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

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 26, 2013

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.

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Marijuana plant