Cannabis should never have been made illegal, but since it was, the Green Party supports good public policy to rectify the mistakes of the past.
The Green Party is pleased that Canadians will soon be able to access marijuana openly and safely — free from the threat of being criminally charged.
However, many thousands of Canadians who previously smoked or possessed cannabis, but were caught by police, will remain criminals in the eyes of the law. A disproportionate number of racialized Canadians have been charged, and all those convicted face serious obstacles applying for jobs and travelling abroad.
Join us in demanding the Liberal government provide amnesty for all Canadians convicted solely on charges of marijuana possession.
If Canada is to be a Climate Leader, we need to reduce our fossil fuel production, not triple it. #KeepItInTheGround
When Texas-based Kinder Morgan threatened to walk away from their disastrous pipeline and tanker project, the Trudeau government jumped in to buy them out with $4.5 billion of taxpayer dollars.
Canada is being sold a lemon by a bunch of billionaires from Texas, who are laughing all the way to the bank. Instead of investing in renewable energy, clean water for Indigenous peoples, and strong social programs, we’re buying a failing and risky dirty oil project.
Tell Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Bill Morneau to cancel the buyout of Trans Mountain now!
The Green Party of Ontario is the only one of our 4 major parties looking to shutter our aging nuclear plants instead of investing billions more to refurbish them.
Some people have been misled into thinking the recent big spike in our hydro rates was due to the Liberal Green Energy Act, but in fact it has much more to do with the debt Ontario still carries from building these plants in the first place. There are things wrong with the Green Energy Act, but this is not one of them.
WRGreens Waterloo candidate Zdravko Gunjevic put this little info sheet together:
And for those who think Ontario needs nuclear power to provide baseload, that hasn’t been the case at least since 2011 when I shot this video at a nuclear debate:
The Green Party is gaining momentum across the province. Leader Mike Schreiner has crossed the province meeting with enthusiastic people who want integrity, intelligence and honesty in their choice and Schreiner delivers. In fact, Mainstreet polls predicted Schreiner would win his seat in Guelph.
Across the region our candidates and their teams are out everyday talking with potential voters. Looking at lawn signs reveals that people are tired of the status quo and find the Green platform refreshing and clear in objectives.
Today, the Green Party candidates for Waterloo Region Green Party have released a made-in-Waterloo Region platform to let the people in this region know that their Green candidates will be strong advocates for the needs of this community. Because they understand the value of collaboration and cooperation, the candidates created the document as a team.
One of the first events I attended as the Green Party of Ontario candidate for Kitchener–Conestoga was the InterCityRail Town Hall meeting on High Speed Rail, held Wednesday, 18 April 2018.
Kitchener–Conestoga rural residents are worried about the High Speed right-of-way cutting their farms in two, and since HSR cannot have at-grade crossings (because HSR is 200+ km/h speeds), farmers are concerned that they’ll have to detour tens of kilometres out of their way to access their farmlands — InterCityRail says only four grade-separated crossings are planned between Kitchener and London.
There would be only seven stops: Starting in Windsor, through Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph, Malton, and ending at Union Station in Toronto. None of the smaller communities such as St. Mary’s or Stratford would have service. Not even the large community of Brampton is slated for a High Speed Rail station. If the experience of expanding GO Train service around 2012 is anything to go by, VIA Rail will cut its service to those communities once High Speed Rail is established.
An alternative, High Performance Rail (HPR) has been proposed that would allow slightly slower trains (150-180 km/h) to run on the existing right-of-way and still have grade-level crossings, but the Minister of Transporation, Kathryn McGarry (Lib), has flat-out said the government will not consider anything in their EPA study except a new High Speed Rail corridor. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that represents the farmers directly affected by this have not been consulted, and do not have a voice in the decision making.
I was a fan of High Speed Rail until attending the Town Hall meeting, which was educational in informing me about High Performance Rail and the issues farmers face with HSR. The Green Party’s Vision Planet document says: “Prioritize low-cost high-performance rail in the short-term as the province plans long-term for higher-cost, high-speed rail projects.” But as the representative for Kitchener–Conestoga I will advocate that High Performance Rail should be the ultimate goal, the better to keep farms together, preserve farmland, protect wildlife, and provide better rail service to smaller communities.
