Liberals back down on pot bill in face of Conservative opposition
Sep 27 2005
OTTAWA ó As a result of opposition from the Conservative party, police across Canada and from other concerned groups, federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has finally agreed to shelve the government bill to decriminalize marijuana, says Conservative Justice Critic Vic Toews. Yesterday Cotler suggested that the progress of the bill was now in the hands of the House of Commons Justice Committee, and that his government would not make further efforts to move it forward.
"Itís about time the Minister changed his tune on this flawed piece of legislation," said Toews. "We have been warning this Liberal government for months that this bill will increase the strength of organized crime, that it fails to effectively address traffic safety issues relative to drug-impaired driving, and that it fails to deal with the marijuana grow-ops that are proliferating throughout Canada and wreaking havoc on our communities."
Toews pointed to recent cuts made to RCMP detachments across the country, as well as Cotlerís refusal to support mandatory prison sentences for drug dealers, as further evidence that the Liberal government is not serious about addressing drug-related crime and the social problems that result from it.
"Despite the fact that all other political parties supported the bill, it was because of the support of the police and other concerned groups, including the families of the Mayerthorpe Mounties who were murdered, that the Conservative party was able to effectively oppose this legislation," concluded Toews.
Toews reiterated Conservative party calls for a national drug strategy, aggressive measures to address marijuana grow operations, and mandatory prison terms for drug dealers.
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