Canada’s marijuana laws are all about Trudeau’s hipster legacy
Canada was the second country in the world to legalize marijuana (Uruguay was the first). The legalizing act calls it “cannabis” of course. So much more genteel than marijuana, eh? “Cannabis” sounds scientific, well-researched – while marijuana sounds kind of louche and stoned, too close to low-rent, pejorative sobriquets like pot, weed, hash, grass, ganja, reefer et al.
But it’s still marijuana, and I still call it that, because the people who worked hardest to get it legalized did their best to bypass or suppress the actual scientific research that would have slowed legalization down or even stopped it.
Since legalization last October, usage has increased, as one might expect. In the first quarter of 2019, there were 646,000 new users, mostly male, mostly over age 45. Many of the new users are doubtless assuming that the government scrupulously and objectively investigated marijuana’s effects on human health, and that they can be confident no harms will come to them with moderate usage.
That is not the case. Unlike other substances like tobacco and alcohol, where complete transparency on scientific consensus has created hyper-awareness of their inherent perils in the population, marijuana is a substance so swathed in stakeholder propaganda and ideology that the average Canadian, bombarded by claims of pot’s harmlessness and/or therapeutic value, is steeped in ignorance of marijuana’s epidemiologically tracked physical and mental risks.
The medical literature on marijuana has been expanding exponentially over the last 30 years. For an overview of what credible longitudinal research is telling us, I recommend the new book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson: Tell Your Children: The truth about marijuana, mental illness and violence.
My focus today is the use of marijuana during pregnancy (and even in the weeks before becoming pregnant). For one of the highly-touted benefits of marijuana is its ability to reduce nausea. It is true that many cancer patients attest to its value in quelling chemo-related nausea. But that does not mean that marijuana is safe for all forms of nausea. Yet unfortunately, many pregnant women who suffer extreme morning sickness are following their example, as though it were completely safe for them as well. Health Canada warns against smoking while pregnant, but clearly more on the general principle of better-safe-than-sorry, and more important, the warning is only issued passively. You need to look for it on their site.
There has been no national educational campaign to warn pregnant women not to use marijuana, nor have women contemplating pregnancy been made aware in any systematic way that marijuana is fat-soluble and can be stored in human tissue for many weeks. Small wonder researchers at the University of British Columbia found that up to one-third of pregnant women believe it is safe to ingest cannabis during pregnancy. It doesn’t help when a major cable outlet like NBC, in a segment on pregnant mothers who smoke marijuana, skews positive, with scant pushback on its deficits, and actually steers viewers to a (Canada-based) support group for mothers who use marijuana.
The mainstream Canadian media has not on the whole shown much interest in exploring the issue in depth. A September 2018 article in Macleans describes the research on pregnancy-related marijuana use as “largely inconclusive.” Actually, quite a bit of research has been done in this area and much of it is conclusive enough to be taken seriously, but it does not get a great deal of attention, because it is, so to speak, cannaboidly incorrect.
For example, one study published just this past May in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, which looked at data surrounding over twelve million pregnancies informs us that the incidence of cannabis abuse or dependence rose from 3.22 in 1000 births in 1999 to 8.55 in 1000 births in 2013. The report concludes that women reporting cannabis dependence or abuse were more likely to have a preterm premature rupture of membranes, a hospital stay of more than seven days, and an intrauterine fetal demise. As well, neonates born to marijuana-exposed mothers had a higher risk of prematurity.
Up to a five-fold risk of premature birth with marijuana usage during pregnancy is backed up by this study from Australia. “Our results suggest that more than 6% of pre-term births could have been prevented if women did not use marijuana during pregnancy, irrespective of other risk factors,” says lead author Professor Claire Roberts from the [University of Adelaide’s] Robinson Research Institute.
