sane Canadian knows, he is a qualified politician and an educator. Jealousy is a disease which can be very harmful to your health.

    • Have you been to Germany lately? Judging from what I’ve seen getting a job is a lot easier in Canada…..especially for younger people

      • Don’t point out facts that contradict leftist talking points. It’s uncouth.

        • Actually youth unemployment IS the most serious problem here… but carry on being couth…

        • Interesting.

          Rick calls a request to compare Canada’s performance to comparable countries, “talking points”, and characterizes an assertion that begins, “Judging from what I’ve seen…” as “facts”.

          Either he’s the beta version of some sort commenting algorithm – or an imbecile.

    • Side show

  8. Harper will clearly win the next election, majority or minority. There really is no stopping him at this point. The Cons have the money and the win at all costs attitude that none of the other parties can match. I agree with most pundits, Harper will be PM for as long as he wants.

    • Don’t underestimate the voter

      • I think currently Trudeau’s the one underestimating the voter by assuming all we want to do is get high and chill on the couch.

        Harper’s proved he’s a competent leader. Mulcair and Trudeau need to show they could do better. Trudeau’s dope gambit does nothing in that regard. It might not hurt him, but it won’t help at all. The anti-Senate messaging from the NDP might resonate with voters also, but again, it’s a useless institution, and the main reason we hear from it in the public is every several years one of the morons gets thrown in jail. But it’s not gonna swing votes.

        • One man’s competent leader is another man’s lying sleazebag.

        • Go on Rick, I reckon if you say it often enough it might just become reality…

      • Good advice: don’t underestimate the voter. All the more reason to believe that Harper will win at least one more majority government.

        • Harper’s current majority is proof that they are hard to underestimate…

          • Indeed!

    • It will be Mulcair who will go after Justin’s jugular in the Quebec battleground and it’s gonna be vicious because Mulcair hates the Liberals much more than Harper. 2015 is gonna be a political bloodbath and it will be Mulcair who will be holding the machete hacking away at beautiful Justin… because Mulcair wants to be OOP leader if not PM. Justin’s mortal enemy is Mulcair… believe it.

      • Mulcair was a Liberal far longer than he’s been an NDP. he may attack them for strategic reasons, but I think Harper hates them more. Like the way Voldemort hates bravery and goodness.

        • and unicorns

        • No… Mulcair will be Justin’s greatest enemy in Quebec and he enormously hates Liberals in Quebec and the RoC. He must retain Ste. Jaq’s Orange Crush MPs and increase Dippers in the RoC by beating out the old dog Liberal MPs… unless Justin purges them out in his generational change policy.

    • But a minority win bring the omnibus bills, the invocations of closure, the limiting of debate, all to a crashing halt – and that is something that would appeal to a great many people

  9. “Liberals, you see, are quite sure every Canadian is a Liberal whose vote was stolen by Conservative skullduggery in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2011. ”

    That is a very general, broad-brush statement that provides a major buttress to this opinion piece, as the premise seems to be that the opposition is somewhat ‘work-shy’ in preferring not to focus on economics, instead believing that the last three elections were an aberration caused by cheating. (and that the Harper government will ultimately collapse due to internal rot . . .which may turn out to be true, time will tell)

    Certainly there are some that might believe that CPC cheating won them those elections (just read any Macleans comment forum) but it would be reasonable to expect see something more than assertion or anecdote to support that: even opinion pieces need to be grounded in fact, whether you’re Paul Wells, Ezra Levant, Rex Murphy or Margaret Wente.

    • Here, here.

    • Tell me when Justin Trudeau has made a speech talking about the economy other than his usual boiler plate crap. Tell me when Ignatieff or Dion really talked about the economy in any depth when they led the party. None of them did other than once again to spout the usual clichés.
      Mulcair is doing the same thing. We care about the middle class he will say. We care about inequality.
      Well big mouths where are the solutions. If you are going to beat Stephen Harper you better come up with some specifics otherwise you are going to get your asses handed to you in the next election.

      • Their problem is that the economy is a complex issue, and Harper offers simplistic and unrealistic solutions. Those solutions just happen to appeal to people who are craving simplistic solutions. Hard to counter that with facts, and reality and stuff…

        • Of course the economy is a complex issue and that is why Trudope and angry Tom stay away from it. They don’t have the answers so they will stick to the boilerplate comments like we care about the middle class. We hate inequality. All cheap talking points. Okay what would they do about it. Nothing different than Harper probably. Of course their plan would be to spend billions of dollars on new social programs which don’t work.

