Trudeau mocked for pot, Tories mum on Ford's crack use
Toronto City Council debates stripping mayor of power while Conservatives assail Liberal leader
At the same hour Toronto City Council debated a move to strip Mayor Rob Ford of his powers because of his crack use, the Conservatives continued to lambaste federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for his stance on marijuana.
Conservative MP Kelly Block used a member's statement to critique Trudeau, just before question period in the House of Commons Monday
Members' statements, which occupy the first 15 minutes of the question period hour, are often used by MPs to honour people in their ridings or mark local events.
Block brought up a quote from Trudeau made in a television interview 14 years ago when he mused about Quebecers being "better."
She linked that remark to Trudeau's recent speaking engagement at a school in Brandon, Man. Block said Trudeau "pitched" his plan to legalize and regulate marijuana, and ended her statement by saying Trudeau is " in over his head."
The phrase " in over his head" is often used in Conservative attack ads about Trudeau's leadership. The Liberal leader was not in the chamber Monday.
Meanwhile, during the same hour, Ford was facing a move by his fellows councillors to strip him of his office budget because, among other things, he has admitted to smoking crack and buying illegal drugs during his mayoralty.
Conservative MPs reluctant to condemn Ford
Conservative MPs have been reluctant to criticize Ford, who has occasionally appeared at events with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and who has campaigned for Conservatives federally in Toronto.
Monday, on the way in to the House of Commons chamber, Conservative MPs Jay Aspin and John Carmichael described Ford's situation as a "tragedy." Others, such as Peter Kent and Ted Opitz, refused to answer any questions about Ford.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters he's already commented on Ford. On Nov. 7, Flaherty seemed to choke up when asked about Ford, saying he was close to Ford's family.
"Certainly his family is helping him and wishing him well. That’s all I can say," he said.
Treasury Board president Tony Clement said, "As a lawmaker, I believe Mr. Ford has to be accountable." He added, "As a person of faith, I believe we also have to show compassion."
While question period was going on, viewers could watch another channel and view Ford at one point hurriedly crossing the Toronto city council floor during a chaotic session, seeming to accidentally knock over Coun. Pam McConnell, who's often been critical of Ford.
Ford wasn't mentioned in the House of Commons except when NDP MP Andrew Cash made a member's statement about the virtues of Toronto as a great multicultural city despite Ford's reputation.
However, the NDP quietly chanted "Rob Ford" when Conservative MPs were speaking.
In Toronto, Ford often chanted "NDP" when some councillors were speaking.
Late Monday, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement about Ford, without mentioning the word "crack," or Ford's name.
“These latest allegations are troubling,” said Jason MacDonald, Harper’s director of communications. “Our government does not condone illegal drug use, especially by elected officials while in office, including Justin Trudeau, nor do we condone drinking and driving.”
It's the first time Harper, through his office, has made any comment about Ford. Harper has been on fishing trips with Ford, and has attended Ford's annual summer barbecue.