Harper and Canadian
Cops Promise Mandatory Minimums for Cannabis
by CC Staff (03 Apr, 2006)
Parliament was in session today for the first time after the
election, and at the same time the new Prime Minister and
Minister of Justice opened the Canadian Professional Police
Association's Executive Board Meeting and conference. The
first item on the agenda: More Power to Prohibition and Cops
- a very ominous sign for the Canadian cannabis culture.
The following is a transcript of Prime Minister Stephen
Harper's speech at the Executive Board Meeting & Legislative
Conference of the Canadian Professional Police Association,
You can also listen to an audio version
Federal Government Plans to Fight Crime
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Thank you for the opportunity to
be here today.
It is an honour for me to be in the company of the
professional men and women who are dedicated to keeping our
streets and our neighbourhoods safe for families right
across this country.
national representatives of police officers in Canada, you
are the first to see the dire consequences of increased
crime involving guns, gangs and drugs.
As you know, Canada is a great country. And one of the
things that has made it a great country is our traditionally
low rates of crime. In fact, our peaceful, law-abiding
communities are part of Canadas traditional identity and
But times are changing. Our cities are changing. And the
safe streets and safe neighbourhoods that Canadians have
come to expect as part of our way of life are threatened by
rising levels of crime.
Drug crime is on the rise. Gang crime is on the rise. And
the homicide rate is on the rise as well. In the last few
months and years, we have witnessed growing media reports of
drug, gun and gang violence, especially in the city of
These incidents appear no longer limited to supposedly "bad
neighbourhoods", but have occurred in downtown centres
frequented by families, workers, students and tourists.
Clearly this cannot go on. If we are to protect our Canadian
way of life, we need to crack down on gun, gang and drug
Canadians are tired of talk. They want action, and they want
it now. And that's what Canada's new Government is going to
do take action. First of all, we'll hold criminals to
account. We'll set mandatory minimum sentences for serious,
violent and repeat crimes. We are going to hold criminals to
This means making sure sentences match the severity of
crimes and getting violent criminals off the streets so
they can't re-offend. This Government will send a strong
message to criminals. If you do a serious crime, you're
going to do serious time.
That's why, during our mandate, we will take the following
We'll introduce mandatory minimum prison sentences for
drug traffickers, weapons offences, repeat offenders and
crimes committed while on parole;
We'll end conditional sentences for serious crimes;
We'll repeal the "Faint Hope Clause";
And we'll replace statutory release with earned parole.
Parole will no longer be granted automatically as it often
is today. Parole is a privilege and it has to be earned.
Holding criminals to account will require more police.
That's why we're also going to work with our partners in
other levels of government to make sure there are more
police officers on the streets.
This is of vital importance, because many police forces are
currently underfunded and under siege. This situation
carries dire consequences for public safety. The lack of
police patrols inevitably leads to more crime and more
serious crime. Canadians have told us that's something they
can't live with.
So we're going to act by:
Establishing a new cost-shared program with provincial and
municipal governments to hire new police officers;
Re-investing savings from the long-gun registry into
front-line law enforcement;
And investing new federal money into criminal justice
priorities including youth at risk programs.
When it comes to drugs, police
officers and parents agree: we don't need more of them on
our streets. The increase in the production and distribution
of hard drugs is well documented. And if we legalize drugs
like marijuana, it will make it easier for our children to
get hold of it.
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.
Instead, we will get drugs off the streets, away from our
children and clean up our communities by:
Ensuring mandatory minimum prison sentences and large
fines are given out to marijuana grow operators and drug
Introducing a national drug strategy, including a
nationwide awareness campaign to discourage our youth from
getting hooked on drugs in the first place;
And not re-introducing the Liberal government's marijuana
Finally, we'll get tough on sex offenders and those that
prey on our children. We'll get tough on sex offenders by:
Creating an effective DNA bank of all convicted sex
offenders and dangerous offenders;
Raising the age of consent for sexual relations between
children and adults from 14 to 16 years old; and
Establishing a zero tolerance policy for all forms of
Canadians have told us they want our new government to
protect the way of life that has made this country such a
great place to live. They've told us they want to be able to
go about their daily lives without having to worry about
getting hit by a stray bullet fired by a gang member, or
being killed by a street racer losing control of his stolen
They've told us they want to get real on crime. And they
want to put an end to gang, gun and drug violence. They want
us to walk the walk not just talk the talk. Canadians have
told us they want action now not more talk. And that's
what we're going to do working closely with organizations
such as yours. By working together we can tackle violent
crime and make our streets safer and we will.
In closing, I want to thank you for your kind attention and,
more importantly, for the invaluable and often dangerous
work you do on behalf of all of us. I wish you well in your
deliberations and I look forward to working with you to make
this a stronger and safer country in the years ahead.