If you own a working television set chances are you've seen the Harper government's anti-marijuana ad. It's ostensibly the work of Health Canada but the ad bears the imprimatur of the Prime Minister's Office because it's based on falsehoods calculated to scare gullible parents.
An ominous 30-second ad now on YouTube and TV warns that smoking too many joints can seriously harm a teen's developing brain, with the words "Decreased IQ" crossing the screen.
The spot was chosen after that message got the strongest reaction from focus groups of parents who were privately shown a similar ad and several alternatives in cities across Canada in June.
The parents, described by the interviewers as "generally uninformed regarding marijuana health risks," reacted with alarm when told marijuana can trigger psychosis, schizophrenia and a drop in IQ in young, still-developing brains.
The information on the harmful effects of cannabis on mental functioning was "surprising and scary" to them, says a newly released report by Harris Decima, commissioned by Health Canada at a cost of $95,000.It's been an aspect of HarperLand that the public service has been transformed into a personal partisan agency of the prime minister. The ad that is being aired was chosen based on focus group reactions according to which they found most alarming. It's obviously designed to give Harper's anti-marijuana stance more public support in the 2015 election and, best of all, it's electioneering on the public dime.