Shea's shaming of Liberals over marijuana an attack from PMO, MPs say

Teresa Wright
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P.E.I.’s three Liberal MPs say Fisheries Minister Gail Shea’s public shaming Monday of their support for legalizing marijuana was an attack from Conservative party central.

On Monday morning, Shea released a statement slamming Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, Malpeque MP Wayne Easter and Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay for endorsing their leader Justin Trudeau’s “reckless position” on pot legalization.

She said she has heard from Islanders of all political stripes who have voiced concern to her about this policy.

“Raising families in today’s society is already a tough job,” she said.

She called on her three P.E.I. colleagues in the House of Commons to explain how legalizing marijuana would benefit families in P.E.I.

“It has been truly bizarre to watch two former Solicitors General of Canada – a position in which you swear to uphold the laws of the land… support someone who admitted to breaking the law,” Shea said.

“It is one thing to disagree with a law, but it’s another to act like you play by a different set of rules than all other Canadians.”

In reaction, Casey said he believes Shea’s statement was marching orders from the federal ‘Conservative attack machine.’

“The attack machine is now fully engaged, as they are every time Justin Trudeau makes a public statement that they feel they can attack or use to raise money from their Conservative base,” Casey said.

“It’s nothing more or nothing less than a dutiful follower doing what she’s told.”

Easter echoed this, saying he believed the PMO is trying to create divisions within the Liberal party over the marijuana legalization debate.

“It’s the same old approach of the Harper Conservatives and their ministers. It’s attack, try to avoid a debate and basically try and create divisions,” Easter said.

He took to Twitter earlier in the day in reaction to Shea’s comments, saying she should challenge the prime minister on the controversial changes to EI if she wants to stand up for Islanders.

All three of P.E.I.’s Liberal MPs said they support the notion of legalizing marijuana as a way to combat the increasing number of minors accessing drugs illegally.

“What’s taking place in the legal system today is certainly doing nothing to deal with the problem,” MacAulay said.

“Prohibition was a total failure… quite simply what we’re doing is not working, so we need to think of something else.”

As for whether they’ve ever taken a puff from a joint, Casey and Easter both said they did many years ago, long before being elected to Parliament, and didn’t like it. MacAulay says he has never tried it.

Organizations: House of Commons, Harper Conservatives

Geographic location: P.E.I., Canada

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Recent comments

  • Fed up
    September 01, 2013 - 10:10

    Unbelievable! Trudeau admits to smoking pot. Ghiz admits it. Liberal puppets back them up! I wonder with men the age of McAulay and Easter....what did they so when their kids smoked it? What will Ghiz or Trudeau do? This is sickening...a subject like illegal drugs making Liberals all stand up and shout Hurray!! Makes our stomachs turn! Liberals will vote Liberal if they take your homes! On PEI most of us are having trouble keeping our homes now....Ghiz has workers drivi g all over PEi. Gas high as he can get it...sits back and draws in the taxes on gas....instead of trying to make things easier for us, he's out there supporting illegal drugs!! THIS IS A FIRST FOR EVEN LIBERALS!!

  • Oh Gail Gail Gail
    August 28, 2013 - 12:42

    It's not reckless dear - it's called telling the truth / something that your illustrious colleagues find foreign - no?

    • mike backz
      August 28, 2013 - 15:53

      harper and his cronies and so out of touch with Canadians it makes me sad/angry/sick to my stomach that they are going to be around for a couple more years

  • Ed Ward
    August 27, 2013 - 23:35

    Thank you, another Conservative dinosaur, for your views! But we will vote Liberal in 2015 regardless! Mr Harper's emasculation of Canada's democracy to suit his own ideological agenda will not be accepted by the people of Canada. Sayonara sweetie!

  • Jack Holiday
    August 27, 2013 - 15:53

    Marijuana is not the problem here. Our political system is a sham and deserves to be exposed for what it really is. Lies through lobbyists and manipulated PR campaigns. Collectively as Canadians we have the power of the people to overthrow our government, fight for what is right and stop the madness fueled by our hard earned tax dollars. Think for yourself, question authority and let your voice be heard. With enough numbers, we can put an end to this debauchery.