A meta-analysis by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health of 24 studies on the link between neo-natal deficits and marijuana published the following results: Women who used marijuana during pregnancy had an increase in the odds of anemia compared with pregnant women who didn’t use. Infants exposed to marijuana in utero had a decrease in birth weight compared with infants who weren’t exposed. Infants exposed to marijuana in utero were also more likely to need placement in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Daniel Hardy, a professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, had observed with some concern anecdotal evidence from his obstetrical colleagues that a number of their pregnant patients were self-medicating with marijuana against nausea. He led a study that will soon be published inquiring into the impact of THC exposure in utero. Previous studies have found a correlation with marijuana use in pregnancy and lower birth weight, as well as a body of evidence linking marijuana use in pregnancy with children suffering from anxiety and social disorders, he says. “But no one had looked at metabolic outcomes.”
Hardy’s team did controlled animal experiments. Their conclusion: “Marijuana—THC—binds to two cannabinoid receptors and most people think these receptors are only in your brain, so the effects of cannabis are only in the brain. But we have those receptors in our metabolic organs—in the developing heart, developing adipose (fat) tissue, the pancreas. It made sense to look, long-term whether THC in pregnancy, during a critical window of development of these organs, affects not only the organ weights, but long-term metabolic function. The results are astounding to date.”
Please note: Two of the three studies mentioned above were published after marijuana was legalized. I think it is fair to say that in the rush to impress his progressive voter base with his enlightened views on a subject dear to their heart, Justin Trudeau was more interested in his hipster legacy than marijuana’s fine scientific details. I daresay his government will, if re-elected, and for as long as it can, continue to ignore a growing body of evidence proving that marijuana poses an elevated risk for the offspring of marijuana-using pregnant and even pre-pregnant women.
It will be harder for his government to disregard the more publicized, irrefutably established risks for psychosis in marijuana users up to the age of 25 when the brain is finally fully formed. (The term “reefer madness” is almost invariably employed as a term of ridicule for people who think like me on this subject—and in fact was used in precisely that way by my editorial board at the National Post in 2008 when I warned of the psychosis danger in a column—but won’t be eventually when even marijuana advocates are forced to recognize certain epidemiological truths).
Hardy asks, “Why did they start with legalizing marijuana for all ages and all groups? We need to proactively say this is not a good idea for pregnant women to use this drug. And the message needs to come from Health Canada.” Since it isn’t coming from them so far, please pass the message along to anyone you know who is pregnant or considering becoming pregnant.
US President Donald Trump’s official Facebook page shared a post commending him for the American job numbers for November, while calling out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the abysmal job numbers in Canada, the worst since the 2008 financial crisis.
“Let’s see. President Trump is fighting for America and our economy [sic] just ADDED 266,000 jobs,” starts the post from a Trump supporter shared by the POTUS on Facebook.
“Justin Trudeau was laughing it up in London and the Canadian economy just LOST 71,200 jobs. That’s no joke. Trump wins. Again,” the post ends, referring to Trudeau being caught on a hot mic earlier in the week making fun of Trump to other world leaders when at the NATO anniversary gathering.
Trump responded by calling Trudeau “two-faced” and that the PM didn’t like him calling out Canada as “delinquent” in its defence spending. The US President was also caught on a hot mic when leaving the London saying it was “funny when I said that guy was two-faced.”
On Friday news broke that Canada had lost over 72,000 jobs in the month of November, many Canadians losing their jobs just before the holiday season. The job loss was the biggest in Canada since the 2008 financial crisis.
Trump has been boasting throughout the day about the great jobs report in America and appears to have not forgotten Trudeau talking about him behind his back in London.
Trudeau hasn’t likewise addressed the Canadian jobs report on social media.
Many political experts have said that Trudeau being caught laughing behind Trump’s back could have untold consequences for Canada relationship with the US, especially if Trump is reelected in 2020.
Conservative MP Jeremy Patzer is the representative for Cypress Hills—Grasslands (Saskatchewan).
In delivering their Throne speech, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals unveiled what could have been an opportunity to acknowledge the mounting difficulties Western Canadians are facing. Especially the millions of hard-working Canadians who are employed, or rather, were employed in the energy industry. Instead, what we heard was a complete disregard for the real threat facing national unity today: the collapsing energy industry.
