It’s been two days since recreational marijuana legalization in Canada and already Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is telling Canadians that it might be short-lived. Scheer appeared on Power Play with Don Martin on Thursday night and said he hadn’t ruled out undoing the Liberals’ legalization if he and the Conservatives are elected into power in the 2019 election.
“We’re already hearing some of the concerns from health experts, from law enforcement,” Scheer said. He then reiterated the talking points legalization opponents (including the Tory leader himself) have been making all along: citing worries about the minimum age, policing and roadside testing. When asked point-blank, yes or no to re-criminalizing, Scheer refused to give a simple answer, but that in itself says volumes.
“The Conservative Party will do our due diligence, examine the consequences of this decision, and we’ll examine the reality on the ground,” he said. “We have to be realistic about what a change like this means to society and the ramifications.”
“But I can tell you that we’re watching this very closely and we’ll do what the Liberals didn’t do and take an evidence-based approach to what we propose in the next election.”
Andrew Scheer has been vocal about his opposition to legalization — he voted against the cannabis legalization bill along with most of the Conservatives (MP Scott Reid was the only one to support it). He’s also been critical of the Liberals’ handling of the implementation and rollout. In a brief interview in Parliament Wednesday, he called out the Prime Minister specifically for the “rushed” bill.
“Today we’re going to start to see the consequences of Justin Trudeau’s legalization bill,” Scheer said. “We’re going to start to see the consequences of this rushed approach to where he’s passed this artificial political deadline, ignoring the concerns of the health experts, police experts and provincial politicians.”
He also said as much on Twitter with a very dramatic graphic.
Justin Trudeau’s failures have consequences. The lack of public education has left many Canadians unsure of the rules and the safety concerns of employers, workers and Indigenous communities have not been addressed. This failed approach is putting Canadians at risk. pic.twitter.com/D9Kz4b1T2o
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) October 17, 2018
These are common criticisms of Trudeau by his political opponents, but there have also been positive reports in the first two days of legalization. The federal government is issuing pardons for Canadians charged with simple possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and provinces are already seeing huge revenue from marijuana sales. It’s too early to tell if the stories are going to settle into a net positive or negative overall assessment of legalization.
You just have to wonder how exactly Scheer and the Conservatives plan on closing this can of worms.