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PM Wants Mandatory Drug Sentences
Harper Vows to Help Addicts but Punish Traffickers

CBC News, Oct. 4, 2007

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised mandatory prison terms for serious drug crimes as part of a $63.8-million, two-year drug strategy he says will offer help to addicts and punishment to dealers.

In a Winnipeg news conference Thursday, Harper deplored the fact that Canadian law does not providing minimum sentences for drug crimes.

He said his government will introduce "tough new legislation" this fall to change that, setting mandatory sentences for what he called serious drug offences.

He did not say what offences would fall into that category or how long the sentences would be.

People involved in treatment of addictions have raised concerns the money being spent by the government will focus too much on anti-drug enforcement and leave out harm-reduction measures, such as safe-injection sites or needle-exchange programs.

Harper said harm reduction is not "a distinct pillar in our strategy" and that he is skeptical about a policy that would help people stay addicted.


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