Too many cops?

The crime rate is down but police forces are growing. We’re poorer as a result, but not necessarily any safer.

too many cops

Ian Lindsay / Vancouver Sun

This spring, Tamara Cartwright dropped off an envelope at her local post office outside Lethbridge, Alta. A friend had sent her a jar of hemp-based ointment, so she replied with a thank you card, wrote her name and return address on the envelope and, in a decision certain to haunt her for years to come, enclosed four grams of her homegrown marijuana, enough for perhaps four cigarettes. On an April morning some days later she returned to the post office to pick up another package. Moments later, police pulled her over, handcuffed her, put her in a cruiser and hauled her off to the police station.

It made quite a spectacle, says the 41-year-old mother of four, who suffers from colitis and is one of more than 10,000 medical marijuana patients registered with Health Canada. “It was embarrassing,” she says. “I was still in my pyjamas.” She emerged four hours later with a trafficking charge for giving away those four grams.

Her charge is part of a recent marked increase in arrests for cannabis offences. Cannabis arrests jumped 13 per cent in 2010 to 75,126. Of those, almost 57,000 were for simple possession, a 14 per cent jump from the year before. (The statistics reflect cases where the arrest was the most serious charge a person faced, not the thousands more where a pot charge was tacked onto a string of more serious crimes.) The cannabis arrest rate is an anomaly at a time when the overall crime rate in 2010 fell to its lowest level since the mid-1970s.

Ironically, Cartwright’s legal predicament may be linked to that falling crime rate, which comes at a time when policing costs are climbing relentlessly and the number of sworn officers in Canada is at its highest level in almost 30 years. It may simply be that with less overall crime, police have the time, staffing and inclination to focus on minor drug arrests. The vast majority of those arrested are younger than 24, and mostly male, if past findings hold true. And the majority of those arrests are for pot possession, “the low-lying fruit,” as Dalhousie University criminologist Christopher Murphy puts it.

Heavy policing levels may also explain the preponderance of manpower-intensive RIDE and other roadside screening programs searching for impaired drivers or seat belt infractions, as well as the semi-permanent speed-traps established in Toronto and other cities, and the steady police-generated rise in traffic ticket revenue.

Whether such priorities make for a safer Canada is open to debate. Certainly, many question the wisdom of saddling some 57,000 people last year with arrest records for cannabis possession, limiting their chances to cross borders or gain employment. “The reality is, most of the people who are charged are relatively young people who are just starting out in life,” says Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, who estimates there are close to one million Canadians with cannabis convictions. “So, they are being handicapped for something that I would suggest more than half of Canadians over the age of 30 have at one time or another engaged in—and that’s conservative.”

The counter-cyclical nature of drug arrests and overall crime, like strangers passing on up and down escalators, was noted in a 2009 analysis by Statistics Canada. “For example, targeted initiatives to ‘crack down’ on drugs may result in more incidents being identified by police, rather than more incidents actually occurring,” said the report by StatsCan analyst Mia Dauvergne. “Likewise, police may focus law enforcement efforts more on addressing drug-related crimes when time, resources and priorities permit; in other words, when other types of crime decline.” StatsCan said effectively the same thing this summer when it released its report on 2010 crime rates. Indeed, there’s evidence pot use fell last year, even as arrests soared. Health Canada’s alcohol and drug monitoring survey showed marijuana use by Canadians 15 and older dropped to 10.7 per cent in 2010 from 14.1 per cent in 2004. It begs the question: are soaring pot arrests and traffic violations a manufactured crisis created by too many police chasing too little crime?

There are obvious security benefits to the current peak in policing levels. While crime rates have fallen, police reported more than two million criminal code incidents last year, 437,000 involving violence, hardly an insignificant number. Closely targeted initiatives led last year to an astonishing 36 per cent increase in child pornography offences. Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, representing 41,000 rank-and-file members, says there’s no simple correlation between falling crime rates and increasing police resources, but “I would like to think that the police community can take some credit for those reductions achieved in a variety of categories.” For example, he cites the use of crime analysts to map crimes and help draft enforcement strategies specific to local neighbourhoods, as well as targeting chronic offenders, and following them through the criminal justice process to ensure they’re jailed and off the streets.

Many of the factors driving up police costs have little to do with crime, adds Stamatakis, a veteran Vancouver police officer. Charter of Rights cases have required a higher standard for obtaining arrest warrants, and for the level of information disclosure given to defence lawyers, he says. There’s also a cost for continually revised training standards for things like use of force, and more robust police oversight and investigation of complaints, he says. “That just adds to the administrative duties of a police officer and has an impact on that police officer’s time.”

Rising police costs, valid or otherwise, are harder to justify in an era of falling crime rates. The expense eats into the budgets of other community programs, yet to question police and government-directed policing priorities is tantamount to heresy. “There doesn’t seem to be any consistent opposition other than from pointy-headed academics,” says Boyd of the punishment-focused crime agenda. It’s difficult to gauge the impact of police levels on crime rates, says Murphy, another academic. “What we have is a very crude system of allocating funds and resources without any clear ability to document whether these funds are being invested wisely, whether they’re producing results.” Last Christmas season, the Ontario Provincial Police RIDE program charged 294 people with impaired driving, which can only be a good thing. But to do so required police to check more than one million vehicles, a massive undertaking for a .029 per cent capture rate. Perhaps such a show of force is a necessary deterrent, but are there more efficient strategies?

Certainly until now, police forces across North America have benefited from the fact that in increasingly conservative times, no politician at any level and of any stripe wants to question police staffing or to be labelled soft on crime. “I don’t think we can ever have enough police officers,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said during the campaign that won him city hall last fall, well before today’s harsh budgetary realities risk dampening the mayoral ardour. In Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson is several thousand kilometres to Ford’s left, both geographically and ideologically, but he loves the cops, too. In fact, he would have loved a whole lot more of them on the streets the night of the Stanley Cup final riot—if only the budget permitted it.

As for the federal Conservatives—Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson—love seems such an inadequate word. Their tough-on-crime agenda has been very good to them. “This is the third mandate that we’ve received, and we keep getting stronger every time we continuously put this [crime agenda] before the Canadian public,” Nicholson told CKNW radio during a recent visit to Vancouver. “And I can tell you I’m very grateful.”

Neither he nor his government was thrown off message by the inconvenient release by Statistics Canada in July of news that the Crime Severity Index, which tracks more serious crimes, was at its lowest level last year since that measure was introduced in 1998. Nicholson is adamant that Canadians live in fear, though attempted murders fell to their lowest rate since 1977, and homicides to the lowest level since the mid-1960s.

