Thursday, 29 September 2011

Bill C-10 The Safe Streets for now Act.

The safe streets and communities act is by far the best example of putting the carriage in front of the horse that I have witnessed in a long time.  The section of which I speak is the minimum mandatory prison sentencing for anyone growing a plant.  This is an act that on the surface sounds like just what our country needs:  to clean up the crime on the streets.   Personally, I feel the streets could be kept cleaner with proper and well distributed recycling bins.  But I digress….that’s a whole other blog.

This act that is being rushed through seems very much like what we need until you think about where the people who commit these “crimes” are going to be sent.  The supporters of this act would like you to give them your approval and support without really thinking about that, and without actually putting yourselves in the shoes of the people who are committing said crimes on our streets.  The supporters of this act would also like you to think that the criminals this act will target, are members of gangs who grow hundreds of cannabis plants to use the proceeds on harder drugs and firearms.

In fact, in an effort to more easily decipher between the gangs and cousin Jake who is experimenting with his green thumb, this act states that anyone growing 6 to 600 cannabis plants will get a minimum 6 months in jail.  Wha?     In my eyes, there’s quite a difference between growing a few plants and having a crop!  The person who is growing six cannabis plants is not doing it to profit!  They’re likely supplying themselves with a sleep aid, an antidepressant, or a pain killer.  And if cousin Jake happens to rent his home, he will get the same length of sentence as a pedephile who sexually abuses a child.  I, along with thousands of like-minded Canadians would like you to know whom this act will target and why it is that they are committing these crimes on our streets.

Let’s start with the why.   Why would someone ever begin to sell a plant?  Because they can’t find a job!   Because how they look isn't being hired these days.   Because the positions that they keep applying for are filled with people who have university and college degrees yet haven’t started their careers.  And the most honest and natural reason why anyone would ever start this “life of crime”?  Because they can make much more than $10.25 an hour selling people cannabis for their migraines, insomnia, depression, or multiple sclerosis !  We have a protest going on right now on wall street in New York city protesting against financial greed.   How is it we expect our young adults to choose a legal profession when everyday they read and hear about corporate greed and examples of successful get-rich schemes?

Let’s finally follow with the ‘who’. The citizens who will be affected by this minimum mandatory prison sentence act are your brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters, and your grandchildren.  It’s cousin Jake who likes to smoke cannabis instead of tobacco because alcohol makes it difficult to work the next day.   We can no longer view these ‘criminals’ as anonymous, faceless dredges of society.  Their faces are common and familiar.  They might even be the person who held the door open for you this morning or said “bless you” when you sneezed.

In closing, I would like to give a glimpse of that far off place to which this act will send these ‘criminals’.  Minimum mandatory prison sentences mean one thing that supporters don’t realize.  Putting young Jake in prison longer is like sending him to a six month college program rather than the two week one.  But the classes this college offers are taught by real criminals and murderers.  By putting Jake in this longer program you’re ensuring that instead of missing and wanting to return home, Jake will come out with useful practical knowledge like how to make a pipe bomb, make a ‘shiv’ with a pen, or if he’s taken notes during lectures, he’ll bring home the ingredient list and basic ‘how-to’ for making crystal meth out of cold tablets.  Prison will change Jake . . . and statistically not for the better.  Being immersed in that negative and toxic atmosphere very quickly sucks any hope out of him and from every side he is offered advice and involved in plans for future projects that will set him up for life.  

Upon release, rather than having high hopes for his future do-over, Jake is filled with distrust, vengeance, and a plan to fail harder next time.  This is why this blog has been titled, “ The safer streets and community for now act”.   Because after all, logic tells us that our streets and communities might be safer while these people are in, but when they get released we will see a new kind of hell.  A more dangerous, educated, polished individual deserving of the name:  CRIMINAL. 

Is this what Jake deserves?