HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Chief's Memo On Asian Pot Draws Fire
Pubdate: Thu, 02 May 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Scott Tracey
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Racial Issues)


GUELPH -- A memo from the Guelph police chief to members of city council 
has some in the community complaining of possible racist undertones.

The memo, on the chief's letterhead, announces an upcoming presentation 
about large marijuana growing operations and includes the title "Asian Grow 

"Isn't that kind of racist?" asked Jassy Narayan, project co-ordinator of 
Onward Willow, which works closely with immigrants settling in Guelph.

"Why would they label one ethnic group on something like this when 
marijuana has been in the country long before the Asian community?

"To say it's an Asian problem is labelling an entire group as criminals."

Guelph police Chief Rob Davis said the title of the memo came from his 
officers' recent involvement with large indoor marijuana-growing operations 
in Guelph and surrounding areas.

"Every major grow operation that's been uncovered in the past year and a 
half . . . has been Asian growers," the chief said. "That's where the name 
came from."

Davis said his drug officers routinely share information with police in 
other jurisdictions and have found strong evidence to suggest many of the 
large growing operations are connected.

"The information I have from the drug guys is it's clearly organized crime 
that's behind it."


The chief said the title of the memo is intended to reflect that the 
operations are being run by members of Asian organized crime rings, as 
opposed to other sectors of organized crime, such as the Mafia or biker gangs.

"I don't think we're out of line identifying them as being linked to Asian 
organized crime," the chief said, though he conceded by using the word 
"Asian" on the memo "maybe . . . we are unduly targeting one group."

Guelph probation officer Van Vu, who was born in Vietnam and came to Canada 
in 1980, said with recent world events, "we have to be really careful about 
putting labels on people."

Vu said the memo "is kind of upsetting because it targets all Asian 
people," and is evidence "that we need to focus on the importance of 
educating the public. We need to work together to stay away from these 
types of labels.

"I'm proud to be Vietnamese and to have the opportunity to come to Canada, 
get my education and become a citizen and give back to the community."

At the Guelph and District Multicultural Centre, director Pat Joannie said 
the police memo does not fairly reflect who is truly behind the drug trade.

"They don't mention that about 85 per cent of the people who are buying the 
drugs are white Anglo-Saxons," Joannie said.

"Can't they just discuss (marijuana) grow operations and leave the Asian 
part out of it? Why do they have to include a specific group?"
- ---
MAP posted-by: Ariel