Stiffer Sentence for Pot Than Pedophilia Caught PM’s Eye

Media reports that some pot growers will face harsher mandatory-minimum sentences than child rapists under the Conservative government’s new crime bill were enough to catch the attention of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A request by The Canadian Press for cabinet records on the controversial omnibus crime legislation turned up a single document — much of it blacked out under a broad, discretionary exemption in the Access to Information Act.

The Oct. 11, 2011, “memorandum for the prime minister” says its purpose was to inform Harper about the controversial sentencing provisions “in light of recent criticism in the media.”

And the memo, marked “secret,” ends by stating that “additional analysis would be required if potential amendment proposals are deemed needed.”

Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, is currently being studied by the Conservative-dominated Senate, where Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has confirmed some flaws will be corrected.

But those government amendments relate to specific measures on suing state sponsors of terrorism. There is no indication the government is open to altering the bill’s mandatory minimums.

Asked whether there are any amendments to Bill C-10’s sentencing provisions, Nicholson’s office responded by email: “This new legislation ensures any form of child sexual abuse will mean jail time.”

About half the one-page memorandum to Harper obtained under the access law is blacked out using sweeping exemptions that cover “advice or recommendations” and “an account of consultations or deliberations.”

After the redacted paragraphs, the briefing note resumes with a point that Nicholson made last week at Senate hearings into the crime bill: “The maximum penalty for serious drug offences under Bill C-10 is comparable to that for child sexual assault.”

The memorandum followed two weeks of media reports sparked when a Vancouver Province columnist highlighted a little-noticed oddity in the massive Conservative crime bill, which combines nine separate pieces of legislation.

In his column, Ethan Baron wrote that under the new law, someone convicted of “growing 201 pot plants in a rental unit would receive a longer mandatory sentence than someone who rapes a toddler or forces a five-year-old to have sex with an animal.”

The column also noted that the six-month mandatory minimum for growing as few as six marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking is twice the minimum sentence for luring a child to watch pornography or exposing oneself on a playground.

As Senate hearings on Bill C-10 opened last week on Parliament Hill, the first question Nicholson faced at the committee hearing concerned the disparity between minimum sentences for pot growers and pedophiles.

“What’s the underlying principle that determines the length of those mandatory minimums?” asked Liberal Sen. Joan Fraser.

Nicholson did not provide a direct response.

“It’s important to point out that there’s a wide range of discretion that is given to the court to have a look at this, to gauge the seriousness of the individual crime — and again, all of these are despicable,” said the minister.

Fraser pressed him on whether there exists “a formula, a grid, a set of guidelines to establish what mandatory minimums would be appropriate in different circumstances?”

“It seems to me that any sexual offence against a child is more serious than growing six pot plants,” added Fraser.

Again, rather than responding directly, Nicholson told Fraser that drug traffickers are “people who are in the business of destroying other people’s lives — and I think we send a very clear message that this will not be tolerated.”

While rejigging the bill’s mandatory minimums appears to be a non-starter, the Senate will make changes to close loopholes in the terrorism provisions that were exposed by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews attempted to have those amendments adopted in late November after the bill had left the House of Commons justice committee, but was ruled out of order by the Speaker.

The Oct. 11 briefing note for Harper noted that Bill C-10 had already gone to the justice committee, and that clause-by-clause examination — the time when MPs are supposed to find flaws and anomalies in legislation, and fix them — would begin in mid-November.

“Given the scope of the bill and the large number of offences included (i.e., 18 child-specific sexual offences), additional analysis would be required if potential amendment proposals are deemed needed,” said the memo to Harper.

Instead, the bill was rushed through the Commons justice committee unchanged and on to a speedy vote in the House, where the Conservative majority passed it Dec. 5 — leaving it to appointed Senators to fix any flaws.

– Article from CTV News.



  1. Anonymous on

    who elected the conservative government anyhow. Certainly not the Quebecers. I suspect this gang of pot smoking ONtarians to be the culprit. They give the impression of being very ‘liberal” with their pot laws and very tolerant and open minded but when its time for election they go vote and elect Harper.
    So I guess Ontarians are not that concerned about marijuana future in this country.And they should bear the consequences of having elected this governemnt with all its consequences.I call it Ontario stupidity.

