Pubdate: Thu, 26 Sep 2002
Source: Carillon, The (CN MB)
Copyright: 2002 The Carillon
Author: Bruce Symington


Dear Sir:

There seems to be a lot of emotional language being used regarding the 
report of the committee headed by Senator Nolin. Lost in the rhetoric is 
one essential question: Why did they do it? Why did the senators, who have 
been handed a political hot potato, and, I am sure, want to do the best for 
Canadians, and are compassionate, caring people, recommend relegalizing 

Surely they would have foreseen the hate, criticism and mudslinging to 
which they have been subjected following the release of their report. It 
would have been so much easier to have just recommended minor changes, or a 
continuation of the status quo, and deflected the objections that would 
have followed as just a bunch of potheads complaining, that I have looked 
for any reasons why they would have subjected themselves to all that they 
have had to endure. I wondered whether they have all gone insane.

I don't think that is realistic. I wondered whether they are all stupid, 
and have been fooled by the glib arguments of the legalizers. I hardly 
think that all of them could be stupid or gullible. I wondered whether they 
might be so malicious that they would tear apart the fabric of our society 
by recommending reform, but that does not seem reasonable. Never has anyone 
suggested that the Senate is anything worse than valueless. Could it be 
that those who would retain the laws as they are simply did not come out 
and present them with any information in support of the status quo? Not 
very likely.

Could the arguments in favor of the status quo lacked credibility? Perhaps. 
Could it be that when they had studied the information available, the 
results of the studies, the recommendations of many committees which had 
previously studied this problem, the input of professionals in the field, 
and the differing approaches being taken in other parts of the world, that 
the arguments for reform were so compelling that the only recommendation 
that they could make, in all good conscience, is for relegalization of 

I came to the conclusion that this is the only realistic answer to the 
question. In other words, the senators, acting in our best interests and 
ignoring theirs, have, after studying everything, and seeing the big 
picture, recommended relegalization. How can I, a reasonable person who has 
not had the benefit of the information they had, without the benefit of the 
two years of investigation and public hearings, question their conclusions?

The last 30 years since the LeDain commission recommended decriminalization 
have seen many people arrested, fined and jailed, and their lives seriously 
affected because of the prohibition against taking the herb cannabis. Our 
Parliament directed the Senators to look at the situation and make 
recommendations, which they have. Now I feel we should trust the senators. 
If we do not, we are calling them either stupid, insane or malicious. We 
should direct our elected politicians to make the changes that the 
committee recommended, and finally try something new to deal with this 
situation. Let us now get on with the job of implementation.

Bruce Symington

Medicine Hat, AB
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth