Earlier in the week, Justin Trudeau was asked by VICE about the problem of people getting criminal records for pot possession when decriminalization is around the corner, and he related a story about how his late brother was once charged with possession and their father, with his influence and connections, was able to make those charges go away. And then the opposition went crazy with it.
"Connections" were used to make the "charges go away". The Trudeaus seem to have their own set of rules don't they? https://t.co/FeYIm6o9Bm
— Lisa Raitt (@lraitt) April 25, 2017
Of course, Raitt is missing the point in that it wasn’t that Trudeau is endorsing one set of rules for the elites and one for everyone else. (Raitt, of course, is trying to use the “Trudeau is an elite and I’m just a Regular Girl™” line as her campaign platform, which is getting pretty tired). He’s acknowledging that the current system ensures that kind of outcome, which is why he’s looking to change it.
#PMTrudeau's revelation about how his Dad made his brother's criminal charge disappear reminds us why race & class still matter in Canada.
— Adrian Harewood (@CBCAdrianH) April 25, 2017
@gmbutts I've enjoyed the reactions by people who think the PM was somehow oblivious to the point *he* was making tho. Good times.
— Emmett Macfarlane (@EmmMacfarlane) April 25, 2017
Thomas Mulcair, of course, couldn’t wait to rail about the “abject hypocrisy” of it all, and to repeat his demands that the government immediately put through decriminalization until legalization is sorted, as though this was something that the PM could just snap his fingers and do.
But no, that’s not how this works. Mulcair has been in politics to know this, which makes his concern trolling all the more disingenuous.
If the government introduced decriminalization legislation today, when do you think it passed the House and the Senate?
— Rob Silver (@RobSilver) April 26, 2017
If you wanted a measure that could be implemented right away, then the provinces could opt not to pursue charges for simple possession (which I think is pretty much what is going on in most cases), because they’re the ones who have jurisdiction for the administration of justice and who can set their own prosecutorial guidelines. They could instruct their Crown prosecutors not to pursue simple possession charges – but that’s the provinces’ call, not the PM’s – again, making Mulcair’s calls disingenuous. Decriminalization also doesn’t serve the stated purpose of legalization, which is to regulate sale to keep it out of the hands of children and to combat the black market. But I’m sure we’ll be hearing about this for the next few days, unless the Trumpocalypse and the brewing trade war consumes the news cycle today.
Update: I am informed by lawyers that I’m on the wrong track, that the federal prosecution service deals with drug offences and that simple possession charges are still common among minorities and marginalized groups. So mea culpa on that one.
- Begun, this trade war over softwood has, despite all of Trudeau’s attempts to foster good relations on Trump’s terms, and now the government has to support lost jobs.
- John Geddes gives us a recap of our cyclical softwood lumber trade wars with the States, which is entering into its fifth modern iteration.
- The government is set to repeal measures implanted by the previous government, ostensibly to combat marriage fraud but which opened up victims to abuse.
- Thanks to FATCA, thousands of Canadians’ bank records have been sent to the IRS without informing the government.
- The Supreme Court of Canada heard a case urging it to clarify its ruling on court delays, while defence counsel urged them to stay the course to force change.
- The pay gap between senior public servants and junior executives has narrowed so much that it’s making recruiting management difficult.
- The Conservatives are claiming 259,010 eligible members able to vote in their leadership contest, the most since their party was created in 2004.
- Susan Delacourt writes about Trudeau juggling populism and elitism.
- My column this week looks at why we can expect an acrimonious return to Parliament, and why the government may be cynically exploiting this “crisis.”
Odds and ends:
Senator Peter Harder is headed to Calgary to sell the message of Senate renewal, misreading the mythical obsession with the Senate in the west.
While municipalities demand more powers, here’s a cautionary tale of one which was poorly run by people who had no idea what they were doing.
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