Do you keep reading the same article, forgetting about it, and reading it again, or have you stumbled into the swirling cloud of marijuana politics that every politician, government official, and journalists seem to be inhaling (except for Bill Clinton of course). In the online version of the Ottawa Citizen politics section, I have counted more than three articles revolving around the intoxicating topic. Whether it’s Health Canada moving away from any endorsements of Medical Marijuana (say goodbye to getting high brought to you by the government), Justin Trudeau clarifying his position on the drug as a real politician (seriously guys I am, I swear, ask my dad), or doctors pulling out of the Harper government’s new anti-drug ads (“Marijuana sucks and so does Trudeau” isn’t really a medical position), it seems that weed is the one topic that is bringing everyone into the drum circle. Why?
Pot, it seems, is a polarizing plant. Though traditionally known for bringing people together regardless of race, creed, class, or high school popularity, it is currently separating Canadians. The political parties are trying to take advantage of this supposed rift by drafting teams. Conservative parties will be supporting the Conservative party, and all others will have shirts matching their eyes. But is the issue as segregating as political strategists appear to believe? And does it really split the parties so perfectly?
Yes, generally (and I eternally stress that word), those who vote conservative don’t support cannabis legalization, and vice versa in the Liberal’s case (with perhaps even less accuracy), but that isn’t enough to draw political lines. Where one sits on the political spectrum comes from much more than one’s views on the drug. Libertarians, right-voting, of course, do not support its prohibition; caring leftists don’t want it slipping into the hands of children. And, let’s not forget, political strategists aren’t as stupid as we like to believe they are. In fact, they are generally (once again I stress that) pretty wily bastards.
With that in mind, I believe the party’s master tacticians are not trying to split Canada on traditional political lines, but based on their age. Young people generally (see a trend here?) vote more left than their parents do (or don’t care enough about something they can’t instagram right afterwards), but even more generally support marijuana legalization. The older do the opposite (not to mention that they are more likely to mention it on Facebook than instagram). Therefore, after all of this seemingly in-depth analysis we have come to the conclusion that Stephen Harper may have young votes taken by Justin Trudeau. What a bombshell that is. I actually have another prediction.
If this marijuana slop fight snowballs into something these two parties believe can define the coming election, voters may lose track of what they really stand for, other than one for parents and the other for kids. And if the NDP manages to keep their hands clean of the whole business, they may end up campaigning as the only party talking about issues that truly define their political mantra, rather than their theoretical political demographic.