Pubdate: Sun, 24 Sep 2000
Date: 09/24/2000
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Author: Eugene Oscapella

MP Paul Szabo alleges that the "health and social experts" who
appeared in 1994-95 before his health subcommittee on the bill that
became our drug law were "in total concensus" that drug "legalization"
would be a "terrible direction to go in". I beg to differ.("Day seeks
free vote on drug legalization", Sept. 20)

Neither the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy that I represented at
those hearings in 1994, nor the Canadian Bar Association, nor several
other respected groups of "health and social experts," ever took the
position he recalls.

His characterization of the debate on the issue is all the more
troubling, since in 1996 I restated our position before a Health of
Commons health committee examining drug policy. Mr Szabo was a member
of that committee as well. Looks like selective amnesia to me.

The Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, like many other
organizations, decries our intractable dependence on criminal
prohibition to deal with drug use.

Mr. Szabo and his party colleagues should read - or read again - the
excellent series by Dan Gardner on "Losing the War on Drugs".

They might also reflect on the federal government's 1982 statement on
using the criminal law. That statement, drafted by our prime minister
when he was minister of justice, maintained that the criminal law
should deal only with conduct for which other means of social control
are inadequate or inappropriate. Our drug laws totally ignore this
fundamental principle.

Eugene Oscapella, Ottawa, Canadian Foundation for Drug

Cited: Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy:
Bookmark: for Dan Gardner's series: