Liberals join Conservatives to pass heavy handed drug bill

Ottawa – The Liberal Party teamed up with the Conservatives this week, to pass a bill that will impose a mandatory minimum sentence for the trafficking of just one marijuana plant.

Warnings from expert witnesses in Canada and the U.S. about the costly failures of mandatory minimums in the U.S. didn’t stop the Liberals from working with the Conservatives to bring in Bill C-15, a law that by all accounts will have no effect on drug crimes in Canada.

“Mandatory minimums have been an expensive failure in the United States, divert needed resources from prevention, treatment, and harm reduction measures, and further criminalize what must be recognized as a public health issue,” said Davies.

The John Howard Society, the Canadian Bar Association and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network who testified on C-15, all warned that these sentences mostly target low-level drug users and street dealers, and not the drug-lords and king-pins that the Conservatives have promised to go after.

“Not one witness, not one study, could show that mandatory minimums work to reduce drug use or drug crimes,” said Davies. “The U.S. is repealing these laws as fast as they can, so why is Canada looking backwards on this issue?”

Davies, who won amendments at Committee to mitigate the worst aspects of the Bill, calls C-15 “A heavy handed approach that criminalizes drug users and takes Canada in the wrong direction.”

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This Press Release was posted on June 15, 2009
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