Ron Paul warns Canada’s conservatives that the U.S. war on drugs failed
OTTAWA — Canada’s conservative movement was warned Friday that America’s war on drugs — now being emulated by the Harper government with tough mandatory jail terms — has been an expensive disaster that has stripped millions of people of their civil liberties.
The message came from Ron Paul, a former U.S. congressman and failed contender for the Republic presidential nomination last year. Paul delivered the opening address to hundreds of conservatives gathered at an annual conference sponsored by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.
A well known libertarian who is considered the godfather of the Tea Party, Paul spoke about the many dangers that citizens face when governments intrude into either the economy or their personal lives.
“If you believe in liberty, you will protect economic liberty and personal liberty. They are all one and the same.”
Paul said citizen freedom should extend to “personal behavior” and “lifestyle”.
“If we have legalization of religious freedom, some people have this religion or that religion, and some people have no religion. Most people will accept that as rather tolerant.”
“But when it comes to lifestyle in the last 30 to 40 years, we have spent about five to six trillion dollars enforcing laws which I think make no sense whatsoever, (and) has caused our prisons to have more prisoners than China.”
Paul blasted the “irrationality of the drug laws that tell people what they can put in their mouths and what they can put in their bodies.” “I think the drug war needs (to be) repealed,” he said to cheers and applause from many people in the conference centre, a short walk from Parliament Hill.
Many of the people attending the conference are fervent supporters of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
Topics on the conference agenda include the oil patch and environmental protection, privatization of some health care, foreign policy and aboriginal affairs. Among the ministers appearing at the conference are Jason Kenney (immigration), Maxime Bernier (small business and tourism) and Tony Clement (treasury board).
Since first being elected in 2006, the Conservative government has espoused a strong law-and-order agenda which it says is needed to keep criminals off the streets. Critics say it is merely a political tactic to attract votes and some of the measures are an overreach.
But the government, with the majority it won in 2011, has pressed ahead. Last fall, the government’s new drug laws came into force.
The measures, part of the Safe Streets and Communities Act, provides mandatory six-month jail term for growing as few as six marijuana plants. In his speech, Paul did not make direct reference to that law, but he stressed that the Americans’ experience has been awful.
He said that as a father and a medical physician, he recognizes that drugs are very dangerous.
“But if you compare the so-called illegal drugs to prescription drugs, a lot more people die from the prescription drug abuse.”
Paul said there is far too much regulation.
“The government is so much involved. No, you can’t smoke a marijuana cigarette but we’re going to fill you up with psychotropic drugs. There has to be a better answer. There has to be more common sense.”
Later, speaking to reporters, Paul declined to speak specifically about Canada, but he then explained why he and others have opposed mandatory sentences in the U.S.
“We have wanted it to have more prerogatives from the judges. Because sometimes these mandatory sentences, in the states at least, have put people in prison for life.”
In his speech, Paul told conservatives that citizens must put a stop to government policies such as this and he said he would do away with things such as the central bank and other economic programs that skew the economy.
“Once the government gets in the business of producing economic equality or making you morally a better person, you have sacrificed the principle of liberty,” said Paul.
“And you have given the government too much power. Inevitably, throughout all history, governments when they get that power, they always expand that power until there is the next revolution.”
Paul stressed he does not espouse violence, but instead wants people, particularly young people, to use the power of ideas to achieve change.
Former Reform party leader Preston Manning, president of the centre that held the conference, said people with “different views” were invited to speak to engage a good discussion.
“Conservatives are not afraid of self-examination,” said Manning.
Read more: http://www.canada.co...l#ixzz2MzcGbjXM
The Ron Paul Revolution rambles into the Manning Networking Conference
It is barely 9 a.m. on a cold Thursday morning, but every Conservative worth their blue is packed like bespoke sardines into this Ottawan conference room hoping for a glimpse of the world's most famous Libertarian.
Dr. Ron Paul is on his first trip to Canada, and we are all here to welcome him with Belieber-esque enthusiasm.
As he bounds onstage to the theme from Star Wars, the crowd is already on its feet. I hear the click of camera phone shutters and the swoosh of text messages being sent.
"The spirit of liberty seems like it's alive and well in Canada, and a revolution is happening!"
The room fills with rapturous applause and Twitter blows up.
For the next hour Ron Paul talks extensively and passionately about liberty. He defines it by what it is (freedom) and what it is not (everything else). He encourages governments--his own and ours--to put personal liberty above their own interests. He says that modern societies are failing because they have replaced the concept of personal liberty with 'interventionism'.
"If you believe in interventionism across the board" he says, his voice rising, you want the government to invade personal lives, economic prosperity and foreign policy.
He shouts "I am a non interventionist and that is what freedom is all about!"
And the crowd goes wild.
It is like this for the first half hour of his speech. Dr. Paul holds us enthralled. The governments should not raise taxes, in fact, there should be no income tax! Everyone gets to 'keep their money'. Governments should be smaller. Personal liberty and economic liberty are one and the same.
It's all so simple. Breathtakingly so.
I start to keep a tally of the times Dr. Paul says the words 'central bank'. Five. Seven. Nine. Eventually I stop counting. He did, after all, write the book on why it should be ended. He talks about the dangers of psychotropic drugs and then segues into a nearly ten minute monologue on the folly of bonds, banks and a lack of personal financial responsibility. He questions whether life begins at one minute before or one minute after birth, and why someone can pay him 'a huge amount of money' to end a pregnancy without penalty, and then be prosecuted as a criminal if she abandons a newborn.
The crowd sits politely, but they are less rapt.
I watch a woman across the aisle from me absentmindedly braid and unbraid a lock of her hair. People are slouching in their seats, checking phones and updating twitter. I notice that Dr. Paul's hands shake a little when he holds them still.
For Conservatives, there's a lot to love about the Libertarian ideology. The personal freedoms are without restriction, industries are encouraged to regulate themselves as they see fit and the growth of the economy is constant and perpetual. But for a Canadian Conservative who believes fully in the platform of their party, there is ample grey area where Dr. Paul's libertarianism doesn't fit. He abhors the idea of mandatory minimum sentences for criminals. Canada's Tories are just getting into the business. He thinks marijuana should be legal. Conservatives here want it outlawed (and contraband tobacco, too). He says we should never "send anybody to the legislature unless they tell you the truth all the time!"
We're, uh, speaking broadly, less keen on that.
Fortunately, he finishes strong, quoting Victor Hugo. "They say you cannot resist armies. I disagree. The one thing that can beat an army is an idea." To him, ideas are pervasive, persuasive and will spread over the internet to make the revolution happen!
Maybe it will. Maybe Dr. Paul is right and we're all dancing on the precipice of total ruin. And maybe Libertarian philosophy, should our society collapse like a cheap suit collar around our collective clavicles, will have a defining role in how we can rebuild.
But for now, for Canada and the Conservatives in this salon, it all seems too simple. Breathtakingly so.
The Ron Paul Revolution rambles into the Manning Networking Conference
Edited by key2thecup, 08 March 2013 - 04:17 PM.