Print Edition: February 1, 2012
In the wake of the Liberal party’s recently announced resolution to legalize marijuana the Conservative party has now been singled out as the only remaining major political party in Ottawa to oppose legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.
In an interview with The Cascade, Ed Fast, Member of Parliament (MP) for Abbotsford reaffirmed the Conservatives negative opinion of any discussion of legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.
“Our government’s position has not changed. We will continue to resist efforts to legalize marijuana and believe that the harm that such drugs cause far outweighs any perceived benefits of legalization.”
According to Fast, the Conservatives view marijuana as a “gateway” drug that could have harmful implications if legalized. “Legalization of marijuana is the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ and would undoubtedly lead to calls for a broader legalization of dangerous drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth and heroin. Indeed, some within both the Liberal and NDP parties have actually advocated such broader legalization,” Fast said.
Fast also made note that the Conservatives “have always been consistent on the issue” unlike other parties such as the Liberals and NDP. “We will continue to focus on tougher sentences for those who produce and traffic in drugs and sell those drugs to our children. At the same time, we will continue to support efforts to help those who are addicted to drugs and to improve education and drug prevention programs.”
In this way, the Conservative government is going in the opposite direction of all their political opposition. The Safe Streets and Communities Act, an omnibus crime bill, passed in parliament this past fall in a fast-tracked attempt to crack down on crime which will favour harsher sentences for drug traffickers among others. With a Conservative majority government this bill passed without difficulty in the House of Commons on December 5 where it had failed under previous minority governments.