    • It's a matter of trust, truth and integrity, isn't it?
      August 27, 2013 - 19:08

      The irony here is sickening. Shea said that she finds that, "two former Solicitors General of Canada – a position in which you swear to uphold the laws of the land… support someone who admitted to breaking the law,” Now the factual truth. On Friday, August 23, 2013 at 2:35PM Mr. Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, proved in fact that he is either grossly incompetent as a lawyer, or that he is a liar. In either case, Shea's support of MacKay's willingly false and deceptive statements has to mean something. What does it mean? Does she support the blatant use of misinformation? Does she support deception and propaganda? Her silence on this matter screams out about her values more than any spin she could possibly read from a script. Doesn't it?

  • Breaking News? Not really . . .
    August 27, 2013 - 15:43

    We shouldn't expect Shea to know the law, at least as well a lawyer. So, what has "been truly bizarre to watch" is Shea naively supporting Peter MacKay. It's of no small consequence that Nova Scotia Barristers' Society is presently being officially asked to investigate and reprimand Peter MacKay for misleading the public about Parliament’s laws with respect to the use of marijuana. And, as much as the mechanisms of Conservative political pressure will allow it, MacKay will be investigated for his unprofessional conduct as a lawyer. The fact of the matter is that MacKay (as a former provincial Crown prosecutor and the current Attorney General of Canada) knows the law. He also knows that his characterization of Trudeau's use of pot is blatantly and categorically false. It's a fact - not fiction - that MacKay has willfully used his political position to deceive the public for political reasons, truth be damned. This is not opinion, it is fact. Sure, rather than be disbarred, you'll probably see MacKay cry a few crocodile tears and utter an cryptic apology of sorts. But, he'll also know that he scored big with those who support his type of politics, so why should he really care? And yes, Ms. Shea, your support for this type of immoral behavior is indeed, shameful.

  • Henry Jenkins
    August 27, 2013 - 12:09

    Marijuana: 1. Is less addictive than alcohol 2. Is used by many Canadians in place of more dangerous drugs like alcohol 3. has been shown to treat or prevent cancer, dementia, diabetes, chrone's, neuropathy, ms symptoms, epilepsy, glaucoma and high blood pressure. 4. Has never in history a recorded death attributed to its use. 5. Has been used by the some of the most accomplished members of our society including Barack Obama, Michael Phelps, Carl Sagan abd just about every musician who has written a song you enjoy. The cat is out of the bag Minister Shea, people have the internet now. Your fear-mongering days are coming to an end.

    • Observant
      August 27, 2013 - 14:08

      Is it your belief that marijuana baggies and doobies should be made available for public consumption just like tobacco cigarettes? What restrictions would you place on the distribution and use of legalized toking? How do you reconcile the government attempt to discourage tobacco use with liberal toking? Where do you draw the lines?

  • Anne Peterson
    August 27, 2013 - 10:28

    Consider that all conservatives care about is votes, she should check the polls.

  • Hermesacat
    August 27, 2013 - 10:25

    Canadians face no threat from Trudeau's position on, or rare personal use of, pot which would count as a minor transgression of an ill-conceived prohibition law. But Canadians & our democratic system face MUCH threat from Tory law & rule breaking, especially laws & rules protecting our electoral & Parliamentary system. Tories were found guilty in perpetrating the widespread in-&-out campaign financing scam which they were fined for. Widespread pro-Tory illegal robo-calls suppressing votes, & "Pierre Poutine" , are established facts One Tory operative has already been charged, Mr. Sono. And there's Tories' habit of repeatedly acting in apparent contempt of Parliament. Tory abuses are what Canadians need be concerned about, not that Trudeau puffed pot 6 times in his life.

  • Margaret Norris
    August 27, 2013 - 10:17

    Those who are bent out of shape because Justin "broke the law" by smoking pot, should do some research - you might find that smoking pot is not illegal in this Country.

    • Observant
      August 27, 2013 - 14:03

      Okay, maybe technically not 'illegal', but certainly an accessory after the fact. Justin should have fully realized that he was participating in an activity that was based on illegality. He is just not fit to lead nor govern.

