Pubdate: Mon, 16 Oct 2000
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 2000
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Charles LeDuc


I sympathize with Renee Boje who has fled to Canada to escape the
heavy-handed U.S. justice system (Fugitive from U.S. fears harsh justice
over "medical marijuana" charge, Oct 11).  If I were her, however, I would
not hold my breath for our justice system to treat her any more humanely by
upholding her claim to refugee status.  When it comes to standing up to the
U.S.'s zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs, Canada has no guts.  In June,
Allen Richardson, a long-time resident of West Vancouver, was extradited to
the U.S. to complete a prison term from which he escaped in 1971.  The
original sentence - four years hard-time for simple possession of $20 of LSD
- - was outlandish.  The fact that Mr. Richardson has lived an exemplary life
in Canada for nearly 30 years offered him no protection. Ms. Boje, whose
record is perhaps less stellar, is unlikely to get better treatment.

It is disturbing that a country like ours that claims to fight for human
rights cannot stand up against the outdated, oppressive drug laws that exist
in the U.S.  But in light of the growing lobby for marijuana legalization
within Canada, Ottawa cannot continue sweeping these cases under the
carpet.  Sooner or later we will have to face the reality that Canadian
society is different and that it ought to treat its inhabitants accordingly,
whatever the cost may be in terms of difficult diplomatic relations with the

Charles LeDuc, Vancouver
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