A growing divide between north and south on the drug war is promising to be a major, and majorly contentious, issue as the Summit of the Americas kicks off Friday in Colombia. South and Central American leaders, their countries ravaged by drug violence, have been increasingly vocal about the need for new strategies in the decades old battle. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama are expected to reject outright any calls to legalize or otherwise liberalize drug trafficking and use.
(O)n Thursday, Harper’s director of communications said Canada will argue strenuously against decriminalization of illegal drugs.
“The prime minister would be a strong voice in that debate,” said Andrew MacDougall. “The government’s strategy is, in fact, completely in the opposite direction.
“A key priority for us is to fight illicit drugs, particularly the transnational organizations that are behind the drug smuggling. Here at home, we have put in place tough new laws to crack down on these groups, to put drug dealers behind bars where they belong.”
Other issues on the table for the weekend summit are trade and the status of Cuba, which remains barred from the continental tete-a-tete.