Nicholson dismisses those who question the government’s tough-on-crime agenda, or the need for the omnibus crime bill coming this fall that will put more people in jail, with a host of mandatory minimums, will keep them incarcerated longer, and make it more difficult to have criminal records expunged. “We’ve made it very clear that we don’t govern on the basis of statistics,” said the justice minister. “We govern on the basis of what law enforcement agencies have told us. What victims and law-abiding Canadians have told us.”

On Monday, Nicholson weathered criticism of the Tory crime agenda from a generally hostile crowd at the Canadian Bar Association annual meeting in Halifax. They passed a resolution condemning the increasing use of mandatory minimum sentences, but Nicholson was adamant the bill will go ahead as planned. “I think mandatory minimum sentences are quite reasonable,” he said. “It’s our job to provide guidance to the courts.”

And yet there’s an argument to be made that as much as it seems a comfort to have overflowing jails and a police officer on every corner, the law of diminishing returns suggests otherwise. In 2010, after years of steady increases, there were 203 sworn police officers for every 100,000 Canadians, the highest rate in 30 years. Total spending on police topped $12 billion in 2009, the last year for which costs are available. That’s a 7.3 per cent increase from the year before, and the 13th year in a row that costs have climbed, even after adjusting for inflation. “The current rate of growth and cost isn’t sustainable,” says Murphy, whose research has included policing and community resources.

Policing and prison costs have already hit the wall in the United States and the U.K. In the U.S., a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum found that 51 per cent of major American police forces had their budgets cut by an average of seven per cent last year, with most expecting further cuts this year. In some American states, Illinois being one, prisons became so crowded and costs so high that hundreds of dangerous felons have been released, with predictable results, after serving just weeks of their sentences. In England and Wales, the deficit fight leaves police facing a 20 per cent budget cut and a reduction of about 20,000 officers by 2015.

In Toronto, the policing issue has come to roost at city hall, where Ford and his council confront a $774-million deficit next year. Ford’s critics have painted the challenge as a battle between policing costs and what Ford calls “nice-to-haves”: libraries and a host of other soft services, from the arts and day cares to social housing and street programs for the most vulnerable—services that can also contribute to a more civil society. For all his determination not to see police officers laid off, Ford wants the force to cut eight per cent of a near $1-billion budget. Some estimate that will mean cutting as many as 750 officers and 400 civilians.

Whether such a reduction would lead to chaos seems unlikely. Police duties like traffic control at construction sites and bylaw enforcement could be handled by lower-cost personnel. Toronto has about 216 officers per 100,000 citizens. That’s the fourth highest rate of police personnel among the country’s 30 largest police forces, for a city with a crime severity index that ranks a lowly 17th.

Financing the rising cost of policing isn’t a challenge unique to Toronto. “You have extremely well-paid police in Canada,” says Murphy, “maybe the best-paid police in the world.” Nationally, police costs, most going to salaries, have consistently, and sometimes dramatically, exceeded the rate of inflation every year since 1997—something to think about the next time you get a traffic ticket.

Hiring more police wins political points. The unintended consequence in a lower-crime environment, however, is a substantial jump in rates of traffic violations, as police become ticket collectors in part to justify their numbers and their cost. “I think that’s a real revenue generator,” says Murphy. “Cities put pressure on police services to provide revenue, which, in turn, helps justify budgets.”

A Maclean’s survey of selected cities found errant drivers are an increasingly lucrative source of funds. In Calgary, the number of speeding and other traffic violations jumped 31 per cent between 2005 and 2010. That dumped more than $39 million into city coffers, in addition to a provincial share of almost 17 per cent per cent of ticket revenue and a 15 per cent share for a victims of crime program. In Toronto last year, city police issued 700,721 traffic tickets, a 48 per cent increase from five years earlier. That amounts to some $60 million in fine revenue flowing through Toronto’s court service, of which the city gets the lion’s share. Yes, perhaps, every traffic stop makes the streets a little safer. Still, one wonders if the 94 per cent increase in stop sign violations means Toronto attitudes toward this most basic of traffic signs have degenerated these past five years, or if police have a greater incentive to enforce.

In Montreal, with the largest per capita police presence among major cities, that isn’t even open to question. The force admitted earlier this year that some officers have what it described as ticket “objectives” rather than the more loaded term “quotas.” Perhaps as a result, moving violations (bad lane changes and such) jumped by 93 per cent over the past five years, and speeding ticket revenue, in a city long noted for its spirited drivers, soared by 140 per cent. The tickets are issued in the name of safety, driven by nationwide concerns over traffic deaths and drunk driving, rather than by revenue needs, says Stamatakis, the police association head. “If there was any overt attempt to try and use the members that I represent to generate more revenue in that kind of obvious manner, there’d be a bit of a backlash.”

By that standard, Canadian roads must be safe indeed. All of Canada’s major cities are well represented on the National Speed Trap Exchange, a website of the Washington-based National Motorists Association. The site allows drivers to post and share the favoured hunting spots for traffic police in cities and towns across North America. While hardly a scientific measure, Edmonton and Montreal drivers have listed 13 Internet pages of declared speed traps, Calgary lists 26 pages. Toronto lists a whooping 64, just two short of the 66 pages for Chicago and Los Angeles combined. Gary Biller, executive director of the motorists’ association, says drivers the past two years have noted a jump in ticket enforcement, “coincident with the economic downturn.” Police seem to be ticketing at a lower speed threshold, he says, “where, in the past, such minor violations would have resulted in a warning, if a traffic stop was made at all.”

But while traffic tickets are an annoyance, and often a deserved slap on the wrist, an arrest or criminal record for a relatively minor pot charge is a life-altering experience. “It’s telling that it’s young people, and the ones generally with the least amount of money, that are arrested,” says Jacob Hunter, policy director for the Vancouver-based Beyond Prohibition Foundation. He finds the arrests a questionable use of police resources, since most of the cases never make it to court. In B.C., it’s Crown attorneys who determine if charges are warranted. Since court dockets are overwhelmed, Crown lawyers often use their discretion not to proceed with minor pot charges. Currently, some 2,300 backlogged criminal cases in the province, many for serious offences, are at risk of being thrown out because they exceed the 18-month threshhold for “unreasonable delay.”

Police could conceivably push far more serious crimes off the docket if all of the 15,638 people they arrested in B.C. for cannabis possession last year ended up in court. No surprise, then, that fewer than one in four violators were actually charged. The rest, however, live with an arrest record that has the potential to trip them up at the U.S. border, or to raise doubts in an employment background check. That said, people can and do get charged, especially in small-town and northern B.C., says Hunter. Compassion clubs, which have been dispensing marijuana for years for a variety of alleged ills, often for people without Health Canada exceptions, have also become a recent target. RCMP raided the Burnaby club a day after Hunter’s interview with Maclean’s.

