Saturday, September 29, 2007

War On Reason

Here comes another gang of ideologues, who think they can succeed where EVERYONE else has failed, all the while wasting money and resources, on a lost cause:
Health Minister Tony Clement will announce it’s anti-drug strategy this week with a stark warning: “the party’s over” for illicit drug users.
“In the next few days, we’re going to be back in the business of an anti-drug strategy,” Clement told The Canadian Press.

The truly assinine part, Clement seems posed to target marijuana:
Shortly after taking office early last year, the Conservatives decided not to go ahead with a Liberal bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Since then, the number of people arrested for smoking pot has jumped dramatically in several Canadian cities, in some cases jumping by more than one third.

Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax all reported increases of between 20 and 50 per cent in 2006 of arrests for possession of cannabis, compared with the previous year.

As a result thousands of people were charged with a criminal offence that, under the previous Liberal government, was on the verge of being classified as a misdemeanour.

Police forces said many young people were under the impression that the decriminalization bill had already passed and were smoking up more boldly than they’ve ever done before.

Clement says his government wants to clear up the uncertainty

“There’s been a lot of mixed messages going out about illicit drugs,” Clement said in an interview Saturday after a symposium designed to bring together Canada’s arts and health communities to combat mental health issues.

There’s also a health-care cost element to suggesting to young people that using illicit drugs is OK, the minister said.

“The fact of the matter is they’re unhealthy,” Clement said.

“They create poor health outcomes.”

Planning to outlaw cheeseburgers too? I don't need an out of shape PM, who's arteries are more clogged than the 401 at 8am, telling me what's good for my health.

Just when the Canadian government was starting to treat a "soft" drug like adults, instituting a policy of consistency, when compared with legal forms of "abuse", the Conservatives enter the scene, prepared to save us all from ourselves. How many times has this approach been tried and failed, failed badly? What a complete and utter waste of time. Focus on the really bad characters, I can't believe we have to endure another "war on drugs".


KC said...

Once again the Conservatives are fooling themselves. The "party is [as] over" as the "long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments". People will go on smoking their pot as if nothing happened. Marijuans isn't going anytwhere and its sad that another government (the Liberals were hardly better) thinks it can eliminate it with more prohibition.

Anonymous said...

The long time bikering is over with provinces and with respect to the current huge surplus - Flaherty said last spring that the day of March madness spending and surpluses are over - now this?

Obviously they're all talk no action or don't know what the hell they are doing.

It would seem to me, money better spent of dealing with hard drugs.

...sort of makes you think of a police state doesn't it?

So, that's all Clements has done for the last 4 months?

Oldschool said...

Walk around Vancouver's east side . . . look at the wasted lives . . . sad situation to say the least, but, one thing most of these folks have in common . . . the majority of them started their drug habit smoking weed.
That is not to say that you will move on to other drugs if you smoke the crap . . . but many will. Not only is the stuff more carcinogenic than tobacco, it seems to effect judgement and logic.
Why do you suppose most of the pro dope smokers are lefties?
Seems the left, have fewer children, and their children want to smoke stuff . . . seems to me that the left doesn't have a great future, between abortion and substance abuse, they could be an endangered species before they know it!!!!

Anonymous said...

They're going to have to scrap the medical marijuana legislation too. Leaves the door too open for Charter challenges. Safe injection gone. Needle exchange programs gone. Winding the clock back to 1990.

Along with several other things that have come to light in the last day or two (Blackwater training Cdn troops, arresting human rights workers and so on) my pride in being Canadian is rapidly leaking.

ottlib said...

Tony Clement playing to the Conservative base. Are you really surprised?

Old school, what have you been smoking?

tarobins said...


Walk around Vancouver's east side . . . look at the wasted lives . . . sad situation to say the least, but, one thing most of these folks have in common . . . the majority of them started their drug habit smoking weed.

A lot of people living one the streets also abused alcohol, should that therefore be banned too?

Karen said...

Big surprise...not.

I'm glad though, they keep giving us a broader base to play to. Clement's announcement surprises no one.

It's wrong headed and regressive. Surely people will see how this government is turning back the clock?

oldschool, you live in a cocoon. That's not all bad, at some point, you'll mature and experience reality.

To restate it, the con's are now being arrogant with their agenda...a Liberal gold mine, given that is where most of the country lies...bring it on.

Sean Cummings said...

Alert! Alert!

This would be the Tories appealing to their base. Nothing to see here folks.

Mike said...

So now we can consider Tony Clement and the Conservatives personally responsible for the rise in gun crime and violence that is caused by asinine "war on drugs" (see the US, for example).

Take note, oldschool, draconian drug laws are the reason those people in Vancouver are in the situation they are in. Prohibition causes scarcity, drives up the price of drugs, making it an lucrative and attractive to organized crime and gangs. And because illegality and prohibition take socially acceptable methods of dispute resolution unusable, leaving only violence and intimidation. The high price forces users to turn to other crimes to support their habits and choices. All leading us to more crimes of property, and of violence such as murder.

