The BC League for Ethical Action on Drugs is a coalition of students and academics centered around Simon Fraser University who promote anti-prohibitionist drug policies.
In May of 1994 we sent a questionnaire to all 295 members of Parliament, asking them specific questions about their views on drug policy and their opinions of the Frankfurt resolution.
As of this date we have received forty seven responses, of which twenty were simple acknowledgements that they had received our questionnaire. Another eight gave a reason for choosing not to answer our questions. None of these provided us with any other comments or response.
Of the eighteen members of parliament who gave some sort of answer to the questions posed them, thirteen expressed support for a continued or stepped up prohibition of criminal prohibtion, while six members of paliament showed some support for ending the War on Drugs.
Following are the six positive responses, followed by a selection of the others in alphabetical order.
As you are aware, `zero tolerance’ approaches adopted by other countries, notably the United States, fail to address the root causes of substance abuse, and have resulted in an increase in crime and decreased overall health status…
I favour the decriminalization of marijuana, and in a broad sense feel that more would be gained that lost if this action was undertaken. I have held this opinion for several years.
Chair, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs
I share the judgement of many that prohibitions of addictive drugs historically have not worked well. The costs of enforcement have been excessively high in terms of both taxpayers’ money and personal freedoms. Therefore, I fully support all efforts aimed at raising the issues of the costs and benefits of prohibition…
However, I have two grave concerns… First, how do you respond to people who say that they are unwilling to bail out the users of drugs through the use of their taxes? And if we make available freely now prohibited drugs… what will be the increase in unemployment, sickness and indigence?
Reform, Capilano — Howe Sound
…I am generally supportive of the suggestions and principles outlined in the [Frankfurt] resolution. It is not a fully exhaustive overview enlightened, modern day drug regulation policy, but it makes an excellent start on the issue indeed, one that I personally as an MP would endorse examining in more detail.
However… such an opinion is only my personal view on this very contentious topic. It is not Reform Party policy, nor do I think that it would have any chance of being endorsed as Reform policy at any point in the near future.
Reform, Kootenay West–Revelstoke
In either 1978 or 1980 at the NDP Winnipeg convention a resolution was passed calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. This, I believe, is still the official policy of the New Democratic Party.
Simon de Jong
NDP, Regina– Qu’Appelle
I support the decriminalization of marijuana and condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing hypocrisy of laws which criminalize marijuana while supporting the far more destructive legal drugs of alcohol and tobacco. It is a regressive move for the federal government to be considering penalties for possession of marijuana.
I do believe that users should be charged, but shouldn’t have a criminal record. It is the same as having a speeding ticket, you do get a ticket but you aren’t considered a criminal…
I feel that it wouldn’t be possible to prohibit alcohol, however, this isn’t the case with marijuana. It presently isn’t allowed and I want it to remain illegal.
Reform, Wild Rose
It may be true that the illegality of drugs may lead to the presence of certain impurities in the product, but this manifestation may also supply a certain deterrent value. If someone is going to break the law, there are always certain risks involved and although I would not wish negative medical consequences on anyone, the realization that drug use is dangerous may well deter a potential user from starting in the first place.
Reform, Calgary North
…it would be premature for me to comment on the issue before the committee [on Bill C-7]makes its report.
It is my distinct impression that the person who uses mind altering drugs (and aren’t they all in this category) is not as well off as the person who doesn’t use them. Most of these drugs are very harmful, and some can even cause death.
It seems logical to me, therefore, that one should take whatever steps one can to decrease, limit and discourage the availability and use of these drugs… I believe that the majority of Canadians would share the view that keeping drug use under legal control is best.
Reform, Elk Island
I have spent twenty two years in the Criminal Justice System and have had to deal directly with those individuals who have destroyed their lives and others because of drug use…
Drug abuse is a stain on our society; there are no victimless crimes. The seductive entrapment of the addictive psychology must be guarded against by both a controlling legal climate and a compassionate social policy that deals with the tragic effects of drug abuse.
Reform, New Westminster–Burnaby
Marijuana is an illegal substance for good reason. As an individual who was worked as a law enforcement officer for over twenty years, I have had the opportunity to see the abuse of this so-called soft drug. In fact, I would fight to have increased enforcement of the Narcotic Control Act in order to limit the activity of traffickers who continually prey upon our youngsters.
Reform , Calgary Northeast
Despite the studies which you cite in your attachment… there are numerous current studies which show that the use of cannabis is indeed harmful to the user. At a time when we are moving towards discouraging the use of tobacco products I cannot see the reason for allowing greater access to a narcotic substance.
Reform, Port Moody–Coquitlam
The Reform Caucus opposes Bill C-7 in its present form, and we will continue to urge the government to develop a new drug strategy. The bill has received widespread condemnation for its size, complexity and poor draftsmanship. We feel this bill requires additional study.
Correspondence Coordinator for Preston Manning
With respect to the health hazards associated with the use of controlled substances such as marijuana, these have been well documented by the scientific community. Social hazards associated with the use of these drugs are also well known. Moreover, a control over possession of the scheduled controlled substances in Bill C-7 is required under the abovementioned international agreements.
Liberal , Sudbury
Minister of National Health and Welfare
…rather than legalizing drugs to control quality, I believe that greater efforts should be made to educate people, in particular young people, of the short and long term hazards of drug use.
Liberal, Annapolis Valley–Hants
Decriminalizing cannabis (marijuana) could well result in a greater use of the drug by Canadians, thereby increasing the health and safety hazards associated with it. While research on the effects of its use continues, enough is known to clearly identify significant health hazards.
…decriminalizing cannabis is likely to meet with considerable opposition from the public. Although past surveys of public attitudes toward drug use and its control showed some dissatisfaction with the current control regime, the surveys have consistently shown that most groups oppose liberalizing access to drugs. Accordingly, this government has no plans to decriminalize cannabis.
Liberal, Etobicoke Centre
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
When asked my personal opinion, the legalization of marijuana is not a high priority for me at this stage.
Reform, Calgary Centre
Reform MP’s are required by the Constitution of the Reform Party to represent the majority opinion of the voters in the riding regardless of the MP’s personal beliefs. For that reason, my personal position is of no relevance I will always vote the majority position on moral issues such as the legalization of drugs.
Reform, North Vancouver
I do not agree that marijuana should be legalized and would not support changes to Canadian law that would permit its legal consumption.