Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smoked marijuana as an MP but he has not suffered the same consequences as Canadians who are slapped with simple pot charges, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Tuesday –an example, he says, of “abject hypocrisy.”
Mulcair took aim at Trudeau for his assertion that he wants to make things fairer for those facing pot-possession charges once marijuana becomes legal next year — a comment he made during a segment with Vice Canada on Monday.
The NDP has repeatedly called for an amnesty on charges for possessing small amounts of pot, but nothing has been done.
Trudeau doesn’t seem to care about Canadians who face charges, even though a plan is in place to revoke the prohibition, Mulcair said during a news conference.
“When you’re of that background and you’re privileged and you’ve always had everything given to you and you are treated differently, that’s what he is used to, isn’t it?” he said.
“He doesn’t find it at all abnormal that he can admit to smoking marijuana while he was a member of Parliament and at the same time say, ‘The law is the law and you will be prosecuted if you smoke marijuana.’
“That is abject hypocrisy by Justin Trudeau.”
Trudeau also shared a story during the Monday interview about an incident in which his late brother Michel faced marijuana possession charges.
Trudeau said his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, was able to bring the family’s resources to bear on the problem, including turning to friends in the legal community to help make the charges go away.
He also conceded that other Canadians, including marginalized people, are treated unfairly in the legal system despite the fact “Canada is supposed to be fair for everybody.”
Once again, it’s a case of one set of rules for the Trudeaus and another for the rest of Canada
Governments have not historically issued generic pardons when there has been a change in the law, Osgoode Hall law professor Alan Young said Tuesday — a lawyer who has advocated for Canada to change its legal approach to pot for more than 25 years.
“They’ve also never confronted a situation where they’ve changed the law and it has affected hundreds of thousands of people and young people who have criminal records,” Young said in an interview.
“It does make sense, ethically and morally, to look at the pardon power to correct the mistake, but being somewhat unprecedented, until it is actually proposed, I don’t believe it.”
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