Canada's Conservatives Try Again with Mandatory Minimum Drug Bill [FEATURE]

Canada's Conservative minority government hopes the third time is the charm for its controversial measure to increase sentences for marijuana cultivation and introduce mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses. Now known as S-10, the measure will be taken up by the Senate when it returns from recess at end of next month.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa (math.nist.gov)
The bill is designed to "send a message" that "if you sell or produce drugs, you'll pay with jail time," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said when re-filing the bill in May.

Under the bill, anyone growing six or more plants for the purpose of drug trafficking could face a mandatory minimum six month jail sentence, with a one-year mandatory minimum for up to 200 plants and two years for up to 500 plants. Hash makers also face a one-year mandatory minimum.

The mandatory minimum sentences could be increased by half if any of a number of aggravating factors are claimed. These include whether a weapon was found on the premises, if minors were involved, if the location was unsafe, and whether pot production posed a danger to the public in a residential area.

The Conservatives' bill comes even as crime rates in Canada have fallen to a 30-year low and with majorities supporting marijuana legalization in recent polls.

"This is a terrible bill," said Jacob Hunter of Why Prohibition?, a web site set up by opponents of the bill to encourage online activism and social networking to defeat it. "I think the single worst provision is the 18-month mandatory minimum for making one pot brownie if the police can show you shared it with friends."

"The Conservatives have less than a third of the popular vote, and they think they have a mandate for these draconian measures," said Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa law professor and head of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy.

Last year's version of the bill, known as C-15, made it through the House of Commons with the support of the Liberals, but was softened slightly by Liberals in the Senate. But before the amended measure could pass, Prime Minister Harper ended the parliamentary session, killing the bill for the year.

In power since the 2006 elections, the Conservatives have been unable to win enough seats to form a majority government. Right now, the Conservatives hold 143 seats of the 307 in the House of Commons, with the Liberals holding 103, the Bloc Quebecois 51, and the New Democrats (NDP) 51.

That means the Conservatives are once again going to have to win over members of other parties to pass S-10. With the NDP and the Bloc both in solid opposition, the Conservatives will have to pick up support from the Liberals, but whether they will be able to do so remains to be seen. Last time, Liberal support got the bill over the top in the House, but this year, the Liberals are preparing for a possible called election in the fall or winter and may have had an infusion of spine-stiffener on the issue.

"The Liberals are running around like the cowardly lion," said Oscapella, who expressed dismay at their lack of principle. "There is no sign yet that they are doing anything other than kowtowing to the government on this issue."

"Last time the Liberals did support C-15 in the House, but modified and delayed it in the Senate," said Hunter, who was slightly more positive about the Liberals. "They were terrified of being soft on crime. This time, I'm hearing the Liberals won't be so easily cowed. They feel they can counter the soft on crime attack by attacking the Conservatives on cost. It will be a purely political decision for the Liberals."

Noting that the parliamentary budget office has set the price-tag of S-10 at $10 billion, Hunter said the high cost would be a wedge to use against the bill. "This has emboldened the opposition to attack the Conservative's law and order crime agenda as too costly," he said. "Plus, crime is a historic low, and these mandatory minimum policies have been tried in the US to poor effect."

In the Senate, Conservatives do have an outright majority of 54 of 105 Senate seats -- if the two Progressive Conservative senators are counted. The Liberals have 49 seats, and there are two independents. Conservative strength in the Senate may explain why the Harper government decided to place S-10 in the Senate instead of the House of Commons.

Opponents of S-10 are gathering their forces. They will have months or perhaps even a year to mobilize opposition as the bill moves through the parliamentary process.

"There is a lot of opposition to this bill in the media, which is coming out strongly against mandatory minimums and in favor of ending the war on drugs," noted Oscapella. "Yet the government wants to plow ahead. Faced with strong opposition, the more adamant they are that they will succeed," he said.

"This is all the more depressing because for years, the excuse was that the US would never let us do drug reform," the Ottawa attorney continued. "Now the rhetoric and the attitude in the US is changing, and this would be a time for us to move forward, but we're set to move backward. It's like George Bush came to Canada."

NDP MP Libby Davies, the party's drug policy critic, has been a stalwart in the fight against earlier incarnations of the bill and is likely to do so again. While, the East Vancouver MP was out of the office this week, Davies spoke out against the new bill back in May when it was introduced.

"I have been working at every turn to stop this failed, George Bush style war-on-drugs Bill that proposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes," Davies said. "My NDP colleagues and I voted a resounding no when this bill was introduced in the House as Bill C-15, but it was passed with the support of the Liberal Party. Now we have a second chance to stop this wrong-headed and costly legislation. The Conservatives’ iron fisted approach that criminalizes drug users is taking Canada in the wrong direction."