          • It is hard to take you seriously when you spout such nonsense. No leader of any serious political party is going to go into an election without an economic platform. Just because Trudeau does not want to release his now, two summers away from the election, does not mean he will not discuss the economy.

            If I understand Mr. Wells correctly, he is questioning this strategy and suggesting the opposition go after Harper on the economy now, not later. There is merit to this criticism. Although I agree with Trudeau on legalization of marihuana, too much focus on that instead of more serious issues could tend to take away from his credibility, as Warren Kinsella pointed out yesterday.

          • No it is hard to take your seriously when you believe that any political party who wants to lead the country does not give their position on the economics of the country. I am not suggesting that he put his platform out there but I do expect any leader who wants to lead the country to espouse some of his philosophy or vision when it comes to economics. There is absolute silence from Trudeau. Both Dion and Ignatieff tried to run elections with little substance and instead tried to run on the fact they were not Harper. They are now the third party in the House. Trying to explain your economic positions or philosophies over a 37 day election campaign is too little, too late.

          • I would observe that Dion proposed the green shift, and regardless of its merits or how any given person viewed it, it was a serious policy proposal.

            In response the CPC deployed an oil splat, and skated around the issue entirely.

            So, who had vision?

          • Yes Dion’s vision was a social engineering experiment. Money for this or money for that. A chicken in every pot. He couldn’t even tell the public what the impact on GHG’s would be over 4 years. However, there was plenty of money flowing into the federal government to be spent “liberally”. That’s why his policy failed. It was spending under the guise of the environment. By the way Dion was incapable of explaining his green policy.

          • Yes, the Green Shift was a serious economic proposal and was forthwith rejected by Canadians. Even Ignatieff took distance from that proposal.

          • You mean ’37 day’ election campaign, I assume.

          • Exactly. I should re-read my comments more carefully. Thanks for pointing it out.

          • It happens to the best of us! :))

          • You will note I edited my comment. Thanks again.

          • Actually, Dion did have an economic plan. His Green Shift was an extensive plan. But Canadians did not buy into that one. Next.

          • Exactly!

      • Bingo! The other thing that Harper has done really well over the years: deliver on his promises. With few exceptions, he has done, or attempted to do, exactly what it is he campaigns on. And this infuriates Liberals who have historically won by, as they say, “campaigning from the right and governing from the left”. Which is a nice way of saying that they lie to us.

        I think Harper came to understand this, and figured out that the way to replacing the “natural governing party” was to campaign from the right, and then govern accordingly.

        • David emerson, income trusts, rolling over on softwood lumber, all within 30 days of being elected. Canadians found out the CPCs word was worth squat in record time, m’boy.

          • Wheat board, Accountability Act, Gun registry, Immigration changes and so forth.

          • Accountability Act? Now THERE’s an example of how to create a smokescreen if ever there was one. The Act is a farce, and Harper treats it like toilet paper.

          • Are you aware of what the Accountability Act is about?

          • I know what he SAID it would be about. And it certainly fails to deliver on that. Have I read it to see what it actually says? No. Have you?

          • I have read some of it.

          • Just the dirty bits?

          • Let’s not forget “accountability” and never appointing senators.

          • You are taking events out of context. Good thing most Canadians know better.

          • You’re right. Although it’s only clear in retrospect, Harper obviously wasn’t talking about Conservatives being accountable and not appointing senators – he talking about everyone else.

          • The panel to oversee political appointments. icebreakers in the north. omnibus bills. fixed election dates

          • Trucks for the military, he said the contract had been signed for the F35, two prorogations of Parliament to cover up for his errors, transparency in government, ministerial accountability after stating that ministers not staffers would answer committee questions, overspending on campaigns, basing decisions on data, while destroying the ability to collect data

            I could go on and on listing the lies and duplicity of the mail boy

      • You are entirely missing the point of my post.

        My point was that Wells stated in no uncertain terms that Liberals felt they lost the elections solely as a result of cheating, which I think is a ridiculous assertion as it is unsupported by facts and data. Yet he uses this as a major component of his thesis that the opposition is insufficiently focused on the economy.

        I don’t disagree that the opp might not be as engaged on the question of the economy as they might, but perhaps its for a tactical or strategic reason, its up to them decide how they want do things.

