Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and a Manitoba food bank manager got into a somewhat tense exchange Thursday over the issue of marijuana legalization.
But there may be a twist — the woman is said to be married to the executive assistant to former public safety minister Vic Toews.
Trudeau, who announced in January that he backs pot legalization and told HuffPost Canada this summer that he smoked marijuana since becoming an MP in 2008, is currently in Manitoba as part of a nationwide tour. He was confronted by the woman in a Steinbach, Man.
A nearly five-minute clip was posted to YouTube by the website, Steinbachonline.com.
In the video, the woman says addiction is something she deals with on a daily basis and that the issue isn't about keeping pot away from kids since many in their 30s, 40s and 50s lose their lives to drugs.
Trudeau says that while he agrees pot isn't a health food supplement, Canada is currently losing the war on drugs.
"We're funneling billions of dollars into criminal organizations and gangs," he says."We're having our kids access pot easier than they're accessing alcohol and we need to realize the current prohibition just isn't working."
"So, the 50-year-old man that's life is broken, you think that it's easier for me to say to him the government supports the broken life that you have?" she asks, adding that more access will further the problem.
"And their lives are broken because of pot?" Trudeau asks.
When the woman says that weed is a gateway drug, Trudeau says that is why more needs to be done to regulate and keep it away from kids.
"So, my 16-year-old should have more access than what she already has?" the woman asks.
At this point, Trudeau seems to become frustrated, placing his hand on her shoulder and saying, "I've been listening to you, you need to listen to what I’m saying.
"You found your 16-year-old with marijuana? So the current approach isn't working to keep marijuana out of the hands of your teenager. And what I'm saying is if we control it, if we regulate it the same way we regulate or even maybe slightly tougher than alcohol, your 16-year-old won't have easy access to marijuana and that's what we both want."
After the woman says her daughter is also drinking alcohol provided by people of legal age, the Liberal leader says it sounds like an issue that goes beyond access.
Trudeau then states that $500 million is spent each year going after pot crimes, and that money would be better spent on addiction programs.
Toward the end of the clip, a man points out that the woman is married to Toews' assistant.
"Then your husband knows how the approach, being tough on crime in the wrong way, just doesn’t work," Trudeau says.
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