STOP BILL C-15! Mandatory Drug Sentences Bill Headed For Approval

A federal bill to impose automatic jail terms for drug crimes, for the first time in Canada, is headed for passage in the House of Commons in a final vote that could happen as early as Thursday.

If the proposed legislation succeeds as anticipated, judges will be stripped of their discretion on whether or not to incarcerate drug traffickers, including offenders who grow and then sell as few as five marijuana plants.

The bill was lambasted by 13 of the 16 witnesses who appeared before the House of Commons justice committee during public hearings this spring.

Two American critics warned minimum mandatory sentences for drug crimes have flooded U.S. prisons in the last 25 years, with a disproportionate effect on drug addicts, the poor, the young, blacks and other minorities.

The U.S. surpasses every other country by far in incarceration rates, and yet the drug business there has flourished.

“This will take us down the road of the U.S. experience, which has been a failure,” said New Democrat Libby Davies, whose party will vote against the bill in a third and final reading in the Commons, expected this week or next. The Bloc Quebecois will also oppose it.

The Liberals, who teamed up with the Conservatives to successfully usher the bill through the justice committee, will vote in favour, said MP Brian Murphy.

“These are trafficking offences, these are people who are in the commercial business of selling drugs,” said Murphy. “If you’re convicted of trafficking in drugs, I believe you should do the time that is indicated in this bill.”

But Davies accused the Liberals of supporting a bill they know is bad because “they don’t want to appear to be soft on crime.”

The Conservatives have defended their proposals — a centrepiece of the government’s tough-on-crime agenda — as a necessary tool to fight organized crime by sending the message that drug criminals will be treated harshly.

Several witnesses warned the justice committee the proposed legislation will fill jails with drug addicts rather than drug kingpins, who will continue to thrive, while small-time dealers are knocked out of commission.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, when questioned at the committee, declined to supply any evidence from other countries that mandatory minimum sentences have made any difference in deterring drug crime.

Nicholson asserted that the proposed legislation is a smart response to a public outcry to crack down on the growing scourge of drugs.

“I can tell you, there is support for this bill from many ordinary Canadians who are quite concerned about drug abuse,” he said.

The bill would impose one-year mandatory jail terms for marijuana-dealing when it’s linked to organized crime or a weapon is involved.

Minimum sentences would be increased to two years for dealing drugs, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine, to young people, or pushing drugs near a school or other places frequented by youths.

That means an 18-year-old who shared cocaine or heroin with a 17-year-old friend could be jailed for at least one year, and small-time addicts who are convicted of pushing drugs near youth hangouts would automatically go to prison.

The bill would impose six-month minimum jail terms for growing five to 200 marijuana plants to sell, and two years for larger growers.

Judges would have leeway to exempt certain offenders, provided they enter drug-court treatment programs that exist in several cities.

The expected passage of the new penalties comes at a time when several American states, most recently New York, have retreated from mandatory minimum sentences, amid mounting evidence they don’t make a difference in curtailing the drug trade.

Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in the U.S., told the justice committee the “essence of the ineffectiveness” of U.S. drug laws is that prosecutors have focused on incarcerating the small-scale dealers, thus detracting from catching the high-level traffickers.

“The Congress set low levels, and that has resulted in this misallocation of resources,” he said.

The federal government has provided no estimates on how much it would cost to imprison more inmates for drug crimes in Canada. Much of the cost will be incurred by provincial governments, which are responsible for jails, where prisoners serve sentences of less than two years.

There are already more than two dozen minimum prison terms in the Criminal Code, mainly for murder and offences involving firearms.

– Article from CanWest News Service.


How To Help Put A Stop To Bill C-15 and Mandatory Minimums in Canada

C-15 will be voted on once more before it passes out of the Parliament and into the Senate. It is absolutely imperative to tell your Member of Parliament to vote No on C-15.

Bill C-15, the proposed drug legislation by the Conservative Party of Canada, would impose mandatory minimum jail sentences for marijuana and a number of other draconian measures. Under C-15, an 18-year-old who shares a joint with a 17-year-old friend could end up in jail.

Tell your Member of Parliament to Vote No On C-15!.

WhyProhibition.ca now has a form emailer for MPs. Click here to send an email to Members of Parliament opposing Bill C-15. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the letter, fill in the fields and click send. It’s that simple!

We need everyone to send emails to our Members of Parliament if we are going to defeat C-15!

Email your members of Parliament today at WhyProhibition.ca!

Find your Member of Parliament’s contact info by postal code or by name.

For more information on C-15:
http://www.whyprohibition.ca/content/stephen-harper-introduces-mandatory-minimum-sentences-marijuana
http://www.parl.gc.ca/legisinfo/index.asp?Language=E&Session=22&query=5739&List=toc

To get involved in ending marijuana prohibition, create an account on WhyProhibition.ca
http://www.whyprohibition.ca/user/register

And Don’t for get to email senior Members of Parliament on WhyProhibition.ca:
http://www.whyprohibition.ca/campaign/vote-no-bill-c-15

Comments

11 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    if this bill passes, me and everyone I know will VOLUNTEER to be arrested for a drug offence. What will they do when 45% of the population is in jail?
    who will serve the fries?
    who will work at the bank?
    who will be your lawyer, when your lawyer is incarcerated?

    retards….

  2. Anonymous on

    This bill still has to get through the senate before the conservative government is defeated. I put the odds of that happening at 100 to 1 at best. 😉

  3. Frank B. Chavez III on

    In the US, mandatory sentencing lead to our over-crowded, and over burdened prison system. I thought our neighbors to the north had more sense…

  4. fighting for justice on

    I’d hate to see Canada become as shitty as it is here in America. That’d be a disgrace.

