Hands Tied on Drug Laws, Senator Says 

Hands Tied on Drug Laws, Senator Says 
Posted by FoM on August 17, 2001 at 08:06:19 PT
By Robert McKenzie, Quebec Bureau
Source: Toronto Star
Canada is powerless to decriminalize personal use of marijuana unless the U.S. does so as well, says the chair of the Canadian Senate's special committee on illegal drugs.``Honestly, Canada won't be able to,'' Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin told reporters yesterday after addressing the annual general meeting of the National Association of Professional Police. The senator applauded Canada's decision to explore the controversial issue.
``But to move, to change our laws without the Americans doing so is just about impossible,'' he added.Like certain European countries who have gone ahead on their own and liberalized drug laws, Canada has the power to do so, he said, but it wouldn't likely do so alone.``In the everyday political reality of Canada's relations with the United States - you have the two biggest trading partners in the world - the American retaliatory measures would be enormous,'' he said. ``It's pretty well impossible that Canada could move forward.''But he suggested the Senate committee and the federal government can pave the way by educating the public on the issue, until public opinion forces the U.S. to consider the issue.``Canada can bring Americans around to moving forward and that, I believe, is what it going to happen,'' Nolin said.He compared Canada's role to its leadership on imposing economic sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime and convincing the U.S. to follow suit.``Canada, on occasion, can be the conscience of the United States,'' he said.The Progressive Conservative senator's comments came after a speech to police officers from major forces across Canada, in which he described them as part of the all-pervasive ``hypocrisy'' on the failure of repressive drug laws.He said too many officers - such as Ottawa's former police chief Tom Flanagan - wait until they've retired before declaring publicly that war on drugs is a failure.``How many specialized investigators will tell us the same thing in private but continue the next day to wage the war on drugs and defend it publicly,'' he added.Nolin said retired agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency have acted similarly, ``denouncing the hypocrisy of a prohibitionist system which serves as a screen for international diplomacy and where scare-mongering replaces common sense.''Several police participants at the meeting told Nolin it's becoming increasingly difficult to handle drug issues because the courts, and public opinion in some regions, are out of step with existing legislation.Tom Stamatakis, president of the Vancouver police union, said there's a perception of rampant tolerance of soft-drug use, and even production, in the city.Vancouver police can `smell the marijuana' as they walk the beat.Stamatakis said there are probably as many as 7,000 pot plantations within the Vancouver city limits and police on the beat can ``smell the marijuana'' as they walk the city streets.Nolin said similar tolerance is evident in Toronto where only 5 per cent of those charged and convicted of possession of drugs for personal use receive jail sentences, while as many as 55 per cent of those convicted elsewhere in Ontario go to jail.Brian Adkin, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, said police are only beginning to grapple with the implications of possible decriminalization of drug use.The Senate all-party committee, which will hold hearings in Toronto Sept. 10-11 before moving on to Vancouver, plans to bring down a first report on cannabis by August, 2002, followed by a fuller report on other drugs in 2003. Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)Author: Robert McKenzie, Quebec BureauPublished: August 17, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Toronto Star Contact: lettertoed Website: Related Articles & Web Site:FTE's Canadian Links Up Your Mind on Marijuana, Feds Urged in Canada - Gone To Pot Articles - Canada 
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Comment #6 posted by robertj7 on April 26, 2002 at 10:10:46 PT:
American attitude...
If you are offended at my remarks or embarrassed at your Senator's comments, it is your job to inform your government of that fact... Just a brief comment on this phrase. If this person knew anything about Canada in the first place, they would know that we don't have SENATORS, we have MLA'S. Secondly, Canada is a forerunner in International policy making and as usual, the United States chooses to never recognize Canada's contribution to international law. The U.S. refuses to cooperate with any country (KYOTO, anyone?). Canada is sick of American attitude! Wake up and learn something about your neighbours to the north (Yes, neighbour has a "u" in it, learn how to spell like the rest of the anglophone world as well...)
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Comment #5 posted by Dan B on August 17, 2001 at 22:42:18 PT:
Canada is Not A Soveriegn Nation
According to Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin, Canada is not a sovereign nation but, in fact, a country beholden to the whims of its fascist neighbor to the south. Strange how the United States does not make policy in light of what Canada might think, or what Mexico might do.This is proof that Canada is a weak nation incapable of existence outside America's fascist umbrella. Have some balls, Canada. If America attacks you, the world will attack America. If you are incapable of making your own policies, why bother calling yourselves a country? You're an American state, with none of the privileges of being so manured (that's no typo), and all of the trappings thereof.If Canada wants to be a sovereign nation, the best way to do so is to stop kow-towing to American interests. You're your own country; start acting like it.I make no apologies to any Canadians out there who may be offended at my remarks. If you are offended at my remarks or embarrassed at your Senator's comments, it is your job to inform your government of that fact. Tell them that you will not stand for America dictating its policies to Canada. If Canada cannot dictate its own policies, it cannot declare itself to be a free country.Dan B
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Comment #4 posted by lookinside on August 17, 2001 at 19:12:59 PT:
canada a sovereign nation? do they think the U.S. can affordto place sanctions against it's largest trading partner? ithink not...the shrub would wring his hands and step up druginspections at border check points...and then whoever iselected in 2004 would follow canada's example...
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Comment #3 posted by JSM on August 17, 2001 at 10:05:14 PT
Very interesting. If the current drug laws are seen as a threat to Canada's sovereignity perhaps the good citizens of that nation have find the emotional issue needed to go ahead and legalize. After all, being a colony of the Dirty Uncle is very unpleasant no matter what benefits they may reap.
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on August 17, 2001 at 09:32:36 PT:
Merci, M. Nolin
Although I heartly agree with Doug's sentiments, we have one ray of light to be thankful for:Pols throughout the Americas are calling for an end to the Drugwar. Hugo Batlle, Vicente Fox, and now Senator Nolin. And I have no doubt their voices will be joined by others. The 'voices in the widerness' are increasing in volume...and pitch. A fact antis are becoming increasingly uncomfortable about....
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Comment #1 posted by Doug on August 17, 2001 at 09:17:25 PT
Talk About Empereor's New Clothes
Here is a great example where everyone knows the law doesn't work, and still no one feels they can change the law. Part of the problem is obviously the great power of the U.S., and no one dares to go against them.But don't they see that this situation leads to all manner of evil; no one believes these laws have any meaning, and soon most laws will be considered the same.The solution will be de facto decriminalization and perhaps even de facto legalization (such as the Netherlands') which will provide some satisfaction. But having laws on the books that are not enforced is also an ugly situation, since those laws then can be used to attack on those who are disliked by the state.
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