The Conservative Party say they will give any Canadians caught selling more than 3 kilograms of marijuana a mandatory 24 months minimum in jail. The Conservatives, who lead the polls in Canada?s general election for next Monday, January 23, have already indicated they want mandatory jail terms for any Canadian growing marijuana.
They promised never to decriminalize marijuana. Aggressively. At an all candidates meeting in Toronto yesterday, while most candidates in the Trinity-Spadina riding favoured some form of reduction of penalties for marijuana use, the Conservative Party candidate Sam Goldstein railed at the assembled voters. Here?s what the Toronto Star reported:
Suddenly, the mood in the room turned dark as Conservative candidate Sam Goldstein, seething in his seat, took his turn. Pointing a menacing finger at the crowd, he chastised them for wanting candidates to control gun crime in their city, while wanting to legalize a drug that was causing the gang warfare on their streets.
?You are supporting gang violence in this city!? he roared. The crowd erupted in anger, shaking their fists as he continued to vent his disgust.
Mr. Goldstein is typical of the Conservative Party this election: Hang ?em High, and do not spare any sympathy for pot people.
Today in the Globe & Mail, a Conservative Party spokesperson made these policy announcements.
If elected January 23, the Conservatives will not decriminalize marijuana, a party spokesman confirmed, and they will not reintroduce a Liberal bill that would fine people caught possessing less than 15 grams of cannabis, instead of imposing criminal sentences.
The Conservatives are also promising to impose mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted in marijuana grow operations.
Anyone caught with more than three kilograms of marijuana (which has a street value of about $20,000, based on a price of $6,600 a kilogram, according to the testimony of police in B.C. courts), would receive a sentence of at least two years in prison.
If any of the four to five million Canadians of the cannabis culture needed any prodding to get out and vote against the Conservative policy which is sure to add thousands to the jails, then there they have it.
If the Conservative proposals become law, then the over 40,000 possession charges in Canada in 2004 will explode and penalties for possession will increase. Thousands more growers risk jail, the price of pot will double almost overnight, gun warfare over lucrative drug trading will become common, more families will be broken up as people get jailed for growing (over 250,000 Canadian grow marijuana) and selling (every grower selling his crop, all brokers of pot), and criminalized for even possessing.
The laws in Canada are going to be worse than laws in the United States in many ways. And in the USA, they jail 70 times more people than Canada, proportionately 7 times more by population (Canada has 33 million people compared to 330 million in the USA)
The Conservatives lead in national polls and are closing in a majority 4-year government.
The problem for anti-prohibitionists is that the Greens (6%), the New Democratic Party (17%) split the anti-prohibitionist vote with the fence-straddling Liberal Party, who are suffering a loss of popularity to the Conservatives.
On a personal note, I?d say that voting Conservative is a KILL MARC REFERENDUM for this election.
It is a certainty that the Conservatives would extradite me to a lifetime imprisonment in the USA. Vic Toews, the likely Justice Minister in a Conservative government is a nasty fundamentalist and represents the most severe regime possible for the cannabis community. As I have said, if I am extradited to the United States, Canadians will never see me alive again.
The Conservatives went out of their way to print in their policy proposals:
? Expedite deportation of non-citizens convicted of drug trafficking, drug importation, or running grow operations.
That?s just in case you want to know what the Conservatives would do with Renee Boje and Steve Kubby, although it?s also intended to deport Jamaican gang leaders in Toronto or Honduran cocaine dealers in Vancouver.
Mandatory minimum jail time or even mandatory jail time for possessing, selling or growing cannabis would be the worst thing to happen to the Canadian cannabis community in modern history. Those who don?t get arrested and jailed will make a lot more money to adjust for the greater risk, luring tens of thousands more teenagers and young people into the illegal marijuana market. As the stakes become higher along with risk, Jamaican gangs in Toronto, Sikh gangs in Vancouver, and other ethnic underground organizations will encounter more competition and turf violence, while more young people are drawn in for the lure of big money.
Within a few years, new prisons would be built and an American-like regime of filling the prisons will become the Canadian norm. Stephen Harper is an American Fifth Columnist, here to plant the Republican stamp on Canada. The Liberals have let the DEA, ATF, FBI, Texas Rangers, CIA into Canada. The Conservatives will fully integrate all the various aspects of Canadian law enforcement with the DEA and USA. The Homeland Security demands of the USA will find warm reception from the Harper Conservatives. Remember, Harper would have Canadian soldiers dying in Iraq today if he were Prime Minister in 2003. Conservatives and Republicans need wars, on their own people and others abroad.
If every anti-prohibitionist in Canada were to vote, to work for the candidate most likely to defeat a Conservative, then there is some hope. In English Canada, this means voting for the Liberals or the NDP. The NDP is the main challenger to the Conservatives in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and urban parts of Ontario. In rural small towns of Ontario, in the suburbs, in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are the main challengers. In urban New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the NDP are serious challengers.
Volunteer to campaign for the NDP is my endorsement. Over the last two years, the NDP fought in Parliament to make the pot laws better for the Canadian cannabis community. The NDP will fight the Conservative proposals when they are introduced in Parliament. Some Liberals may agree to the Conservatives? prohibitionist new laws. The leader of the NDP believes in a regulated environment for cannabis distribution and possession, as does virtually every NDP candidate. The NDP leader Jack Layton and NDP Justice Critic Libby Davies have condemned the attempted extradition of the BC3 in written statements. Svend Robinson (Vancouver Centre candidate) wrote an editorial condemning the Canadian government?s complicity in the USA?s extradition attempt.
