Pubdate: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Source: See Magazine (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 SEE Magazine


Harper Government Can't See The Doughnuts For The Weed

Our Conservative federal government, much beloved of right-wing
religious folk, has made me think a lot about sin lately. The seven
cardinal or deadly sins of Christian fame are rooted in basic
character flaws that humans have found difficult to suppress or contain.

It's a good thing for all our consciences that believers have
displayed some readiness lately to ease up on some of the seven. It's
a shame, however, that they compensate by trying to tighten the screws
on those of us evincing less metaphysically challenging behaviour.

What the hell do I mean? No great surprise here, but the news came out
this week that arrests for marijuana-related offences have climbed
rapidly since Harper buried the previous government's plan to
decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot.

It seems to me rather arrogant of Conservatives to go after the venial
sins of pot smokers when so many Tory politicians are poster children
for the deadly sins of greed, pride, wrath, and yes, gluttony.

Tubby leads the discipline crew

Our prime minister, for example, is fat. Do you remember the sight of
Harper trapped in that awful vest at last year's summit with Bush and
Fox in Mexico? The Vest actually made its debut in Afghanistan, where
it fit in with the bulky uniforms and gear worn by our soldiers.

But it looked ridiculous in Mexico, as the slinkier and better-dressed
Mexican and U.S. presidents nimbly negotiated the steps of Mayan
pyramids while Harper did his Michelin Man impression, waddling behind
them with his arms out. Never mind that he was the youngest of the
three leaders, and that he used to be a runner. He appeared as flaccid
and gross as his government's agenda.

The Vest is gone, but the tubbiness remains. Does this matter? Why
should we care if Harper becomes clinically obese? I could say that
he's a role model for impressionable young people, but I don't think
that's true. And should his gooiness lead to incapacitation, the
government would carry on.

I raise this issue mainly because it's entertaining to see a control
freak like Harper losing the battle of the bulge, and because it seems
hypocritical of a glutton like him to insist on punishing other people
for their vices.

Harperites hate pot for what they believe are sound reasons. Because
pot is BAD! It is EVIL! It causes rape, murder and lewd dancing. If
potheads had their way, we would all sing "White Rabbit" instead of "O
Canada" at hockey games, and don't even ask about the maple leaf.
There have even been credible reports of cannibalism among B.C.
greenhouse growers.

Never mind that terminally and chronically ill people need pot for
pain and symptom relief, and that the best stuff comes from private
sellers and not from the limited store maintained by Weed Canada. Or
that pot is far less socially destructive than alcohol, the Tory drug
of choice (after Seconal and Percodan). The country's moral fibre must
be protected, damn it, and pass me another fucking donut.

* * *

Conservatives are two-faced punishment freaks at heart. They live to
condemn, restrict, and punish the private choices of others while
indulging their own.

And their efforts at controlling vices they don't like aren't even
effective. The other big pot-related story of the week was the release
of UN's 2007 World Drug Report, which notes that Canadians lead the
western world in cannabis consumption, and that our stuff is purer,
more potent (just like our beer) and cheaper than the Americans'.

We see this controlling impulse at work at the provincial level too,
where defeated Tory leadership candidate Ted Morton is championing the
raising of the drinking age. One cannot even begin to imagine him
trying to age-restrict truly dangerous behaviour, like signing up for
police or military duty--the body matters not, it's the soul that's

I'm not a pothead or a big drinker, and a brisk walk, sexual
depravity, or a good film, play or book are my preferred paths to
altered consciousness. But I don't see the benefit, the necessity, or
the morality of condemning the choices others make in this respect.

We don't need morality police as our political administrators, and
it's time Canadians started calling them on it.
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MAP posted-by: Derek