At an establishment conservative confab in D.C. a while back, someone asked me if Canadians could possibly be stupid enough to throw over Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper for an unaccomplished, photogenic airhead like Justin Trudeau, based solely on that particular Liberal MP’s particular arrangement of DNA molecules.
I nodded in the general direction of what I hoped was the White House and replied:
“Who’ve you got, then?”
You guys went from “I didn’t inhale” to “Damn right I did” in one generation, so I doubt recent not-so-shocking revelations about Justin Trudeau’s little pot habit could keep him out of 24 Sussex Drive.
After all, Canada is much much more relaxed about marijuana use than the U.S is.
However, we’re not as casual about it as you may think. The situation is a bit… bipolar.
The fact is, when Justin Trudeau toked up “three years ago” (cough), he not only broke the law, but did so as a sitting member of Parliament.
Conservative Justice Minister Peter MacKay commented:
“By flouting the laws of Canada while holding elected office, he shows he is a poor example for all Canadians, particularly young ones. Justin Trudeau is simply not the kind of leader our country needs.”
(Which prompted our version of Bill Maher — comedian-commentator Rick Mercer — to tweet “a dorky picture of the justice minister from the 1989 Dalhousie law school yearbook, drinking from a beer bong.”)
Red Toronto Star felt obligated to write:
Honesty is good in itself. And Trudeau should be lauded for doing a rare thing in contemporary politics: answering a direct question forthrightly. But, notwithstanding the failings of Canada’s current pot policy, his response reveals a lack of judgment and a disregard for the law and his duty as a parliamentarian to uphold it. As a legislator he’s in an excellent position to change bad laws. Breaking them is hardly prime ministerial.
“I loved marijuana. I was a hippie in the ’60s,” Trudeau said with a laugh.
“I started smoking at a young age. I took to it like a duck to water. Strawberry Fields Forever and all that.” (…)
“Marijuana can trigger psychosis,” said Trudeau. “Every time I was hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana.”
Trudeau was hospitalized three times for mental illness. (…)
Part of the hard work for Trudeau has been completely giving up the use of marijuana, something she once thought made her feel “wonderful.”
“I miss it,” she said of the pot- smoking. “It is a daily struggle. If it’s around, I just don’t stay around.”
Anyway, Canadians are no different than Americans, in that our political junkies love playing “Can you imagine if this news was about the other guy?!” as much as you do.
The PMO was quick to issue an anticipatory statement, noting primly that the prime minister’s asthma “precludes him from smoking anything.”
And it’s pretty hard for anyone on either side of the aisle to imagine square, uptight Star Trek nerd Stephen Harper ever getting high.