  • Observant
    August 27, 2013 - 10:11

    When a MP openly admits he broke the law what are the consequences? Is an apology enough, or should he resign in contrition? Justin's confession is not "honesty", it's an admission of criminality. Trying to whitewash his failure to follow the laws of Canada is disingenuous to say the least. Why was there is no contrition for having participated in breaking the law. Was Justin also asking for forgiveness or for sympathy and acceptance? He certainly didn't advise Canadians to not follow his example of optional toking. I'm puzzled by Justin's lack of judgment and obvious immaturity. I don't think he's ready for prime time politics; in fact he is dangerous to Canada and the remnants of the once great Liberal party.

    • Fun guy
      August 27, 2013 - 15:15

      JT broke no law. You are being lied to by Peter McKay. There is no law against smoking cannabis in Canada, only possesion and production. You need to take a much closer look at the party who you are taking info from. You might think this is splitting hairs but the man who said it was illegal is a trained lawyer and seems to think that misrepresentation of the law is good enough for the average Canadian.

    • Crucial
      August 27, 2013 - 21:50

      I find it to be a very smart, calculated maneuver. Yes, I jaywalked, get over it. meanwhile: The following Conservatives, or former Conservatives, are currently being investigated for possible criminal activity and/or have already been criminally charged Arthur Porter – appointed by Stephen Harper and now charged with numerous criminal offences including fraud, breach of trust and document forgery. Bruce Carson – Stephen Harper’s former aide and senior advisor is now charged with influence peddling. Mike Duffy – Appointed by Stephen Harper and currently being investigated by the RCMP for possible criminal activity surrounding his senate expense claims. Pamela Wallin – Appointed by Stephen Harper and currently being investigated by the RCMP to determine the legality of her senate expense claims. Patrick Brazeau - Appointed by Stephen Harper and was forensically audited to determine appropriateness of his senate expense claims. Recently charged with assault in another matter. Michael Sona - Charged with the indictable offence of wilfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent a voter from casting a ballot in relation to the ‘robocalls scandal’. Dean Del Mastro – Being investigated for possible fraud regarding expenses claimed for his election campaign during the 2008 election. Shelley Glover – Being investigated for ‘irregularities’ in her 2011 election campaign spending. James Bezan - Being investigated for ‘irregularities’ in his 2011 election campaign spending Peter Penashue – Cureently being investigated for ‘irregularities’ in his 2011 election campaign financing and spending. Nigel Wright – Appointed by Stephen Harper as his chief of staff. Currently being investigated, by the RCMP, for possible criminal activity regarding his giving a $90,000 cheque to a sitting Parliamentarian, Mike Duffy. But according to ALL of them, AND Stephen Harper, there is nothing to see here. Robocalls, emails, fraud and graft.

    • Justin
      August 29, 2013 - 17:49

      I figured having been lied to, and stolen from, that even people with conservative values would avoid defending Tory government anytime soon. I was shocked that they got away with misleading votes with just a fine! Pot isn't a big deal, and it would be easier to control marijuana then it is alcohol, and it would cost a lot less, and noone would ever die from it, unlike alcohol. So who cares if Justin Trudeau smoked pot 3 years ago... it's time for a change... they need to stop using our money to pad their pockets and fight a war on a harmless drug... If I'm going to take time out of my day to vote, I'm not gonna vote for the party that redirects votes, manipulates the law to it's purpose, just to steal, lie, and cheat.

  • I Can't Believe It
    August 27, 2013 - 10:06

    I just can't believe what I am reading here ! I am older & have smoked pot , so don't try to tell me that it doesn't effect your thinking & reaction timing . Been there-done that . The part of pot that has medical benefits is good & should be researched & grown . I believe that is already being done in the USA now . The pot most of you are commenting on is not that , it's the high kind you want to smoke yourself . I have raised a family of four when pot was just starting here on PEI . Hard to get your hands on . Now I watch my grandchildren , some of who smoke pot & will be going no where with their future . Not hard to see with their marks dropping after they start using this fine pot . Lord knows how hard it is to raise & keep your kid's alive until they grow up . Why don't you people fess up . You don't give a dam about the kid's , your greed for your own pleasure is the reason your for this and also the reason you are leaving the next generation so far in the hole that they will never get out.. I agree whole heartily with Gail Shame-Shame on our MLA's .

