Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jun 2003
Source: Sentinel Review (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Bruce Symington


I read with interest your editorial in the June 10 Sentinel-Review entitled 
"Ottawa playing catchup." I am interested in your piece for its lack of 
understanding of the role of the courts in this country.

The statement "To have them challenging laws debated and decided by those 
we vote in to do the job is beyond their mandate," is entirely incorrect. 
The role of the courts in our country is precisely that.

The underlying rule of law in the country is the Constitution. It is there 
to protect the people from the politicians and the government.

When the courts decide, as the Ontario Court did, that the law is 
unconstitutional, what they are saying is, that the politicians have 
overstepped their bounds and the people must be protected from that 
overreaching. The court is the only place where we can be so protected and 
it is refreshing to see judges who possess the testicular fortitude so 
lacking on Parliament Hill.

Every major study of the subject of prohibition of cannabis, going back all 
the way to the British study of Indian Hemp, has determined that its 
prohibition is more harmful to society, the users and those around them, 
than is the use of this innocuous substance.

Unfortunately, the oft-repeated lies of those who would retain its 
prohibition have put the politicians in the position of being unable or 
unwilling to deal realistically with this matter.

The courts are doing what is right and they are fulfilling their duty as 
defined in the Constitution and the Canadian Bill of Rights.

For the author of the editorial to decry this correct action on the part of 
the courts is truly shortsighted and exposes their bias and ignorance.

Bruce Symington

Medicine Hat, Alta.
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