Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he won’t bow to Vancouver civic pressure to relax marijuana laws and subject the drug to a tax.
“That won’t happen under our government,” Harper told reporters at a news conference celebrating $35 million in renovations to Science World. “We’re strongly opposed to the legalization of drugs. Obviously, we’re very concerned about the spread of drugs in the country and the damage it is doing to our kids.”
Four former Vancouver mayors of varied political stripes — Larry Campbell, Mike Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen — this week endorsed a call to end the prohibition on pot, which they blame for contributing to gang violence. The call was later echoed by current mayor Gregor Robertson.
Harper also waded into the growing debate over the unsustainable global harvest of sharks.
Fin Donnelly, MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam and the NDP’s critic for fisheries and oceans, joined groups such as Shark Truth in Vancouver on Friday to launch a national petition campaign calling on the federal government to ban the import of shark fins.
In response, Harper said: “Canada does not favour a ban of shark fins. We do, however, and we’ve been very clear that Canada supports only the humane harvesting of sharks.”
Donnelly said that the problem is there’s no way to know whether an imported fin came from a shark killed humanely. He said Canadians strongly oppose the killing of sharks for shark fin soup — a status symbol only — and hopes the prime minister can maintain an open mind on the subject.
Of the $35 million in Science World upgrades, $10.5 million each came from Canada’s Economic Action Plan and the B.C. government. Science World itself is chipping in $14 million.
The upgrades, which began in spring 2010, include a new lobby, an additional 13,000 square feet of gallery space, an 11,000-square-foot green roof, and solar-thermal technology for hot water and to reduce the need for air conditioning.
The area around the building will become a 35,000-square-foot outdoor science park, with completion due in spring 2012.
As Harper’s motorcade left Science World, flanked by dozens of heckling protesters, a van ran over the front wheel of an 18-speed road bike owned by Holly Hendrigan of Vancouver.
She said she’d come to protest the cancellation of the long-form federal census and to demand an inquiry into the sale of BC Rail.
“It’s my trusty commuter,” she said of the old bike. “I have been told to keep it as a wheel of honour.”
A Science World official promised to pay for the damage.
– Article from The Vancouver Sun.
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