Actually, it’s more than Kitchener–Conestoga residents who are concerned, also Oxford and Perth–Wellington residents are affected, and more. Hopefully we’ll have Green Party Members in those ridings soon!
Check out Greg Durocher’s Ontario Chamber of Commerce interview with Michele Braniff, the Green Party Candidate for Cambridge. This is part of the Chamber’s 2018 Ontario Election coverage of Cambridge and Kitchener South—Hespeler.
French pioneer apothecary Louis Hébertwas the first European farmer in Canada. Cannabis Sativa, a plant known as “hemp,” was one of his crops.
The sails of sailing ships, canvas, rope, and linen were all manufactured from the rugged fibres of the hemp plant. As was the earliest known paper. Hemp dominated the paper trade until it was replaced by wood fibre in the 1800s.
There were no illegal drugs in Canada prior to the 20th Century. Deputy Minister of Labour William Lyon MacKenzie King changed all that in 1908.
“On Sept. 7, 1907, the Asiatic Exclusion League of Vancouver went on a rampage though the city’s Chinatown and Little Tokyo. No one was killed, but there was considerable property damage.
“The Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier sent William Lyon Mackenzie King, the country’s first deputy minister of labour, to investigate.”Among the many individuals who submitted claims for restitution were several Chinese opium dealers, which prompted King to study the opium trade in Vancouver.
“There were no laws then governing the use of opium or other drugs; and, in fact, during the 19th century, laudanum, a mixture of liquid opium and alcohol and highly addictive, was popular as a pain remedy.
“King was stunned by what he learned about the corrupting influence of opium, connected as it was with widespread notions that Chinese men used opium to exploit and sexually assault white women.”
A year later the Canadian Government instituted the first legislation to regulate the use of medicine to protect the public in The Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act (1909). As an ingredient used in many such medicines, cannabis was regulated by this act.
The illicit opium smuggling that sprang up in answer to the Opium Act warranted a Royal Commission. Its recommendations to:
make sale, possession & smoking illegal drugs separate offenses, and
When William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister, the scope of his legal war on drugs continued to expand with the Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill in 1923. Part of the reason for this law was to combine the growing body of law dealing with illegal drugs into one.
There was no discussion, just that one sentence spoken in Parliament added Cannabis to the Schedule of Controlled Substances without even naming it aloud in Parliament. (It was passed by the Senate without a word as well.)
There had been no mention of cannabis in the draft legislation (although it had been appended to one of the copies) but more importantly, it wasn’t a social issue when they made it illegal. Most Canadians hadn’t even heard of the stuff (under any name).
Those who had, knew of it as “marahuana,” thanks to the sensational writings of Judge Emily Murphy (of Famous Five fame). Her series of articles about illegal drug use for Macleans Magazine published under the pseudonym “Janie Canuck” formed the basis of her book “The Black Candle.” Taken as a whole, the racist dogwhistle Ms Murphy’s book was blowing warned of an international drug conspiracy to bring about the “downfall of the white race.” Several of the photographs depict addicted white women consorting with men of colour to help drive home Ms Murphy’s race war narrative.
“One becomes especially disquieted — almost terrified — in face of these things, for it sometimes seems as if the white race lacks both the physical and moral stamina to protect itself, and that maybe the black and yellow races may yet obtain the ascendancy.”
The incendiary book plied the reader with misinformation about of the dangers of “marahuana.” Although hemp was grown in Canada, there was no actual evidence supporting Ms Murphy’s imaginings, although she had no shortage of specious “expert” testimony to present.
Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons’ using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured Without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.
“When coming from under the influence of this narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will power, and their mentality is that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict.”
Ms Murphy’s best seller is thought by some to have influenced the decision to quietly add Cannabis to the schedule a year later.
At the time they made it illegal, Cannabis was such a non-issue that:
“The first seizure of marijuana cigarettes occurred only in 1932, nine years after the law had passed (p. 182); the first four possession offences (it is not clear whether these were charges or convictions) occurred in 1937, 14 years after cannabis was criminalized (p. 599)
No one really knows the “why” of it. Racism was clearly a factor in Canada’s war on drugs, but the reality was that Marijuana didn’t become a social issue until long after Cannabis had been made illegal. Although criminalization led to a handful of arrests here and there, marijuana arrests never exceeded 100 annually prior to the 1960s. Some think the real reason Cannabis was added to the schedule was to eliminate the hemp industry, but something else to consider is that its inclusion in the schedule meant it could no longer be used for medicinal purposes in Canada, so pharmaceutical competition may have been the reason.