Pot law enforcement varies widely, based on where you happen to be caught, and the police force’s prevailing philosophy. In most provinces it’s police rather than prosecutors who lay charges, and their blotters in small towns across Canada are full of pot possession cases. By some estimates only about half of those charges lead to convictions. Often charges are stayed for first offenders, or they are diverted to anti-drug programs. In cities like Vancouver, small amounts are likely to be seized without arrest, says Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer who frequently defends pot cases in B.C.’s lower mainland and Vancouver Island. “I certainly run into people all the time who think marijuana possession is essentially legal in Canada,” he says. “I disabuse them of that quickly, because, unfortunately it’s young people and visible minorities who tend to get caught up in these types of offences for a whole bunch of reasons. They don’t have a place to go. They’re less likely to have police exercise discretion to let them go.”

They’re also more likely to be convicted. Minor pot charges don’t usually qualify for legal aid. Tousaw’s basic retainer is $3,000. “If you hired me it would typically cost you not much more than that, but not any less than that,” he says. “For a young person, particularly, that’s a pretty serious burden.”

In Quebec, a simple possession charge will likely be dropped after negotiations with a prosecutor, if the person makes a donation to a charitable organization of between $100 and $500, says Montreal lawyer Xavier Cormier-Lassonde. An arrest record remains, however. His fee for such negotiations runs between $800 to $1,500. As a result, he says, poor people are less likely to win a discharge. “But I can say that Quebec’s lawyers, prosecutors and judges are reluctant to give a criminal record to someone caught for a first offence of simple possession.” That said, almost half of the 11,423 Quebecers arrested for pot possession faced a criminal charge last year. And in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, a significant majority of those arrested by police ended up facing criminal charges.

Enforcement of marijuana laws ebbs and flows over time. There were fewer than 22,000 pot possession arrests in 1991 before the numbers began to climb. In 2003, cannabis possession charges dipped seven per cent to just over 41,000. That year, the Liberal government of the day proposed legislation to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, though it failed to become law. And a constitutional challenge to the prohibition against pot was before the Supreme Court of Canada. Among the arguments was whether the risk of imprisonment for pot possession constitutes cruel and unusual punishment considering the small perceived level of harm.

Attitudes toward pot use hardened with the election of the Conservatives. One of Stephen Harper’s first acts on forming a minority government in 2006 was to declare the liberalization of pot laws a dead issue. “[I]f we legalize drugs like marijuana, it will make it easier for our children to get hold of it,” he said in a speech to the Canadian Professional Police Association. “That is why my government is opposed to legalizing drugs—especially because of the damage it can do to our cities and our communities because of increased addiction and crime.”

True to his word, legislation expected to be included in his omnibus crime bill calls for a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months for growing as few as five pot plants. Another expected change will make it substantially slower, and more expensive to remove criminal records, even for minor offences.

But while the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the challenge to marijuana prohibition in 2003, the judges were hard-pressed to find significant personal or societal harm in its use. The majority of judges sided with the existing law, in part because there were no mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession and because users were rarely jailed. The tougher new laws may well trigger another court challenge, predicts Hunter. Louis LeBel, one of three dissenting judges in 2003, said that even the threat of jail amounts to “legislative overreach” for marijuana possession. “Moreover, besides the availability of jail as a punishment, the enforcement of the law has tarred hundreds of thousands of Canadians with the stigma of a criminal record?.?.?.?”

Among those is Tamara Cartwright. In a reflection of the confusing state of Canada’s cannabis prohibition, police let her leave with the parcel she’d picked up the morning of her arrest. It held 25 grams of pot. Her Health Canada certificate allows her to possess cannabis, to grow up to 39 plants and to legally smoke her prescribed eight grams daily. She says it eases the inflammation in her colon, controls the pain and stimulates her appetite. “If I don’t smoke it, I don’t eat.” The only alternatives, she says, are heavy narcotics and steroids that erode bone density and cause other side effects. “You can’t take care of kids, you just can’t have any life, when you’re all strung out on prescription drugs.

In early August, Cartwright pleaded guilty to the serious offence of trafficking. She felt she had no choice, even though she says there was “no malicious intent, no criminal intent. I was giving it away.” She couldn’t afford a lawyer. Her husband works out of town, and with children to look after, even a faint prospect of incarceration was too much to risk.

She accepted the Crown attorney’s offer of a six-month conditional sentence. She must be at home during an overnight curfew, and refrain from intoxicants, ironically, except her marijuana. “I’m thankful to be sleeping in my own bed, put it that way,” she says. “I could be incarcerated.” She’s not sure how jailing her would have made Canada safer for children and families. As it is, with a trafficking conviction, all hope ends of taking her youngest son to Disneyland. “I’m totally screwed, and won’t be able to travel, ever.”

In her view, all pot prohibition does is profit dealers and gangs, and create more criminals and victims at a time when the country seems to be turning the corner on crime. “We’ve got to start thinking about what we’re doing to our youth,” she says. Which is what the police and the federal government say, too; coming at the argument from the opposite side of an unbridgeable divide.




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Too many cops?

  1. This crack down on Marijuana is outrageous.

    Many of the people I know who are all grand parents enjoy Marijuana as they have done since the 1960′s.

    Some do and some do not.

    The current push by the police is completely out of line with the people of Canada.

    Stop this madness.

    • The problem isn’t a push by police. The problem is the legislation that they’re supposed to push.  If we really don’t like police arresting people for sending small amounts of marijuana through the mail, then change the criminal code so they don’t have to do that.

      Starving them of resources as a means of controlling which laws they enforce is asinine. Give them the resources to enforce all the laws that we have, and make sure we’re not asking them to enforce laws we don’t like.

      • How can  you change the criminal code with a PM who refuses
        to even look into decimalization.

         

        It should be voted on by the Canadian people with NO American
         influence

        • decimalization……..hmmm  mathematics???

          • Yeah, I think we did that a few centuries ago when we abandoned the English Pound

    • “Marihuana” is the Canadian spelling.   

      • No, it’s p-o-t

        • actually its cannabis

  2. Harper is a punishment fetishist. Why can’t people see that? He is a bully who delights in the misfortune of others. He is GOING to build a bunch of new jails. He has ALREADY changed laws to make it harder to get bail or plead out. He is about to change the laws to implement mandatory minimums and there is NO evidence anywhere that they work or are needed.
    So why is he doing it?
    Because he likes to make people suffer. That is his kink. He gets off on hurting others. It is written all over his face, why can’t people see it?

    • Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha… Oh Wow!

      Idle demagoguery or do you actually believe that?

      • do i believe harper is a punishment fetishist who gets his jollies by watching people suffer? I have no doubt about it at all….

        • But I have doubt about your sanity. Russell Barth.

          • yeah, well, coming from a faceless coward with a fake name, that critique possesses mythic resonance.

      • You don’t think Harper is a total punishment fetishist? That’s all he can ever talk about when it comes to supposedly combating crime. You don’t read the news much do you Fancy.