    • I can't believe it either
      August 27, 2013 - 11:28

      Your absolutely right . . . I CAN'T BELIEVE IT if you think that smoking appropriate amounts of pot is dangerous. Of course, excess and abuse will always be a cause of problems - be it with aspirins, cheese burgers or even commenting in these stupid little boxes. As with most things, and certainty in the case of pot, it's abuse that's the problem, not use.

    • Townie
      August 27, 2013 - 12:04

      No one said it doesn't effect your thinking and reaction time, in fact every one is saying it mellows a person out which is exactly that. You would be surprised to see who in our community smoke pot recreationally doctors, lawyers, carpenters, business owners, community leaders, managers, supervisors etc etc. Smoking pot doesn't make you lazy, that is something a person is born like. Children shouldn't use it, just like they shouldn't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. This isn't anything new, weed would follow the same accessibility laws as alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.

  • Garth Staples
    August 27, 2013 - 10:03

    The Liberals logic is so flawed that they must be for cell phone talking and texting when driving an automobile. Inhaling leads to injections leads to robberies leads to violence leads to a lost generation. Think about it.

    • Townie
      August 27, 2013 - 12:06

      Booze leads to injection just as much as weed does. This is just more fear mongering by people not fully educated in the properties of weed. What one doesn't understand they fear instead.

    • Daniel M
      August 27, 2013 - 12:56

      Inhaling leads to couch, couch leads to naps, naps lead to positive thinking. Inhaling leads to munchies, munchies leads to nap and so on Drinking leads to inflated ego, fights/arguments, Drinking leads to a crack pipe Drinking leads to injections Drinking by far out paces weed/pot when it comes to making BAD decisions Drinking is by far the gateway drug so to speak. If I drink I crave hard drugs If I drink I tend to start making seriously bad decisions including violence, harder drugs and hookers When I smoke a j, i nod off, grab a bite to eat, maybe do a little work and head of to bed at a regular time to wake up for my JOB that I work at and contribute 10's of thousands in taxes. What's you issue with me smoking? And what's the difference between alcohol prohibition and this nonsense around pot? BTW I have NEVER pipe up a needle or a pipe when high on pot. If I drink one or the other is inevitable, so I don't drink.

  • joe eh
    August 27, 2013 - 09:37

    Annoyed, Shea is a moral coward.

  • Howardtduck
    August 27, 2013 - 09:36

    How about addressing that there is no oil spill preparedness on the west coast at all. How about moving the fisheries controls to the east and west coast and out of Ottawa. These are Neo-flops.

  • karma
    August 27, 2013 - 09:31

    And Wayne Easter and Co. did not get their marching orders on this from the Trudeau Tokers? Yeah right! I don't care if Trudeau is a doper or a roper, but sure would be interested in what some of his 'substantial' policy views are. Thus far I know he's in favor of dope, retaining the senate and thinks we have to find the root causes of terrorism before condemning it. Oh goody! Any other shiny ponies I've missed?

  • joe eh
    August 27, 2013 - 09:16

    Gail Shea is addicted to her pension - a far more perfidious addiction than any plant. She will say anything Dear Leader Harper tells her to say, so she can pass on her inheritance to her progeny. On PEI it's all about power "trippin'." Gail has buried her integrity a long time ago. She is hollow.

  • ABlingthing
    August 27, 2013 - 08:46

    These are the things our politicians and the media are talking about while our "grown the economy" lifestyles are unsustainable and destroying the planet. We may all be grateful to have some pot to smoke just to keep up the delusion we are not responsible for the destruction of many species on the planet including our own. Shea should be most concerned about what is happening in our oceans and how we have no halibut, cod or wild salmon but are eating out of fish feedlots just like all our other industrially raised food. Pot is incidental compared with where are we going to be getting our food from 10 years from now if this where we are at right now? Don't let the bling things take your eyes off the real issues that need to be discussed by the very people we expect to be doing something about it and consulting us in the meantime.

