Back in the day, America's founding fathers, Tom Jefferson and George Washington, enjoyed trading their prized cannabis seeds. So it's ironic that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration went to Canada and arrested a law-abiding Canadian, Marc Emery, for trading his prized cannabis seeds (NOW, August 4-10). Will Canadians allow their fellow citizens to be extradited and jailed in the U.S.?
La Honda, California
Pot truth can get you jailed
If outspoken Canadian marijuana activist and seed entrepreneur Marc Emery is guilty of anything, it's telling the truth about marijuana prohibition. Canada is now faced with choosing between its sovereignty and U.S. president George W. Bush's punitive culture war. If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. And if harsh penalties deterred non-traditional consensual vices, the former land of the free and current record holder for citizens incarcerated would be a "drug-free" America.
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Feds hang Emery out to dry
As a Canadian citizen I am greatly concerned by the arrest and impending extradition of Marc Emery. The Canadian government has knowingly collected taxes from his seed sales for a decade, and has allowed him to operate openly without interference since 1998. What's next, sending Canadians to be tortured in Saudi jails for selling alcohol to people in Saudi Arabia?
Your guns for our pot seeds
Tell you what, Uncle Sam: you tighten your gun laws so the damn things stop flowing over the border, resulting in shootings every weekend, and we'll crack down on the sale of those lethal marijuana seeds that seem to have you so freaked out. Deal?
This weed gives life
I am a 25-year-old quadriplegic and medical marijuana user. I was paralysed three years ago in a drinking-and-driving accident on my birthday. Marc Emery's seeds provide medicine. This medicine is the only thing that keeps me going. Without Emery's seeds, I wouldn't be able to afford my medicine or be able to function close to normally. Who runs our government, Canada or the U.S.?
Pharma spiral familiar
I was so struck by the similarities between Tooker Gomberg's story (NOW, August 4-10) and my own that I had to write in. I've been taking Celexa for the past three years to manage my depression. Though it doesn't completely silence my inner demons, it has brought me back from the brink of a nervous breakdown. However, last fall my doctor, concerned about my chronic insomnia and the high dosage, put me on Remeron. Not only did I suffer drug withdrawal, but I also became extremely depressed and erratic. After only a week, I was cutting my wrists, pacing my house and crying incessantly.
My doctor told me to keep taking the drug for at least another six weeks, but I knew I couldn't take it any more and threw it out. I'm back on a lower dose of Celexa now, and though I'm still not entirely contented, I'm feeling much better. I would urge everyone to exercise caution with antidepressants.
Caribana can't represent all
I'm writing in response to Cameron Bailey's article on Caribana (NOW, July 28-August 3). I was disturbed by the use of "Forget Trinidad" for one of the article's subheadings. I consider this to be a slap in the face for Trinidadian Canadians. The Caribbean Cultural Committee is attempting to make Caribana as authentic as Carnival in Trinidad by playing only calypso and soca music on the trucks and excluding reggae and hiphop . Caribana is one festival for one week of the year. The festival cannot possibly represent the diversity of black communities in Canada. Those who are not satisfied with Caribana have the option of simply not going or taking the initiative to develop festivals and cultural activities to suit their needs. Why should the representation of black communities rest solely on Caribana?
Anti-terror PR stunt
Regarding your little snippet accusing B'nai Brith of lacking tact in its praise of Muslim leaders' statement against terrorism (NOW, July 28-August 3). What would you call 100 or so imams convening five years too late? Were the 100 or more homicide bombers in Israel not worth mentioning? Was this not a PR stunt by these imams? Or are they just trying to stave off the "British backlash affect" from happening to them in Canada?
Canada ready for war dead
The recent article by Steven Staples (NOW, July 28-August 3) filled me with a sense of profound disappointment and worry, not only because it demonstrates a terrifically naive view of the world, but also because it shows the most contemptible sort of hubris that we Canadians all too often engage in. I believe that Canadians are willing to have the government deploy their soldiers at the risk of death or injury to accomplish it.
It is also perplexing that Staples characterizes the recent remarks by General Hillier as indicative of "the adoption of the U.S. attitude."
It is indeed the role of a nation's armed forces to be "able to kill people" as the agent of violence for the state. There has been no recent "shift," as Staples puts it. This has always been the case.
The most ridiculous fallacy Staples puts forth is the easiest to refute, that the deployment of Canadian soldiers to Kandahar will put Canada at risk of terrorist attacks.
Canada is, and has been, a target for terrorism for some time now.
Staples writes, "The government is trying to prepare Canadians in the hope that if something awful, such as a bomb exploding on the TTC, does happen, Canadians won't hold the Liberals responsible." Well, I should hope so, and think most Canadians would hold the perpetrators responsible, not the government that has deployed soldiers to combat them.
Captain M.D.R. Slater
Church on time
With thanks to NOW for producing a very impressive display of photos of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields (NOW, July 28-August 3), the story needs one important correction. The congregation has in fact been asked by the Anglican diocese to leave the church by September.
We proposed a 15-year payback amortization; they demand it in 12 months. That is why it is so crucial to get support and action now from the community. Our website (www.saintstephens.ca) has information. We have less than two months to effect a miracle.
Tolls: bring them on
RE Toronto's last gasp (NOW, July 21-27) and Miller Clears The Air (NOW, July 28-August 3). Tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway won't clear the air. A better idea is to impose a toll on any driver who enters the downtown where good transit alternatives are readily available. And the toll has to be large enough to get drivers to switch to transit. When city council debates the future of the Gardiner this fall, it should push to take it down. Three additional GO Trains each hour can handle all the commuters who drive the Gardiner dinosaur in the am and pm rush. It's bold but plausible. Let's do it for our health.
I was disappointed by NOW's "interpretation" of Mayor Miller's responses to your suggestions for cutting smog. To put your opinions below Miller's own words is sneering and childish.
Grand pedestrian vision
NOW errs in implying that the Toronto Pedestrian Charter is just about building more sidewalks (NOW, July 21-27). Damned right, there are a lot of efforts to make Toronto a walkable city, not just downtown but in the furthest reaches of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke. That balance can be achieved by simply implementing the charter. Council did its job in adopting the charter as policy. Now it's staff's job to implement it, with resources provided by council. We're tired of waiting.
Janice Etter, Rhona Swarbrick
Pedestrian Planning Network Toronto
Making gays look bad
Looking up a new gay-friendly place to have dinner online recently, I came across a food review by Steven Davey on Local 4 (NOW, June 16-22) at Yonge and Dundonald. Looked interesting. The first line reads, "Come Pride weekend, the hardest decisions most folks have to make are how bare they dare and in what order to consume their party drugs." What a wonderful way to impress on society what responsible people we gays can be! How wonderful for gay community members who have children and pending marriages to be referred to as naked, E-dropping, coke-snorting fools. I am extremely insulted and embarrassed.