I have never really paid much attention to the career of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford.  He just always seemed like one of those old school, small town, blow hard politicians that existed back in the 60’s.  The Dukes of Hazzard’s Boss Hogg comes to mind.

These days he has been hard to ignore. Media from around the world have descended on Toronto and the story is running virtually everywhere.  Media loves a spectacle and Ford is not disappointing.  You know, the “Man bites dog” kind of news.  I don’t even know if he has been a good mayor, maybe he has been, but that is not the point any more.  He is now a complete train wreck after publicly admitting he smoked crack cocaine and having being seen in a video with known gang members.  He has become the man people love to hate.   The late night comedians are having a hay day with the story and I realize it is too easy to take ‘pot’ shots at the Mayor.  That is not my intent here.

There is a part of this story that I think everybody is missing; the Trudeau connection.  On the surface the two men could  not be more different.  Ford is the extra-large, red nose, hard drinking conservative and Justin Trudeau is the sensitive, metro-sexual socialist with the Alberto VO5 hairdo.  There is no love lost between the two.  On the now famous video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine, he calls Trudeau “a fag”.  Who even uses words like that today?  Is he still in grade 8?  The ever concerned Justin seems quite willing to forgive and has said publicly that he hopes Ford gets the help he needs.  Hmmm… sounds like the ‘pot’ calling the ‘kettle’ black to me.

When Ford finally admitted that he actually did smoke crack, he added that he can’t remember when because it was probably during one of his “drunken stupors”.  So now everyone wants Ford to resign because smoking crack is illegal and a bad example for a political leader.  Wait a minute!  Isn’t smoking marijuana just as illegal in Canada.  Yet Justin Trudeau has repeatedly admitted that he has smoked pot 5 or 6 times.  Nobody is calling for his resignation.  Nobody is suggesting that they hope he gets the help he needs.  Why the double standard?  Is it because Ford is a big unlikable lout and Trudeau is just so adorable with the winning smile and refined trust fund pedigree?  Yes, I understand that crack is likely a more dangerous drug than marijuana.  So what?  Kidnapping is a slightly lessor offence than murder but they are both illegal.

Honestly, Trudeau of all people should know better.  His mother, Margaret Trudeau was a drug addict.  Her drug of choice?  Marijuana.  She readily admitted that the mental illnesses that she struggled with were directly connected to her use of pot.  This is what she told the Vancouver Sun, “Marijuana can trigger psychosis,” and she continued. “Every time I was hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana. I miss it. It is a daily struggle. If it’s around, I just don’t stay around.”

I am perplexed that no one is connecting the dots of the Rob Ford story to the Justin Trudeau story.  Last week Trudeau was in Manitoba (instead of the House of Commons where he has one of the worst absentee records of any Member of Parliament).  He was speaking at the Sioux Valley school which is one of our province’s Native reservations.   In response to a question Trudeau explained his plans to legalize marijuana, ostensibly as a better way to win the war on drugs.  Apparently the best way to win a war… is to surrender.  The students responded to Trudeau’s comments with raucous applause.  Easily the single biggest problem with native youth today is drug and alcohol abuse.  What was Trudeau thinking?  What kind of a message is this for the already troubled young people of our nation?  They aren’t even old enough to vote.  In fact many of them were Elementary age students.

If we are going to dump on Rob Ford for his bad behavior and poor example, then to avoid a glaring double standard we need to afford Justin Trudeau the same kind of grief.  As far as I am concerned they are just two peas in a pot… or something like that.  Huh, I seem to be… losing my concentration… it’s all chill bro. Yo dude, is there any pizza left over there…

Further thoughts November 21, 2013:

Just to be clear we are not talking politics here, I am not trying to influence how people vote.  We are talking about the law, illegal drugs and the bad example of politicians (who by definition make the laws) who use them and promote their use.

I am aware that there is a growing segment of the population that supports the legalization of marijuana.  And from some of the posts below, they think there is nothing harmful about smoking a little pot.  Marijuana is a powerful drug that alters ones state of being.  It is often categorized as a stimulant, depressant, as well as a hallucinogenic. Not exactly the state of mind befitting of any political leader.  It can hardly be compared to a Tim Horton’s double double.  At the very least it is a psychoactive drug which aside from the desired euphoria users are after, it can cause a decrease in short-term memory, impaired motor skills, and and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.