        Personally I think there’s abundant evidence that Harper’s government is hardly the paragon of competence in that area, and much of what they are saying in their talking points is also cliché.

  10. I think the Conservatives may be underestimating Trudeau a bit, in that a lot of the Conservative base may be concerned about their children and grandchildren who they know probably smoke pot getting caught up in Harper’s mandatory minimum sentences.
    I don’t think it will change a lot of voters but maybe some.
    Of course Harper has hinted that he may be willing to deal with that danger by following the recommendation of the police association re decriminalization. That would be a shocker, but shows how volatile the issue could be.
    But if you have a kid living in some rented student house in a university town with a lot of friends you, the parent, have never met, you might worry. We don’t want to coddle these drug dealers, do we?

    • i wish. these voters aren’t really preparing for that contingency. It’s more “kids today doing all these drugs, good thing MY child isn’t into that”

  11. I am of the opinion that the liberals do not want to win the next election. They would have to increase their seat count by some 130 seats, which means a lot of rookie MP’s, something I doubt they want when they take government. I therefore adhere to the theory that the plan is for the liberals to win in two elections, with, hopefully but not necessarily, a minority conservative government in 2015, and the liberals as the official opposition.

    I am not concerned that Trudeau is not out there talking about the economy right now. I really do not think anyone would pay attention to him if he were. I also do not believe the liberals plan to get into government by promoting marihuana legalization. I believe bringing this out now was part of a plan to a) get this out on the table early, so they can focus on more serious issues closer to the election, and b) get Trudeau some media attention at a time of the year when the leader of the third party really does not get any.

    Right now the focus is on replacing the NDP. Next election the focus will be on defeating Harper. Or at least that is the theory I am going with…

  12. It’s funny how we percieve things. I always think Wells is biased against Harper & the Conservatives. Think the same about the press in general. Put it down to the PM’s obvious disdain for them, after learning the hard way early on how they will burn you, just for another headline or because they’re too lazy to get the whole story.
    This time out I thought Wells gave a balanced view of the situation. But now his opposition supporters have turned out to bury Wells not to praise him. Funny that.
    Guess it’s all about whose ox is getting gored.
    One point I would make, looks like Mulcair is finally starting to realize he’s got problems with Trudeau, particularly in Quebec.
    And that can only be good for Conservatives.

    • The real lesson is that media bias is in your head. Just because you bought into that whole “the media are out to get Harper” conspiracy, it does not mean it is true.

      Same message for those of you who are now bashing Mr. Wells for not trumping Trudeau. He is calling it how he sees it people.

      • Oh well – scorched again. LOL! I’m starting to feel like ol’ Inkless.

        • No offence, but I would not give myself so much credit if I were you…

    • I tend to think that Wells is pretty fair — in that he wants to show what pols are up to, and examine whether it’s working or not.

  13. I think the author of this article is going to be surprised that legalization of cannabis is important enough to lose an election over,,there is just too much corruption surrounding drug policy for the governed to keep footing the bill and making criminals,banks and corrupted politicians rich.
    Legalization of cannabis is an economic issue because it stops using tax money in an attempt to enforce morality and offers a source for taxes and jobs.

    • Right, because all the grow op operators are just dying to line up to pay half their profits to the government in taxation. Lol.

      • Lorne, perhaps unwittingly, points out an important irony: Drug gangs & dealers are on the same page as Harper’s gang when it comes to prohibition laws. Drug gangs don’t want drugs legalized. Their sky high profits are predicated on prohibition keeping control of drugs markets in the hands of criminals. Harper’s the best political friend & ally drug gangsters have in Canada, while Trudeau with his rational & responsible plan to legalize marijuana is their nemesis.

        • Legalize drugs, don’t legalize. The drug gangs will keep their high, tax-free profits, either way.

          • Yeah, just like the rum runners and moonshiners continued to profit after alcohol prohibition ended.

            Oh, wait.

          • Exactly. Liquor bootlegging still exists but is a small cottage industry which doesn’t interest the Mafia anymore. Liquor prohibition only served to enrich & empower the Mafia which had never seen such profits before. The Mafia was able to use their liquor profits to influence & corrupt law enforcement, courts, & politicians. Without liquor prohibition, the Mafia would not have become nearly as rich & powerful as it did. Prohibition laws are criminal gangs’ best friend, guaranteeing them control of drugs markets & huge profits.