  3. seriously…… why is no one really discussing the mental illness that is running around inside the brain of Stephen Harper? All this cops and jails nonsense – this is not the behavior of an ideologue, it is the behavior or a psychopath/sociopath. I am not joking, I am serious. Very very serious. The man is capable of absolutely anything, up to and including everything.

    • —tell you what Russ—you send us the results of the professional analysis of what is going on inside that little brain of yours and then we will consider your wishes.

      • my brain is working just fine. I am not the one who is designing a crime-stimulating, gangster-subsidizing, public-endangering, economy-ruining Inmate Manufacturing Industry. Harper is a sick weirdo, bent on inflicting suffering, especially on the poor, the sick, the old, the brown…… just like the 5.6 million villains who voted for him.
        He wants an India-style caste system. Bullies love to be on top.
        Now you can make fun of my disability, my sick wife, and my medicine…. make sure to omit facts to support your notion.

        • Russ for PM

          ha

  4. “…“[I]f we legalize drugs like marijuana, it will make it easier for our children to get hold of it,” he said in a speech to the Canadian Professional Police Association….”

    Is it considered a lie if you don’t realize your comments aren’t true? That’s our choice in this situation: either Harper’s ignorant or a liar.

    Teenagers routinely report that it is far more difficult for them to get a hold of cigarettes or alcohol than illicit drugs.

    Think about it: If I want cigarettes or alcohol I have to walk into an establishment where strict rules are enforced and proof of my identity can be requested any time I make a purchase.

    Additionally, because the government regulates and controls cigarette and alcohol production, importing and sales, they can not only oversee quality, but tax those items.

    All you do when you push marijuana outside the purview of society is hand it to the anti-social groups such as organized crime. You’re essentially handing them a multi-billion dollar enterprise with which to support their other activities.

    Anyone who is actually trying to reduce crime would be seeking to undermine how it’s funded wouldn’t you say?

    Frankly I think they know better, but just can’t resist the lure of votes that comes with this ignorant position.

    • There’s plenty of First Nations tobacco and bootleg booze around as people look to lower the cost of their thrill of choice. Call me cynical, but given the existing infrastructure for pot, and the ease of growing your own, legalization would likely just change the nature of the charges as the taxman starts looking to protect his turf.

      • I think the main objective of legalization would be undermining organized crime and increasing the control we have over who can access this stuff, not to mention regulation of content and protection of those who use it.

        I’m not so sure that decriminalizing growing and possessing small amounts of pot serves this end as well as legalization would.

        I have no problem with the nature of charges shifting from essentially random abuse of users who are otherwise contributing members of society, to a focused limiting of anti-societal groups who attempt to avoid regulation and taxation.

        Right now my teenage nephews can get this stuff just about anywhere. It would be great if they had as hard a time getting pot as they do cigarettes and booze.

        If the government really was concerned about kids getting access to this stuff, they’d be acting to gain control rather than ceding it to organized crime, IMHO.

        • I appreciate where you’re coming from, and actually agree that it should be legalized and controlled. I’m just saying I think it will be harder to control and regulate the market than you might think. I have no first-hand experience as a user or a grower, but my understanding is that it’s pretty easy to grow your own, so once it’s legal to use a lot of people would likely do just that. The current suppliers who can’t / won’t switch to the legal side of the market won’t want to lose their market share either, so they’ll grow more potent bootleg and sell it cheaper – or just switch to marketing a different drug that may not be so benign.

          And you can bet that to stay in the game they will target those who can’t get it legally: the kids. So (much as I hate to admit it) Harper may have a point.

          • One thing to keep in mind: They said the same thing during prohibition in the US.

            Turns out most people are more than happy to do things legally when presented with the opportunity.

          • KeithBram:

            It’s not so easy to grow your own, unless you put in a big investment for lights, hydro and space. Otherwise, a personal backyard grow of a couple of plants is labour intensive, unreliable in most of canada (weather), and you always have to be concerned that some roofer, mailman or kid chasing his dog will end up in your backyard, see your mighty two plant grow-op and call the cops. I’ve had the cops over twice now, and have my wife’s Health Canada docs in a handy envelope on a shelf by the door.

            I’m thinking the bikers and triads will get out of the business once the government gets involved. It’s all about the profit ratio. The legal side of the market will take the knees out of the criminal market, as most dope is smoked by adults, and steady customers make dealers money. Under 18′s are terrible customers, as they’re not consistent.

            As to selling it cheaper/ The first guy who drops the price sets the immediate new price. Price wars don’t work in dope. The bootleg market will exist, but only in small pockets. The bikers will move back to selling E or running insurance scams.

        • I have to go with you on this.  There are two major issues: the criminal sector that is enhanced and financed by illegality. The second is the damages to reputation for using a substance that is less harmful than tobacco or booze. As far as i am concerned the fully addicted hard drug users might as well be a write off. Very few recovery programs work as they say that the real problem is not chemical at first, but the underlying despair a person must feel to turn to drugs.   

          As for the number of police, I think Stratton has proven in NY that it is not juts in numbers,  but in  the approach. Two cops in a squad are not a threat.  Two at your elbow on a beat are. Put the feet on a beat!

      • There’s plenty around yes, but casual access of it, especially in areas which already have stores that sell liquor and tobacco legally, isn’t as prevalent.

        Why? Because the price has to be compellingly lower to entice people to buy something illegally when there are legal alternatives nearby. The risks generally outweigh the cost benefits the sellers can provide, so the sellers of the illegal goods don’t bother setting up shop in the first place.

        • Maybe I hang with the wrong crowd, but I know an awful lot of people here in Ontario smoking reservation brands. And there are still lots of bootleggers in my home province of NL making the booze & baccy run to St. Pierre. They’d argue the prices are “compellingly lower.”

          • Remember when Chretien cut the cigarette taxes?

            Prices dropped from $10 a pack to $3 overnight.

            And the blackmarket dried up overnight as well.

            It seems over-taxation is equivalent to prohibition.

            BTW, I’ve had Newfoundland bootleg: killer stuff! LOL

  5. I feel pretty confident that we’ve got great (not perfect) police forces in Canada.  Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what to do with them.  I’m all for having (& paying for) more police, providing we also give them adequate resources and proper objectives.

    The thing about drug possession is that it’s a pretty easy arrest.  Have drug, drug illegal, arrest.  More officers = more arrests.  Also, more strain on justice departments & legal aid, but that’s a different level of government.

    More serious crimes such as human trafficking, child pornography, organised crime, white collar/corporate crime, etc. requires a lot more experienced officers with additional training and education, and more corporation between different forces.  Not only do the municipalities have to pay for the training, but it also moves more officers into higher pay grades.  These crimes also create issues of jurisdiction & what level of government should pay for policing, which are issues that haven’t exactly inspired mature, grown-up behaviour from our politicians in the past few decades.

