08/23/2013 12:03 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Don't Worry Trudeau, MacKay's Poor Judgment Goes Beyond a Toke

Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau made the admission to The Huffington Post Canada this week about his past experiences with illegal drugs and how he came to support the legalization of pot. Trudeau also revealed that his late brother, Michel Trudeau, was facing marijuana possession charges before his death in an avalanche in 1998 and that the experience influenced his position.

Trudeau said he's smoked pot five or six times in his life. "It has never really done anything for me," he confessed to HuffPost.

All the party leaders were asked by HuffPost about their use of marijuana. The NDP leader's office showed honesty by confirming that Thomas Mulcair had smoked pot in the past. The Prime Minister's Office pulled a "Bill Clinton-esque" non-answer and claimed Stephen Harper has never tried cannabis because he suffers from asthma.

As expected, Conservatives pounced on Trudeau's admission, saying it is proof he is unfit to govern. Justice Minister Peter MacKay denounced what he called a "profound lack of judgment" from the Liberal leader.

Perhaps mudslinging has become a habitual means of communication by the Harper government, but this particular jibe oozes insolence when it comes from the likes of Peter MacKay: a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

While Peter MacKay was Minister of Defence from 2007 to 2013, he was caught several times with his hand in the cookie jar. In this case, the cookies were taxpayer dollars either wasted, misspent, or altogether missing.

In 2010, Peter MacKay showed a lack of judgment when he used Cormorant SAR military helicopter like a private jet, then tried to cover it up.

The next day, July 7, 2010, Lt.-Col. Chris Bulls said the [Minister's] "mission will be under the guise" of search-and-rescue training.

Internal emails confirmed the Defence Minister used a search-and-rescue helicopter to pick him up from a fishing trip vacation to an Ontario event, contrary to his staff's previous statements. His original excuse for using taxpayer dollars for his private transportation was that he was participating in a training mission.

In 2010 still, Peter MacKay showed lack of judgment when he was made aware of the additional $10 billion cost for the F-35 fighter jets, as he mislead the public for two years. Auditor General Michael Ferguson slammed the defence department for misleading Canadians about the price tag of new fighter jets. The AG then assessed the true cost of buying the F-35s as $25 billion, not $15 billion as stated by officials. A beleaguered Minister MacKay insisted that a 66 per cent jump in the fighter budget was an accounting difference. Canadians weren't fooled by the apparent fib.

Last year, it was discovered that Peter MacKay approved a $47,000 press conference to announce plans to buy 65 fighter jets. A fake plane had to be trucked in all the way from Texas to make the picture look pretty. Again, Minister MacKay showed lack of judgment in respecting public purse.

In 2009, Defence Minister MacKay showed lack of judgment when he posed with Canadian Forces members in his official Christmas card photo, as cited by the CBC:

"It's anti-democratic. It's an insult to Canadian intelligence. I don't think it does the Canadian Forces any favours in the long term because they don't know on what foot to dance," says retired Colonel Michel Drapeau. "That's not the type of support [the military] wants because they too are democrats."

Painting the military in a partisan light has its dangers, both politically and otherwise, Drapeau argues.

And lest we forget that Peter MacKay gained national attention at the 2003 Progressive Conservative Party convention by signing a non-merger agreement with David Orchard -- a written contract Mackay would publicly renege on to "willingly preside over the demolition of a historic 150-year-old institution."

That was then and this is now.

Today, Peter MacKay is Justice Minister. He has the privilege and the opportunity to address lingering gaps in the Canadian justice system, to bring to the table the progressive Canadian values he once stood for, and to restore the faith Canadians have lost in our sometimes flawed justice system. Minister MacKay can mould this country of ours into the just society we aspire for it to be.

If Peter MacKay longs for the Prime Minister's office, he is best to take the high road to get there. Minister MacKay has been given a pivotal platform to demonstrate that his vision for this country is wider, more inclusive, and more pragmatic than that of his predecessor and his current boss. Stooping to the disparagement tactics is beneath Peter MacKay and the office of the Minister of Justice.

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