        • Drugs gangs don’t want drugs legalized, so does the big pharma co.’s. it’ hard to fight with t these thugs.

      • Lorne,,greed of a few rich industrialists created marijuana prohibition as a wagon too pull hemp off the open market and their heirs still want hemp off the open market. Greed of the many will take hemp back from our governments as mankind realizes that marijuana prohibition is nothing but a corporate profit protection scam and the only people supporting continuing marijuana prohibition are paid for their opinion or they’re income depends on it remaining in place,,who pays you for your opinion?

  14. get off the pot, wells ! I used to have a lot of respect for your writing and your opinion one time, but you have become like a lot other writers, lazy. your no different than the arm chair pundits that blog on a daily basis. the only difference is, you have a national news mag to help you put out your regurgitated puff pieces about how mr. ecomnomics(harper), is the best to sail through rough seas. what I would say is, in the not to distant future, that Canadian taxpayers will be reaching for their life jackets. 130 billion in the red and still counting. you call that good governing mr wells. it cost Canadian taxpayer 130 billion to keep these crooks in a job for 7 years, and you still seem to think this is money well spent. your always going after the wrong people mr wells. I sailed with many captains on ship, and I found most of the youger gen of skipper were always thinking ahead and not what it used to be like.

    • That`s very perceptive of you.
      It`s hard to believe that Wells could do a piece on Harper and Trudeau and the economy and pot legalization without tying everything together by showing the enormous economic benefit to the federal treasury when the Canadian government eliminates all the middle men, and becomes directly involved in the soft drug trade.

    • I am not sure how you reach this conclusion based on this article. At no point does Mr. Wells praise the CPC (although I suppose he may think highly of them, that does not come through on this article). It is about criticizing the opposition for not attacking Harper where it counts.

    • What then were those young sailors asking for in 2008 when they wanted MORE bailout money used, not less??? Come on, skipper, tell us all about it!

      • You do realise that it is the oppositions duty to oppose don’t you?

        In the end the decision to spend was Harper’s to make and he made it. Now either he did so because he was frightened of being turfed out of office, in which case he was weak; or he did so against his best beliefs and principles, in which case he is untrustworthy.

        I’m not too sure that that either of those traits are desirable in a leader.

  15. Drug prohibition is a more important issue than many want to acknowledge. Prohibition has created a whole host of serious societal problems that only worsen the longer we have prohibition laws. The worst so called drug problems are prohibition problems. Drug gang violence, property crime by addicts forced to pay sky high prices for substances dirt cheap to produce, increased OD risk due to uncertainty of purity & dosage of black market drugs – all these problems are direct outcomes of ill-conceived drug laws, not drugs themselves. Parts of Mexico have become war zones & Hell on earth due to prohibition placing the drugs market in the hands of violent criminal gangs. Not many decades ago drug gang murders were rare in Canada. Now they are common in major cities.

    Prohibition’s a historical & cultural aberration, just 100 years old. For almost all of human history it was viewed as a human right to consume popular drugs as one so chose. Introducing prohibition laws was a dangerous social experiment that has failed miserably. We had fewer drug problems prior to prohibition than since. Society’s views toward, & laws regarding, substance use & abuse are irrational & hypocritical as the most damaging & deadly popular substances by far are legal ones, tobacco, booze, & even trans-fat & calorie laden junk food causing heart disease, cancer, & diabetes via obesity. Tobacco alone still kills a staggering 40K+ Canadians each year. All illicit drugs combined could never come close to the carnage tobacco, booze, & food addictions cause.

    We tolerate & often abuse one set of deadly substances while unjustly demonizing & criminalizing another set of far less deadly substances & their persecuted users. Legalizing pot is a start. Trudeau’s on the right track. End the failed & indefensible drug war.

  16. Actually, if Trudeau and Mulcair can keep their feet out of their mouths, Harper may do a fairly good job of lousing up whatever economic cred he allegedly possesses. That plan to invite Verizon in for a piece of the telecom pie hasn’t turned out too well. And if you look into the employment stats today you will see that many of the 59,000 new jobs were part-time positions and most went to people over age 50. Unemployment among younger people remains a leading social/economic issue. A rebounding US economy should be good news for Harper. As he learned from his M.A. thesis, we rise or fall more or less in step with the North American economy and the smart advice in Ottawa has been to take the credit when things go up, and try to stay in step the rest of the time. Funny thing is, this time, most of the country isn’t gaining much altitude on this US takeoff.