In short, this plan is a recipe for crime that will only serve to enrich Toronto street gangs and folks like the Hell's Angels.

And clement and the Conservatives must be stopped.

Aaron said...

Older people just assume it will always be illegal, but its fun to tell younger folks that marijauna possesion is still a crime in Canada.
"What!," they say, "I thought it was legal." No, the Conservatives are about to launch a new war on drugs. Did you vote Conservative in the last election?
"Those bastards"
Yeah I know, I know...

Canajun said...

Oldschool said, "Walk around Vancouver's east side . . . look at the wasted lives . . . sad situation to say the least, but, one thing most of these folks have in common . . . the majority of them started their drug habit smoking weed.". And the majority of THEM started life drinking mother's milk. The cause and effect argument in either case is equally ridiculous.
If there is any causal relationship between marijuana use and graduating to harder drugs, it is that using marijuana today exposes young people to the, if you will, underworld - the illegal world of drugs and drug dealing. Once immersed and somewhat comfortable in that world, exposure to other substances is increased and they become easier to access and experiment with. Legalising marijuana takes it out of that environment and therefore removes that exposure and temptation.
The US-style war on drugs has done nothing to solve the addiction problems in the US (or anywhere in the world for that matter) and in fact has only to bigger problems.

Anonymous said...

Is crystal Meth in the same category as MJ..come on..our children get into meth.. not Marijuana.

Anonymous said...

To me Steve, the truly assinine point is that as a society we are doing everthing we can to make life difficult for smokers.

Smokers pay millions of tax dollars, but we complain when they use the heath system.

Now we think that we should just let everyone smoke marijuana?

KC said...

This argument that the tightening of laws re: tobacco renders and liberalization of laws on marijuana contradictory is asinine.

Yes we have increased taxes on tobacco (to pay for the increased cost of health care). Yes you can't smoke in restraunts and bars anymore.

But the most important point is that cigarettes REMAIN LEGAL and will remain legal in the future. You CAN smoke them. You just can't smoke them when there is the potential for harming others--which would be the exact same restrictions on marijuana if it was legalized.

Far from being inconsistent, legalizing pot while tightening laws on cigarettes makes our legislation MORE not less consistent. Both pot and tobacco SHOULD be illegal but you should not be allowed to smoke either where other people are forced to inhale your smoke.

burlivespipe said...

At one time I thought the police (at least on the west coast) were supportive of making it a misdeamnor. It at least provided some sort of penalty, since the courts don't take minor possession serious enuf nor has the time to really prosecute. It just ties up the courts when real crime needs its time.
If the money spent on chasing little Jonny and Jane Joint-smoker and put in on gang crime, there would be a much bigger benefit, methinks. And this thing about cancelling/outlawing the needle exchange policy -- well, no wonder they didn't want to show their faces at last year's AIDS symposium. They'd much rather stick their heads in the sand than think its a health crisis that needs inventive strategy...

Anonymous said...

Hey Old School - I'm older too, but I do read and keep up-to-date, talk lots to my neices and nephews. This war on drugs is doomed - it didn't work in the US and it won't work here. Same as using the US crime package - it isn't working there and it won't work here.

Why on earth would a so-called intelligent man keep using US policies that fail? It's "marketing" methods of Frank Luntz - Harper's US strategist and the same one used by Bush. He's even helped out Howard in Australia.

Well, Bush will be gone in about a year and Howard's polling numbers are plummeting - and we'll be stuck with US policies that are failures?

My girlfriend had MS (may she rest in peace) and marijuana helped her a lot - she wasn't a pothead - never did drugs in her life, but it did help her.

Don't you think it would be wiser to research some plans that may work rather than copy failed policies?

Anonymous said...

This "war on drugs" ha - yet another fine example of what happens when the job (running the country) is given to someone who is NOT qualified. Try as they may, they simply don't get it.

Steve V said...

I think knb makes a great point, this strategy confines their support, because last time I checked the majority of Canadians favored a gradual decriminalization for marijuana. This strategy might play well with the narrow base, but it reeks of neo-con ideology and people are educated enough now to know the plan is doomed to fail. What the likes of noschool think is irrelevant, because that viewpoint gets more outdated with each day.

There are some really dangerous drugs out there, and sometimes teenagers aren't equipped with the knowledge to make good choices. This money should be spent on education and awareness, with the enforcement component focused on meth labs and such.

Cliff said...

There's an interview with the chief of police in Amsterdam - it's in the excellent documentary Sex, Drugs and Democracy, check it out - where he was asked if he wanted to see a crack down on marijuana. He looked at the interviewer like he was crazy. 'No, I want to spend my budget going after coke and heroin dealers, not waste it on harmless pot users.'

As has been pointed out any suggestion that pot leads to harder drugs is of course an argument for legalization to end the participation of criminal elements in the marijuana trade.