Sunday, October 07, 2007

War on Drugs Redux

Canada's re-entry into the "War On Drugs" is old news now, having been announced a few days ago. But I needed some time to absorb this incredibly goofy news, which makes as much sense as launching another War on Poverty or War on Terror (how are those working out?). The gist of it is that the Harper government has decided to Crack Down Hard on everyone involved in drug-related activity. No, this isn't about finding a way to stop drug use, rehabilitation or any of those other commie pinko ideas -- it's about imposing heftier sentences and sticking to them. People who used to skate out of court with probation or a fine will now find themselves guests of one of our fine penal institutions. Mandatory jail sentences for pot growers, even Mom&Pop operations. Because the Beatles-era drug culture must be stopped:
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed Thursday to change what he called a 1960s drug culture in Canada, proposing mandatory jail sentences for drug traffickers and added border security to stem drug imports.

'If you're addicted to drugs, we'll help you. If you deal drugs, we'll punish you,' Harper said, outlining a spending plans for a national awareness campaign targeted at youth; updated treatment services; and more investigations and prosecutions of drug crimes.

The new anti-drug strategy would cost 64 million dollars.

'A simple war on drugs is not going to be successful, but neither is simply being soft on the question going to be successful,' Harper said."

"We are up against ... a culture that since the 1960s has at the minimum not discouraged drug use and often romanticized it, or made it cool."

Whew. When they say things like this it makes me want to rip my head off and kick it across the room: $64mil for something that Harper admits upfront won't be successful -- it's just a question of punishment. This new War on Drugs is a bone he's throwing to the authoritarian so-cons who are getting antsy about his inaction on the Big Two. The only thing they like better than stuffing their noses you-know-where is administering Punishment (it's beyond me why they had such a big problem with the Folsom Fair).

It's Law & Order - Canada's New Government™ Unit, a little show for the benefit of so-cons too dumb to realize that $64million is too paltry a sum for a War on Anything, let alone a multi-billion dollar underground industry. If the government was serious about a war on drugs, it would decriminalize them immediately -- certainly pot and the opiates -- something that's not about to happen as long as our drug laws are dictated by Washington DC. But that's another post for another day.

And of course, Sleazy Harpie never misses an opportunity to slag previous (Liberal) governments:

"They've tacked back and forth between prohibition and legalization so many times that Canadians hardly know what the law actually says anymore. It's time to be straight with Canadians so Canadians who use drugs can get straight."

Oh well, as lame as it is, Canada's New War on Drugs™ will ultimately benefit someone -- criminal lawyers. And I guess we should be happy that at least these guys aren't involved.