Saturday, December 03, 2005
I wonder what it says about us that my gut reaction was "that doesn't seem very Canadian".
Harper Promises to Get Tough on Drug Offenders
MICHELLE MACAFEE, Canadian Press
OTTAWA (CP) - In what has become a trend as the first week of the federal election campaign winds down, the Conservatives lept out early Saturday to set the agenda by rolling out a key part of their law-order platform.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper. (CP)
During an early morning stop in Burnaby, B.C., Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised mandatory minimum sentences of at least two years for the most serious drug offenders.
He said a Conservative government would also ban conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious drug crimes and raise fines for dealers and producers.
My socialist self and my liberal self are torn between looking to where some friends of mine live in South Korea and other Asian countries with very, very tough drug penalties and genuinely safer cities and looking to Europe where we hear stories of casual drug acceptance and what a paradise it is but where we see a lot of ugliness swept under the rug.
My thinking on drug policy is similar to my thinking on abortion policy, i.e., I'm not affected personally, so I'm a little more detached and really haven't thought overly hard about it.
We have definitely decided as a society that some drugs like alcohol, caffeine, the perscription-on-demand anti-depressants that are flying off the shelves, are acceptable, and for historical reasons others are not. This is the foundational contradiction pointed to by those that want to see so-called 'soft' drugs legalized. But the other side of that is that addiction is about the most powerful destructive force to a person's life, and if we can decide that in our society we don't accept certain things we deem unseemly, why can't we democratically decide we won't accept them? (ooh, there''s al the populist. It's getting crowded in here.)
Like the GST thing, this is probably something where I can't so quickly dismiss a Harperism because he's unwittingly being a socialist, but I don't think it will help him win the election.