Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Child?


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.]