  17. Justin is clearly a policy butterfly – flitting from one pretty flower to another – as long as it is not major economic issues such as a fair tax system (abolish foreign tax shelters, and restore a fair corporate tax rate) in which Justin and his friends friends e.g. Bronfman and Bay Street colleagues – have little or no credibility.
    Tom Mulcair – a mature and accomplished leader – has the skills and gravitas needed to replace a PM mired in scandals of his own making, and a profoundly unjust tax reduction on big corporations while a whole generation of younger Canadians must work two more years (qualification age from 65 to 67) for their Old Age Security pensions (despite the independent Parliamentary Budget Office studies showing it is not necessary!).
    Pot decriminalization makes more sense than legalization – and many Canadians know it.

    • Ohhh…goody…the official ndp TPs have arrived. Shouldn’t you attribute or something?

    • Another womb-to-tomb socialist suck …. soooo obvious

  18. Paul Wells calls them as he sees them. I like that.

    I wish Mulcair and others would stop talking about Senate abolition. It is
    necessary in our parliamentary system for checks and balances. It is part of
    Canada’s lawmaking process. Our Constitution states that both the Senate and
    the House of Commons must approve bills separately in order for them to become
    Political parties use it as a dumping ground for hacks, bagmen, sycophants, failed candidates, etc. and shamelessly use Senators for fundraising and stumping. The taxpayer finances the Senate and its use by political parties for partisan purposes is a fiddle.
    Fix it! Get it out of the hands of parties who use and abuse it for partisan purposes. Have an appointment process based on merit, not on party affiliation. It should be used
    only for its intended purpose as stated in Canada’s Constitution.

  19. Did Harper ever actually state that he had never smoked pot? Or did he just dodge the question and did the gullible media not notice this?

    • They can’t remember.

      • Didn’t he use the asthma defence?

        • He could still vaporize, or eat it weed.

          • Did they ask him if he smoked, or used? If the former, them maybe there are some hash brownies in his past he hasn’t ‘fessed up to…

          • Harper said he had asthma and couldn’t smoke and hasn’t smoked. Harper was pretty specific But to be fair, that could just be his ignorance on the subject.

    • Did Justin actually say that he never double dipped or did Justin Trudeau (and the media) just try to avoid the facts altogether:

      “On April 20, 2012, for example, Trudeau earned
      $20,000 for a speech he gave to Literacy for Life in Saskatoon. In the House of Commons, other MPs were debating and voting on a pension reform initiative.”

      “On Jan. 31, 2009, MPs debated and voted on changes to employment insurance benefits. There is no record Trudeau voted on that initiative or participated in the day’s proceedings. But he did give a speech that day to the Toronto-based group, The Learning Partnership, for which he was paid $10,000”

  20. “The realization that many Canadians believe illegal drugs should stay
    illegal is one surprise awaiting the Liberals. Another is that a lot
    more Canadians have complex, conflicting or frankly hypocritical views
    on drug policy— but that it’s not drug policy that will determine their
    next vote”

    The second point is surely true, the first might be if that’s what Trudeau was advocating…he isn’t. Many Canadians aren’t much bothered about pot, as long as you keep it a way from their[my] kids. Trudeau is being careful to emphasize this point. He needs to do a good job of convincing people that getting it out of the hands of criminals [ and pardoning half a million folks with criminal records since 06 alone] is worth the risk. It’s very doubtful there will be a net gain in votes outside of younger potential voters, but it is a useful branding exercise. Especially cuz he wont talk about the economy until 15.That is one commitment he better not keep. I must be one of the few liberals who think that’s a bit of a mistake.But that’s the choice he’s made, and why not? He’s romping home in the polls without doing much, Harper’s mired in do do, and lord knows what Tom is up to – i used to think he was a pretty good strategist.
    I recently got to listen to Harper. And it is true, they shouldn’t underestimate him; he was focused and on message [ jobs and training], occasionally funny and personable. It was obvious why people like him [ or at least don’t actively dislike him] not just the ones who share his politics. He also told his usual complement of half truths, outright lies and was partisan to the core. But you have to be a political junky, a genius like me or read Wells to know that eh. He wont be easy to defeat and it’ll take more then a tolerant attitude toward pot to do it. Fortunately Harper is rather fond of shooting himself in the head when he gets bored…and he has overconfidence problems of his own.

