Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can Trudeau be trusted to legalize marijuana?

Justin Trudeau made a bold move by coming out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But is he bold enough to follow through if elected?

Mandatory minimums

Although Trudeau said he smoked up while an MP in 2008, the fact is he voted in favor of mandatory minimum sentences for people growing a few plants back in 2009. You would think if he felt strongly about the issue, he would’ve, at least, abstained from voting.

Bold promises — quietly abandoned

Another thing voters should consider is the tendency of the federal Liberals to make big promises before an election, then abandon them right after getting elected.

In 1993 the Red Book was full of big promises, like national daycare. Although the Liberals were in power for 13 years, for some strange reason they let the daycare promise die. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of funding: they handed Harper a $14-billion surplus.

Fool me once...

Trudeau wouldn’t be the first Liberal leader to campaign on liberalizing marijuana laws. In 2004, Paul Martin ran on decriminalization. When he got elected: thanks for the votes, but…

Distraction

Last, voters should consider if this legalization promise is just a distraction. Trudeau recently rolled out his economic platform which is big on tar-sands development, Chinese foreign investment in the tar sands and exporting resources to Asia: what Trudeau calls “the Canadian economy’s future.”

Trudeau has also ruled out fair taxation. He has vowed not to undo a single one of Harper’s $44-billion/yr in “starve the beast” tax cuts for the rich. He said, “the federal government is taking in enough taxes.”

Conclusion

Trudeau is trying to portray himself as modern and progressive by showcasing marijuana legalization. But not only does this intentionally distract from his right-wing economic and environmental agenda, Canadians might not even get legalization if he gets elected.

Trudeau says the Liberal party is the party of free trade. So what if, like Paul Martin, Trudeau does the “moderate” thing and backs down on the faulty premise legalization threatens trade with the US? Would that be at all surprising?

Only the NDP and Green parties have been consistent in their long-held opposition to marijuana prohibition.

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