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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
Pot Follow-Up: Belinda Backs Cellucci
22/01/2004

Last night I wrote about US Ambassador Paul Cellucci's comments directed at Canadian policy on marijuana decriminalization. Today, Conservative leadership hopeful Belinda Stronach echoed his remarks:

Conservative leadership candidate Belinda Stronach warned Thursday of the economic threat posed by proposals to decriminalize marijuana.

The 37-year-old businesswoman told an offbeat Vancouver radio show that liberalizing pot use would lead to increased searches and delays in the flow of goods at the U.S. border. "I think it's a bigger issue than we're willing to admit if we were to decriminalize marijuana," she told JACK-FM on the popular morning Larry and Willy show.

"If we were to decriminalize marijuana I think our great neighbour to the south would have a lot of problems with that and I think it would very much affect the Canadian economy."

Maybe I'm being stubborn, but I don't generally find it to be a good argument when someone suggests that our policies should be driven more by what our southern neighbours would like than by what we feel is right.

I am not interested in intentionally annoying Americans. The United States has every right to disagree with us, and to pass laws that differ from ours. (That's kinda the point of being in two separate countries, actually.) But I find it very tiresome when Canadian politicians suggest that the popularity of a decision in Washington is a valid debating point. How about deciding an issue based on its own merits domestically?

This is independent of the pot question, and even of Belinda Stronach (although I do find that it is usually the right that makes this argument). I'm just talking about exercising our sovereignty instead of rendering it redundant.

Now, on the issue more specifically at hand... while I can see some counter-arguments to decriminalization, I reject this one. I don't really believe that this will cause longer line-ups at the border... if anything the searches should be reversed. Guns entering Canada from the US are a bigger threat to health and safety than pot entering the US from Canada.


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