    • They don’t see this in Ottawa punditry, but out here Harper is looking a bit old and tired and somewhat listless.

      For sure the Liberals must link the mandatory minimums to the marijuana issue; the fear of long jail sentences for getting caught with a relatively small amount of pot.

  21. These days i try to run stuff like this by the screen of my little northern community whenever if feel i need a check on my liberal pulse, and a dose of small town reality[ i’m fairly sure we are thin on the ground. Or the ones who are here have been in hibernation since JC retired]
    The guys i know best, the blue collar brigade at the arena and who work for the town[ that must be half the town] are agnostic at worst ; hell yes, why all the fuss at best? That doesn’t mean to say at the kitchen table that legalization/decriminalization gets an automatic nod – it’s a divisive issue – plenty of moms will be doubtful. My family is split over it; get the criminal element out vs the risk more kids will have access [ via the bootleggers] Is removing the taboo a good idea? Trudeau will have to be careful as well as clear what he wants to accomplish.
    But it could go either way. The potential for folks to say, who is this guy? This is different for a politician is there. But unless it turns out to be a boost to the economy as well as a timely reform it wont win him unanimous applause here; but it might attract some useful attention? At best those with an open mind, even some of the skeptical will think…’well, lets see what else he has to say then’. So say something Justin.

    • Lot’s of whacky ideas…. but lack of leadership capability. The boy is obviously ‘in over his head’… lol

      • I’m no party supporter but what have we had since the Harper party cheated in the 2006 election? If Harper is not in over his head why has his party felt they need to cheat in elections? Or is it just that he knows he doesn’t have the love of the nation?

      • Let me guess, you came up with that all on your ownsome.

  22. Anyone remember the last opposition leader to best a sitting PM on management and competence? Me neither, including Harper in 2006. Exactly.

    • Might want to go back and read the Nanos numbers on perceptions of party leaders from 2005-2006. I know a book I could recommend.

      • Don’t tease, Paul – give us the straight goods!

  23. Get your facts straight, Wells. Harper did NOT say he had never smoked marijuana. He avoided the question, as usual, by saying, “Do I look like the kind of guy who smokes marijuana”? Also, I believe the words “getting high” are yours–not Trudeau’s.
    So much for unbiased journalism.

    • Harper made some other comments too that were reported in the media saying he suffered asthma in his youth which prevented him from smoking anything,

      • Yes, I know he did. However, we all know that having asthma doesn’t PREVENT anyone from smoking anything, only that they shouldn’t. Does it not bother you that he can’t give a simple yes or no answer?

    • I agree with Hermesacat – you need to get your facts straight. In any event, what’s your point? Is it to say Harper may be lying? Don’t forget Trudeau voted for C-15 when it was on the table and he was at home smoking dope at the time…. look up the definition of hypocrite and we should find a picture of Trudeau there.

      • One of my points is that I do not trust Harper. If he were to straight out answer a damn question, that would be a start. As for smoking dope, Trudeau admits using it 5 or 6 times in his lifetime. BTW, I have never used and never will, but Trudeau has a good point re value per dollar in policing, court, and prison costs. Therefore, I have changed my mind on the issue as has he. That is not hypocrisy.

      • So much for being well informed , sheesh, people stop saying just about anything, you are making this , and other people good points seem uninteresting,

  24. Why Harper needs to truly fear pot. (the electorate is behind it)

    We are witnessing the death throes of prohibition while its advocates make a desperate and frantic last stand, their final frenzy.

    In years to come, the attitudes that now prevail towards people that choose cannabis will be as politically incorrect as racism, homophobia or denying women the vote.

    • What about those thousands of cigarette factory workers mostly located in Montreal.. are their jobs in jeopardy if Justin legalized MJ? Will the cigarette rolling machines be able to roll fat doobies (but without filters)?! I suspect legalizing MJ will shut down all those Montreal (and aboriginal) cigarette factories as Canada becomes a Cannabis Nation!!!

      • What aboot the thousands of workers in Littleton Colorado patiently waiting for those precious hours of promised overtime so they can buy that new shiny TeeVee!?

