One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s goals in legalizing marijuana is to get it off the black market, get it out of the hands of criminal organizations and make it harder for kids to access.
It was one of several topics Trudeau discussed in an exclusive interview with Global News on Wednesday.
“It’s easier for a school kid to buy a joint than it is for them to buy a bottle of beer,” Trudeau said.
“We know that criminal organizations, gun runners, street gangs, they are making billions of dollars a year off of the sale of marijuana and using it to fund other criminal activities.”
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Trudeau said distribution would be left with the provinces in the same way as alcohol.
“What we’re looking at, and we’ve talked extensively with all the provinces on how we’re going to move forward on this, is setting a national frame that controls and regulates marijuana.”
Another contentious topic Trudeau tackled was carbon pricing.
Premier Brad Wall is opposed to a national carbon tax and has threatened to take the federal government to court if one is imposed in Saskatchewan.
Trudeau pointed to carbon capture technology in the province as one solution that is working in reducing the carbon footprint and said companies will not be left at a disadvantage if they make changes to the way they do business.
“Consumers are now looking at the choices they make as being less bad for the environment, so it’s a way of encouraging behaviours we don’t want, which is pollution of carbon.”
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First Nations funding also came up during the discussion.
Trudeau admitted there is still a lot of work to do to close the gap to ensure Indigenous students have the same education and opportunities as non-Indigenous students.
But he said Ottawa can’t decide how that will look, which has been part of the problem for generations.
“We’re working with Indigenous communities to build up their capacities to make the right decisions for how to move forward, not just next week but over the long term,” Trudeau said.
“We’ve put aside and invested historic amounts of money, billions upon billions of dollars, to get this right because that’s what Canadians want.”
During The Tragically Hip’s final show of the Man Machine Poem Tour in Kingston, Ont. in August 2016, terminally ill frontman Gord Downie launched into one of his trademark onstage rants, calling out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in the crowd for the show.
“It’s going to take us 100 years to figure out what the hell went on up there,” Downie said, in reference to a 12-year-old indigenous boy who died from hunger and exposure trying to escape from a residential school near Kenora, Ont., adding, “but it isn’t cool and everybody knows that. It’s really, really bad, but we’re going to figure it out, you’re going to figure it out.”
Downie’s new solo album, titled “Secret Path”, is dedicated to the child, named Chanie. “I never knew Chanie, the child his teachers misnamed Charlie, but I will always love him,” wrote Downie in a statement. Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack’s frozen body was found in 1966 along the railroad tracks, a week after he ran away from school.
Released in October 2016, the album was accompanied by a graphic novel and a film, aimed to educate Canadians about Chanie’s story and about residential schools.
In December 2016, Downie was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations chiefs for his work on reconciliation between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous peoples.
~ With files from ET Canada