Lee Friday – June 11, 2017
I believe all drugs should be legal, without exception. But this article is not about the freedom of individuals to put whatever they want into their own bodies, and accepting responsibility for any consequences they may suffer. This article is about assessing the views of Andrew Scheer regarding the Liberal party’s plan to legalize marijuana.
Scheer is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. During the leadership race, he was interviewed by Vassy Kapelos of Global News . Scheer did not object when Kapelos referred to him as a man of faith with strong family values, and he went on to make the following comments about the legalization of marijuana:
As a father of five, I’m not thrilled with the idea that this is something that could be more accessible or that the signal would be sent that this is just another thing that you can do.
. . . there’s going to be a lot of people that work for companies that distribute it . . . so we have to be very realistic as a party as to what we’re promising Canadians going into the 2019 election. If this is something that has been legal for a period of time, it’s going to be very difficult to … make this illegal again.
Morality. Ethics. Integrity. Discipline. Love. Respect. Faith. Beliefs. Attitudes. Ideals. These words convey a sense of what is meant by “family values” – values passed from generation to generation. As a “man of faith with strong family values”, it seems reasonable to assume that Scheer (and his wife?) has spent considerable time imparting these values to his children. Therefore, why is he concerned that marijuana may be “more accessible” to his kids? If he has taught them well, he has nothing to fear.
However, if he has not taught them well, there is nothing the government can do to keep marijuana out of the hands of anyone who wants it. The idea that legalization makes marijuana “more accessible” must be taken in context. Today, it is illegal, but “readily accessible”. Any high school kid knows how to acquire it – easy peasy. Surely, all politicians must be aware of this fact.
Regardless, one gets the sense that if it was up to Scheer, marijuana would not be legalized, in keeping with traditional conservative policy. If he does in fact hold this as a core value, as his comments suggest, why is he not promising to reverse the Liberal’s marijuana legislation if elected in 2019? Such a promise would be welcomed by some Conservative voters, but it is also true that many Conservative voters support the legalization of marijuana.
What does this say about Scheer? Is he a man of principle, or a political opportunist? BNN reporter Jameson Berkow wrote (emphasis added) that Scheer is
“… opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use in principle…”
If Scheer believes the production, sale, and possession of marijuana should be illegal, he should be telling voters he will make it illegal if he is elected in 2019 – regardless of how difficult he thinks this will be to accomplish. If he believes he cannot win the election by standing firm on this principle, then he should not be the leader of the party. Voters want to elect a person they can trust, a person who not only shares their principles, but who will fight to uphold these principles. If a principle is open to compromise, it is no longer a principle. A politician who is willing to cast aside one principle will not hesitate to cast aside other principles, promises, and commitments.
What kind of a person seeks political office by taking a public stance on an issue which clearly conflicts with their personally held beliefs? If he is willing to sacrifice a principle in order to get elected, why would anyone vote for Scheer? If his actions are not guided by his principles, then what does guide his actions? The pursuit of power, at all costs?
Sadly, the position taken by Scheer is consistent with that of almost every politician in the country – namely, a willingness to say or do whatever it takes in order to get elected. Moreover, unprincipled politicians are quick to break their campaign promises after the election. Trudeau broke promises. Harper broke promises. They all do, at every level of government. Why do they get away with it? Because they know most voters are fickle and gullible.
It is normal for a citizen to vote for a candidate because they share a particular view (or think they do), despite the fact the candidate espouses views in direct opposition to other views of the voter – I held my nose as I voted. All too often, the shared view comes at too high a price, or is simply cast aside by the politician, and voters are bitter. However, if the voters had taken the time to research the candidate, and engage in a bit of critical thinking, they would have realized that such betrayal was predictable.