  6. Steven Harper has taken the page from Bush, he using the
    fear tactics to win votes. He has buried some privacy issues in the crime
    bill that have major implications.

     

    All people hear is tough on crime, they will be really upset
    when one of their children get caught 
    with a couple of grams of pot. Should you really be punished for the
    rest of your life because of some pot. 

     

    Steven Harper does not speak for me, even the lawyers don’t
    agree with the proposed minimum sentences

     

    Steven Harper   = Canada’s
    dictator

     

    • What rubbish!

      • truth hurts ………keep following the rest of the sheep

        • Not truth but Rubbish!

          • You are the rubbish ….. I’d bet you like to drink and bear arms huh???? …. stinking neo con!!!

      • @blacktopold, you sir are an idiotic tool, piss off!! you and your stinking neo con attitude are not wanted here!!

  7. I am totally disgusted by this article to many cops? After reading it and getting more and more angry I had to write my opinion. First let me say POT HEADS are non- violent passive persons. I have never ever heard of a pot smoker going and robbing or killing to get more weed. And yet all I ever hear is the Government and police going after pot smokers. Now I don’t believe I am the only one who is asking WHY is it ok to have a place for the JUNKIES to shoot up on the tax payers dime? Why don’t the police go in the shooting galleries and arrest all the dirty aids spreading junkies for possesion of heroin?????? Don’t even get me started on the Meth Heads, they are proven violent and will kill anyone of us just to get more meth. Yet all I ever hear about is the pot smokers getting busted. I think the people in charge should give their heads a shake.

    • Pot smokers are easy targets for lazy cops.

      The hassle they gave the lady in the article is proof positive of that.

    • I think it might be more complex than you are describing.  There are multiple grow-ops that wreck houses; there are gangs that create violence in cities ….and they are all off shoots of drug sales.  I would be fine with them legalizing cannabis.  I know it is not true that they don’t go after the people selling & using the harder drugs. 

  8. One reason people may think crime is up is that when something ‘bad’ happens, all news media jumps on it and reports it over and over and over again.  This makes people think that there is a lot of ‘bad’ things happening AND want action.  Instead, it is just ‘bad’ reporting, and media and people wanting sensational news.

    • Exactly.

      In fact, given the limitations of the media in terms of the volume of crimes they can report in a given time period, I suspect the crime rate could drop to 1 incident per 100 000 people (0.01% of the most recently recorded rate) and yet the papers would still be full of it!… uh crime reports that is! LOL

      “…At a rate of 7,518 reported incidents per 100,000 people, the crime rate in 2006, the latest year for which there is statistics, was the lowest crime rate in twenty-five years…” ~ wikipedia

        • They compare reported crimes to the census generated numbers.

          Strangely the CPC is now undermining the census and thus the ability of police to put a good number on unreported crimes…

          • Not strange at all Phil. The conservative party is not simply undermining the census they have completely abolished the long census form. The long form was an invaluable tool for addressing the trends & statistics of not just crime, but day-to-day life in Canada. No facts equals no arguments equals no opposition. Sadly, most Canadians yawned and hardly even noticed…   

    • Would it surprise you to know that many police officer’s wives are paid a very generous salary to scan the internet/news sources and push articles that put police in a positive light forward to the media;) Helps ensure the taxpayers are paying generously to police and their spouses who get these types of work;)

  9. Police in Calgary have been known to hand out $500 fines to those not wearing a life jacket as they float down the Elbow river in a rubber raft.  The Elbow is a basically a wide creek that most adults can cross without getting their knees wet. And if you do decide on the long and leisurely raft down the Elbow on a sunny afternoon, be ready to occasionally jump out so you can pull the raft over the really shallow regions when the raft bottoms out.

    And then there is the radar enforcement of the 10km speed limit on some portions of the Calgary’s fabled bike paths. Marathon runners beware – you could be breaking the law! Or how about that homeless person who was fined for spitting in a garbage can?

    Do we need more cops? Of course we do!

    It took two calls to 911 to deal with that homeless person in Ottawa sleeping on the sidewalk, along with 4 cruisers, an ambulance, and a firetruck to wash the blood off the sidewalk before that homeless person could be properly charged with assualting a police officer!

    There is obviously not enough low hanging fruit out there to satisfy our cops. but here seems to be an abundance of rotten apples on the ground.

  10. Thank you Macleans for publishing this.  I just wish there was some tiny chance it would have some impact on the band of knuckle-draggers who run this country. 

    Every time a drug bust occurs, gang leaders cheer.  The prices of illegal drugs go up and they can make more money selling less.   All the policing in the world won’t dent the demand and the suppliers will always find a way.  Not to mention that the state is treating us like children when it tells us what substances we can and cannot use.

    You will never deal with 100% of the addiction problem so stop trying.  Instead, control the situation through education, legislation and taxation, much as we do now with cigarettes and alcohol. 

  11. A lot of words about nothing – legalize pot and put police on real criminal activity! First off the Charter of Rights should be toughened up so that every criminal gets his day in court along with the public good and by that I mean holding over those who present a threat of never showing up for their hearing and they are easy to identify by a judge making the decision. It costs a lot more to have the authorities out looking for them than by having them in holding areas preferably outside of the cities but this would require spending funds on these types of prisons and we, as Canadians, are too cheap to have the government build them but would rather face the risks and absorb the costs of apprehending them while they are among us. I believe Harper is partly right to want to build  holding facilities but perhaps not prisons as we know them although with Charter changes, more convicted criminals would see the inside of a prison which they certainly are not seeing under the present system. I’m assuming that the judges presently are following the Charter in their liberal decisions and  are not lacking the backbone to make tougher ones when allowed. The other change that is necessary is for the government to appoint as head of the Crown, a person with a strong personality to shake up  his people who seem to think just showing up at a trial is all they have to do without proper preparation but in their defence, because of the Charter the defence lawyers and the judge have everything on their side so many cases are delayed so long and unwarranted appeals are granted so many times that they are thrown out and the guilty walk free among us again. Whatever we do, we should not blame the police in their work because they must be as disappointed as the victims when they see the disposal in court of a case they’ve worked hard on. We should shake up the handling of the “white collar” crimes also as it is a real crime the way the Security Commission mishandles them but as I said at the beginning – a lot of words and no action.

  12. Catch 22 again — the police support tough marijuana laws because they generate easy statistics to justify expanding the law enforcement bureaucracy.  The electorate (increasingly older and thus feeling less physically self-reliant) also supports more police since the elderly see them as an armed force that’s on their side against an increasingly difficult world.