  25. Trudeau’s first economic policy is to tax dope.
    Dion’s was to tax ghg. Can’t remember what Ignatieff wanted to tax once he flip flopped on the Green Shaft.
    Same old Liberal party. Just tax something to pay for the giveaways to special interest groups.
    2015 will come down to a Harper majority vs Canada being governed entirely from Quebec,
    with a 3 partner Coalition of Losers, Mulcair/Trudope/Bloc.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Wearing designer sandals,
        campaign slogan:
        Trudeau takes politics to a ‘higher’ standard

  26. Good points. Your comments about made me think a little…

    I recall conservatives saying at times (in Canada and US) that they can get a handle on the immigrant vote because in many ways lots of new arrivals to Canada are conservative in nature, when it comes to family values and finances and so on. Now, it’s true that was a blanket statement that in reality has a lot of nuances.

    However, your comments about pot show how the statement can be true.

    So a Liberal friend of mine was genuinely surprised when she plunked
    herself down behind the Liberal party table at a local community event
    and got her ear bent by voters, many of them from immigrant communities,
    asking why Trudeau was soft on drugs.

    This is an example of how the statement is true. Trudeau’s stance on pot is one way of making immigrant voters realize that they may have more in common with conservatives than with liberals, even if they feel an affinity towards liberals for their stance on open borders.

  27. The pot confessions and party stance may only be a smoke screen (pun intended) until the Liberals figure out the more important planks in their platform, but personally, I think any move towards actually legalizing pot is wrong-headed and just plain retrograde.

    Some people argue that pot smoking is not much different than cigarette smoking and should therefore be treated similarly. However, we’ve come a long way as a society from the days when cigarette smoking was considered normal. We now recognize smoking for what it is – a dirty, dangerous habit that not only affects the smoker, but those around him/her forced to share the same airspace – and we’ve severely restricted where and when smokers can light up. We’ve educated our young on the dangers of smoking and can now be proud that our efforts are finally paying off. Where once nearly half the adult population were smokers, now less than 20% smoke and the numbers continue to dwindle.

    Why on earth then would we choose to introduce a new and even more obnoxious foul smell of smoke into our now-clean air? The Liberals are dead-wrong if they think the majority of Canadians will sit still for that and they better wise up soon or risk losing the gains their newly-crowned king has won them.

  28. Another thought… how many people seriously think that marijuana is an issue that will sway their vote? As you say above, most people base their votes on the economy and prosperity.
    But I really wonder how many really feel so strongly that it’s an issue worthy of lengthy debate? How many people care about the issue at all? It seems, as you’ve pointed out, the press are obsessed with the issue. Yet I can say that I, for one, don’t give marijuana much thought, at any time, anywhere, ever. Maybe if I were a partying/drinking teenager I’d care? Maybe if I had teenager kids? Are there really that many people who give a rat’s a**? Seniors would not care, parents with young children or older children would not care, young professionals won’t care, people who never partake in the first place would not care, etc etc

    • I don’t smoke pot, and I’m so squeaky clean I wouldn’t even know where to get some. But I’m quite interested in this pot issue. For me, it’s the money angle. I think we need to take a long, hard look at whether what we’re spending in drug enforcement is worth it. I don’t think that cost-benefit analysis has been done, and it should be. I’m not saying your observations are wrong, but I know that’s where my main interest lies, and I doubt I’m the only one.

      • Harper has the perfect solution, ticket pot possession. That frees up officers and the courts while generating income, but without changing the law.
        I don’t see how selling drugs with an added tax keeps it out of the hands of kids,
        if anything the kids will go for the cheaper drugs, keeping the drug gangs alive and rich.

        • exactly

      • If JT legalizes then you and everyone else that has trouble finding it will then have no problem finding it. Isn’t that great? Decrim is the way to go.

    • So basically the same people who didn’t care about the gun registry, except substituting gun owners with pot smokers?

  29. Everybody has an expert opinion on sex, drugs, religion, sports…. but nothing much on economics, taxation, fiscal policy, political philosophy. Wonder why…??!!!

  30. I think Trudeau’s plan is to let Harper continue to demonstrate exactly why the Conservative economic approach is foolish, shortsighted and only benefits big corporations and at the expense of our environment, innovation and national reputation.

    The conservatives got elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility, accountability and senate reform. So far they have failed on all three. What are they going to campaign on next time? More of the same?

    • Wouldn’t that ‘plan’ be better executed by explaining to Canadians “exactly why the Conservative economic approach is foolish” and lay out his plan and why it’s better? Or are you just wishful thinking? Fact is Trudeau hasn’t been told what his economic policies are yet. Technically & legally your boy Trudeau is an admitted criminal. Should I even care what he has to say? He doesn’t care about the laws of Canada (as a public official no less) so who should care about him?

  31. Harper will win 2015 comfortably and the odds for a big majority are on his side.

    • Fabulous combination of evidence analysis and applied statistics.

      Maybe MacLean’s could repost it as a column?

    • Ha ha.

      Chest thumping does not equal analysis.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • Speak for yourself!
          Your ignorance does not be applied in this article

  32. Why does ANYONE keep defending the Harper government still?? It’s pretty clear the country is getting worn out with the Harper regime, yet the country KEEPS voting for the Harper government again & again & again. When does it end? Is Harper going to reign as Prime Minister forever?? How much long can this go on anyway?? Maclean’s magazine is ALWAYS puckering up to the Harper Government it seems.

    • The ” anyone” defending Harper are the same people that are against “pot being legalized. Ever noticed how these people all all have pill bottles, in their house, I mean that ” legal drug”, that is more dangerous than pot . I estimate that only 10 per cent of the population is actually totally drug free. And children happen to use the legal drugs as well,

  33. Ladies and Gentlemen Welcome Justin Trudeau’ Canada’s New Prime Minister!

    • … because Quebecers make the best Prime Ministers… according to Doobie Justin himself… oolala …lol

  34. An honourable person will not point out when the incompetent foe self-destructs. Tubby’s doing a fine job all by himself.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • “Attack ads” is the only thing they good at. Worst of all ,people believe them: bad combo, and we get the results: incompetence. It’s a. Good thing JT has more class. I am glad he does not have to lower himself at the Pm’s level

  35. Cananyone imagine Baby Trudeau at a G-20 conference, passing a joint to Putin or Merkel? Seriously, Harper, whatever his shortcomings, has the gravitas and plodding good judgement that characterize a real leader. He gets respect, and since he represents us, so do we.
    We live in a militarily and economically dangerous world where a diletante PM would be a disaster.

  36. I disagree with the premise of this article. If Trudeau is to win the votes of Canadians, then the most important first step is that Candians trust him. Having earned their trust, they will give Trudeau a hearing. Trudeau can present economic policy, and have his views listened to for the next two years because, as recent polls have demonstrated, Candians trust him. The Conservatives can repeat their talking points until they are blue in the face, and it will not win back the trust ( or more properly the benefit of the doubt ) in the minds of a great many Canadians.

    • … and that’s why the Cons are quiet now and Mulcair is now making anti-Trudeau noises and accusing the media of extending Justin’s ‘honeymoon’. It’s Mulcair who fears Justin, particularly in Quebec where the two will go for each others jugular… and quebecois blood will flow copiously while Harper sits back and watched the slaughter…lol

  37. Hilarious. Trudeaumania II played right into the Tory strengths. Not only did he run the most amazing media distraction of the senate problems (the media chucked the Senate to the back pages when the more scintillating pot discussion arose). He gave Harper evidence to support his allegations that Trudeau II would be akin to electing your teenager to run the country. Just what Canada does NOT need right now. We need good old boring consistency and leadership. It ain’t broke, so lets not gamble on a fix.

    Harper will retire in office. Trudeau should plan how he stays Liberal leader after he loses the next election. Because when he grows up, he might just become interesting.

  38. Just look at the latest G20 meeting. Baby Trudeau would be treated the same way as Barry O was. With disrespect. Powerful leaders in Russia and China look at these child-men and laugh.

    • What if Justin makes a world tour and is given the red carpet treatment in France (of course) and Russia (because Harper/Baird are trashing Putin)? Then he tops it of by visiting Cuba and NKorea..!!!!

  39. It’s time you lazy over-paid idiots who call yourselves “journalists” in the MSM get off the pot. The only ones who keep on writing and asking silly pot questions are the likes of you, Paul Wells.

  40. “Harpers foes” have tried pot, or know someone who has, and disagree with laws which are not only hypocritical, but cruel.

  41. free adds
    paid for by the Conservative spin doctors,?
    Justin would have been a no name by now,
    Harpers spin Doctors have opened Pandora’s box,
    an interesting politician for a change .
    that has to be a good thing Right?
    Now Harper best worry the Kids don’t get interested in anything he says or does>

  42. Fabulous article. And so right on! And the Senate scandals don’t compare with Chretien’s years in office. Harb, Duffy, Wallin – amateurs compared to the french connections of Chretien. So keep on puffing Justin – you make even Mulcair look good.