Justin Trudeau recently revealed that he has smoked marijuana since becoming an MP in 2008, when his party guest offered him a “puff” of a joint.
As the federal party leader, Trudeau now endorses the full legalization of pot. This may sound great, but it also reveals Trudeau to be a hypocritical pandering politician.
Back in 2009, Trudeau was a rookie Liberal MP who voted in favour of the Conservative government’s Bill C-15, which introduced strict mandatory minimum prison sentences for pot possession. Even as recently as the 2012 Liberal convention, Trudeau was opposed to his party officially endorsing legalization (which they did anyways). So why the sudden change in heart, Trudeau?
While Trudeau wants us to believe that his views on the matter have evolved, I call bullshit. Instead it appears that Trudeau is making a political-electoral calculation in an attempt to draw out the usually absent youth vote, with whom pot legalization is a popular position.
But what does this revelation and policy reversal reveal about Trudeau? He appears, until his recent flip-flop, to have been practising the old “do as I say and not as I do” mantra, helping send ordinary folk to prison for smoking pot while enjoying the sanctuary of being a privileged elite — immune from the very laws he’s endorsing. This is hypocrisy at its best.
After Trudeau’s public revelation, Conservatives were quick to jump on what they said was a “lack of judgement” in his decision to reveal he smoked pot. To them, breaking the law is always wrong, no matter how ill-conceived and unfair the law is.
However, this ignores the significant changes in society that have been made in the past as a result of breaking the law. Does anyone remember the Conservative’s resistance to the now defunct national gun registry?
Instead of a lack of judgement in deciding to smoke pot, I believe that Trudeau’s real lack of judgement occurred where it mattered most: the House of Commons. His judgement failed not in smoking up, but in his previous decision to support criminalization and punishing those who do partake in the drug — except himself of course.
I am all for legalizing marijuana and I hope that other political parties will follow the Liberal’s lead and support it. Public opinion in Canada indicates that it would be the democratic thing to do and, besides, if alcohol and strong prescription drugs are legal, why continue to outlaw the relatively harmless marijuana?
Our neighbours to the south are beginning to figure it out, as the U.S federal government has stated it won’t challenge Colorado or Washington State’s decision to fully legalize the recreational use of pot.
However, with our current Conservative government and their tough on drugs and tough on crime ideologies, don’t expect legalization under their power to happen anytime soon.
While it is refreshing to see a political party leader endorse full legalization, don’t take it for more than the political-electoral positioning that it is. Instead of praising Trudeau as some brave visionary against the failing war on drugs, realize that he is just another politician pandering for your vote.
Don’t forget that while Trudeau was getting high with a little help from his friends, Harper was imprisoning pot users with a little help from Trudeau.
Graphic: Cody Schumacher