The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

White paper is not a tactic to alienate youths from PN and garner votes – PL

Monday, 19 April 2021, 15:15 Last update: about 22 days ago

The White Paper on cannabis reforms was not devised as a tactic to garner votes for the upcoming election to alienate youths away from the Nationalist Party, the Labour party said in a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement Byron Camilleri and Member of Parliament Oliver Scicluna held a press conference as a response to a comment passed by Opposition Leader Bernard Grech on Sunday, who accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of proposing the White Paper in order to dissuade youths from the PN.

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Scicluna said that Grech’s comment presented youths in a disrespectful light, as it made them appear as though they cannot take responsible decision and are solely concerned with the cannabis consumption.

Scicluna said that the PL views youths as “responsible people who are the present and the future of our country”.

Grech presented this move as “cheap politics” on the PL’s part, Scicluna said.

The reform should not be considered as a “smoke-screen” to encourage youths that the PL is proposing progressive reforms simply to move with trends, he continued. 

Camilleri said that Grech’s comment sought not only to undermine the intelligence of youths, but also “the intelligence of our country”.

He spoke out against the fact that Grech does not wish to state his stance on the white paper because he is still consulting the document. He said this is no excuse because the cannabis debate has been on-going for years.

The White Paper was proposed so that any person or group can move forward with their thoughts on the reform and provide feedback to the government, not simply to “dangle a carrot” to voters Camilleri said.

Additionally, the White Paper reflects the progressive mentality of the PL as a whole, Camilleri said. This mentality was also reflected in the PL’s reform to revise the voting age from 18 years to 16 years in 2018 and the gender quota bill, which was approved last Wednesday.

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