Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Child?

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The government of Alberta is proposing legislation that would allow the authorities to seize the children of drug addicts. It's not clear from the CTV and Canadian Press stories exactly what the criteria would be, but the fact that the law singles out illegal drug users suggests that the threshold would be lower for them than for parents who drink or who eschew all psychoactive substances. I see no sense in that, especially if the law lets the government decide whether parents are addicts and if that determination is sufficient to trigger removal of their children, whether or not there's evidence of neglect or abuse. Such a policy could easily do more harm to children than it prevents. In short, there are strong reasons to be concerned about the double standard embodied in this sort of legislation.

Alberta's premier, Ralph Klein, disagrees. "I don't know who would challenge it other than the bad guys," he says, pre-emptively slandering his critics. "You know–the people who have an interest in feeding drugs to children." I assume he's not referring to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

[Thanks to Nicolas Martin for the tip.]

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  1. Big difference between “user” and “addict.”
    Addicts don’t expose their kids to drugs as it might cut into thier stash.

  2. I thought canada was closer to legalizing or decriminalizing pot than we were? Besides, it would be a nice way to bring down the state by breeding like crazy and having the state bring up all those children.

  3. Alberta is the province most like the US with a right wing government. So this makes sense.

  4. why come up with a rational argument, when you can poison the well?

  5. When my first daughter was born, my wife had a pretty brutal bout with postpartum depression, and was hospitalized briefly; in one of the interviews leading up to that, she let on to a doctor that we had smoked some dope “every so often”.

    That doctor reported to Child Protective Services, and we had to have them by the house to check things out – and as a result, we both know that we can’t afford honesty with a person who might be able to factor such things into a diagnosis.

    Seems like this is a situation that will only make such situations more widespread.

  6. As someone who is living in Alberta, this is just another item in a long list of ad-hoc mindless policy from a government that has totally lost its direction. Scads of the filthy lucre coming into the government purse from sky high energy prices and not a clue what to do with it now that they have paid of the deficeit.

    Last week they were going to ban caffeinated beverages from the prisons(for some type of health reasons that were not clearly spelled out), which they quickly took off the table when the realized how idiotic the whole scheme was. I imagine that their child snatching initative will also meet this fate as already the child care professionals are pointing out that children almost universally do worse under the caring eye of the government than with even the most negligent parents. Google Mount Cashell (spelling?) for more recent headline examples in Canada.

    Ironically, our dear leader King Ralph, was an abusive alcholic (and probably still is), and his family suffered greatly from it. So, it is no surprise that the government is clearly seperating out illegal and legal drug abuse as a reason to snatch children.

    Personally, I would think it would protect a lot more children if they threatened to seize the children of soccer moms who drive around on the cell phone, doing their makeup with two toddlers in the back.

    mt

  7. What about the children who are parented by people who abuse alcohol and those who blow cigarette nicatine filled smoke around their children all day long? This is absolutely rediculous! Or maybe the medicine cabinet full of LEGAL drugs are much better for children to have access too. The Governments needs to stay out of our homes and leave us RESPONCIBLE MARIJUANA users alone! How could anyone in there right mind think it could be OK to allow the Gov’t to pick and choose when your worthy of certain rights?

  8. Yes, yes – only criminals have a need for civil rights. If you’re not a criminal, then you shouldn’t be opposed to fascism. Either you support my new fascist law, or you’re a monster who feeds drugs to kids.

    This piece of shit needs a good baseball bat the windpipe.

  9. “This piece of shit needs a good baseball bat the windpipe.”

    The legislation or Ralph Klein?

  10. this is just another item in a long list of ad-hoc mindless policy from a government that has totally lost its direction. Scads of the filthy lucre coming into the government purse from sky high energy prices and not a clue what to do with it now that they have paid of the deficeit.

    Alberta, Texas, those horrible countries in the Persian Gulf area–is it just coincidence that governments who get near-effortless money from huge oil deposits lean toward unusually stupid and oppressive attitudes by the standards of their region? Maybe getting money through windfall rather than actually earning it is as spoiling for governments as it is for people.

  11. “Maybe getting money through windfall rather than actually earning it is as spoiling for governments as it is for people.”

    Hmmmm, now if you could make the connection that all money taken by the government is unearned you might have the makings of a small, ineffective, dwindling, and doomed movement…

  12. Alberta, Texas, those horrible countries in the Persian Gulf area–is it just coincidence that governments who get near-effortless money from huge oil deposits lean toward unusually stupid and oppressive attitudes by the standards of their region?

    I’m not clear on the Texas state government’s near-effortless money from huge oil deposits, or how it’s unusually oppressive for its region (compared to what, Louisiana, Arizona, Oklahoma?).

    And from what I hear, Alberta is much the same as the rest of Canada in that regard, with (a few) more “family values” restrictions and (a few) fewer “nanny state” intrusions.

  13. I’m with Eric. Jennifer may very well be right, but a much more careful comparison is needed before any such conclusions can be drawn.

    Come to think of it, doesn’t Norway have a ton of oil revenue?

  14. Lets not forget Alaska.

  15. Okay, so it’s “no,” then.

  16. The dope smoking keeps me from beating the kids during the day. The evening whiskey makes sure I dole out the punishment they so richly deserve.

  17. M Simon – thanks for the linkage.

    I’ve been self-medicating myself for years. Mainly an attention issue, followed by insomnia. 🙂

    I just realised that I could probably get a doctor to help me medicate, and that it’d be somewhat cheaper than how I do it now due to insurance.

  18. Calgary is where they nabbed Marc Emery at the behest of the DEA. I’ll say they’re repressive.

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