Advice for Justin Trudeau from ex-prime ministers

Advice for Justin Trudeau from ex-prime ministers

Like a first-time mom, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau is already getting plenty of unsolicited advice.

Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, who served as justice minister and finance minister under Trudeau the senior, has some words of wisdom on foreign policy: he says Trudeau should talk to “everybody” — even Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was sharply rebuked by Stephen Harper over the conflict with Ukraine.

“Is it useful, you know, that we don’t talk to people?” Chrétien said in an interview with CTV that aired Sunday. “I believe in dialogue.”

Others are offering suggestions on how to proceed with the legalization of marijuana — something Trudeau has said will be a priority.

B.C. Senator Larry Campbell, who has supported legalization ever since he was Vancouver’s mayor and restated his position in a video he posted in June, said the prime minister-designate should take his time to get it right and make sure the communication flows among all levels of government.

“I don’t think it is going to be made in isolation; unlike the previous government, there will be a lot of meetings between everybody,” he told CBC News last week.

Campbell also says Canada should draw from the lessons learned in Colorado, which in 2012 became one of the first U.S. jurisdictions to legalize recreational use.

An official from that state has already offered his two cents, saying the process will be difficult and expensive.

“It’s going to be a lot harder to implement than you think. It’s going to take a lot longer to do it. And it’s going to cost more than you think,“ Lewis Koski, director of Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, said in an interview with The Canadian Press published over the weekend.

Colorado had to tighten its laws earlier this year in the wake of two suicides and a murder that were blamed on edible pot products.

In Washington – the other state to go fully legal in 2012 – the Liquor and Cannabis Board regulates the packaging, labelling and marketing of marijuana products.

"It can’t be especially appealing to children, which is admittedly a bit subjective. So each one of those products is actually submitted for review prior to going on the shelves,” board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter told CP.

An Australian environmental activist says Trudeau has a lot of catching up to do on climate change after what many considered Harper’s poor record on the issue: the departing prime minister withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Protocol in December 2011 and was accused of muzzling government climate scientists.

“We need to have steep cuts [in emissions] and really quickly,” Tim Flannery, of the Australian Climate Council, told the CBC when he was in Vancouver last week.

“Anyone dealing with this issue has to be in recognition that we come from a lost decade of opportunity,” he said.

Trudeau has pledged to reverse Harper’s “failed” policies on the “immediate and significant threat” of climate change.

“(Harper’s) lack of leadership has tarnished Canada’s reputation abroad, making it harder for Canadian businesses to compete,” the Liberals’ policy document reads.

“We will instead partner with provincial and territorial leaders to develop real climate change solutions, consistent with our international obligations to protect the planet, all while growing our economy.”

Trudeau is taking some of Canada’s premiers to the Paris climate conference next month and said he will then work with them to develop a “pan-Canadian framework” within 90 days.

Another former Liberal prime minister approves, and says Trudeau has to set a new tone for Canada’s role in the world, starting with attending the next G20 summit in Turkey next month.

“I think it’s very important when Mr. Trudeau is there that he indicate that Canada is back in the G20, and is here to stay and to play,” Paul Martin said in a weekend interview on CBC.

Martin, who founded the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, also said Trudeau has to do more to honour Canada’s commitment to indigenous peoples.

“It’s going to be very important that the government indicate it’s prepared to move on the shortfalls for funding for aboriginal education, health care and welfare,” he said.

Finally, a Canadian legend wants Trudeau to tone down the drama.

“The acting, the acting is…uh…” William Shatner, shaking his head, says in a 2012 segment from “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” referring to an impassioned statement Trudeau made to reporters at the time.

“You need a little help, and perhaps because I admired your father so, you might accept a word of advice,” he says before demonstrating more Shatnerian ways to deliver the message.

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