By Graham Lanktree, Metro Ottawa
With the passing of omnibus crime bill C-10 in March, pot activists are saying this year’s 4/20 smoke-in on Parliament Hill is getting political.
“We wanted to make it more involved this year,” said Graham Kittmer, of Carleton University group Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
“We want to lose the stigma of the stoner,” he said.
Kittmer also pointed out that local medicinal marijuana activist Russell Barth and law reform group NORML Canada’s Executive Director Marc Boris St-Maurice are set to talk pot policy at the event. Read more »
BY PETER HENDERSON, POSTMEDIA NEWS
OTTAWA — The air got thick and hazy in cities across Canada Friday as thousands of marijuana activists lit up to mark 4/20 (April 20), the annual, international day to celebrate pot.
The event is much a day to rail against prohibitionist drug laws as it is a day to indulge.
Fittingly, more than 5,000 gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, according to police estimates. In Toronto, crowds jammed the downtown Yonge-Dundas Square. Vancouver typically hosts the country's largest 4/20 event, with a radio news helicopter hovering over anticipated crowds of up to 20,000. Prairie potheads blazed up in Winnipeg and in Regina.
Pot activists say they're concerned about the Harper government's recent move to toughen Canada's drug laws. Read more »
BY DON BUTLER AND TOM BLACKWELL
OTTAWA — A team of researchers Wednesday recommended the creation of two supervised injection facilities in Ottawa and three in Toronto.
After what is thought to be the broadest study of its kind, the researchers concluded that such facilities would improve the health and reduce harm among drug users. They could also reduce public drug use and save money for the health system, they said.
"We projected that supervised injection facilities would prevent HIV and hepatitis C infections and result in multiple benefits for people who use drugs in Toronto and Ottawa," said the University of Toronto's Carol Strike, who led the research with Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Read more »
By Janet Davison, CBC News
When Canada's premiers and territorial leaders meet early next week in Victoria for one of their two annual get-togethers, their attention will be largely focused on health care and how to pay for it.
While the view over the Victoria harbour may be calming, the discussions could be anything but as they reflect divisions among the provinces over how they can influence Stephen Harper's majority federal government, which has shown very little interest in sitting down at the federal-provincial negotiating table. Read more »
Editorial: Ottawa Citizen
If three people were injured in house fires every day in Ottawa, there would be a public outcry. The same can't be said for drug overdoses.
Paramedics respond to more than 1,200 overdose calls every year in Ottawa - that's about three a day. Yet there is little public reaction and virtually no debate about how to reduce harm from drug use, something experts say is a growing problem in the city.
An event last week underlined the extent of drug use in the city. To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, 40 empty shoe boxes were placed at the Human Rights Monument. Each shoebox represented a person who has died of a drug overdose. The event shone a spotlight on an issue that is often ignored or misunderstood, even as it appears to be getting worse. Read more »
BY ELIZABETH PAYNE, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
OTTAWA — Nobody wants to lead the charge for a safe injection site in Ottawa, writes Elizabeth Payne
Dr. Mark Tyndall may not seem like a dangerous man to you. In fact, the recently installed head of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital who works one day a week at the Ottawa Mission treating people with HIV, (and who recently returned from the international AIDS conference in Rome), may seem like the kind of medical professional the world needs more of.
But to the federal Conservative government, the former co-lead investigator at Vancouver’s controversial supervised injection site is a man with some dangerous, even abominable, ideas: Namely, that drug addiction is a health issue, not a political or criminal one. Read more »
BY MATTHEW CLAXTON, LANGLEY ADVANCE
Tougher sentencing rules for drug traffickers are coming from the Canadian government soon, Canada's justice minister said during a visit to Langley
Rob Nicholson, justice minister and attorney general, met with Community Leaders for Justice Reform in Murrayville on Wednesday.
He said mandatory jail time for drug traffickers, importers and exporters, and marijuana growers will come soon.
"They're not going to like it," Nicholson said.
Nicholson also talked about recent changes to laws designed to protect children from sex predators, a recent megatrials bill designed to make longer jury trials easier to deal with, and removing the "faint hope clause" for lifetime sentences. Read more »
BY ANDREW SEYMOUR, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
OTTAWA — The Ottawa police and Crown attorney’s office plan to release a copy of a controversial cellblock DVD showing the alleged mistreatment of a woman in Ottawa police custody.
An Ottawa judge decided last week that the video of Roxanne Carr’s time in the police cells should be released publicly, but the order couldn’t be carried out because the copy of the video that was supposed to be in the court’s file was missing.
The Citizen and other media organizations had fought to have the video released. It was not immediately clear when the video would be turned over. Read more »
By: Chris Selley, National Post
On Tuesday, a judge ordered the release of police video that, according to Roxanne Carr, shows her being roughed up and left naked in a cell by Ottawa police officers. The ruling came over strong protests from both police and the Crown, and with the support of both Ms. Carr and local media outlets, who argued, correctly, that the public needs to see what happened in the lockup — not least because the charges against Ms. Carr have inexplicably been dropped (likely because of what’s on the tape, the judge concluded). It’s especially important to see the video because the local police have gained a reputation for doing to people exactly the sort of thing Ms. Carr alleges was done to her. Indeed, one of the officers she accuses has been charged with sexually assaulting another woman while she was in police custody in 2008. Read more »