Pubdate: Tue, 22 Aug 2000
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 The Ottawa Citizen
Contact:  1101 Baxter Rd.,Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3M4
Fax: 613-596-8522
Author: Matthew M. Elrod,


Ontario Attorney General Jim Flaherty insults our intelligence ("Ontario
moving to take the profit out of organized crime," Aug 20).

He said: "Any person with a basic understanding of organized crime would
know that violence is always associated with the drug trade and that the
drug trade is generally run by organized crime."

Any person with a basic understanding of economics will notice there is
little, if any, violence associated with the tobacco or pharmaceutical
industries.  The illicit drug industry is violent because it is outlawed and
the more rights we relinquish to escalate the futile "war on drugs" the more
violent it gets.

Mr. Flaherty tells us that the purpose of a recent international summit on
organized crime was to benefit from the experiences of other countries.
Under asset forfeiture laws in the U.S., there is no presumption of
innocence and no right to an attorney. The burden of proof is reversed.
Consequently, 90 per cent of forfeitures are uncontested and 80 per cent of
those who lose property to the government are never charged with any crime.

If prohibition and asset forfeiture are such great solutions to discouraging
vices, why don't we prohibit tobacco, a drug that kills more Canadians that
all illicit drugs combined? Then we could seize the assets of tobacco
dealers, too. Tobacco addicts would be forced to pay $100 a pack and the
ensuing gangland battle over the illicit tobacco trade would make the St.
Valentine's Day Massacre look like a tea party, but the police would make a

I have a better plan. Cut out the middle man. Under the so-called Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act, the police have broad powers of search and seizure
and the ability to conduct "reverse stings." The police should just sell
drugs and steal car stereos. All of the money with none of the violence,
trampled rights and invasions of privacy.

As G. Norman Collie explained, "To make certain that crime does not pay, the
government should take it over and try to run it."

Matthew M. Elrod, Victoria
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