The maximum penalty for possession of small quantities was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence. Convictions for cannabis skyrocketed, from 25 convictions between 1930 and 1946, to 20 cases in 1962, to 2,300 cases in 1968, to 12,000 in 1972. The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increased maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.
Even though Cannabis still hadn’t become a big problem, its continued presence on the Schedule was supported by the Minister of National Health’s (now debunked) argument that it was a gateway drug,
The use of marijuana as a drug of addiction in Canada is fortunately not widespread. It, however, may well provide a stepping stone to addiction to heroin and here again cultivation of marijuana is prohibited except under licence.
Lennon’s testimony suggested flagrant government misinformation about the effects of marijuana led users to assume legitimate government warnings about the hazards of hard drugs were also unfounded propaganda. And indeed, the Le Dain Commission concluded that there was no scientific evidence warranting the criminalization of cannabis.
“Marie-Andree Bertrand, writing for a minority view, recommended a policy of legal distribution of cannabis, that cannabis be removed from the Narcotic Control Act (since replaced by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and that the provinces implement controls on possession and cultivation, similar to those governing the use of alcohol.”
Today’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a young man at a Vice Town Hall about his brother’s predicament:
“…he was charged with possession. When he got back home to Montreal my Dad said, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ reached out to his friends in the legal community, got the best possible lawyer, and was very confident that we were going to be able to make those charges go away.
“We were able to do that because we had resources, my Dad had a couple connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.”
Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.
Not only did it not stop otherwise law abiding people from consuming alcohol, the costs — to the economy, the justice system and society — were staggering.
Although the American Prohibition against alcohol never made drinking it illegal, the same was not true of cannabis prohibition in Canada, where users could be fined and imprisoned. As the 20th century wore on, the punishments became more severe, especially as Canada (again) followed the American lead.
The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.
During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.
Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different.
Although the Justin Trudeau Government says it will legalize cannabis, its about half way through its term and they keep arresting people.
The Green Party has better policy:
4.9 Ending the war on drugs
Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.
Green Party MPs will:
Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;
Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;
Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;
Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;
Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;
Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;
Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.
On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:
“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.
Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.
The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.
The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.
This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”
Hello WR Green Party members, supporters and friends!
There are a number of events coming up in the (very) near future.
What: GPC Policy Meeting When: Friday, 15 September 2017 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm Where: Kitchener Downtown Community Centre, 35 Weber St. W, Kitchener Map
The December SGM in Calgary tasked federal council to strike a committee of members from across the country to devise changes to how we develop policy in the party. Friday, September 15, we’re meeting in Kitchener to discuss the work of this group, and hear from you, the members, on how you feel we should proceed. (My apologies for the extremely short notice on this one! –Bob)
Every year the IPM is kicked off by a parade through the IPM grounds, and so the Green Party of Ontario attends and proudly shows its colours! The parade starts at 10:00am, we’re meeting at 9:00am in the parade assembly area. The parade takes about an hour, but there’s lots of other stuff to do!
“Beyond Crisis” is the sharing of a handcrafted story featuring over fifty voices from across the spectrum of climate engagement, with notable speakers including Dr. James Hansen, Naomi Klein, and many other thought leaders from across southern Ontario, Canada and the U.S. Meet the director Kai Reimer-Watts! (This is not a Green Party event)
Join us for an evening of discussion and networking on the theme of building peace in Kitchener-Waterloo. Program includes a panel discussion, dinner (suggested donation is $10), and a chance to speak with organizers of the various Peace and Social Justice organizations in Waterloo Region. Richard Walsh is on the discussion panel, and WR Greens will have an information table.
The five Waterloo Region provincial Constituents Associations will be having nomination meetings in the next few weeks to select candidates to run in the June 2018 provincial election. Interested in running, or meeting the nominees? Contact your local CA executives, or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information.
Finally, we’re planning our (not so) regular WR Greens meeting. Help us choose a date and location at Poll: Fall 2017 Meeting
Remember, you can always see the WR Greens events on our calendar. Hope to see you at these events!