On election night, Prime Minister Trudeau went on national television and told Western Canadians, “I hear you.” The throne speech made it very clear, he is not listening.
This was an opportunity for the Liberal leader to demonstrate he has heard the concerns of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who routed every Liberal candidate in their provinces and prevented any new ones from being elected. This was an opportunity for him to show that he has heard our message, which was strong and clear, and that he plans to switch tracks in this minority Parliament.
At the very least, I expected the speech to mention the production of a National Energy Corridor to help get our resources to market and unite our country. Instead, we received more of the same from a PM rich in rhetoric but thin in deed.
Western Canada—and I believe all of Canada at large—expected to see a government that had learned from the disastrous mistakes of its own past, that would work to heal our regional divides, that would strengthen our position on the world stage, that would get Canadians back to work in hard hit regions, and that would give hope to the millions of Canadians who continue to feel abandoned by Justin Trudeau. The Liberal government’s Speech from the Throne was an opportunity to bring Canadians together and express a renewed vision for national unity. But, there was nothing of the sort.
Despite this disappointment, I am excited to be a part of Andrew Scheer’s Conservative team in Ottawa. We are ready to tackle the challenges ahead. We will continue to fight for Canadians and hold to a vision of a Canada that is stronger when we work together. We will offer real solutions that will allow nation-building infrastructure projects, like the Trans Mountain pipeline, to get built, rather than let innovative ideas die as a result of government dithering and red tape.
As the Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, I was elected to serve my constituents, not prop up Justin Trudeau’s agenda. I will continue to work hard every day to ensure that all Canadians can have confidence that this country is one for all of us. Canada’s Conservatives, under Andrew Scheer, have heard your voices. We are here to serve all Canadians, from Coast to Coast to Coast, including Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Canada’s economic and energy woes, reemerging separatist sentiment in Quebec and the west as well, and kowtowing to China – amongst other perceived foreign affairs failures – punctuated Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer’s attacks of Thursday’s Throne speech.
“Times of fear bring times of division and Canadians are afraid for their country,” Scheer told the House of Commons, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “four years of unserious, entitled government.”
“We must put a stop to the divisive policies that have pitted province against province, region against region.”
The second day of the 43rd Parliament for Trudeau’s diminished, minority government gave Conservatives their first chance to respond to Liberals’ roadmap for the legislative session, where Scheer broached matters facing the nation that the Throne speech omitted.
“The Government of China continues with an expansionist agenda that is threatening Hong Kong’s vibrant democracy and, indeed, the safety and security of the people of Hong Kong themselves,” said Scheer, questioning Canada’s $256 million investment in the Chinese-controlled Asian Infrastructure Bank.
“The same Chinese dictatorship continues to hold two innocent Canadians hostage, as a retaliation of Canada fulfilling our legal obligation to arrest and extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.”
Scheer categorized Canada’s recent United Nations vote for a North Korea-motion singling out Israel, as “abandoning” the Jewish state in exchange for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.
“But most of all – we would really appreciate hearing the Prime Minister talk about Canada’s deteriorating relationship with the United States. One that was only exacerbated by his own conduct at this week’s NATO summit,” said Scheer.
“We understand that President Trump is a challenging negotiator. But the Americans are our partners all the same. No international file is more important to Canadian jobs and livelihoods than the ratification of the new NAFTA.”
On the domestic front, Scheer reiterated the party’s rejection of a carbon tax against “a chorus of voices from elite corners of Canadian high society demanding that our party abandon our opposition to (it).”
“…The Conservative Party under my leadership will always oppose a carbon tax – because we know the real cost it imposes on real people,” said Scheer.
“The entire point of the carbon tax is to make essentials more expensive.”
Scheer also promised to repeal new environmental legislation ushered in under Trudeau’s previous government – Bill C-69’s project assessment overhaul and C-48; the northwest coast oil tanker ban – blaming these policies for investment capital flight and percolating national unity rifts.