  2. Anonymous on

    This is the saddest article I have read in cannabis culture.The fate of god’s creation,a simple vascular plant,is now being weighed against a sexual deviance problem.This view is totally distorted and can only come from the minds of sick conservative people like Stephen Harper and conservative senator Boisvenu. What in the world has made the cannabis plant to find itself in this C-10 Bill I will never know for sure but this law is really sickening.Harper is destroying whats left of Canada a little bit every day,brick by brick and as a conservative he will succeed.But one thing is sure Mr.Harper. Way beyond in the future long long after you are brain dead there will always remain a ray of sunshine that will make GERMINATE A CANNABIS SEED somewherre on this earth. Mr.Harper you can do what you want it is already too late the harm is done and you can even change to 20 years in solitary confinement for growing 1 single plant.The growers of Caanada have seen it all before and there not going to change one iota with their initial plans

  3. Bud Grinder on

    Pastor Harper and his deluded gang of ignorant, mercenary raptureista thugs are on a jihad for their God, whom they believe has revealed to them that He would be pleased to have more Canadians punished more severely for their sins against His word.

    The name of those Bible-thumpers’ game is CONTROL and they’ll take it any way they can… at gunpoint when necessary.

  4. Anonymous on

    Its pretty sad Canadians will allow all their control to be given to a obviously sadistic government. Why just sit their while they throw your kids in jail for nothing? Its disgusting how evil this government is.

  5. Anonymous on

    Its pretty sad Canadians will allow all their control to be given to a obviously sadistic government. Why just sit their while they throw your kids in jail for nothing? Its disgusting how evil this government is.

  6. Anonymous on

    in the u.s. a recently proposed bill would restrict bills to only one subject:

    not a bad idea at all. it is really abused in the u.s. and in canada. it seems every bill has a thing on child predators so the people pushing the bill can make those against it look perverted.

  7. Psychedelicious on

    This is just a waiting game until the next elections when we have a chance at some other party getting into power with the possibility that they may be more lenient on cannabis. Even then I would not expect much change so whether it is the conservatives or any other group likely to take their place it is a bit of a pipe dream to think much will be done in changing these laws. The only real way we can have sensible policy on drugs is if the majority of people DEMAND it and that is simply not happening.
    Forget about asking or pleading with the government to get sensible policies here what you need to do is light a fire under peoples seats, and education for the masses is one of the best ways to do that (Marc Emery is a great example of someone who did just that).
    Things are slowly changing but the key word is slowly. I think the prospect of a ‘tipping point’ is likely at some point within the next decade but I would feel safer in projecting to 20 years from now. Again, its up to the majority of people.

  8. andyman on

    dudes your prime minister appears fanatical and easily desensitized and detached and passes it off as high intelect and all other favorable iron fisted attributes, picture him on the screen, “kill them, off with their heads, ahaahahaa. Thought playing the 60’s peace songs on piano was twisted and he was signaling, the insiders knew the line, bonecrushers. A grand exodus from Canada to the U.S., to come under the Pharoah’s roof, gimme shelter, my vote is that Harper has the madman capacity, consumed with structure, prescribe a speedo shorts run through knee high wet grassy field between two mountain gorges on a cloudy blue day, he’d have to enlighten.

  9. Anonymous on

    Don’t give up man, that’s what they want. I am still breathing and I could have given up a long time ago, but I am not done yet.

    Maybe someone could put Harper on a strict McD’s diet, nothing but McD’s day in and out. He likes to eat American so much then might he do exactly that, at least under those terms he wouldn’t last long…yuck – poor quality fish food he would make after that.

  10. Anonymous on

    Can someone tell me why the fuck pot growers and child abusers are on the same bill? WTF?? Is everybody dumb and missing this?? It should be illegal to smash a bunch of bills together. How can you effectively argue 1 bill that contains many other bills? This is a way to force people to support this bill because if you don’t support it then you support child molesters. That is fucking bull shit. Canada as we knew it is dead. The people supporting this government are in for a rude awakening but by then it will be to late.

    R.I.P Canada I will miss you greatly.