HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Prof. Neil Boyd on Constable Gil Puder's situation
Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada)
Pubdate: Thu, 30 Apr 1998
Author: Neil Boyd, Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University

I can understand why Vancouver Police Chief Bruce Chambers didn't want
Constable Gil Puder to speak at the Fraser Institute's conference, Sensible
Solutions for the Urban Drug Problem (Decriminalize street drugs, city
police officer says, April 22). The chief clearly wants to preserve the
status quo; leaders of large bureaucracies have an understandable desire to
protect their territory.

Gil Puder is a former member of the Emergency Response Team, a decorated
veteran of the drug wars. An expert in police use of force, he doesn't
exactly look or act like a bleeding heart liberal. In 1984 he had to shoot
an addicted bank robber; 10 years ago he lost a friend and colleague,
killed by a cocaine trafficker during a police raid.

He has been a front line drug warrior and he's understandably frustrated by
the violence, the contradiction and the hypocrisy: among other things, the
officers who drink their beers, smoke their cigarretes and happily take the
pot smoker to court.

It's not a recipe for honest and equal treatment of Canadians, particularly
when all credible research indicates that alcohol and tobacco are much more
harmful to health than cannabis.

And trying to force police officers and others to keep quiet is even more
disturbing; it is only through open and civil debate that we will be able
to resolve our differences. The constable's speech took courage and

The Fraser Institute helped advance our understanding of the problems. Is
it possible any politicians are listening?