    The lessons taught by prohibition are thus doomed to be forgotten.  Our ancestors finally decided that trying to force people to forgo an easily obtained substance (alcohol) ) that most citizens deemed harmless was doomed to failure and only benefited organized crime.  We can’t seem to perceive that the same is true of marijuana  which can be grown anywhere.  Even a candid member of the law enforcement community would agree that prohibition only affects the price not the availability (and yes, this means that your kids can easily get some when peer pressure pushes them in that direction – in some cases they have a harder time getting alcohol).

  13. > “we don’t govern on the basis of statistics,” said the justice minister.
    “We govern on the basis of what law enforcement agencies have told us.
    What victims and law-abiding Canadians have told us.”

    Herein lies the fundamental problem of the Conservatives. Good leadership is about quelling fears, not pandering to them. Statistics tell you what reality is. It tells you what works and what doesn’t. People tell you what their perception is. If there is a mismatch, it is the job of the government to change perceptions to better match reality, not to ignore reality to pander to misperceptions.

    This is the very definition of integrity. When I’m wrong about what is broken on my car, a good mechanic will explain what is the reality, not just do what I think is the problem and pretend it’s fixed. A good lawyer will educate me when my perception about the law is wrong. A good scientist will educate me when my description of their science is wrong. That is integrity. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow smarter while actually solving problems (rather than pretending).

    This is what makes the Conservatives very weak. Yes, they can win votes by pandering to fears. But in the end they can’t change reality. These programs won’t make things any better, and the evidence says they’ll make it worse. When people see their costs going up, crime going up, and more problems generated by these policies, they won’t be less fearful or annoyed. They’ll kick the Conservatives out and pick somebody who can actually improve things.

    • Like left-wing liberals? Forget it.

  14. I have been a subscriber of Maclean’s for about 2 years now and watched the magazine change from a pro-Conservative to a pro-Liberal/NDP overnight. Before the national election, Maclean’s could not say enough good things about the way the Conservatives were trying to run the country and what they had planned. Now Maclean’s had done a complete 180 and are now telling us how bad they are. I am all for criticism, but this is a bit much.

    If you really read this artical and read what they are really saying, it disgusts me. How can you as that too many cops are a bad thing? How can you say that pot heads being busted is a waste of time? How can you question the increase in traffic fines are wrong?

    As a Federal Correctional Officer, I cannot encourage this “crackdown” enough. I work around some of the most vile, disgusting, dangerous men in Canada. And if it were not for the apparent abundance of police officers doing their jobs, which you say there are be too many, these criminals would be out there preying on other victims. 

    I say, hire more police and spend as much money as necessary to train them properly to catch all of the law breakers. ALL OF THEM, whether they are speeding, smoking pot, or whatever. Bring them all to justice.

    Just remember, if they weren’t out there, the villains you like to forget are out there and in prison, they would be coming after you….

    • Obviously, you would be happier in a police state.  I suggest China.

      • Don’t know. China is communist, not a police state. Maybe I should look to the US or how about even parts of Australia. They are fast approaching this idea

    • Really, CX1 Alberta?  And you’ve never driven 5 or 10 km over the speed limit?…  You ALWAYS stop before the line at a stop sign even though the trees blocked your view of the street???  Give me a break…  There are times when the authorities have reduced ramp speeds, and then sat there pulling every single car over to give them a speeding ticket, when the only danger was that the city would loose revenue from all of the tickets.   These are not vile, disgusting, dangerous people… they are regular people trying to get to work in the morning or whatever – they just need to pay their bills… not be taxed extra for a minor traffic error.  In case you missed the main point in the article… the police are targeting people who are NOT dangers to the community.  Most traffic violations are not caused by villains…  but likely you have no idea how to tell the difference between a villain and a regular person anymore…  yourself being perfect and all…  I say… keep watching those Disney movies…  Pixar… those are good ones…  

      • Well, it seems that you like the idea of pushing the limits of the law. I guess it is okay for people to push the limits of the law and see how far they can go.

        I am no where near perfect or ever claimed to be. But where I drive down the highway and exceed the speed limit, I will accept the ticket, if it turns out that way. As you may have noticed, you have driven in excess of the speed limit and not always gotten fined. If you have, stop speeding, if not then take your medicine and live with it.

        Obey the laws or live with the consequences, stop bitching and move on.

        • Bad laws need to be disobeyed.

          • And what would you consider a “bad law”?

          • Anything that proscribes fully-consensual actions, for a start.

          • the .05 warn range for starters!

        • Actually, I haven’t had a ticket for decades –  I am not one to push the limits of the law – truthfully, I don’t need the hassle.   I invite you to find the bad guys, the real villains, put them in prison…  leave the rest of us alone.   Protect and serve the people who pay your salary, instead of becoming an annoyance.    

          • Sorry for being an annoyance by stating my opinion. I guess that is the underlying crime to some people, their right to say and defend what they want.

            I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to day it.

            I welcome any and all comments toward or about me and mine. At least it shows that you have an opinion and are willing to express it.

            Thanks you

        • “I say, hire more police and spend as much money as necessary to train
          them properly to catch all of the law breakers. ALL OF THEM, whether
          they are speeding, smoking pot, or whatever. Bring them all to justice.”

          This is the trash you type, you are a retard CX1Alberta and we don’t like people like you here, so go get lost in your workplace/prison and maybe we’ll get lucky and hear about the vile, disgusting, dangerous men you torment each and every day at your prison job getting their hands on you.

    • What a sad fellow you must be. Even as a non-religious person, I’m only left feeling that on your death bed you will realize the frivolity of your thoughts and embrace compassion and life.

      I thank you for working around those who have truly become vile and disgusting humans; it serves our community well. This topic, however, is not about those men (and women) but rather about the vast majority of cannabis users who are respected and contributing members of our community (or at the very least benign and non-threatening to others), and whose only crime is that they choose to imbibe slightly different plant matter than other members of the community.

      Your failure to distinguish between those who need serious rehabilitation and those who need none whatsoever is where you prove not only a lack of compassion but a lack of rational sense.

      • Well, what can i say. You have a point, not valid in my opinion, but at least you have one.

        That is the beauty of Canada and its laws, you can have a voice and can be heard. It matters not whether I agree. It matters that these laws that allow you to speak freely and without prosecution, are the same laws that prosecute the laws breakers.

        When has it become socially acceptable to smoke or recreationally use drugs, pot or otherwise? There is a reason why these laws are in place.

        If you cannot abide by them then you have to live with the consequences.

        I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to day it.I welcome any and all comments toward or about me and mine. At least it shows that you have an opinion and are willing to express it.Thanks you

        • I thank you as well for your civility and opinions.

