Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jul 2005
Source: Kamloops Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Kamloops Daily News
Author: Susan Duncan, A Daily News Editorial
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


There is a better way for the Kubby family to get its wish to live in
Canada. It needs to solve its problems in the United States and then
follow the same channels required of anyone else who wants to
immigrate to this country.

Steve Kubby is a fugitive from the United States living at Sun Peaks
so he can use marijuana, which he says is keeping him alive. Kubby has
adrenal cancer and smokes pot to control the symptoms of his disease.

Unfortunately, he was arrested four years ago in California for
possession of peyote and a magic-mushroom stem. He was convicted and
sentenced to 120 days, which the court says he could serve at home
because of his medical condition.

Kubby fled to Canada with his wife Michele and their two young
children. He applied for refugee status, saying he could die if he was
returned to the U.S. because he would not have access to marijuana.

He has had a series of hearings, all of which denied him the right to
claim status as a refugee. Last week, the Federal Court refused to
overturn the Immigration and Refugee Board decision.

Conservative MP Randy White was happy with the decision, arguing too
many criminals are fleeing to Canada to claim refugee status when
their cases have no merit. He is frustrated by the money being spent
to hold the hearings, which he believes are a waste of time.

He's wrong. Their cases should be heard because there are legitimate
refugees who deserve to have their matters heard in full. The refugee
protection system would lose all credibility if people like Randy
White could determine without a hearing which case was legitimate and
which was not.

Kubby has been treated fairly by the U.S. penal system with a promise
to let him serve his sentence at home. A judge in that country
recognized that he does have a medical condition, which could be
compromised by a jail term.

Kubby should have served his sentence, rather than trying to escape it
by crossing the border into Canada.

Canada cannot overrule the U.S. justice system when it appears to be
taking a reasonable position. Kubby's fears are understandable. He is
not going to want to take a chance on losing the one drug that he
believes is keeping him alive.

However, he should have made his application to come to Canada
properly in the first place and avoided a long, protracted battle that
he had little chance of winning from the outset.
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