crossing the border are wanted for breaking U.S. marijuana
laws. The Bush people are pressuring Canada to return them so
they may be cruelly and excessively punished.
are the refugees from the US?
The ominous changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act give
effect to a refugee pact negotiated between Canada’s government and the
Bush administration last summer and initialed in early December. The Orwellian name given this so called pact is the "Safe Third-Country
Agreement.” It provides for the routine return of refugee claimants from
Canada to America, and from America to Canada. It all sounds harmless
enough, but what if Canada or America had made the “Safe Third-Country
Agreement” with Russia during the cold war, a time when Russia also
persecuted it’s people for seeking freedoms denied them
in their own country. We would have sent thousands of Russian refugees
back to a repressive system to face swift and draconian punishment.
Last year, only a few hundred people who entered the US from Canada
actually applied for refugee status, but thousands of American citizens
have crossed the border into Canada in recent months following clampdowns
ordered by attorney general, John Ashcroft.
The white House is ignoring the will of the people by shutting down
medicinal marijuana clubs that exist in states where voters have passed
measures approving them. These clubs provide marijuana to patients
suffering from cancer, Aids, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma and whose
doctors have suggested the use of the drug.
This is not about saving Americans from the evils of Marijuana, it’s
about corporate drug company profits and the elimination of the
competition. Bush is spending 19 billion tax dollars each year on his
so-called drug war against the American people. Much of the money goes to
arresting and incarcerating Americans for smoking pot. The tobacco,
liquor, and drug companies spend millions in Washington each year lobbying
to keep the draconian prohibition era drug laws in place.
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that Californians who grow or
use marijuana for personal medicinal needs are protected from prosecution
in state courts if they have approval. But the federal government is
fiercely opposed to this and is continuing its prosecutions in federal
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently raided medicinal
marijuana clubs in LA and San Francisco, a process upheld by the notorious
US Supreme court five. Many
who cross the border are wanted in America for marijuana violations and US
authorities are pressuring Canadian law enforcement to send them back to
The moves come as Canada, like the UK, is liberalizing its laws on
One of the best-known American fugitives in Canada is Renee Boje, whom the
US wishes to extradite to stand trial for cultivating cannabis plants at
the home of Todd McCormick, a cancer patient and medicinal marijuana
activist in LA. She had watered the plants on his behalf. "I'm a
member of a class of society they're trying to oppress or wipe out
completely," Renee Boje told the online news network, AlterNet from
her home in Vancouver, British Columbia. If convicted, she faces a minimum
sentence of ten years. The length of that sentence is part of her plea
that she faces unjust persecution if she were to return home. "There
are hundreds of Americans here because they are being persecuted by their
Another American, Steve Kubby, the Libertarian Party's 1998 candidate for
governor of California, and Ken Hayes, who operated the 6th Street Harm
Reduction Centre in San Francisco, have also entered Canada. Kubby, who
has adrenal cancer, faces a 120-day jail term for drug possession.
Additional charges, filed since he arrived in Canada, of conspiring to
grow more than 1,000 plants, mean that he could face a sentence of ten
years or more. Both men have now formally claimed refugee status under the
UN refugee convention on the grounds that they have a "well-founded
fear of persecution" in the US. Canadian immigration officials have
allowed them to stay while their status is determined in court.
"US officials have violated the law and intentionally targeted the
leaders of the medical marijuana movement by using conspiracy
charges," said Kubby. "I'm being threatened with a death
sentence. How can anyone justify that and say it's not an attempt to
Their claims have been attacked by the White House drugs policy adviser
Robert Maginnis who said on Canadian TV: "Providing sanctuary to some
of these people who see Canada as an easy place to escape the long leash
of US law enforcement is dangerous ... I would hope that the Canadian
government would see fit to send them back to the US so they can face
President Bush shows no sign of yielding, instead he has chosen to harden his
stance. In May, announcing the appointment of a drug czar who makes John
Ashcroft look like a hippie, Bush thundered, "John Walters and I
believe the only humane and compassionate response to drug use is a moral
refusal to accept it. We emphatically disagree with those who favor drug
According to the Federation
of American Scientists, Marijuana
Incarceration in the United States have now reached more than 700,000 people each
than the number of arrests for all violent crimes combined,
with an average of 42,500 people incarcerated on a continuous basis. The official estimate
of this self-inflicted carnage is $1.2 billion dollars each year.
Humane and compassionate?
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