Canada Looks to Trudeau for Change
by Catie Wise on Friday, November 6th, 2015
The Canadian elections for Prime Minister were held on October 19th, 2015. With the election of Justin Trudeau, Canada voted in its first new leader since 2006, when former Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped into the position. In this election, Trudeau’s Liberal party won in a majority over Harper’s Conservative party.
Trudeau is trying to change the traditionaly conservative policies of Canada and has stated several particular ways he intends to follow through. Among many things promised, Trudeau stated that he plans on legalizing marijuana during his time as leader.
One major point that Trudeau wants to focus on during his term is Canada’s international presence. As the Washington Times reported, during a recent speech in Ottawa, Trudeau stated, “I want to say this to this country’s friends around the world: Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years. Well, I have a simple message for you on behalf of 35 million Canadians. We’re back.”
Trudeau’s plans to follow through with this statement include changing Canada’s foreign policies with other countries around the world. Some of these countries include Iraq, Syria, Iran, and even the United States of America. According to the BBC, Trudeau plans to remove Canada’s six CF-18 bomber jets from the American-led campaign against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Trudeau believes that there are better and less aggressive ways to take on Iraq and Syria. Trudeau also wants to improve the economic ties with America that were weakened when former Prime Minister Harper was in control. In addition, Trudeau has promised to open Canada’s borders to 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 2016, an increase on the 10,00 promised by the Conservatives. He also was to invest money to expedite the processing of refugee applications.
Trudeau’s most attention-garnering idea is his support for legalizing marijuana. During the election, Trudeau stated that if he were elected, he would legalize pot the “right way.” He also stated that the government would get to work soon after being elected, but did not put forth an actual timeline for when marijuana would be legalized. According to CBC News, Trudeau and his campaign team have not released any sort of timeline because they “want to get the best ideas from various places and construct a Canadian model.”
One specific place that Trudeau is looking at as a potential model is Colorado. “With the passing of Amendment 64, adults 21 or older in Colorado can possess one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or THC,” as reported by the Colorado Pot Guide. The promise to legalize marijuana is currently only a plan being modeled after other takes on the situation. According to CBC news, Trudeau said, “We don’t yet know exactly what rate we’re going to be taxing it, how we’re going to control it, or whether it will happen in the first months, within the first year, or whether it’s going to take a year or two to kick in.” The overall reception of this vow to legalize marijuana hasn’t caused much alarm for most Canadian citizens. However, other politicians have brought up Trudeau’s opinions, during campaigns, in negative ways. According to Time, “the policy itself hasn’t been controversial, but Trudeau has been targeted for his support of marijuana by his political opponents for years.”
As mentioned before, Colorado has previously passed a law legalizing marijuana. The argument of whether or not marijuana should be legal in other states has been an ongoing debate throughout the U.S.A. Nathan Strauss (II) believes that “Canada’s desire to legalize marijuana does not affect much of the rest of the world. If anything, [America] will simply watch to see how the passing of Canada’s law plays out within their society. America could decide whether or not to pass this law, based on the end results in Canada.” Similarly, Marshall Sloane (II) says “Canada has never had a large impact on the United States of America. The relationship between the two countries has typically been the opposite, and this situation is no different.”
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