Liberals Block Canada Mandatory Minimum Bill

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been thwarted once again in its effort to pass a bill that would impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. The opposition Liberals announced February 10 that they will not support the legislation.

Tough luck, Mr. Harper
Because Harper's Conservative government is a minority government, it needs the support of opposition parties in the House of Commons to pass the crime bill, S-10. But the other opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, have been staunch opponents of the measure. With the Liberals announcing they will vote against S-10, Harper's government doesn't have the votes to pass it.

The bill would have enacted mandatory minimum sentences for growing as few as six pot plants. The Liberals took their stand against it after Conservatives refused to say how much it would cost.

"This bill isn't tough on crime, it's dumb on crime," said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. "We're all in favor of cracking down on serious criminals, but this bill doesn't distinguish between massive grow-ops and a first-time offender with a small amount. What's more, the Conservatives won't tell us what the fiscal implications of this bill are. How many billions will it cost? How many mega-prisons will have to be built? For these reasons, we just can't support it," he said.

The bill had already passed the Senate, where the Conservatives hold a majority, but opposition had been growing as it headed for the House of Commons. Earlier this week, more than 550 health professionals signed an open letter opposing the bill.

"The scientific evidence shows that mandatory minimum sentences will not cut violent crime, reduce drug use or improve public safety," said Dr. Thomas Kerr, co‐director of the Urban Health Research Initiative, one of the groups behind the letter. "To turn the tide on organized crime and drug use in Canada we need illicit drug policies based on the best available scientific evidence. Unfortunately, Bill S‐10 turns its back on evidence‐based research in favor of misguided political appeal."

Canadian anti-prohibitionists welcomed the move by the Liberals. "We are extremely pleased that the Liberal Party has made its decision on the basis of evidence," said Kirk Tousaw, executive director of the Vancouver-based Beyond Prohibition Foundation. "This punishment plan would not have reduced crime, nor would it have made Canadian safer from the influence of gangs. In fact, the foundation has long argued that the evidence is clear that ramping up a war on drugs has the perverse effect of making drugs more available, cheaper and more potent while simultaneously increasing the profitability and violent tendencies of organized criminals. Today the Liberal Party of Canada decided to be smart on crime."

This year's effort to pass the crime bill was the third by the Harper government. Perhaps now the Tories will give it a rest.

Ottawa, ON
Canada
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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S-10

What more can you say?The Harper government has been trying to drag us down the path towards US style drug laws which have been so unsuccessful down there that even the GOP is now pushing for repeal of some of the more draconian laws.Too many in prison with no chance of parole,too many mandatory minimum sentences,too many Americans doing time.Harper had told Canadians it would cost 6 billion dollars but would not repeat that in the house.The reason the Liberals finally gave for voting down the bill.This was a really backward,unscientific,misguided bill and seeing it die is like a really great present.Thanks to everyone that sent an e mail or e mails to their MP and to the Party leaders.

Hurrah!

I'm so happy this bill flopped. It is a victory for the entire global legalization movement!  Way to go!

Ahhh! Thank you liberals.Feel

Ahhh! Thank you liberals.

Feel that, mmm fresh air! Finally a small crack in the drug war retardation. 

Great News

Great news - this really made my day!

 

Unfortunately there is a dark side to this.  The Liberals said they would have voted for it if it had been changed from 6 plants to 20.  The Liberals are playing a dangerous game here.  Hopefully the bill doesn't get reintroduced with those concessions in mind, and hopefully this is not just a short-term success. 

 

We have constant government-introduced bills to create more prohibition laws - where are the constant bills introduced to legalize and decriminalize?  This is what needs to be happening.

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare

If you support prohibition then you're either a black market profiteer, a terrorist, a corrupt politician, a sadomoralist, a wing-nut socialist or a fake-conservative.

If you support prohibition then you've helped trigger the worst crime wave in history,  raising gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging..

If you support prohibition you've a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

If you support prohibition you've helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

If you support prohibition you've helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

If you support prohibition you've helped to escalate Murder, Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

If you support prohibition you've helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

If you support prohibition you've helped to prevent the sick and dying from obtaining safe and effective medication.

If you support prohibition you've helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

If you support prohibition you've helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

If you support prohibition you've helped escalate the number of people on welfare.

If you support prohibition you're responsible for the horrific racial disparities which have bred generations of incarcerated and disenfranchised minorities.

If you support prohibition you've helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

If you support prohibition you're promoting a policy which kills our children, endangers our troops, counteracts our foreign policy and reduces much of the developing world to anarchy.

If you support prohibition then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, and the complete loss of the rule of law.

Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them; the concept of a "Drug-Free Society" is a neurotic fantasy and Prohibition's ills are a product of this psychotic delusion. 

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, corrupt or criminally insane.

Clueless NRA

In the USA the NRA supports mandatory minimum sentencing. As in Canada it is the clueless conservatives that most support filling up the jails. But in the USA, the NRA is very powerful. Many big-L Libertarians support the NRA come hell, high water, or family members serving time.

People see some of the

People see some of the effects of prohibition in the US. What they don't comment on is the effect on Cetral America, the Caribbean and northern South American. We face massive increases in crime, because WE have to pay for stupid US laws.

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