Sunday, January 22, 2006

I vote for none of the above on January 23rd

I'm not voting on Monday. I meant to go to the advance polls to express my scorn, but it was cold and so I couldn't be bothered to leave my home. However, I'll join the cattle this Monday so my vote for "none of the above" is taken into consideration by voting clerks with instructions to file dissident opinions under g.

Disaffected and angry voters, take note: spoiling your ballot is a crime.

There's no legal way to express disgust for politics via the ballot, whether by scribbling on it, writing obscenities, or drawing pictures.

According to section 167(2)(a) of the Canada Elections Act, "no person shall wilfully alter, deface or destroy a ballot." Conviction could bring a $500 fine or three months in jail -- even though the chances of getting caught are effectively nil.

Nil, that is, unless the spoiler wants to make a show of the protest -- by eating the ballot, for example.
I might almost have been persuaded to compromise my principles and vote this time around, as it would give me great pleasure to see the Liberal swine kicked out of parliament completely, if only there were a federal party willing to Stand up for the Rights of Individuals. Not so and not possible.

From the Conservative Party's Platform:
The plan

A Conservative government will:

• End house arrests and ensure mandatory minimum prison sentences and large monetary fines for serious drug offenders, including marijuana grow operators and producers and dealers of crystal meth and crack.

• Prevent the decriminalization of marijuana.

• Make precursor chemicals of crystal meth, such as pseudoephedrine, harder to get.

• Introduce a national drug strategy with particular emphasis on youth. This strategy will encompass all drugs, not just marijuana, in implementing a nationwide awareness campaign to dissuade young people from using drugs.

• Expedite deportation of non-citizens convicted of drug trafficking, drug importation, or running grow operations.
Pot smokers in Canada are the reason for the gun firing season, according to statists combating statists. A common problem with those on the 'right' who might otherwise advocate personal liberty is a failure to understand that the government has no right breaking down the doors of those who engage in behaviours classified as 'harmful' unless those individuals are actually violating the rights of others. Because 'society' apparently disapproves of somebody smoking a joint, the state keeps filling the jails with 'social deviants' while the real criminals, that is, those violating the property rights of other people, run free.

I do hope the views of Sam Goldstein, Conservative candidate for the riding of Trinity-Spadina in Toronto, are not strongly held throughout the party. At a local candidates debate, Goldstein has this to say about the legalization of marijuana:
Pointing a menacing finger at the crowd, he chastised them for wanting candidates to control gun crime in their city, while wanting to legalize a drug that was causing the gang warfare on their streets.
"You are supporting gang violence in this city!" he roared. The crowd erupted in anger, shaking their fists as he continued to vent his disgust.
It cannot be repeated enough times: if the use and distribution of marijuana was legal and unregulated, the crime now associated with the plant would sharply decrease. If people were allowed to grow marijuana legally, the 'dangerous' grow houses would no longer be a problem - people could grow it in their backyard or purchase it from a producer no longer forced to confine the operation to a house not designed for such an undertaking. The state has NO business banning personal lifestyle choices. If someone commits a crime, who happens to be on drugs, they should be charged, but only for the crime they have committed. Crime won't go away with or without drug laws, but if the police spent more time protecting people's essential rights rather than violating them, my bet is the streets would be a bit safer.

The Liberal government's plan to decriminalize marijuana is is a thinly disguised revenue raiser, and would likely lead to other state programs, like maybe RIDE programs designed to catch stoned drivers. Toni Ianno, from the same debate attended by Stan Goldstein, and on the same subject:
He mentioned his support for his party's proposed decriminalization of marijuana, then added something about how pot would obviously become an alternative to drinking, so we'd have to figure out "how to ensure if people are smoking that they're driving safely."
Regretably, many pot activists these days are an embarrasment and a hindrance to those trying to fight governmental interference into the lives of peaceful individuals. Throwing support to the 'George Bush is Evil' crowd that promise they'll fight for your right to smoke weed will come only with a whole bunch more social programs and property violations designed to MAKE you and KEEP you healthy.

I cannot cast a vote for a party that promises to maintain the current system of entitlements and infringements. Nanny laws affect us all. For example, the crystal meth scare invented by the media is also affecting people not at all interested in making meth. Allergy and cold sufferers now face restricted access to medications containing ingredients that can be used to make crystal meth. Individuals desiring fast food in the future will have to pass the weight test before they are permitted to enter the restaurant and place their order.
Corner stores and grocery stores without pharmacies across Canada have been ordered to stop selling a wide range of cold and allergy medications because they contain active ingredients that can be used to make the street drug crystal meth.

The ban, which takes effect on April 10, does not apply to pharmacies. But some of the strongest cold and allergy medications -- those most in demand by clandestine drug labs -- will be moved behind the counter and not be available without consulting a pharmacist.

"The idea is to balance the availability of these products with the risk of retail diversion for illicit purposes," said Ken Potvin, executive director of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, a group that effectively decides where prescription and non-prescription drugs can be sold.

"We think the public will understand this small inconvenience."

[..] In the United States, where commercial supplies have been choked off, it is much more common to find home labs that make speed in small quantities using cold and allergy medications bought or stolen from retail stores.

Mr. Harrington said that only three dozen home meth labs were found in Canada in the past five years. The number for the United States in that period is 10,000.

"This is a knee-jerk response to an American problem," he said. But he said what was most concerning was the precedent of NAPRA -- a group whose primary concern is supposed to be the pharmacological safety of drugs -- wading into law enforcement and losing sight of the fact that the vast majority of consumers use these drugs responsibly and legitimately.
Why not at least allow a free vote Mr. Harper?