Trudeau not concerned by potential border troubles after pot admission
Published Sunday, September 8, 2013 8:59AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 8, 2013 11:34AM EDT
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he's not overly concerned about being turned away at the U.S. border after recently going public about his past marijuana use.
Trudeau said he felt his own personal experience with the drug should be open to questions as he continues to advocate for the legalization of marijuana.
Since admitting to using pot at least once since being elected as an MP in 2008, some immigration experts have said his confession could lead to problems when trying to cross the border.
"I think that highlights the absurdity of the existing laws," Trudeau told CTV's Question Period. "And if that is indeed the case, I will be in good company with just about every other political figure who has in the past weeks admitted to having used pot at one point or another."
Since Trudeau's pot admission, a number of politicians, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, have also admitted to using the drug.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper instead accused Trudeau of promoting marijuana use amongst children.
Pointing to the $500 million spent in Canada each year on enforcement and punishment related to marijuana convictions, and the fact that Canadian youth use cannabis more than any other developed country, Trudeau argues that the prohibition of marijuana has failed. Rather, the Liberal Leader believes legalizing pot will help keep it out of the hands of children, since it will allow the government to tax and better regulate the drug.
"There are also concerns about the money, the billions of dollars, being funneled into criminal organizations through this current prohibition," he said. "And the onus is squarely on the shoulders of prohibitionists like Mr. Harper to explain why adults shouldn't be given the opportunity to make their own free choices, and why they think the continued prohibition that's obviously failed in protecting our children is still justified."
Trudeau expects legal challenges over Que. charter
The Papineau MP has also been a vocal opponent of Quebec's proposed "Charter of Values."
A leaked copy of the plan suggests that the Parti Quebecois wants to restrict public employees from wearing religious symbols like turbans, kippas, hijabs and visible crosses, which has drawn an angry response from some pundits and minority groups.
Asked if Ottawa should be prepared to take the Quebec government to court should the proposed legislation pass, Trudeau said he believes a number of Quebecers would pursue legal challenges against the provincial government.
"I'm comforted in the knowledge that the Charter of Rights and Freedom is there for citizens to be protected from intrusion by their government, and that's exactly what Canadians will do in this case if (PQ Leader Pauline Marois) goes ahead with the charter.
"I don't think a different level of government needs to be involved in this," he continued. "It will be Canadians."
Watch the full interview with Justin Trudeau on CTV's Question Period at 11 a.m. ET with new host Robert Fife.