  • Legal
    August 27, 2013 - 08:35

    I wonder why the Conservatives keep lying with this "breaking the law" accusation against Trudeau. Smoking is not illegal, even if growing and possessing are.

  • Here's A Thought
    August 27, 2013 - 08:29

    Why not do some research before commenting instead of blindly reiterating what someone told you 20 years ago. You have a big tool in front of you right now that will allow you to look up statistics, study results, etc. Spend a half hour doing unbiased research on marijuana and then you can speak knowing what you're talking about. This goes for both sides of the issue. Cure cancer??? No, that's a hoax. Gateway drug; not. Addictive? For some it may become a dependency. Deaths? Nothing directly related. Crimes; hardly.

  • Chris S
    August 27, 2013 - 08:28

    Raising families is hard. So why would Gail Shea support policies that separate Island families by encouraging out-migration to the prairies? Why would she support creating criminals out of cannabis users ? Criminal record holders have a harder time finding employment. Why would Gail support spending $500,000,000 dollars a year on prohibition enforcement? Money that could go back to families. Save your sanctimony Gail.

  • Karen
    August 27, 2013 - 08:16

    Those who NEED marijuana already have legal access to it and I believe it can be legally grown. So what does Trudeau really want? Will his doctor not give him a prescription?

    • Karen, please don't perpetuate fictions
      August 27, 2013 - 09:05

      Karen, you are either woefully misinformed or willfully misrepresenting the facts. It is near to impossible to have access to marijuana on PEI. I am a retired professional who had a fairly visible profile and highly responsible position on PEI. I also suffered though cancer and I continue to suffer residual effects that could be mitigated by the controlled use of marijuana. It's been almost a year and my request has not moved forward through the medical system. I could easily, but do not want to, purchase the product illegally. I know of others in similar situations, and many have decided to simply access it illegally. One person I know has done this; she suffers with severe Crohn's disease. This fine lady is one of the most educated and intelligent people I have ever met. Ms. Shea and company, on the other hand, would happily make her a criminal. If she does get charged with possession, it's very possible she would have to leave her profession. I also want to say that, if it were not for the fact that I could "incriminate" other people by naming myself, I would gladly post my real name. However, the Shea's of our world have made effective use of fear mongering, mis-information and enabling organized crime to continue controlling this drug. It's well past time to reduce the harm our outdated laws have imposed on our fellow citizens.

  • mike
    August 27, 2013 - 07:42

    For the uneducated people out there. It has been proven that "POT" is better on the human body then smokes and alcohol. It has been proven to have medical benefit. Many say that it is a gateway drug to harsher drugs like coke. well thats wrong to. less then 50 percent of hard drug users have used pot but almost 100 percent had a drinking problem or were smokers. Surprise pot is not a gateway drug. What do I think should be done. Well you might as well make it legal. This will allow the government to get tax money. cause people to stop hiding their habit. help people that need it medically to access it. and allow more medical research. if being used medically then we can create pills and regulated dosages. put the same regulations on it as smokes and beer. 19 + and if underage is caught then its a fine. whats the problem. and if you think pot is addictive well you got that wrong. it is much less addictive then smoking and smokes are almost addictive as coke which have been proven through studies.

    • Townie
      August 27, 2013 - 08:28

      Actually Pot is not addictive at all. There are no withdrawal symptoms like hard drugs or cravings like cigarettes. And cigarettes have actually been proven to be more addictive than cocaine.

    • Tracey
      August 27, 2013 - 08:29

      Mike...Pot is not "better" but yes, it does have medical pain releif benefits for sure. Pot is not good for your body, nor is alochol, nor are cigarettes. Saying that is it "better" for you is ludicrous. The questions is not just as simple as legalization. First we need to figure out a valid way to test drivers for being high. Jsut liek drinking and driving is illegal and breathalyzers exist to identify drunk drivers, we need something similar and reliable for marijuana.

