Vancouver MP claims Liberal party promoting marijuana to kids
Election style attack flyer full of misleading statements says Liberal party
In an election-style flyer mailed to her constituents, Vancouver South Conservative MP Wai Young claims Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is promoting marijuana to children.
The flyer also features a photo of a young person who is about to light a joint and says Liberal policies would make it easier for children to smoke pot.
In the flyer, the Conservative Party claims the Liberal policy of legalizing and deregulating marijuana will make it easier to access cannabis.
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But the Liberal party policy on marijuana says it will take special steps to educate and promote awareness of the health risks of marijuana use among youth.
The Liberal Party says the flyer is riddled with misleading information.
Vancouver South riding association president Stewart McGillivray says there's no truth to the Conservative claim.
"Justin Trudeau has been extremely clear that we don't want our children more easily able to access this, that it does have harmful effects in many cases." he said.
"I think Wai Young knows that, so I wish she would act a bit more maturely on the issue."
The political mail-out claims repeatedly that Justin Trudeau has visited schools to promote his marijuana legalization policy.
The claim stems from an accusation by Justice Minister Peter Mackay following the Liberal leader's visit to a Brandon, Manitoba First Nations school in November 2013.
During the event, Trudeau was asked a question about the policy by a student.
A reporter later confirmed that in fact, Trudeau's response was that marijuana was dangerous for young people because their minds were still developing and that regulating pot would reduce their access to it.
Medicinal marijuana claims
The flyer also claims that "marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada", a statement that mirrors an explanation found on the Health Canada website.
But it doesn't explain that there is a functioning medical marijuana regime in Canada which goes back 13 years and that doctors have the right to prescribe the drugs to patients as ruled by the Federal Court of Canada.
Don MacPherson, the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition says the confusion over this claim stems from political ideology versus court rulings.
"It's a very mixed message to the public. Wai Young's statement is a political statement, it's not a factual statement," he said.
"It's not an approved drug by this government, but the courts in Canada have instructed them to create a medical cannabis program and they have complied."
The politics of marijuana
With the federal election a little more than a year away, it looks as though the political mudslinging is well underway in Vancouver South.
Hamish Telford, the head of the political science department at the University of the Fraser Valley, says the Conservative government is going back to the successful way in which it has defeated Liberal leaders in the past.
Telford claims that while discrediting Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion worked well for the Conservative party, which has been in power since 2006, it may not work again.
"I think Canadians are catching onto these kinds of tactics and in the case of Trudeau, he's a known commodity," Telford said.
"For both those reasons, I'm not sure the tried and true strategy that the Conservatives have used to great success in the past elections will work a third time."
A spokesperson from Wai Young's office says the political flyer was generated by the Conservative Party's Central Resource Group and sent to MPs across the country.
Wai Young was not available for comment this week, nor was any other Conservative Party official.