  5. ZachB on

    This bill is one step closer to the major problem the American penal system now faces with jailing non-violent drug offenders. 80% of prisoners in the US are being held on non-violent drug offenses many in privatized jails basically becoming slaves working for pennies while the jails’ stocks rise completely based on the number of prisoners. I wouldn’t be surprised if privatized jails started to pop up in Canada especially after jailing all of these ridiculous minor offenders.

  6. Dave on

    A replacement would most likely be the Liberals. Since Martin, I’ve lost confidence in them. Layton doesn’t seem any better? The Greens look good, but didn’t do very well in the recent BC provincial. Frankly, I’m tired of getting my hopes up then let down by lying bullies. Will our lives ever be valid? Why do I have to use their pills to be validated?

    I don’t think I’ve seen a more hateful bunch and Iggy’s supporting them? Can we vote for the Bloc.? Maybe our only real hope is to help Quebec separate then move in.

  7. Anonymous on

    If this bill passes it will only create more violence in Canadian streets it won’t make anything better, it will drive drug prices up creating a bigger incentive in the illicit trade, this will also destroy people’s live being sent to prison for having ten plants, this will turn canada into a war zone, it’s crazy, insane to artificially drive the drug prices up, how can the government think this will help.

  8. Anonymous on

    I hope the senate stalls this until we have a change in government.

  9. Adimus on

    Nicholson says “I can tell you, there is support for this bill from many ordinary Canadians who are quite concerned about drug abuse,” (and first off I’m a normal Canadian concerned about drug abuse who does NOT support this bill one single bit)

    That is not an adequate answer when the question is asking for your evidence (as per Libby Davies’ questions). The point is to provide Canadians with the evidence so we can decide what we want. If people without any evidence ask for something you dont just give it to them. you give them the evidence and they can then change their decision or leave it the same. I would imagine many of the Canadians he is refering to do not have knowledge of the studies that Nicholson is ignoring. Ones that state mandatory minimums do more harm then good.

    Imagine if you will a population of Canadians with no knowledge that cyanide is toxic (akin to Canadians without the knowledge that mandatory minimums are bad). For whatever reason it becomes a common belief that taking a cyanide pill once a month or something is very good for you (perhaps a rumour with someone supplying false information *cough* like our government on drugs *cough*) and this population wants this to be a mandatory thing via legislation. Is the government just going to happily pass a bill requiring people to take cyanide? Obviously they would supply them with studies showing the cyanide will kill them because the population doesnt know the consequences. Funny how when it comes to drugs they will just happily go along with the population that wants to damage itself (apparantly).

    This example may seem far fetched or extreme but its really not so different. People who need help (drug addiction is a health problem so obviously jail is not a good treatment) are going to end up rotting in jail while the real criminals are free to continue. Even those that are caught are quickly replaced. Often by younger people with less experiance that want it all fast which escalates the violence. Atleast old cartel leaders had respect and knew how to conduct business. Want to end drug violence? End prohibition. Want to end drug abuse? Spend money on treatment not incarceration.

  10. renney b. on

    the conservatives and the liberals are taking canada down the road to hell… it is a disgrace to our democracy that politicians that claim they represent the will of the people once they get into office and taste power becomes so corrupted… why would our so called leaders devise such a evil scheme to fill prisons and jails with nonviolent people !!! they must be blind, bought or just plain wicked bloob thirsty killers… what kind of legacy or lesson are they teaching the next generation; if you deny the truth and continue in the evil that past governments have perpetrated on so many vulnerable people… the poor, the sick and dying and the mothers and little children continue to suffer under these double minded politicians… we need a government for the people by the people, it is time to stop the destruction of the tree of life and the many people that rely on this royal family for medicines, food, cloths, sacrament and the many other uses for this prescious herbs… as ramesees said to moses, ‘ only god can set the people free…’ i cry to god on the behalf of all my people to stop this war on the treeof life and set us free. jesus spoke to the wind and the waves and said, ‘ peace be still…’ how can these evil rulers deny the 420 demonstrations, the global marjuana marches, hemp festivals and so many years of protests and demonstrations for the freedom of the tree of life… they are either deaf, blind of plain wicked; even steven harper say on national t v that he owns recordings of the beatles and other bands of the sixties and now he chooses to intensify the war on drugs… this guy is either a lier or an idiot; if you understand the struggles against prohibition why would you choose to continue the persecution !!! the ndp and the bloc god bless their souls thank you for your votes to stop this crazyness , i hope a few rebels emerge from the darkness and join the redemption of our souls and our homeland… legalization of cannabis / hemp is the way to go ; the message has been sounding for so many years it is the only way to progress and peace in our cities and towns and country sides… cannabis / hemp will not only revive the failing economy it will also reverse damages to the environment that is thecause of global climate change… the freedom of cannabis / hemp will enable a greener lifestyle and make for a healthier future for generations to come … we need to get off the war path and get on the path to peace, too many casualties, too many victims and too many lives lost… canada please do the right thing and stop this evil bill c-15. peace and love , from; renney b.

  11. Cory on

    This is going to be one of the hardest fights to deal with. Even canada no’s that nore people will now go to jail for growing something that is natural on this planet. selling weed which is basically selling flowers of the plant, now how stupid does that sound. Canada is suppose to be the peace of the world or peace keepers and this is where i live, iam ashamed of this country and how it is starting to act its just pure bullshit. don’t do the same this they did in the states and late ron failed now thats just canada not thinkin striaght.
    But everyone please keep sending yuor emails in, do it everyday please!!.
    HELP NOW!!!