Pubdate: Wed, 09 Jun 2004
Source: Surrey Now (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc., A Canwest Company
Author: Tom Zytaruk
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (British Columbia, 


Take it up with the feds, Geoff Plant says.

Local voters should make tougher laws a federal election issue, B.C.'s 
attorney general advises.

"I can't imagine a better time to send a message about the Criminal Code 
and whether it's working than right in the middle of a federal election 
campaign," Plant said, "where there's a whole bunch of people who want to 
go take a message to Ottawa on behalf of the people of British Columbia."

Plant, B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman and seven other Liberal MLAs met 
yesterday with 25 leaders of the Lower Mainland's Sikh community in Newton 
to discuss Indo-Canadian gang violence.

Over the past 10 years, more than 50 young Indo-Canadian men in Greater 
Vancouver have been killed over drug trade turf.

"No one thinks that there is a magic wand that one person can wave and make 
the problem go away," Plant said.

The meeting was closed to the press.

Asked why, provincial government spokesman Kelly Gleason replied, "You 
either have people who are media shy or other people who want to make the 
media show, and we want to make sure they have as open and frank a 
discussion as possible. It's really as simple as that."

After the meeting, Plant told reporters that the participants had "a good 
discussion about the work that we all need to do to persuade the federal 
government that the penalties for grow-ops need to be toughened up."

Randip S. Sarai, with Virsa (Sikh Alliance Against Youth Violence), was one 
of the participants. He noted that Greater Vancouver's problem with 
Indo-Canadian youth violence is not shared by other big cities.

"It's not a cultural problem, and we're trying to figure out why this 
problem is so epidemic here ... and not across Canada or anywhere else."

B.C.'s flourishing marijuana industry is "probably one of the huge causes 
of this problem," he added. 
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