As politicians around the country are being asked if they ever smoked marijuana, P.E.I.’s only representative in cabinet says she has never tried it.
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea was responding to questions from the media after she released a statement this morning in which she criticized the Island’s Liberal MPs for supporting Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s stance on marijuana legalization.
The statement was a rare criticism of her fellow Island MPs from a cabinet minister who usually stays away from personal attacks on politicians from the opposition parties.
But when asked about the issue after a funding announcement in Bonshaw, Shea told reporters she had never smoked marijuana.
“No I haven’t and I have no intention to,” she said.
In her statement, Shea called Trudeau’s stance on marijuana legalization “reckless” and said the Island’s Liberal MPs needed to explain how legalizing it would benefit P.E.I. families.
In speaking to the media, Shea said the first policy statement from Trudeau since he became the leader was to legalize marijuana across the country.
“I think that is sending a terrible message to our population, to our youth,” she said.
Last week Trudeau admitted to smoking marijuana several times, including once while in office.
Trudeau’s stance on marijuana has changed over the years, ranging from supporting a bill that would have imposed mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offences to his more recent calls to legalize it.
Shea said there are other issues the country needs to deal with instead.
“Legalizing marijuana I don’t believe is going to help anyone,” she said.
When asked what she thought the policy would mean for Liberals in the next election, Shea said her concern with Trudeau was whether or not his policies would be good for Atlantic Canada and P.E.I.
“I think that is sending a terrible message to our population, to our youth,” Gail Shea
“I think this will be very damaging for Canada and I think it’s sending the wrong message out to our youth,” she said.
One of the arguments made for legalizing marijuana is that it would put it under government regulation, similar to alcohol or tobacco, and Trudeau has said it would be a way of keeping it out of children’s hands.
But Shea disagreed, saying organized crime is still involved with alcohol and tobacco, despite regulation.
“It does not take it out of the hands of children legalizing it, so I don’t buy that argument,” she said.