Politics

MacKay says he won't repeal legalization of recreational cannabis if he's elected prime minister

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay said today that he won't repeal the legalization of recreational cannabis use if he becomes prime minister.

MacKay says he would allow MPs to introduce legislation restricting abortion but would vote against it

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay discusses how he would address blockades and protests that are crippling Canada's rail networks. 11:25

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay said today that he won't repeal the legalization of recreational cannabis use if he becomes prime minister.

"No, I would not reverse it, but I am very concerned about the impacts on mental health, on children and mental health generally, impaired driving and other ... unintended consequences," MacKay told host Vassy Kapelos on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

"And the black market, of course, has flourished, but I'm not for repealing the legislation."

The former Conservative defence minister did say that if the federal government follows the U.K. in clearing Chinese telecom giant Huawei to participate in Canada's 5G network, a government led by him would repeal that decision.

"I would ban Huawei because of their pernicious activity and spying on Canada and stealing intellectual property," he said.

"I think that there are other options. I don't want to see Canada kicked out of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing community," MacKay added, referring to the intelligence alliance between Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

"I think that the U.K. is probably going to come to that conclusion in the not too distant future."

The former MP also said it's his "intention" to run for a seat in the House of Commons even if he doesn't win the party leadership. He said his choice of riding will depend on timing but he expects to run in Central Nova.

In the wide-ranging interview, MacKay talked about the policy positions he would take as leader and prime minister — in some cases describing positions similar to those held by outgoing Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

Blockades are a crime: MacKay

MacKay described the current rail blockades and protests at ports across the country as criminal acts. Like Scheer, MacKay argues that police should be removing the demonstrators peacefully, but that the army should not be called in.

"No one is advocating violence. No one is advocating confrontation. But ... this is a crime, to be impeding and stopping public transportation, preventing goods and services from being delivered across the country," he said. 

MacKay said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took too long to come around to the same position, adding "justice delayed is justice denied."

He also said that his climate change plan would resemble Scheer's in that it would rely on obtaining credits toward the Paris accord emission reduction targets by shipping Canadian oil and gas to India and China, where it would replace coal as a fuel source.

MacKay on abortion

The Paris accord does not grant countries credits for their energy exports. MacKay said that should be challenged.

"Well, it should, and we should be working hard to renegotiate because the reality is we're at 1.6 per cent of global emissions, which is minuscule," he said.

MacKay also said that while he personally opposes any move to restrict abortion access in Canada and would never lead a government with that agenda, he would allow a member of his caucus to introduce legislation to do so.

"I would vote against it and I would have the front bench vote with me, which would be against it," he said.

MacKay said that he is both pro-choice and "pro-equal marriage," referring to same-sex unions. 

Watch Peter MacKay answer a series of rapid-fire policy questions: 
Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay answers a series of rapid-fire policy questions. 2:09

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