Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jun 2010
Source: Comox Valley Record (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Comox Valley Record
Author: Lisa Woolman


Dear editor,

Parenting is a difficult job. I understand policing, too, is a 
difficult job. However, there is no "black and white" book for 
parenting as there is with the law. At the foundation of democracy 
lies the responsibility to be critical of our society.

While trying to teach our kids to be good citizens, circumstances can 
become complicated indeed. At home, a framed letter of recognition to 
my great-grandfather, who "heroically strived . for honour among 
nations, the rights of humanity, and the freedom of the world," hangs 
on the wall, serving as a reminder of what it means to be Canadian. 
Sometimes, you have to take a stand to protect those "rights and 
freedoms." The danger posed by those who might abuse authority is far 
greater than that posed by a youth with a roach.

One might argue that a youth shouldn't have a roach; marijuana is 
illegal. As a parent, I would agree; first, because it is a drug; 
second, because it is illegal. However, I will not agree that our 
kids should be without "rights." The hypocrisy of a society that 
legalizes alcohol yet criminalizes marijuana is evident to many. 
Given the abuses of power taking place in all levels of our 
government, the rhetoric of the evils of marijuana seems to fall 
short. This begs the question: do our marijuana laws reflect the 
wishes of Canadians, or are we sacrificing our sovereignty and bowing 
to the highly unsuccessful American "war on drugs"?

Where might is not necessarily right - what recourse does a parent 
have? When a parent who comes to pick up a youth, who is crying and 
trembling on a curb (over a roach), is told to go away because they 
are obstructing justice, something is amiss.

Thereby, one might invoke the Canadian Constitution, which states you 
are entitled not to consent to a search of your personal property 
without a warrant. If a police officer says, "Let me look in your 
purse," you have the right to say no. Also, if you are not breaking 
any law and are waiting in the park for a parent to pick you up, you 
have the right not to be unreasonably detained. You may politely ask, 
"Am I free to leave?" Anything else you say can, and most certainly 
will, be used against you, as witnessed by myself and four young 
citizens. Therefore, there is the right to remain silent.

I wish no youth ever smoked pot, and that authority was never abused. 
But we are human, after all. So, I am reminded, there is a time for 
silence and a time to speak out.

Lisa Woolman
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart