Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jul 2010
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Section: Maxed out
Copyright: 2010 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: G. D. Maxwell


As the deadline was approaching to submit my Grade 8 science project
proposal, I was in a quandary. Truth be told, I was woefully
disinterested in the whole science project idea. Loved science, loved
learning about it, loved doing the labs, hated the idea of coming up
with some dorky project that didn't involve blowing something up -
nixed from the outset - or subjecting someone I didn't particularly
like to an unpleasant electric shock.

In desperation, I turned to horticulture, chemistry and the
application of artificial sunshine. I proposed to grow a set of
identical plants differing only in the application of light, water and
fertilizer and measuring the effects in a kind of polynomial mess. I
thought it was a dorky idea but like I said, desperation was setting
in and it sounded vaguely scientific. Besides, I was a dorky kid.

My science teacher, a Harley-riding physicist who moonlighted at the
kind of government lab you had to deny working at and change the
subject whenever anyone asked, looked at my proposal, made a farting
noise with his mouth and said, "Why bother?"

Imagining he'd come around to my way of thinking about the whole
science project idea, I replied, "My thoughts exactly. Does this mean
I don't have to do a project?"

Apparently I'd misunderstood. "Of course you have to do a project,
just not this one. It's stupid. We know what the result will be. The
plants with less water, light and food will be smaller, weaker and

"Yes," I said, "but I'll be able to prove that scientifically, won't

He gave me a lecture about not doing things that would be meaningless
and not doing something I already knew the results of. It meant more
work, more thinking and more desperation but I had to admit it made

Apparently, John Weston, Whistleratics' member of Parliament - my
member, as I like to call him - never had a teacher quite like my
science teacher.

John introduced, and proudly let us know about its passage, a private
member's bill - and no, I absolutely refuse to call him my private
member - designed to make it illegal for anyone to possess, produce,
sell or import anything if the person doing so knows the anything in
question will be used to produce or traffic in crystal meth or
ecstasy. If you do that, you'll commit a felony and might be packed
off to jail for 10 years.

Lose you? Let's begin at the end of this chain. It's been illegal for
a long time to produce and/or traffic in methamphetamines and ex. I
don't know why people do meth since it is the poster child for the
Only Losers Do Drugs campaign, but then, I don't know why anyone would
lump ecstasy with meth either. One is a BB gun, the other a pipebomb.

Regardless, making and selling either will get you a long term in
striped pajamas. Using ecstasy to excess will screw you up. Using
crystal meth at all will really screw you up. The only saving grace is
you'll be so stupid you won't realize it until it's too late. Neither
will make you feel as good as getting naked with a friend and smoking
pot, which won't hurt you at all.

My member's bill will make the downstream activity of collecting,
possessing and selling the ingredients to make both drugs illegal. The
logical next step in this sweeping reform will be to make thinking
about collecting and possessing the ingredients illegal. I think the
official term for this is gilding the lily. It's deceptively shiny but
ultimately meaningless.

Oh, that it would be merely meaningless. In actual fact, it is just
another age-old political nostrum wrapped up in the hoopla of
self-promotion. It won't materially affect the production, use or
miserable consequences of either drug. It will give my member the
platform to stand erect and make noise about what a great guy he is
and how he's tackling the problem of drugs head on, so to speak. All
smoke, no fire.

Worse, it plays into this government's(sic) strong suit. It panders to
the law and order crowd without actually doing anything to solve the
problem. It furthers the Conservatives' model of criminalizing social
problems and diverting yet more funds to ineffective enforcement of
laws that don't work, have never worked and will never work to
actually tackle the problems of a drugged society. And in the end, it
will again set back any chance to use more enlightened, effective
techniques to keep your kids off crap like meth.

It's usually about this time journalists pull out Albert Einstein's
definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and
expecting different results. If this model of criminalizing an
activity had any efficacy in stopping people from doing harmful drugs
or helping them stop doing harmful drugs, we'd pretty much be a
drug-free society by now. Without dragging out the statistics, we all
know this particular approach is, well, insane.

I prefer different Einsteinisms when I ponder what might make someone
like my member think this idea is worth the paper it's written on.
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm
not sure about the universe." And the ever-popular, "He who joyfully
marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has
been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord
would surely suffice."

The supposedly well-run country of Canada spends almost three-quarters
of its massive drug policy budget - your money and mine - on enforcing
ineffective laws. It spends 14 per cent on drug treatment and less
than 6 per cent in total on prevention and harm reduction, the two
most effective legs of a sane drug policy stool. Even the United
Nations, a body more or less incapable of any widespread agreement,
recognizes prevention and harm reduction is vital to any reasonable
drug policy.

The Conservative government on the other hand dropped harm reduction
entirely from this country's drug policy in 2007 and has worked like
the dickens to shut down even the few experiments - Vancouver's Insite
safe-injection centre, for example - that have attempted to prove the
efficacy of that form of interdiction. Their bankrupt model is all
about continuing to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on guns,
badges, cops, jails and criminalization of a broad segment of society
through meaningless laws like Bill C-15. Insanity.

So I won't be joining my member's flaccid attempt at
self-aggrandizement. It just seems so pointless. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D