Most people including many Christians are not aware that the word for sorcery in scripture is the word ‘pharmakeia’ where we get our English word pharmaceutical. The sorcerers in bible times would use various drug potions to induce an altered state of mind.  They understood that drugs were the gateway to the spiritual world.  This kind of sorcery was strictly forbidden in the Old Testament as well as the New (Mic 5:12, Rev 9:21).  The fact that there are Christians that support Trudeau’s position on legalizing pot is disturbing.  No bible believing Christian should ever be using or supporting the use of pot.

Secondly, one needs to look beyond the use of pot to the supply side.  More often than not, every time you smoke a joint you are contributing to the vast, violent illegal enterprise of the drug industry.  For example, we can no longer take mission trips to the border cities of Mexico which we have been doing for 25 years.  The drug cartels have taken over these cities and they have become some of the most violent places on earth.  We have several churches we work with in Matamoras, Mexico but we have not been there for 3 years as it it just too dangerous.  The last time we were about to go we cancelled the trip as 155 people were killed in one day just before we left.  It is a myth that legalizing pot will end the illegal drug trade.  It will just increase the demand for the product.  Don’t think for a minute that once legalized all pot will come from government sanctioned grow ops.  Once it is out on the street it is impossible to tell where it came from.  (Having the government in the recreational drug business is a whole other discussion in itself)  Nobody ever  stops to think about from where and how their  drug of choice came and that they are complicit in a long chain of illegal, violent and corrupt activity.

For those who wish to participate in this debate your thoughts are welcome, but let’s move on from the ad hominem comments that I am ignorant or uninformed on the subject.   Feel free to disagree with me, but ignorant I am not.


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  1. Troy says:

    comparing Crack and pot to each other is an ignorant sin. Comparing kidnapping and murder in the same context as smoking pot is radical and unjust. I understand your a man, a sinner and ignorant in many areas as am I. However, your a man with great influence and the many blind uniformed will follow your every move without researching or even searching their own heart. The goal is to win souls not to propagate radical politics. I love your honesty Mark and love your messages but, do we really want non Christians to look at us as ignorant conservative lunatics. Certainly they will be turned off to the gospel before they realize it. everyone is entitled to their opinions but we should be aware that not all folk are ignorant.Christian or not the context you put things here is way out of wack. Please use the internet to research before post such radical views to which you know little about. This is in response to your quote. “Yes, I understand that crack is likely a more dangerous drug than marijuana. So what? Kidnapping is a slightly lessor offence than murder but they are both illegal.” Marijuana is in fact legal for many in Canada and is a viable sustainable medicine for many medical issues that we are only beginning to understand.

  2. Rob says:

    Well you cant help a person with addictions if they are not willing to accept it or not ready to get clean and sober!

  3. Shawn says:

    The question is not if it is legal for many is Canada. Is it legal for Justin Trudeau? Does this sitting politician have an exception applied to him? If so, what is it, and can we then trust him to then make decisions that are not influenced by THC in his system? If we can trust him, after he admits to an illegal activity, why are we so quick to put Rob Ford down? I grew up around pot, heroin, and cocaine all being abused by various relatives – they all have their ways of affecting judgement!!

    If we condemn Rob Ford, we must condemn Justin Trudeau! If we are giving a pass to the leader of a major Federal Party(who isn’t even in power, and is making unintelligent choices! What will happen when he has the pressure of actual leadership on him?), maybe we should give a pass to a mayor who has shown he can still do his job even with his vices!

    The only people howling are the same ones with the double standard of Justin Trudeau! The ideal is to have honest and moral politicians, unfortunately we are stuck voting for the lessor of evils!!

    Allowing those who disagree with us to label us as “ignorant conservative lunatics”, so what? Yeshua (Jesus) said we will be mocked, and we have to be willing to take up the cross. God’s ways(And Standards) are above those of man!!!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Oh boy:(
    Comparing marijauna to crack cocaine
    is like comparing regular strength Tylenol to
    Prozac. And even that is a poor comparison as
    As Tylenol can become addictive and marijuana
    They can both share the boat for illegal activity
    (How many other politicians would join them I wonder)but that’s Where the comparing of crimes ends.

  5. Trisha says:

    I agree Troy & Rebecca! As far as I know, there aren’t any medicinal properties in cocaine or heroine to help the sick like there is in marijuana. We really need to get our facts straight before influencing others with the wrong information. Marijuana is in the same classification as hard drugs like heroine and cocaine, simply because of ancient laws created by crooked politicians who are directed by large pharmaceutical companies who NEVER want to see marijuana get the funding or research it deserves. They wouldn’t dare jeopardize the millions of dollars they make from cancer patients, etc. who are urged to take excessive medication that makes them zombies and completely impaired. Oh no, we wouldn’t want that! I might add that physicians see a nice piece of the pie when they prescribe certain medications because of the bonuses they receive from the drug companies for doing so..with no regard for side effects or other medications (marijuana) that could help dramatically. THAT is a sin! Kudos to Justin Trudeau for being honest. When was the last time we witnessed a politician being honest?? Unlike Rob Ford who simply admitted his crack use because he got caught. Mark, you have a large audience. I have been watching you for years and respect you dearly. I beg that you get all the facts and information before stating your opinion for thousands to see.

    • Zohan says:

      No medical use for heroine? Please! It s called morphine and is used everyday by thousands in hospitals to reduce extreme pain. But they don’t let you take it home with you when you check out. If any one needs to get their facts straight its you people spouting opinions without doing any research at all.

  6. Zohan says:

    I am surprised how many people believe the myth that pot is not addictive. Studies have shown again and again that it is. 9% of pot smokers are addicted compared to 17% of cocaine users according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Those numbers go way up to 25-50% for those that are daily users or start young.
    And why do people smoke pot? Because it is a mind altering pharmaceutical crutch. With all this talk of legalization very few talk about that fact that it severely impairs judgement and makes people think poorer and more slowly. Why someone would want to be dumber that they already is is a mystery to me. I would think a guy like Justin Trudeau would want all the help he could get.

  7. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Pastor Mark I thought you had more class than to respond to this dribble.

    The interviews that have been passed off as news is lunacy. The latest Rob Ford classifies his apologies as humility just because he was raised by a Bible Teacher for a father.

    I do have a similar background but I do know the difference between humility and fake sincerity.

    Trudeau was mainly disliked for his agreeable eyeview of China’s dictatorship’s ways. I would be a little worried about that than marijuana. Do you recall the Nuclear Bomb.

    Whatever the perspective, we should be worried about the souls that are not saved yet.

  8. Paul Epp says:

    Thanks Mark for this post!

    If we as Christians, do not speak the truth into the world, we will fade away!

    We must all continue to bring light into our grey world!

    The enemy is constantly trying to blend right and wrong together so we get black and white mixed up into grey!

    We all know the Bible preaches the truth and its up to us all to spread and speak that truth into our world!

    Be for the world, not of the world!

    Thanks Mark!

  9. Peg says:

    I think most are missing the point of what Pastor Mark is saying here. I take it he is saying murder, whether by shooting or a knife is still murder. Drugs are drugs no matter the strength of them…Why is Rob Ford being crucified and Justin Trudeau being let off the hook? I’m not condoning Mr. Ford’s vices but Believers need to get their heads out of the sand and start paying attention to what is happening in our society…Please…..

  10. Sandi says:

    Rob Ford…cocaine smoking, hanging out with gang members, driving drunk, hookers, threats & rages, binges vs Justin Trudeau smoking pot a few times? Sorry Pastor Mark, but there is absolutely no comparison to make. It seems to me one is nothing but a liar, while the other one is completely honest. Honesty is what we all want in a politician. Kudos to JT. At least JT was raised with some class and knows how to use it!

    • Marilyn says:

      Honesty is all we want from a politician?
      Sorry, Sandy, that may be enough for you, but it most CERTAINLY is not enough for me. I want my political LEADERS to lead by example. What kind of example is Justin Trudeau being when he flippantly admits he’s broken the law a few times?
      Do you know what “class” really means? Oxford’s Dictionary defines it as “showing stylish excellence”. Breaking the law is excellence?
      The law is the law. Doesn’t matter whether you stole something or you just smoked pot, you still broke the law.
      When I see Trudeau talking about smoking pot as if he was sharing what he ate for breakfast, it seems to me that his conscience has become jaded and it makes me wonder what other laws he breaks that we don’t know about. Is this the kind of leader we want?
      Maybe we’re ok with him smoking pot because we do it ourselves. Maybe we’re looking for justification. Or do we only blow the whistle when it affects our pockets?

