By Christopher Foulds, Kamloops This Week
Sometimes, voters must wonder if the MPs actually believe and support some of the claims made in party ads or whether they simply toe the line because it is the best way of getting elected or retaining power.
Take the latest round of attack ads the Conservative Party of Canada has launched against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
This is the party, remember, that decided to attack Trudeau the day after he won the Liberal leadership, rather than take the high road and offer a hearty congratulations and a promise for robust debate to come.
Instead of surprising voters with a touch of class, the Conservatives yet again offered a serving of crass.
I caught one of the new attack-Justin-at-all-costs ads on the weekend and the breadth of its offensiveness and ignorance is impressive, even by Conservative standards.
The television ad is 15 seconds in length and shows Trudeau speaking to a group of people in a Kelowna park on July 23, 2013.
As Trudeau is speaking, the Conservative ad captures him saying this: “I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis, I am in favour of legalizing it.”
Those 15 words are the only ones uttered by Trudeau in the ad.
They are followed by a female voiceover saying: “Imagine — selling marijuana just like cigarettes and alcohol.
“Justin Trudeau: He’s in way over his head.”
The voiceover is accompanied by four lines of large words on the screen, with Trudeau fading into the background:
AVAILABLE IN STORES.
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The ad appeared on Global TV at 10:44 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, during a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, an episode which, interestingly enough, had a plot devoted entirely to the folly that is prohibition, in which Homer becomes the Beer Baron as he attempts to elude a stereotypical 1920s-era anti-Prohibition cop named Rex Banner.
There are many problems with the ad, first and foremost of which is the fact the Conservatives have taken 15 words spoken by Trudeau in an attempt to lie to voters about why he has taken the stance he has.
For those who wish to see what Trudeau actually said on July 23, 2013 in Kelowna, and why he said it, go online right now to youtube.com/watch?v=BetOS0y9mNg and watch the clip. It will take a few seconds to realize the Conservatives are lying to the public. Call it Reefer Madness: The Sequel.
Here is what Trudeau actually said that day: “I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis, I am in favour of legalizing it. Tax and regulate it. It’s one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids because the current war on drugs, the current model, is not working. We have to use evidence and science to make sure we are moving forward on that.”
The Conservatives have taken 24 per cent of what Trudeau said on the subject and proclaimed his stance as making pot more accessible to kids.
In fact, the remaining 76 per cent of what Trudeau said makes it clear his position is intended to make marijuana less accessible to kids.
In the ad, the Conservatives deem it outrageous that marijuana should be sold as is alcohol and cigarettes.
I take that to mean the Conservatives prefer the current system, in which kids can access pot immediately and anywhere from anybody, while profiting gangsters; to a system in which pot is regulated, taxed and sold with strict oversight that makes it almost impossible for minors to access — which sounds exactly like how alcohol and cigarettes are sold in Canada.
If a legalized system still includes dealers selling dime bags to kids here and there, we would be no worse off than we are now.
If any Conservative MP actually believes the nonsense being spewed in this commercial, God help us all.
As Marg Simpson says at the end of that delightfully spot-on Simpsons episode that mocked prohibition for the mistake that it was and continues to be: “All my husband did was violate a law that didn’t make sense.”
That line can be attributed to every person who enjoys to smoke a joint and every person behind bars because of marijuana use.
Christopher Foulds is editor of Kamloops This Week.