City asks feds to commit to 'eradication' of drug trade

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The city is asking the federal government to commit to the eradication of the illicit drug trade by 2025.

At an operations and administration meeting, councillors unanimously passed a motion encouraging the government to implement a number of steps to reach that goal.

They include:

• Revisions to the Canada’s Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to better address and increase penalties with respect to the illegal distribution of opioids in general, and fentanyl specifically.

•  Legislative revisions to increase sentencing principles for people convicted of drug-related crime, including drug trafficking, including mandatory minimum sentences.

•  Legislative revisions to broaden the definition of dangerous offenders to permit the inclusion of repeat drug trafficking offenders.

•  Legislative revisions to increase sentencing guidelines for illegal possession of firearms, illegal use of firearms, and possession of firearms and drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

•  Taking action to interdict the importation of illegal drugs, such as fentanyl, from countries exporting such substances to Canada.

•  Prioritizing the recovering of addicts through the creation, adequate funding and commitment to maintain adequate recovery supports without negative impacts on communities.

Councillors directed city staff to send a copy of the resolution to: David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada; Brantford-Brant MP Phil McColeman; the Federation of Canadian Municipalities; and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

“The drug problem in Canada comes from folks who are addicted and folks who are trafficking in the drug and must be addressed at both levels,” said Coun. Dan McCreary. “It’s something that this council can legitimately do, it’s not outside our abilities or rights.

“How long have we tolerated drug abuse on this continent? Not that many years ago, President Kennedy committed to going to the moon in 10 years and, if we can do that, we can eradicate this problem.”

Coun. John Utley said effort must be made to target those who manufacture drugs.

Coun. Richard Carpenter said pharmaceutical companies have been allowed to lobby politicians and make changes to legislation to “allow them to drug our citizens and make profit from it.”

“This resolution is nice but it’s not going to solve the problem. We have to insist the pharmaceutical companies stand up and pay for the damage and huge costs inflicted on our country. This resolution mentions nothing about the legal drug trade and that’s where the problems come from.”

Coun. Brian VanTilborg said the resolution deals with “providing adequate funding for those who have fallen into the illegal drug trade.”

“We feel it very personally here,” he said. “We need to hit the federal government.”

Mayor Kevin Davis said he could support the motion as it relates to the sale of drugs, but said “criminalization for those who use rather than for those who traffick doesn’t solve any problem and makes it worse.”

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