Canada Politics

Justin Trudeau’s pot smoking admission may have buoyed the Liberals in new poll

Canada Politics

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Justin Trudeau speaks to media on Thursday about his admission of smoking pot

If the Harper Conservatives were hoping that Trudeau's pot smoking admission would cause some sort of nationwide backlash, they're going to be disappointed.

A new National Post/Forum Research poll — conducted a day after Trudeau admitted to smoking pot after becoming a MP — suggests that it might have actually helped the Liberal leader and his party.

The Liberals have surged to 38% support from voters in the latest Forum Poll for the National Post, while the Conservatives have slipped to 29% and the NDP trail at 22%.

“After a brief dip last month, the Liberals have rebounded, and they now have a substantial lead over the government in the poll. It may be that Liberal policies around marijuana have had something to do with this, but it’s clear Justin Trudeau’s admission of pot use did him no harm,” Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement.

Trudeau made the admission, last Thursday, in an interview with the Huffington Post just weeks after he said he would like to see marijuana legalized.

On both traditional and social media, he has been lauded for his 'honesty.'

[ Related: Justin Trudeau admits to smoking marijuana after becoming a MP ]

The Conservatives, on the other hand, have been widely chided by their reaction.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has been the Tory's lead attack dog on this front.

"This admission of smoking marijuana, breaking the law, doing so knowingly while he was a Member of Parliament, the politics of this are such that there’s an element of hypocrisy of having voted on the record to increase penalties around the same time that he was lighting up. So his credibility is a little up in smoke," MacKay said on Friday, according to CTV News.

[ Related: Tories endure Twitter backlash over their response to Trudeau’s pot smoking ]

Unfortunately, for the Conservatives, MacKay's attacks have backfired.

CBC TV personality Rick Mercer tweeted this:

And, over the weekend, a University of Ottawa law professor sent a letter to the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society asking them to investigate MacKay's comments. (MacKay practiced law in Nova Scotia)

"Mr. MacKay’s statements are dishonest in that they do not reflect the true state of Canadian law. While possessing marijuana is of course a criminal offence under section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is not “against the law” or “breaking the law” to have smoked or consumed marijuana. This is uncontroversial, and as stated by the courts," Amir Attaran wrote, according to the letter posted to Scribd by the Huffington Post.

"Judging by the tone of Mr. MacKay’s entire statement, it appears that he set out to attack Mr.Trudeau for partisan political purposes, which he did in bad faith by accusing Mr. Trudeau of an imaginary criminal offence that does not actually exist. It is unprofessional for any lawyer—andreprehensible when the lawyer is also the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada."

[ More Political Points: The embattled Mac Harb retires from the Senate ]

In an email to Postmedia News, MacKay's office responded by saying that they'd "like to point Mr. Attaran to section four of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act — where possession of marijuana is clearly outlined as a criminal offence."

Maybe MacKay and the Conservatives should just back-of on the pot attacks.

If the polls are any indication, Canadians don't care that Trudeau took a puff three years ago — they might even like him more because of it.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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