Red Deer resident Shirley Challoner shares a laugh with Justin Trudeau

Red Deer resident Shirley Challoner shares a laugh with Justin Trudeau

Marijuana, mental health among Trudeau’s priorities

Justin Trudeau promised a Red Deer crowd on Sunday that he’d seek the legalization of marijuana and the development of a national mental health strategy if he becomes national Liberal leader on April 14.

Justin Trudeau promised a Red Deer crowd on Sunday that he’d seek the legalization of marijuana and the development of a national mental health strategy if he becomes national Liberal leader on April 14.

Speaking to about 150 people inside Red Deer College’s Far Side Bar & Grill, Trudeau said a group of non pot-smoking mothers urged him to take a stand for legalizing marijuana.

“They said, ‘it’s really important that we keep pot out of the hands of kids,’” said Trudeau. “When it’s illegal and only available in the black market, someone pushing it doesn’t check for ID.”

By legalizing it, Trudeau said they’re in a better position to control and regulate the drug and in that way, it would be tougher for youth to access. But the government would have to ensure that marijuana isn’t used even more because “it’s still not a health food supplement.”

Trudeau also said a comprehensive mental health strategy is important and that it’s long overdue. Getting tough on criminals by building more prisons is not the answer, he added.

“It’s about creating more community police officers, it’s about investing in schools and after-school programs and community centres,” said Trudeau.

Trudeau also said that over the past 30 years, the Canadian economy has doubled in size, but during that time, the middle class have seen their average income only rise 13 per cent.

Politics have become divisive in this country, said Trudeau, the eldest son of Margaret Trudeau and Pierre Trudeau, the late former Prime Minister of Canada. The 41-year-old was first elected as an MP in Montreal in 2008.

He said in a spirit of working together, the Liberals are encouraging Canadians to vote for the party’s leader. They don’t have to be a member of the party to do so.

Trudeau told news media later that he wants to build the party so that it’s representative of all Canadians, including Western Canadians who increasingly feel like they are being taken for granted by federal Conservative government, which doesn’t seem to listen to the people at the grassroots level.

If elected as party leader, Trudeau said he knows how to drum up support in Alberta where it’s lacking.

“The work is done one community at a time,” said Trudeau, who spoke in Ponoka to a crowd of about 200 people earlier Sunday. “To have 200 people here in Red Deer, shows a huge sign that people are hungry for a different kind of politics.”

He said he’s always been well received in Alberta. This tour isn’t about hitting the few Liberal strongholds that are here, but it’s been about reaching out to Canadians who want something different, Trudeau added.

When asked about the Idle No More protests among aboriginal peoples, Trudeau said the Liberals would handle it differently from the ruling Tories.

“The current government looks at the Idle No More as a problem to be solved,” Trudeau said. “I look at it as an extraordinary opportunity. We have young native activists and grassroots in our aboriginal communities across Canada who are saying it’s time they be involved in the conversations and solutions going forward around natural resources, stronger communities, education.”

Nine candidates are running for the party’s top job — MPs Marc Garneau, Joyce Murray and Trudeau, former MPs Martin Cauchon and Martha Hall Findlay, lawyers David Bertschi, Deborah Coyne and George Takach, and Karen McCrimmon, a retired Lieutenant Colonel.

The first leaders’ debate was held in Vancouver on Jan. 20.

The Liberal leadership race will travel to Winnipeg for a second debate on Saturday.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

Protesters
UPDATE: Rally held outside Red Deer court for slain central Alberta man

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Hog slaughter operations resumed on Thursday at Red Deer’s Olymel plant, which was closed for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers. Three employee deaths resulted from the latest outbreak. (Advocate file photo).
Hog slaughtering operations gear up again at Red Deer’s Olymel plant

Workers begin to return after 14-day closure due to COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Canada’s chief medical adviser says her department is constantly receiving and reviewing any data on vaccines and COVID-19 variants and will be quickly ready to authorize needed boosters when they’re ready. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health Canada says vaccine boosters will be approved more easily

OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won’t require new clinical trial data… Continue reading

Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Dias says Air Canada is pledging passenger refunds as negotiations over federal aid for airlines drag on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Unifor’s Dias says Air Canada holding to refund pledge as aid negotiations drag on

OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

Most Read