Pubdate: Fri, 12 Aug 2005
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Alexandra Paul
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


The parents of a young crystal meth addict who was murdered by his
associates scoffed yesterday at Ottawa's get-tough sentencing

The federal government raised the maximum sentence for crystal meth
trafficking to life in prison from 10 years, bringing it in line with
cocaine and heroin.

"Well, you know, the first thought that came to my head? Easy to write
a law; hard to enforce it," said Floyd Wiebe, the father of T.J.
Wiebe, 20, from South St. Vital who was murdered in 2003.

"It's a terrible drug and it's cheap," said Wiebe. "But this will have
no effect... except for plea bargaining between crown attorneys and
defence lawyers."

Others with a personal stake in the damage inflicted by
methamphetamine addiction reacted with similar cynicism.

Critics said the announcement appears designed to draw marginally
tougher sentences from a reluctant judicial system, and bring Canada's
handling of drug crimes into line with the expectations of the United
States government. "They're doing the same old thing. They're saying
we've got to do something so let's toughen up the penalties," said
Ottawa drug lawyer Eugene Oscapella, of the Canadian Foundation for
Drug Policy.

"When you get right down to it this is politics. These are politicians
pretending to do something," he told CanWest News Service.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler called it "a kind of wake-up call that
deals with something that not only harms the user but the community of
which the user is a part."

At their meeting in Banff, Canada's premiers, particularly the four
westerners, applauded the move. Crystal meth is more prevalent in the

In Winnipeg, the announcement evoked disturbing memories for the

Their son T.J. Wiebe was murdered in a dispute involving crystal meth.
Another complicating factor in the mix was a love triangle between
T.J. and another young man who was a rival for the affections of a
17-year old girl. Wiebe was injected with a syringe of Draino,
strangled with a shoelace, stabbed in the throat and left to die in a
snowy field outside Winnipeg.

This spring, Anthony Pulsifer, not the young man who was the love
rival, was sentenced to life in prison on a conviction of conspiracy
to murder and second-degree murder for executing a January, 2003 plot
to kill Wiebe.

In the wake of the murder, Wiebe's parents have become standard
bearers in a crusade against methamphetamine, also called crank, speed
or ice.

They have started an education fund that is to be launched this
September in Grade 7 classes at the Louis Riel School Division. It
will offer small grants so students can stage theatrical performances
or social events that discourage illegal drug use.
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