Why Prohibition? and other activist groups are preparing protests across Canada on October 2, as well as bombarding parliament and the government with messages opposing S-10. And that will be just the beginning of the campaign.

It looks like the Liberals hold the key to whether S-10 passes or fails. In the months ahead, expect the pressure on them to increase dramatically. And let's hope for the Conservatives that instead of third time is the charm, it's three strikes and you're out.

ottawa, ON
Canada
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Are they crazy?  They

Are they crazy?  They obviously want to go down the path the US has taken by incarcerating more people instead of looking at it as a flower.  MMS's keep the prison system full of people that would otherwise be living a normal life paying taxes, instead of costing the country. 

 

-- 
There's a war going on. It destroys lives and families, spawns violence, suspends civil liberties, tramples on the infirm, locks up millions of peaceful citizens, costs billions, and subjugates reason with fear.  And we're all paying for it.

Isn't it time to start using FACTS, and not PROPAGANDA?

It seems that the more statistics that prove we have less crime on our streets, the more government pushes to get more money from us to lock more of us in prison for lesser and lesser "crimes."  Things that were not crimes before, and still have no victims, except those who are entrapped and incarcerated for those "crimes."

Why are drugs illegal?  Because pharmaceutical companies don't want to reduce their profit margins.

Why are natural cures for cancer not used, or illegal?  Same reason.

Why is Stephen Harper--despite his pre-election protestations he would not--creating the foundation for a private prison system in Canada, despite the globally-known fact that private prisons do nothign to HELP society?  Why is this idiocy continuing, despite everyone who's ever spent 10 seconds actually looking into "the United Nations Drug War" finding more facts supporting repealing prohibition than even the idiotic propaganda we've all been fed since early childhood?

The time has come to take back our country, take back our BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, and to kick the REAL CRIMINALS out of positions of power.

Unfortunately, simple problems with simple fixes only exist in the real world...they do not exist in the halls of politics.

Want to clear up the fuel/energy problem?  Repeal cannabis/hemp prohibition.  Side effects:  We'll have an additional and ANNUALLY RENEWABLE source of food, fuel, lubricants, paint, paper (save the environment AND old growth forests!), building materials, automotive plastics and composites for body panels, interiors, et cetera...and that's not even scratching the surface!

Add to this the benefits in NOT WASTING BILLIONS every year arresting and imprisoning non-violent "offenders" for the mere possession of a plant?  That would save taxpayer's money, so the government of Canada refuses to consider this.

How about taking a few tens of billions of dollars out of the hands of criminals and foreign cartels?  That would make sense...so the government of Canada refuses to consider reality.

How about creating billions of dollars every year in sales taxes by simply legitimizing what 1/3 of the Canadian public is going to do anyway?

Think about the FACTS for a change.  We could stop WASTING money, start EARNING money, create JOBS, cut "terrorist funding", reduce the number of dangerous compounds on our streets and playgrounds...and all by simply doing something INTELLIGENT for a change.  And we wouldn't need to hire a single additional government employee to siphon more money from the public purse to do it!  We might even need LESS government employees, which would reduce our tax burdon even more!

In the early 1900's, cannabis/hemp was used as a raw material for over 35,000 different products.  Can you imagine what would happen if we only had common sense enough to make a safe, non-toxic, annually renewable plant "legal" again?  Now consider what we could use that plant for with a century's worth of scientific, medical, agricultural, engineering, processing, chemical and manufacturing technologies all applied to it?

The benefits to society as a whole would be absolutely astounding!

But then...that makes sense...doesn't cost the citizems their futures or their finances...so of course, our government will continue to avoid common sense, medical evidence, and scientific fact at all costs...and they will do so for as long as we continue to pay them to destroy this country, and it's citizens.

Why not learn a few FACTS, and stop buying into corporate, multinational and government PROPAGANDA PROGRAMS?

http://LEAP.cc - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

http://PhoenixTears.ca -  2500+ people CURED of cancer and other diseases!  IN CANADA!

(Google "Cannabis cures cancer" or "US Patent #6630507" for more information.)

http://JackHerer.com - How and WHY cannabis/hemp REALLY became illegal in the first place!

http://NORML.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002 - Medical advances using cannabis/hemp

Tell your family and your friends about the TRUTH, so that we can end this idiotic "war against the people" once and for all.

End prohibition, and free the people to simply live their lives as they see fit.  It's time to WAKE UP!

Image scans of *vintage* medicinal Cannabis documents!!!

