"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, October 10, 2003

Once again proving the yanks have no sense of humor, obvious Mr. Waters need to have a few toke and chill the hell out...

PM's jokes on marijuana outrage U.S.
Canada 'ashamed' of Chrétien, drug czar says

Sheldon Alberts and Janice Tibbetts
The Ottawa Citizen

Friday, October 10, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The White House's drug czar lashed out yesterday at Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for relaxing marijuana laws and said Canadians are "ashamed" over the prime minister's recent jokes about smoking marijuana when he retires.

John Walters, director of the National Drug Control Policy Office, said Mr. Chrétien was being irresponsible when he said last week that he might try marijuana when he leaves office next February.

Canadians "are concerned about the behaviour of their prime minister, joking that he is going to use marijuana in his retirement," Mr. Walters said to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"They're ashamed."

Canada is "the one place in the hemisphere where things are going the wrong (way) rapidly," Mr. Walters added. "It's the only country in this hemisphere that's become a major drug producer instead of reducing their drug production."

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who is shepherding the federal government's marijuana legislation through the House of Commons, responded that Mr. Walters should "look in his own backyard" before criticizing Mr. Chrétien.

"There are over 10 states that have in place what we call alternative penalties, so you know, if it is not correct to move in that direction, maybe he should spend some time talking to his own states," Mr. Cauchon said.

Mr. Walters' criticisms of Mr. Chrétien came following an effort by the prime minister to make light of his government's controversial decriminalization legislation.

During an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Mr. Chrétien said he had never tried marijuana, but might once decriminalization legislation is approved by Parliament.

"I don't know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal," he said. "I will have money for my fine and a joint in the other hand."

Jim Munson, Mr. Chrétien's director of communications, declined to comment on Mr. Walters' claim that Canadians are ashamed of their leader.

"I am not going to get into those kind of comments. I mean, they have their point of view and we have our point of view," Mr. Munson said.

The prime minister, while joking about his own lack of personal experience with marijuana, also spoke about the need to crack down on growers and dealers of marijuana, Mr. Munson said.

The bill was handed yesterday to a special parliamentary committee, instead of the busy Commons justice committee, which would not be able to hold public hearings on the controversial legislation until after Christmas.

Randy White, a Canadian Alliance MP on the special committee, said that members do not intend to rush the bill. The Americans will be among the witnesses who will be invited to the hearings.

© Copyright 2003 The Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Highway 61 rerevisted by Tim Cahill

You can tell Le Petit Gar from Shawinagin is ready to retire and clearly doesn't give a shit what the press says. You have to love that.

Chretien jokes about trying pot once it's decriminalized, ready to pay fine

Canadian Press

Saturday, October 04, 2003

WINNIPEG (CP) - It's an unlikely retirement scenario for Prime Minister Jean Chretien: he's at his lakeside cottage, sipping tea with his wife Aline - and smoking a big fat joint.

The 69-year-old prime minister has never smoked marijuana, he says, but he joked in an interview this week he might be willing to give it a try once it's decriminalized. Chretien made the joke in an Ottawa interview with the Winnipeg Free Press published in Friday's paper.

Chretien was asked how it felt to have bills for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing same-sex marriages as the exclamation points to his lengthy political career.

"I don't know what is marijuana," Chretien replied.

"Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand."

On a more serious note, he defended his government's marijuana bill, which he is trying to pass this fall in what is expected to be his last parliamentary session.

He said replacing criminal sentences with simple fines is a more realistic way of punishing marijuana users.

"The decriminalization of marijuana is making normal what is the practice," Chretien said.

"It is still illegal, but do you think Canadians want their kids, 18 years old or 17, who smoke marijuana once and get caught by the police, to have a criminal record for the rest of their life?

"What has happened is so illogical that they are not prosecuted anymore. So let's make the law adjust to the realities. It is still illegal, but they will pay a fine. It is in synch with the times.

On same-sex marriage, Chretien said he thinks it is better to err on the side of giving more rights than taking away rights. But he didn't want to talk about whether that view has caused him problems as a Catholic.

"My grandfather had been refused holy communion because he was a Liberal organizer," he said. "For us, my mentality, my religion belongs to me and I will deal personally with that. I am a public person in a very diverse society, and I don't think I can impose every limit of my morality on others, because I don't want others to impose their morality on me."