Pubdate: Fri, 22 May 1998
Source: Edmonton Sun (Canada) 
Comment: Parenthetical remarks by the Sun editor: headline by hawk


RE: PUBLIC health not a drug war concern. Public health is not a
prohibitionist concern. The hypocritical decision to deny federal funding
for a needle exchange program (NEP) goes against scientific evidence to the
contrary. Health and Human Services secretary Donna Shalala admits in no
uncertain terms that NEPs work without increasing drug use, but refuses to
change a brain-dead policy.

The hypocrisy reeks to high heaven. When experts acknowledge clear
scientific proof that NEPs will stem the AIDS epidemic among drug users and
then refuse to act on this truth, it becomes clear that drug prohibition is
an arbitrary policy that overrules with Reefer Madness fictions and fables.
The narco pretence of protecting public health ends when the Presidential
Advisory Commission on AIDS, the AMA and other major medical groups endorse
NEPs. Never again can the narcomaniacs claim that the drug war protects
public health. It isn't even on their radar.

R. Givens

(If needle exchange programs reduce the spreading of disease, they should be

RE: PROTESTERS plant pot in valley park. Your article on the seed planters
was a joy to read. It took me back to my boyhood years when I recalled the
"scenes of my youth, when every sport could please, the never-failing brook,
the busy mill and the church that topped the neighboring hill." It had
something of the pastoral quality of Oliver Goldsmith's Deserted Village.
And as I visualized those brave souls, Kerry and Dean and their friends,
toiling cheerfully at their self-appointed task, a few lines from another
poem studied in my school days came back to me.

Thinking of Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, I seemed to
visualize the name McDowell on one of the local graveyard memorials. Despite
its pastoral tone your article had a very serious undertone. Kerry and Dean
and their friends were making a very unambiguous statement. Along with Lynn
Harichy, Marc Emory, Chris Clay and that little lady who courageously
refused to surrender her bus seat some years ago, they were saying: "Enough
is enough! This is our country as well as yours. We refuse to be back-seat
passengers any longer." I trust they have indeed "planted a seed" that will
win them the respect of Canadians everywhere. For my money, they have
entered their footnote in history.

Pat Dolan

(Nostalgia and humor aside, Canadians are still divided on the issue.)

- ---
Checked-by: Melodi Cornett