  11. Laura says:

    This post is very ignorant all around. Hitler was a family man who was really “moral” and look at what he ended up doing. I don’t think pastors or church need to spread their usually ignorant opinions on politics and spread their opinions in church because it can affect the votes of other people who choose to vote based on things their pastor says. There are christians represented in every political party and I know Christians who have realized how skewed politics are and who decided not to vote conservative anymore after becoming a Christian. I’m just saying check your facts, and don’t judge someone’s ability to lead a country based on past flaws. Robert Ford has big issues right now, crack is way worse than marijuana, and obviously Trudeau was never addicted like his mom since he only did it 5 or 6 times. Last I checked we’re supposed to pray for our leaders and not bash them.

    • Evelyn Bennett says:

      Allow Pastor Mark some grace. He is just poking some fun. Anyone that opens up his personality flaws for the whole world to see deserves a little ribbing. I wish that the political reign should redefine the views of the Conservative party. From where I stand there is no religious base.

      There should be 2. One voting for the Lord and the other voting for the enemy. That way no one would be confused what they are voting for.

  12. Steve says:

    This is for God’s Church today. Love is the answer. Love is the greatest of spiritual gifts.
    We don’t have the answer, we are not smart enough, good enough and doggonit nobody likes us Christians when we are walking in our own strength.
    Darkness is no place for God’s church to play around in this day. We have to seek God with all our hearts, minds and strength. Anything that takes the focus off of Jesus and onto ourselves is darkness. Jesus is our light and He is love. We have not sought after the greatest spiritual gift which is love, but Jesus is calling us back into His love this day. Back into mercy and kindness.
    Our pride needs to subside and the light of Jesus needs to come to life in us. All these other things will only cause division in the body of Christ.
    Jesus is our MASTER and we are just vessels needing to submit to His authority and His word tells us to love and forgive as hard as that is on all of our pride.

  13. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Reputation is everything when you are living day to day. Being a good role model in today’s society seems to be a popularity contest instead of basing it on good morales and integrity. We need to know about the world so that if there is need we are there to act and serve. Other than that truly think about the good old phrase “Garbage in Garbage out”

  14. Con says:

    I used to enjoy this blog, it seems as though the last few posts have had more negativity than love… 🙁

  15. Steve says:

    We can all get forgiveness today. All of us. Jesus has forgiveness for all His children and we can all forgive one another. Now that is love. Unity in Christ Jesus.
    We have to pray for each other and care for each other and forgive each other and say sorry when we have done harm. We all need the gentle touch of Jesus to take our burdens away and fill us with His Spirit.
    Jesus has mercy for us all today. We need to be merciful to one another and kind. We need to get back to His kind heart. I know I do.
    God bless all of you and bless you Pastor Mark. I know God has an abundance of His Spirit to pour out on you and Church of the Rock. We all have to get back to the kindness and mercy of Jesus Christ.
    I think we have all failed miserably in this area but Jesus has a backup plan for us all and that is mercy.

  16. John says:

    What is most disturbing about Mayor Ford is not the addiction but the question of whether the mayor was compromised in his criminal dealings. His behaviour has been unstable and threatening. I support decriminalization of drugs (not legalization). This would turn possession of drugs in quantities for personal use into a misdemeanour. It would still empower police to act and give opportunity for addicts to enroll in court ordered rehab. Hopefully this would free up police resources to go after suppliers and dealers, which would remain felony offenders. Pot suppliers (like Big Tobbaco) have been breeding the plants to provide ever larger amounts of THC. Today’s pot is far more potent than that which was smoked in the coffee shops of the 60’s. I still think that there is a place for medical marihuana in cases such as terminal cancer. Control it like other narcotics in hospitals.

  17. colin peterson says:

    Mark Hughes would make a great politician. Saying what he’s written is not politically motivated is clearly a lie.

    • Zohan says:

      And Colin Peterson would make an even better one because calling other people liars is what politicians do best.
      I have been reading this dudes blog for years and I can honesty say that he has equal contempt for all the parties.

  18. guy says:

    in regards to the comment that suggests buying pot is supporting a violent criminal culture, i’m not so sure thats the case. one usually doesn’t get pot from the same ugly scene that produces hard drugs.Having said that if i were to clime the chain of supply high enough perhapse i would find that you are right, i don’t know. What i do know is filling my tank with gas supports some sort of evil, buying groceries has become disgusting due to the evil that is GMO products, and more and more we find out by doing things we are told to do(by government regulated orgs.) are feeding some giant corporation with no regard for human life as well as nature and wild life. They care only for money.Its turned into a situation where the “criminals ” we know and love because in alot of cases they’re family and friends with little to no violent tendencies are far more trust worthy than any politician. I don’t vote because i refuse to buy into the best lie.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Hi Guy
      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that you have brought up the how pot fits into the violent drug culture. Pot is the bread and butter of the cartel controlled drug trade of Mexico that I mentioned in the blog. Most users have a pollyanna view of where their weed comes from and do not know that they are complicit in a very violent supply chain. Secondly, the argument that legalization will end the violence is completely false. Mexican officials fear that legalization on this side of the border will actually fuel an increased demand and the violence will continue to escalate. As peace loving Canadians, we have our heads completely deeply buried in the sand (or maybe somewhere else) on this issue. Have a quick read of this article in the Wall Street Journal.

  19. guy says:

    I appreciate the education, that was indeed a good read. I do not believe you are ignorant as some comments from others have suggested, however neither am i. I am also not a pot activist nor will i attempt to defend its pro’s and cons, of which there are many. The message i was attempting to convey is that one can hardly purchase an item legally or otherwise without fueling a careless destructive force of some kind. I feel i’m losing sight of the topic so that is all. Be well and God bless Mark.

  20. Peter Vasko says:

    Good word Pastor Mark . I Could not have said it any better PV

  21. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Let’s focus on more impertinent problems. Maybe we can see what we can do about the recent disaster in the Philippines.

    Just a thought

  22. Steve says:

    Does anybody in the body of Christ want to see a revival?
    It won’t be from one person, it will be from the whole body of Christ when we learn to forgive and focus on the light of Christ rather than the things in this world.
    Imagine God’s people working in love. Not in competition, not in envy or jealousy but in the love of Jesus!
    Can you see it? Can you see that we need His power because our strength is really not doing the trick anymore in this world.
    This world is about to reject the Church and we need to be in His power. He can do it!
    God can bring a mighty revival and He can fill His Church with His Spirit!

  23. tim says:

    Pastor Mark, do you or have you smoked pot? cause contrary to the mexican cartel dilemna. it is being grown in your community possibly your neighbour. dont take my word for it just go to the winnipeg police services website and see all the local grow-ops they bust in this city everyday. Your work may well extend beyond the wire spools factory walls of your congregation.

    • tim says:

      you have influence, but they reside soley within those carpeted walls with blinders.

    • Jola MV says:

      Too many pastors stay within those ‘safe’ carpeted walls. Leaders, including pastors, should speak out on issues and hold our politicians accountable for wrong doing which in this case is illegal activity. Being a Christian is not just a Sunday activity that you do once per week. It includes speaking out to educate, inform and even oppose and helping others.

  24. Mark Hughes says:

    I have spoken openly about my sins and misgivings as a youth but will not do so here so that you can try to score some cheap anonymous internet victory.
    One does not need to have smoked pot to understand the situation anymore than a surgeon needs to have had cancer to understand what must be done to eradicate it from his patients body. I have been to the border cities of Mexico many times. I know what they are dealing with and where the drugs end up. The drug industry is demand driven. Increase the demand, increase the supply, increase the violence and corruption. This is real life, not a Tarantino movie. Trudeau and others who are calling for legalization are complicit.

  25. Jola MV says:

    Pastor Mark, I appreciate your blog. The debate is not even about which drug is worse (marijuana or crack), it should just be expected that our politicians not engage in ANY illegal activities. Justin Trudeau is not one of those people for which smoking marijuana is legal in Canada so he is breaking the law, openly admitting it, and setting a horrendous example for our youth. And on the subject of harmless… marijuana has been shown to have a devastating effect on unborn babies creating lifelong learning problems. I know as I work with drug and alcohol affected children every day. As well, people with mental health issues or FASD are greatly impacted by marijuana use- often to the point of permanent psychosis. Harmless? Marijuana is NOT harmless. Besides all that, the lack of motivation it causes and dependence is very detrimental to students’ academic achievement. Many youth experiment with marijuana and once the ‘no drug’ boundary is crossed they move on to other drugs- this coming from many drug addicted youth who started with so called “harmless” marijuana. So Pastor Mark GOOD FOR YOU for speaking up. As far as I am concerned your voice on this subject needs to be heard and amplified. Thanks.

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