“The damage done over the past four years is significant. Today 175,000 Albertan energy workers are unemployed. Proud Canadian companies like TransCanada and EnCana are moving their business to the U.S,” Scheer said before turning to the rise of separatism in Quebec.
“After only four years of Liberal government, the Bloc came back with 32 separatist MPs.”
The Opposition leader also took aim at foreign cash that is funnelled to Canadian eco-activist groups, “to permanently shut down Canada’s energy sector and drive hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work.”
“They have already done lasting damage to the economies in Western Canada – and to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families… every single Member in this House… should be expected to stand up and be counted; Do you stand with the activists or do you stand with the workers of Canada?”
After Scheer’s speech, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus took issue with Scheer’s “conspiracy theory of foreign radicals who are attempting to undermine our industry.”
“If we have to go along with his conspiracy theories or they will break up the country, I would tell the member to drop that language,” said Angus.
Scheer replied that he’s not worried about foreign radicals in Angus’ party, because “in the NDP, they’re all domestic.”
When it was Trudeau’s turn to reply, the prime minister told the Commons he decided not to read a prepared speech, but instead decided to speak off the cuff and chastised Scheer for failing to make mention of “Indigenous reconciliation”, a centrepiece of the Throne speech written by the PMO and read out yesterday.
Where Trudeau found some common ground with Scheer was over tax cuts for low and middle income Canadians, a Liberal campaign promise also included in the Throne speech.
“The change we made, is we made sure as we lower taxes for low income ends and middle class, we don’t actually give any extra advantage to the wealthy,” said Trudeau, who cited the Canada Child Benefit that “(doesn’t) send cheques to millionaires, like mine and the Leader of the Opposition.”
While the Conservatives and New Democrats have vowed to vote against a pro-forma bill agreement on the Speech from the Throne, it remains in the government’s purview to call it for a vote.
Barring that eventuality, the first confidence test for Trudeau’s minority government could come next week if a vote is called on Supplementary (spending) Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.
I’ve written quite a bit about how Justin Trudeau’s extended history of blackface has come to define not just his party, but the liberal movement at large.
Now Ed the Sock, otherwise known as Steven Kerzner, one of Trudeau’s most vocal defenders on social media appears to be dead set on proving me right.
The 52-year-old sock puppet decided to post the following tweet on Thursday, arguing that the only time Trudeau wore blackface was when he was a teenager and that by extension because he had helped people of colour, we should move on.
This, of course, ignores the far more extended history of Trudeau and blackface. As many now know, Trudeau wore blackface more times than he can remember, and according to himself, only learned that it was racist when he became a member of parliament.
Within moments, users pointed out that Trudeau had done the act from the age of 15 until he was at least 29.
The Sock’s response?
Aladdin wasn’t blackface, and because there is no “North American” parallel, it didn’t count as racist intent.
At this point, I had to step in.
Sadly, the sock doubled down arguing that brownface was simply “racially insensitive” rather than racist and Trudeau had apologized.
Of course, this reasoning was flawed as well.
Blackface is racist. Brownface is racist. Trudeau only apologized because he was caught, and the PM has stated that he viewed blackface itself as not racist until multiple years after the Aladdin incident.
While this instance has shown just how far many will stoop to defend the nation’s disgraced PM, it is by no means new.
Even during the election, Liberal MP Judy Sgro attempted to make light of the issue by arguing that black Canadians in her riding actually grew to love Trudeau even more because he had decided to put on blackface.
These instances should truly worry the public, as defenders of the Liberal PM repeatedly try to minimize the actual damage caused by his decisions.
For example, imagine for a moment how young people online who may be fans of the Sock or any of the other Liberal MPs who have put their foot in their mouths could be reading these defences of Trudeau.
Could those kids be potentially be led down a path of believing that brownface is ok?
Hopefully not, but what stops them from thinking “if the PM can do it, why can’t I?”
At this rate, it certainly isn’t the consequences.