Pubdate: Tue, 5 Jan 2010
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Travis Erbacher


Dear Editor,

It appears that the average person is not excited about mandatory
minimum sentences for drug crimes. Bill C-15 passed the senate
committee and has now been sent back to the House of Commons. The
interesting thing, however, is that the Conservatives seem to be
backing away from this terrible bill.

Liberal senators made some very minor adjustments, so that, if someone
grows five to 200 plants in a residential area they receive a
mandatory minimum sentence, but if they grow it in a rural area, they
do not. Curiously, with the exception of one upset rant from our
malicious justice minister, the Conservatives have downplayed their
disappointment with the amendments. They are beginning to realize that
this bill will cost them votes.

Justice minister Rob Nicholson has slimily squirmed his way out of
answering exactly why he thinks the bill will work. He has no
evidence, because there is none. He says that the majority of
Canadians want mandatory minimums for drug crimes.

That is a lie. Only 20 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot
for the Tory government, and many members of the Conservative party
support decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, and very few
support mandatory minimums. That means as few as one to 10 per cent of
citizens want this bill.

To give a big picture view here, it is estimated that 17 per cent of
Canadians smoked pot in 2004. Under bill C-15, if those people were
caught passing a joint, they would be guilty of trafficking, and
locked in a cage for a mandatory prison term of nine months.

This bill will lock up more citizens than the number who support the
bill. Who is driving the agenda? There is no doubt in my mind that the
one to 10 per cent who want to lock up peaceful, law-abiding citizens
for mandatory prison terms are police unions, prison guards,
pharmaceutical companies, and politicians who push an outdated "tough
on crime" agenda.

Prohibition is their business. If this bill passes, their business
will be good.

Travis Erbacher, Langley
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