    • To Tracy
      August 27, 2013 - 12:14

      There are field sobriety tests to determine if a person is high. Plus blood/hair tests that will show how long it has been in a person body. It doesn't stay in the blood long (it breaks down and you can tell how long due to how broken down it is) but it stays in your hair until you cut it.

    • Tracey
      August 28, 2013 - 10:25

      Pot is not physiclally addictive but is indeed psychologically addictive. And yes there are tests but are they readily available, effective, reliable and portable. There are still many questions in this regard.

  • Bob Forward
    August 27, 2013 - 07:31

    When will the Conservatives realize that when you point a finger at someone, more of your fingers are pointing at yourself? "(I)t's another thing to act like you play by a different set of rules" surely applies to Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and the PMO, more than it does to Trudeau. The Conservatives don't seem to believe that rules apply to them. Just look at the dirty tricks they used to influence voters in the last three elections: attack ads that stretch the truth almost beyond credibility, the In and Out scandal, the robocalls scandal. Who knows what they will try in 2015?

  • townie
    August 27, 2013 - 06:18

    does anyone else find it ironic that the Minister is concerned about constituents and Islanders calling her expressing concern about this, but she totally ignored calls and concerns about changes to EI?

    • Townie
      August 27, 2013 - 08:30

      She didn't totally ignore called in regards to EI, she gave her statement on it and left it at that.

  • Russell Barth
    August 27, 2013 - 06:06

    Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea supports organized crime, the subsidization of organized crime, reduced freedoms, and cancer. Marijuana cures cancer. She is against marijuana, so she must be FOR cancer.

    • Townie
      August 27, 2013 - 08:31

      That's stretching it. She just needs more education in regards to pot and it's benefits. Anyone who doesn't fully understand it won't accept it. So instead of attacking those who don't agree instead try educating them.

    • Russell, Russell, Russell . . .
      August 27, 2013 - 15:12

      To say marijuana cures cancer is like saying intercourse insures abstinence. Let's face it, only an idiot would argue that pot is healthy for you! The only thing more idiotic is to argue that criminalizing people who use it solves the drug problem. Of course it should be controlled through the Food and Drug Act - not through the criminal justice system. But, if you were within the organized crime system making billions of dollars from pot, would you just stand back and allow that to happen? Nope, the same system that allows Senators to steal from their employers and walk away scott-free will always enable the powerful to benefit from crime, wherever they reside. And, as for us disenfranchised common folk? Well, we'll just continue to be prosecuted to the full extent of increasingly harsh laws. I mean, that's the way it should be, isn't it?

  • Garth Staples
    August 27, 2013 - 06:05

    Mr Casey should offer comments based on substance. He should not practice substance abuse.

  • Shea's position is harmful and immoral
    August 27, 2013 - 06:03

    Shea's position is perfectly consistent with a certain political position. That position is to build more jails and then populate those jails by treating our fellow citizens as criminals. Aside from the self-righteous and misinformed, the most powerful pressure-group for keeping the pot laws as they are is organized crime. If pot was legalized, billions of dollars would be lost to those who control the drug trade. Only a fool would think that those billions of dollars doesn't buy influence. Nobody in their right mind is saying pot is healthy, but anyone in their right mind is saying that new laws have to made so we can reduce the harm the present laws are causing.

  • charlie brown
    August 27, 2013 - 06:02

    She's in harpers cabinet, I don't believe any thing she says.

  • Darthmom
    August 27, 2013 - 05:23

    Yes raising families these days is tough, But pot is not the problem. Marijuana is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. What Trudeau is proposing would most definitely be beneficial to the country, If you legalize, regulate and TAX marijuana sales you would all of a sudden have an influx of dollars that could be used to pay down debt, increase education and health care funding, etc. At the same time the police are no longer out there wasting their efforts on the harmless ones. They can focus on getting at the people selling pills and chemicals which are the dangerous drugs. It's time to wake up and deal with the real issues.

    August 27, 2013 - 04:36

    All lslander's are SHAMING you Ms. Shea on turning your back on us and more so on the community that elected you. I am referring to when you walked out on a vote that would have turned back the change's to the EI system !!