THE.CANNABISREEDUCATIONTEAM.COM (under construction)

has image scans of MEDICINAL CANNABIS listed in the following

VINTAGE DOCUMENTS available for download:

 

 

 

-The Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America
[1851, 1864, 1875, 1882, 1893, 1905, 1916, 1926, 1936, 1942]

-The National Formulary
[1888, 1896, 1906, 1916, 1926, 1936, 1942]

-The Dispensatory of the United States of America
[1865, 1877, 1888, 1899, 1907, 1926, 1937]

-Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
{[Jul. 1883, I:51-52]; [12/03/1887, IX:731-732]; [Jan. 1896, XXVI:1145]; [10/15/1898, XXXI:882-891]; [08/18/1900, XXXV:457-458]; [05/01/1937, 108(18):1543-1544]; [06/26/1937, 108(26):2214-2215]; [10/16/1937, 109(16):63B-64B]; [01/16/1943, 121(3)]; [06/24/1944, 125(8):594-595];}

-CATALOGS of Abbott Laboratories
[1914, 1925, 1935]

-CATALOG of Bristol-Meyers Company
[1910]

-CATALOGS of Eli Lilly & Company
[1919, 1920, 1925, 1936, 1938]

-CATALOGS of E.R. Squibb & Sons
[1906, 1919]

-PRODUCT IMAGES AND ADVERTISEMENTS for Grimault & Co.

-CATALOG of J.L. Hopkins & Company
[1935]

-CATALOGS of Johnson & Johnson
[1905, 1915]

-CATALOGS of Merck & Co.
[1889, 1896, 1899, 1901, 1907, 1911, 1923, 1928, 1930, 1934, 1940, 1952]

-CATALOGS of Parke, Davis & Co.
[1894, 1906, 1907, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1920, 1925, 1929, 1934, 1937]

-CATALOG of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
[1901]

-CATALOG of Smith, Kline & French Co.
[1906]


AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

What is wrong with the people

What is wrong with the people who put these stupid a**'s in office to begin with?

Pharma feeds off Tobackgo

" Why are drugs illegal?  Because pharmaceutical companies don't want to reduce their profit margins. "

Another reader has it partly right.  Please don't forget pharmaceutical companies feed off the debris of hot burning overdose nicotine tobackgo $igarette genocide addiction.  (Check this: I read that one company, Pf----, has already made $46-bil. off one drug, Lipitor, mainly used to control blood pressure ailments which are overwhelmingly attributed to longtime $igarette smoking.) 

In turn, a high percentage of the traffic and murder hate crimes attributed to alcohol are made possible by "a $igarette or two", nicotine being the #1 enabling drug of alcohol abuse.  (Emboldens a drunk to drive; helps an angry drunk remember to take the gun along.)

A link, above, leads to statements by MP Davies who mentions Harm Reduction.  The ultimate harm reduction is to legalize cannabis, which will lead to a sweeping replacement of the ultimate harm, hot burning overdose $igarettes, with vaporizer, e-cigarette and one-hitters (with a screened crater so small you can't put in more than 25-mg. of any herb, be it cannabis, tobackgo or whatever).  Today owning any of these safety improvements subjects you to the danger of being arrested by a rogue cop, or (if you are a minor) spied on and repudiated by your panicky underinformed parents.  Please send a note to Ms. Davies encouraging her to exert leadership by distinguishing between cannabis and drugs and by resisting any temptation to prohibit for the predatory tobackgo marketmasters from whence cometh tax revenue alias bribe.

McD's picture

I Am (NOT) a Teapot

You know, Max, you've got some really interesting ideas. The problem is you're putting people off with needless repetition which makes you seem like a fruitcake. This is a terrible shame, because, having accessed your ideas for some time, I know how many people will just dismiss anything you write - most. What a terrible waste!

You need to make your writing more accessible to make the best use of the opportunity (this) forum(s) provide(s). Your grammar, syntax, spelling and even punctuation, which is extremely rare now, are excellent. You express complex ideas very well. There really isn't very much you need to do to attract much more interest, attention and even admiration. You're shooting yourself in the foot, though, with your clever-clever, kutsey-wutsey $pelling and your inability to resist returning to pet peeves. Leave them alone; don't pick at it; you don't want everyone to read everything you write with a pinch of salt because they've already allocated you to an aggrieved fruit-and-nut-cake's place, which is a difficult hole to climb out of.

As long as I can think of it as the bullet passing through your foot, rather than mine, I don't have to lose too much sleep over it. The thing is now, though, you see, with this drug debate having attained quite some topical importance these past few months, you're not shooting just yourself in the foot anymore. I wouldn't have thought of this forum - these comments - as a favourite source of bedtime reading for President Obama, but it comes up fairly prominently and regularly via search engines, particularly Google, so you may have been noticed by considerably more key players in this game than you might have thought.

Stop shooting our feet off, please!

Reply to comment | StoptheDrugWar.org

All these things will be properly cleaned and greasing or oiling will also be done if needed. A straightforward should have the level of quality you guarantee, your brand if you have got one and what features you carry. Theres no insurance to pay, no salary, and no benefits; youre just paying for affordable cleaning services.

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