          You ask the crucial question of when did this become socially acceptable, to which I will answer:

          Firstly, since a majority of Canadians have smoked cannabis at least once, and a large percentage has smoked or eaten cannabis recently (16.8% in 2007), I would argue that to mark cannabis as illegal and thus potentially incarcerate 1/6 of our population for what is, in virtually every case, a harmless act, is madness and that the law should change to reflect this. You may argue, per your speeding ticket analogy, that only some will get caught and that this is the risk they take; I would argue that having a system of law based not on pragmatic morality but rather on a roulette system of odds is a sign of a highly under-developed and un-advanced society.

          Secondly, though you may take liberty at this statement, humans have always sought means to alter their consciousness recreationally. Virtually every single known culture has had their common “drug(s)” of choice that served to de-stress, spiritually enliven or just plain ol’ socially lubricate its citizens. The fact that alcohol is legal and so widely used here in Canada instantly negates the argument that recreational drug use is not common or accepted in our society today; the history of alcohol prohibition adds a sad irony to the continued justification of having a useful and mostly benign plant criminalized while allowing a mostly useless and extremely harmful substance to be widely imbibed.

          Lastly, on a more macro level, it is simply a case that you seem to look at laws as immutable, whereas I look at laws as simply things to aid the harmonious progress of society. The cannabis laws do not do this. If I smoke a joint before a movie, I am not a criminal. If I grow some plants in the house that I own, I am not a criminal. If I give or sell that same joint, from those same plants, to a friend or a stranger, I am not a criminal. But the law says I am, and often that I should be punished with more severity than those who physically harm someone else or molest a child. There should, of course, be recognition that cannabis alters one’s state, so there should, of course, be regulation in terms of driving a vehicle, selling to minors, and all the same requirements found in place for alcohol or tabacco. Sadly, it is the due to the fact that cannabis is illegal that creates the environment where kids can access it so easily (much more easily that alcohol or cannabis according to surveys on high school students) and that allows gangs to control and profit from its prohibition.

          All unbiased, peer-reviewed science points to the fact that, nothing else considered, cannabis should be legal and that the criminalization of cannabis does exponentially more harm that the substance itself;and when considering the legality of alcohol and tabacco, the prohibition of cannabis is legal hypocrisy of the highest order.

          You may choose to view this and other laws as sacred due simply to their existence, but for the majority of our population science and rational thought dictate how laws are viewed. One day our voting system will be brought into the 21st century and elections will start reflecting the real will of the masses, not the 40% majorities that exist today.

    • You would like more police, prison guards and every speeder and pot smoker brought to justice?? Are you completely insane CX1Alberta? You are what is wrong with this current Govt and ALL law enforcement across this country!! Smoking pot is and has never been a crime anywhere in the world!!People like you make me sick, because you’re talking about things you obviously know little about and I don’t care how long you’ve been a prison guard!! It’s completely obvious that you’ve lost your marbles at some point during this so called career of yours. We the people would like to see most of you bums, cops, prison guards, crown attorneys and the rest of the leeching types that push prohibition of the greatest medicine known to mankind Cannabis!! It’s been used as a complete holistic medicine by human beings for well over 4000 years and you want people brought to justice for using a medicinal plant???You and the rest of the prohibition pushing trash are losing the war and this will continue until full legalization is achieved. We the people don’t giving a flying f!@k about how disgusted you are because you’re another Govt sponge that soaks up way too much tax $$ pushing a B.S. law that is failing as I type this!!!! We as humans can put into our bodies what we want and if this is pot then we’re going to do it and damn the Govt and the goofs that work for it!!

    • You get your wallet out there tough guy;) Imagine a sunshine trougher like you sticking up for your fellow troughers. You get your wallet out, it is surely thicker than most and let me know how many more cops you can afford to pay for. I can afford .00003% of a cop. Cops in little towns earning 120k, 150k and over 200k just like Toronto. Ridiculous You love em….you pay for em.

  15. send a few to the US, they’re laying off cops

    • You are alsolutely right! Many cops would rather sit KFC to enjoy the food. Such a pity, yep!

  16. “enclosed four grams of her homegrown marijuana, enough for perhaps four cigarettes.”
    Wow, when I was young and dumb, four grams went a lot further than that. You’ve gotta be pretty chronic to need a whole gram to catch a buzz.

    Anyhow, they should send those extra cops to Northeastern Alberta. I’m sick of seeing cars, boats, quads, etc… getting stolen and the cops getting back to you two weeks after you called them, only to shrug their shoulders and say “sorry, nothing we can do”. 

    • No drugs involved that’s why. The funding and everything that comes down the pipe for policing is usually directed for drugs. So if your kid goes missing they won’t look for 24hrs, but if you happen to mention the little begger has a kilo of cocaine in his back pack, they’ll have an army of cops looking for your kid. follow the money…..police are!

  17. Too many police –  all looking for something to do, so they target women with young children with limited means to fight a charge.  I’m sure the police officers who charged her were so proud of themselves – what a bust.   Then there’s the minor traffic violations – let’s hear it for the quotas.   But  real crime?  There’s plenty of that – there are plenty of criminals that need to be locked up, but fighting real crime is hard, and not as lucrative for the cities…  I am so tired of it…  it’s good to have lots of police, but only if they focus on making safer communities.  Police need to focus on the real criminals – the ones who truly need to be taken off the street.  Allowing our police to become an annoyance to generally law abiding citizens is a recipe for disaster.

  18. You voted for Harper, get use to that… will only get worst!!!

    • The “unbridgeable divide” is about more than marijuana!

      Basically, our society was controlled via
      a group of “trillionaire mass murders” &
      they were the ones behind prohibition,
      since they profit both coming & going.

      The always automatically worsening
      systems of death and debt controls
      drive fascist plutocracy, that must
      drive more fascist police powers.

      & Amongst groups of youth which
      are getting arrested for cannabis,
      I now expect at least one quarter
      know about “trillionaire murders,”
      such as that 9/11/2001 was really
      a false flag done by those guys!!!

      It`s about the monetary and taxation system
      and their automatic needs for more fascism!

      It was good old totally insane use of power
      that evolved through the history of LYING!

      Indeed, get used to it, it will only get worse!

      • Pity. Poor boy!

  19. Just another pro-marijuana, anti-Harper rant. Go find a worthy cause.

    • senorito is illustrating EXACTLY what is wrong with canadians: they are PROFOUNDLY stupid

  20. What happened to common sense? Sending pot through the mail just sounds stupid. Just because the sender has a license to smoke doesn’t mean whoever ends up with the mail does (and we all know how mail gets “lost” every now and again). Maybe it’s good that the police are enforcing common sense… obviously Canadians need help using it.

  21. The article how this poor woman was embarrassed and taken down and arreseted by the police for having an ILLEGAL substance (its the law, agree or not, one cannot chose which laws to follow), how about McClean’s does an article about all the heavy take downs, invalid arrests, property confiscations, that are been carried out under the guise of public safety to LEGAL  firearms owners who follow the law, yet end up in court, with high legal costs on trumped up charges.  Recent case in Toronto, man arrested whole take-down thing because someone visiting the house saw guns and reported them, if the police had just used the useless registry they would have seen he was legal and no need for a violent take down and charges. Oh, sorry McClean’s thinks smoking Pot is good, firearms are bad, so firearms owners get what they deserve, Pot smokers are the poor oppressed.  

  22. I don’t understand why the comments on this article seem to focus on the issue of decriminilization as if the policing budget is in any way commiserate with the prevalence of crime.

    At the end of the day, policing budgets are about first responders being sacred cows. Their salaries increase higher than the rate of inflation – which by its very definition is unsustainable. But there is no political courage to reduce policing numbers or salaries.

    Never has there been a job whose compensation is so incongrous with demand, responsibility or scarcity. Becoming a police officer or firefighter in a major canadian metropolis is hitting pay dirt. Correspondingly they are highly sought after jobs with hundreds if not thousands on waiting lists to get in. Yet we pay them as if it was hard to recruit candidates.

    The long and short of it is we either throw our hands up and just let the budgets increase until they are so expensive they need to be absorbed into the provincial budget where payroll taxes can be indexed to pay for them, or we decide to make the cuts necessary.

    Decriminilizing marijuana will have no impact either way.

  23. drunks are the saddest, most dangerous, and most common junkies ive ever seen

  24. The idea that Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act will help ensure the safety and security of Canadians, on the face of it, is absurd.

    Increasing the impact and therefore the priority of cannabis offenses eats into time, manpower, and resources that would be better spent on serious violent crime against children, youth and community. It won’t get pot out of the hand of kids, not off the streets but it will insure organized crime coffers are well compensated for their end. Moreover, the insult will be further compounded, though not readily apparent until the release date is approached, by the fact that many young males incarcerated would go in minor players in the cannabis market and come out full-fledged gang-bangers with an agenda. 

    Harper’s Safe Streets and Communities Act gives new meaning to the term Hug-A-Thug.

  25. I wish you idiots would see past the Stoned Demands of the Pot Heads, and see the Sick who suffer while they PARTY for Freedom to charge what ever price they want for “Illegal Street Dope!!
    Fact is Medical MJ is FREE & Legal in Canada, NOW if we ask the Right people the RIGHT way!!
    I get FREE POT, after I was forced to use STREET DOPE as a Medication and Protested “ALONE”!!
    Since Medical MJ is Legal and Produced at Tax Payer’s expense, we could always sell, THAT LEGAL POT in Drugstores and POT Clubs, and if MJ was Given a DIN# then ALL MEDICAL USERS would NEVER NEED USE STREET DRUGS AGAIN as a Medication!!
    We have “POT PARTY” Politicians buying VOTES with STREET DOPE in the Comox Valley BC, and Media reports about to many COPs, and to harsh of POT LAWS?
    TTFN
    Bruce Webb CD
    aka
    Rocker-Daddy Tazz

  26. Every single day there are crimes we all see and know are Crimes, like Dealing Street Drugs to the Sick as a Medication, yet we do not report them?
    These Criminals “Profit” by selling Illegal Street Dope to the SICK & DIEING, as “Medications, and the NDP / Green Support them!!
    Crime is Crime, but this is TWISTED and the SICK SUFFER needless personal attacks from Dealers / Crown and even The COPs!!
    So with the NDP Party Recruiting Mentally Ill and Handicapped Veterans of the CF and RCMP, by supporting the sale of “Illegal Street Drugs” to them to “Self Medicate” as Medication VAC Pensioned Conditions like PAIN and PTSD, I would NOT want to be a COP today!!
    Some people think a Guy like Roszko from Mayerthorpe Alberta was dangerous??
    Use your heads People if the NDP VAC Critic supports CF & RCMP Veterans who are “Fully” combat and /or EOD / IED Explosive Trained use street drugs for Our VAC Pensioned Conditions who do you think will start to grow them?
    With any luck S-10 will give YOU and the Courts the Power to Jail all the Leaders who break the laws we have in Canada to keep us safe, regardless of how “enlightened” our Local Lower level Politicians and Police may be!!
    Union Or Non-Union?
    TTFN
    Bruce Webb CD
    Jack Layton’s NDP Party Plan In Practice Remember, Refugee Camps & Street Dope As & For Medications!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2sw8kdqTfQ

  27. Here’s the deal. like it or not the police have way to much leeway in the ability to use thier own judgement. The police should follow the laws to the letter and not a step further. And they should be accountable for their actions like any other civilian. As far as im concerned police have far , far too much power just handed to them. But where power in some area’s should be taken, they should be strengthened in other areas. Like make “Real Crime” such as child molestations, and rape, and grand theft auto which seems to be really getting out of hand in Alberta. Such as the town where i live…….Hinton, Alberta ….You can bet if you speed a little bit there will be a cop to fine you. But the Scotia Bank was robbed at gun point and the police didn’t show up for god knows how long and they still haven’t found the guy…..Oh yeah policing in this province boils down to whats’ easiest……..And please people remember these police arnt saints, and they aren’t putting their lives on the line for us,. They are putting their lives on the line for a pay check like everyone else, they choose policing because of the “perks” that come with the job. people risk their lives to be iron workers too, but we don’t make them out to be hero’s cause they died making places for us to live.

  28. Policing used be in the top 10 most dangerous jobs and were kicked off the list long before we got into a shooting war. Ranking ahead of them are Commercial Fishermen, offshore rig oil workers, mining, airline pilots, highrise labourers etc. The largest cause of death among active cops are transportation related accidents. That includes Persuits, speeding while off duty and drinking related mishaps.

  29. Great article. Let’s start fixing this problem by decriminalizing marijuana in BC. Get involved with Sensible BC at http://SensibleBC.ca

  30. The police walk a balance between seeking public support for their actions, and making themselves look busy. What that ends up looking like is extremely harsh attacks on the poor and non-white Canadians, as that will get them support from non-poor white Canadians. It will also makes them look busy. Because of white Canadians’ support, it will likely result on easy convictions. So it is a win-win situation for them, as they line their own pockets.

    In addition to predatory police getting their cut, predatory lawyers get theirs also:
    “. . . Montreal lawyer Xavier Cormier-Lassonde. . . His fee for such negotiations runs between $800 to $1,500. ”
    What “negotiations” is he talking about? Judges and prosecutors line the pockets of their union brothers (and maybe their own, under the table) by compromising on law enforcement, if the defense lawyer gets a big payout. There is simply to reason to deny that deal to someone who is not paying a lawyer. Those are standard “deals.” Requiring a lawyer to get them is corruption. The law should be enforced evenly on everyone, whether they hire a member of the Law Society union, or if they represent themselves.

    We have an extremely corrupt judiciary, one that has zero legitimacy with non-white Canadians.

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