Pubdate: Wed, 01 Feb 2012
Source: Bracebridge Examiner (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 The Bracebridge Examiner Ltd.
Author: Dan Mulligan


As a currently serving police officer, I must preface the following 
commentary with the proviso that the opinions expressed below are 
simply my own personal opinions and do not represent the 
position/thoughts/policy of my employer.

They say politics is the art of the possible.

Had someone suggested to me three months ago that a 35-plus-year 
Progressive Conservative would've switched federal political stripes 
at my age (and profession) I undoubtedly would've laughed it off. The 
hook was a proposed policy resolution (#117) brought forward to the 
Liberal Party of Canada's biennial convention in Ottawa recently.

Created by the Young Liberals of B.C., it amounts to a proposal for 
the party to endorse the legalization and regulation of marijuana as 
formal policy.

Following a good debate amongst a very large delegation of members 
from across this great country of ours, this resolution passed in an 
overwhelming majority of 77 per cent for versus 23 per cent against 
in a vote put to the floor.

As a new member and Parry Sound-Muskoka delegate, I had both the 
pleasure and privilege of being present for this historical vote as 
well as speaking in the debate for this resolution. I was provided 
with all of 60 seconds to convince my fellow delegates that it was 
high time for Liberals to support this measure in the primary 
interests of decriminalizing our youth, the future of our country.

While utilizing the age-old premise that future solutions can often 
be discovered through an honest reflection of the mistakes of the 
past, I reminded my fellow Liberals of the origin of marijuana prohibition.

In 1923, the Minister of Labour (Liberal MP William Lyon Mackenzie 
King) endorsed the addition of cannabis as a prohibited "narcotic" 
under the Opium and Narcotic Act, originally created in 1908. This 
measure was taken as a means to grant the RCMP wide-ranging search 
and seizure authorities in a concentrated, specifically targeted 
effort to eradicate via deportation what remained of the original 
17,000 Chinese immigrants brought over to Canada during the latter 
part of the 18th century as a sacrificial labour force to complete 
our "National Dream."  They subsequently settled in the lower 
mainland of B.C. Four thousand of them perished during their labours 
on this country's earliest mega-project.

Marijuana prohibition was born out of racism, pure and simple.

It was a shameful, despicable policy in 1923 and has done nothing but 
criminalize our youth since its inception.

The Liberal Party of Canada is determined to right this wrong.

Given that successive governments of various political thought since 
1923 have failed to rectify this prohibition of a relatively benign 
(and God-given) plant which boasts an incredibly surprising number of 
positive, medical attributes (Google "medical cannabis" ), we all 
must assume a degree of responsibility for the ongoing social, 
economical and criminal justice-related fallout from this wrongful prohibition.

Dan Mulligan

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