Steven Blaney will not stand by quietly while a Liberal tries to create jobs through legal means - Macleans.ca

Steven Blaney will not stand by quietly while a Liberal tries to create jobs through legal means

The Public Safety Minister has something to say

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As the Ottawa Citizen notes, the office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney sent out the following statement to the press gallery on Friday, apparently in some kind of regard to news reports that an individual associated with the Liberal Party of Canada—Chuck Rifici is a member of the party’s board of directors—is hoping to receive the approval of Health Canada to open a medical marijuana facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

Please find below a statement from the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Yesterday we learned that Justin Trudeau’s Chief Financial Officer and senior Liberal advisor Chuck Rifici has plans to open a massive, medicinal marijuana operation in rural Ontario, while the Liberal Leader champions marijuana legalization. Minister Blaney issued the following statement on Justin Trudeau’s top priority:

Statement

“Under Stephen Harper’s strong leadership, Canada has added more than one million net new jobs since the recession.

“Meanwhile, with absolutely no economic policy, Justin Trudeau’s highest priority remains legalizing marijuana.”

“While the Liberals continue to push for policies that would make marijuana more accessible to children, we’ve been focused on what matters most to Canadians – the economy.

“Our plan is to create more jobs – their plan is to push pot.”

“Canadians deserve to know why Justin Trudeau wants to make it easier for children to access drugs it in their communities.”

So the priority here should be jobs.

Thing is, Smiths Falls has been without a lot of jobs since the town’s Hershey factory closed down. And the town’s mayor apparently welcomes the news that someone might want to convert that facility into something productive.

Staples said the plant would be welcomed because it would bring 20 full-time jobs if and when it launches, eventually growing to over 100 full-time positions.

“It’s going to happen somewhere in Canada, our community of Smiths Falls — population 9,000 — have lost 1,700 jobs in the last five or six years,” he said. “Our doors are open to try and attract new investment and more fundamentally, recreate and re-establish some of the jobs that have been lost here.”

The Harper government introduced new regulations for medical marijuana in June—it has already licensed one supplier—and it is projected to create a $1.3-billion industry.

I asked Mr. Blaney’s office if he opposes the legality of medical marijuana or the facility in Smiths Fall and, if not, why the proposed project in Smith Falls. In response, I was told “the statement speaks for itself.” So maybe Mr. Blaney’s concern here is that if marijuana is legalized, smaller suppliers of medical marijuana will be put out of business by larger companies and Smiths Falls will then once again be deprived of jobs.

We can only hope that one day Mr. Blaney and Mr. Trudeau will run into each other in a grocery store in Manitoba and debate this for the cameras.