In a complex society like ours, hypermediatized and torn by bitter struggles of power, it is easy to yield to emotional overdose and parabolic exaggerations, to the point of abandoning reason.
Take for example the legalization of marijuana. The federal government does not liberalize because it is a good product for young people, on the contrary, but because the long-standing prohibition policy has failed miserably. The product is already wreaking havoc everywhere, it is widely available in the population and entirely in the hands of criminal groups. In short, a losing situation in all respects.
The fact of allowing the legal sale is aimed at removing this market from the organized crime. But to do that, you have to compete effectively, making it available almost everywhere and at competitive prices. Is it so difficult to understand?
The question arises because the majority of political actors right now do not seem to comprehend this simple equation. They are tuned to the siren songs of subsidized lobbies of hygienic purity that have become the modern leagues of temperance.
Of course: “Cannabis is terrible, it can cause psychoses, it can ruin our youth!” Their solution however, is to go against the purpose of the reform: sell cannabis in a limited number of points of sale and make it as expensive as possible by entrusting the distribution to the SAQ state monopoly.
This is what emotion ends up causing: exactly the opposite of what needs to be done and for the wrong reasons.
But the worst part is that such message works!
Indeed, the Parti Québécois’ recently unveiled position, which is exactly that.
But even worse and totally unexpected: the CAQ, this so-called center-right political party, came out last week with a similar position, but more hysterical than that of the PQ. Unbelievable!
Opposed to the legalization of cannabis, the Coalition pour l’Avenir du Québec promises to reduce its consumption to the maximum. “We want Quebec to adopt the tough line,” stressed CAQ MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette at a press conference. – Denis Lessard, La Presse
From the CAQ point of view, adult Quebeckers are far too stupid, careless and irresponsible for the government to openly and legally sell cannabis. They’re all going to become addicted, for sure! Yes, they can make children, buy a house, manage a career, but to pick by themselves what is good or not for their body, no, forget it!
In this world of nonsense, what do we suddenly see? Two minds of reason and enlightenment who finally stand out and give hope for the future of Quebec: Carlos Leitao, Minister of Finance, and Martin Coiteux, Minister of Public Safety.
In an article published last Friday, La Presse journalist Denis Lessard evokes the most recent discussions in the government on this issue:
A question remains open: by what channel of distribution will cannabis be sold to consumers? Here the government is more divided; pragmatists such as Martin Coiteux, Minister of Public Safety, and Carlos Leitão, Minister of Finance, believe that the private sector should be entrusted with the retail sale of marijuana. Quebec, on the basis of strict criteria of integrity, would issue permits. There is no question of allowing quotas, however; they do not want to repeat the error of taxi licenses, whose limited number artificially increased their value. This orientation is also that favored by Premier Couillard, but the government has not yet decided. – Denis Lessard, La Presse
Such wise interventions are no surprise. Carlos Leitao, in particular, proved to be a monument of pragmatism and a true bulwark against political hysteria and left-wing populism:
- He announced a policy of gradual increases of the minimum wage for the next three years, avoiding to temptation of Ontario-type populism with its $ 15 minimum wage in 2018;
- He very early rejected the idea of entrusting the SAQ to sell cannabis in its store channel;
- He led a reform allowing the sale of Quebec wines in convenience stores;
- He avoided the easy path of excessive increases in tobacco taxes (having raised them only once);
- And he is keen on lowering sales and income taxes.
He can count on the unwavering support of Martin Coiteux in his stances and thus lead the government to adopt sensible and intelligent policies for the growth, development and prosperity of Quebec.
We are often harsh with our politicians, but we must appreciate the few good ones that we can rely on, especially if they are in power.
The cannabis issue, among others, is literally revealing Carlos Leitao and Martin Coiteux as among the most enlightened politicians of their generation.