Continuing our expose of Canada's False Heroes, we will again focus on Emily Murphy, a so-called champion of women's rights who now appears on the back of our fifty dollar bill. While her contributions to the rights of women are overrated, her righteous views regarding the rights of other groups are rather more significant and correspondingly underrated. While fighting for the right of women to be elected to the Senate, she at the same time spoke out and actively tried to limit the rights the individual has over their own body and behaviour. She is considered by many to be responsible for the current drug laws in Canada, and was an outspoken advocate of forced sterilization.
An early proponent of the nanny police state, Emily's favoured method of control was preventative. Her emphasis was on environmental and mental factors as the key to wrongdoing, and accordingly she advocated a 'healing' approach to punishment.
From Part Two, Chapter 14 of The Black Candle, an account of Emily's conviction of a childhood friend addicted to morphine:
"What would her mother have me do?" Yes, this was the question. There was only one answer. The sufferer must be freed from drug habituation and from the poignancy of her suffering. She must be placed in the Provincial Jail. It would have been better to send her to an institution for the cure of addicts, but we have no such hospitals in this Dominion, and no one seems to care whether we have or not. Indeed, there can be found persons in authority who will tell you there is not a dollar in Canada for this purpose.However, despite her more "humanistic and progressive" approach to crime, she advocated, among other types of punishment, whipping for drug users, which is hard to reconcile with her idea that alcoholism and drug abuse are generally psychiatric in nature. Surely physical abuse won't cure a "mental deficiency?"
They were bitter words the woman uttered when I imposed a term of months upon her, but these fell scatheless upon me, for I knew this severe and unrelenting treatment was, after all, only a demonstration of kindness, and maybe of love, for the victim herself. In dealing with such cases, the slack hand and the lenient rule must ever prove the cruel ones.
But Emily has a special hatred of drug users, and so not all drug users were thus considered equal, or as Murphy puts it in Part one, Chapter 10 of her book The Black Candle, "mere clods of flesh".
It used to be that insane patients were put in jail too, or even burned at the stake in order to make them good, but we have acquired more enlightened ideas in these latter days. It may be that we will get a newer viewpoint on this matter of narcomania too.
Be it understood, however, that we refer only to certain of the addicts, who have acquired the habit innocently, and not to those ravening wolves who are apprehended for trafficking in opiates, and who have so much of the brute in their system they really ought to be walking on all fours.
An outspoken advocate of a Government drug monopoly, Murphy had little patience for 'illicit vendors'. Again from chapter 10 of The Black Candle:
All drugs used in Canada should be procured from the Government. What the Government does not prohibit, it must monopolize. There should be no profits on the products whatsoever.Part of the cure was of course compulsary 'public education' for the mindless sheep to prevent drug use in the first place. For convicted drug users, the sanitorium is the recommended treatment place. From Part Two, Chapter 28 of The Black Candle:
If drugs were sold by the retailers on a system of triplicate order blanks, one of these going to the Federal Government, a complete check could be kept on sales, but, however managed, there should be a record on every grain from the time it leaves the importer till it reaches the ultimate consumer.
Illicit vendors in drugs should be handled sternly, whatever their status, and it would be well for the Government to consider whether or not these should be given the option of a fine. The profits from the traffic are so high that fines are not in any sense deterrent. Besides, these ruthless butchers of men and morals are entitled to no more delicate consideration than the white-slaver, the train-wrecker, housebreaker, or the perpetrator of any other head-long crime.
If, however, the fine stands, as under the present provisions of the Opium and Drugs Act, one-half of the fine should be given to the informant, not leaving this to the discretion of the magistrate. We are persuaded this would help enormously in suppressing the unbridled sale of narcotics. An assured moiety of the fines would not only prove a great incentive to the police, but would become what a secret agent has defined as "a part of the regular machinery of eliminations."
Dr. Harrington Sainsbury, of London, who has written a volume on the drug-habit from the psycho-therapeutic standpoint states that when owing to an insufficient will-power on the part of the patient, the personal appeal has failed, the only alternative is treatment in an asylum or sanatorium.
In discussing the matter he says, "The value of a sanatorium is great; the unaccustomed surroundings, the routine and regulated life, the officialism, above all, the personality of the superintendent in which everything centres-all these elements sum themselves up and yield a therapeutic momentum which we shall look for in vain outside the institution."
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We have learned, concerning the institution for the healing of addicts-whether it be for their cure, follow-up treatment, or for both-that it must be conducted under the most rigid regulations, and that in dealing with addiction, this department of the Government, or municipality, should be vested with plenary police powers.