The Green Party has a very good position on marijuana distribution, but a lukewarm one on the USA?s attempt to extradite me, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams to the USA. The Greens have hope in one riding in Canada: Andrew Lewis in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and it?s a long shot hope at that.
For the anti-prohibitionist cause, the worse thing that can be done is voting Green or Liberal or even Canadian Action Party or Marijuana Party in ridings where the NDP came within 15% of winning in 2004.
In the days leading to Monday, campaign like my life depends on it ? because it does. Just repeat to yourself: Vote Conservative & Marc is dead! Vote Conservative and thousands of our cannabis community will be in jail for years! Vote Conservative and the Republicans in the USA have a direct line into Canada. Vote Conservative and see Canada become a snitch-state, a police state with all the attendant paranoia that infects the USA. Vote Conservative and all the refugees are booted out, the weed-war victims and the Iraq War resisters.
The NDP and The Bloc Quebecois will be the ideological bulwark that applies pressure on the Conservatives to temper whatever prohibitionist policies they advance.
If you live in the following ridings, it is imperative you get out and vote for the NDP and take as many friends, co-workers, relatives, potheads, smokers, dealers, growers and vote NEXT MONDAY for the NDP. Come in to BCMP HQ this week and pick up some 3 x 4 ?Support the NDP? cards to hand out in theatres, movies, entertainment areas, gay and alternative zones, university campuses, bar districts, wherever you go this weekend.
The following ridings are currently held by the NDP or are hot possibilities for the NDP. If you were thinking of voting Liberal, Green, Marijuana Party or any other party, please reconsider. These are where the NDP can win!
The ridings with an asterisk are currently held by Conservatives. Ridings with an ?I? after the candidate indicate an incumbent (seeking re-election) NDP seat. The NDP was second place runner up in all the ridings not currently held AND within 15% of the frontrunner, a Liberal, unless there is an asterisk *. In ridings with two asterisks **, the NDP candidate was within 2% of the Conservative!
Dartmouth-Cole Harbour – Peter Mancini I
Halifax – Alexa McDonough I
Sackville-Eastern Shore – Peter Stoffer I
Sydney-Victoria – John Hugh Edwards
Acadie-Bathurst – Yvonne Godin I
Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing – Carol Hughes
Beaches-East York (Toronto) – Marilyn Churley
Davenport (Toronto) – Gord Perks
Hamilton Centre – David Christopherson I
Hamilton East – Stony Creek – Wayne Marston
Hamilton-Mountain – Chris Charlton
Kenora – Susan Barclay
London – Fanshawe – Irene Mathyssen
Nickel Belt – Claude Gravelle I
Oshawa – Sid Ryan *
Ottawa Centre – Paul Dewar
Parkdale – High Park – Peggy Nash
Sault Ste. Marie – Tony Martin I
Sudbury – Gerry McIntaggart
Timmins – James Bay – Charlie Angus I
Toronto – Danforth – Jack Layton I
Trinity- Spadina – Olivia Chow
Welland – Jody DiBartolomeo
Windsor – Tecumseh – Joe Comartin I
Windsor West – Brian Masse I
Elmwood – Transcona – Bill Blaikie I
Winnipeg Centre – Pat Martin I
Winnipeg North – Judy Wasylycia-Leis I
Selkirk – Interlake – Ed Shreyer
Palliser – Jo-Anne Dusel
Regina – Qu?Appelle – Lorene Nystrom **
Saskatoon – Humboldt – Andrew Mason *
Saskatoon – Rosetown Biggar – Nettie Wiebe **
Southern Interior – Alex Atamaneko **
Burnaby-Douglas – Bill Siskay I
Burnaby – New Westminster – Peter Julian I
Skeena – Bulkley – Nathan Cullen I
Fleetwood – Port Kells – Barry Bell *
Newton – North Delta – Nancy Clegg **
Surrey North – Penny Priddie *
New Westminster – Coquitlam – Dawn Black *
Vancouver – Centre – Svend Robinson
Vancouver East – Libby Davies I
Vancouver Kingsway – Ian Waddell
Esquimalt – Juan De Fuca – Randall Garrison
Nanaimo – Cowichan – Jean Crowder I
Vancouver Island North – Catherine Bell **
Victoria – Denise Savoie
The total number of seats that are winnable (29 seats, within 15% of the front runner) or currently held (18 seats, automatically considered winnable) by the NDP are a surprising 47 seats. Most are very close.
Outside of these 47 ridings, the NDP will not be a factor. In Quebec, the Conservatives are not yet poised to win any seats but some Bloc support is eroding and will go to the Conservatives or the NDP, or in Montreal back to the Liberals. Both the Conservatives and NDP have over doubled their previous 2004 level of support in Quebec, largely from the Liberals, but not enough to get any seats there. The Liberals down to 15% in Quebec is astonishing.
Anne McLellan is finished in Edmonton-Centre and Alberta will elect all Tories. Nothing anyone can do will change that.
Ontario is a dogfight because most Liberal seats in Ontario were won in 2004 with huge margins but the province is polling even between Liberals and Conservatives now. NDP strength in urban core ridings is much stronger than the province over all (the NDP won?t come close in suburbs or rural areas). The areas of biggest potential gain are in Ontario and British Columbia, particularly BC.