Trudeau pleads ignorance on difference between police reports and convictions

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau stands next to a bronze sculpture called Laughing Men by artist Yue Minjun in Vancouver, British Columbia July 25, 2013.



OTTAWA - Liberal leader Justin Trudeau admits he is confused by the difference between police-reported drug "incidents", convictions and arrests for marijuana possession.

Trudeau has repeatedly claimed almost half-a-million Canadians have been convicted of marijuana possession since Stephen Harper took power in 2006.

In fact, police say very few people are convicted of possession as an unrelated charge, though Trudeau has yet to concede that point.

"There have been an awful lot of studies and numbers that have been thrown around over the years," he explained Thursday. "The bottom line is our current approach on marijuana simply doesn't work and prohibitionists like Mr. Harper are going to have to justify given facts and data why the current approach - which doesn't keep our kids safe - is worth continuing."

Trudeau has said he won't reveal any platform ideas ahead of the 2015 election, other than his desire to legalize marijuana.

His exaggerated numbers play into his narrative of the Harper government having launched an American-style war on drugs that is "ruining (Canadian) lives."

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