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2003-07-14 14:40:00
Embassy Ottawa
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 OTTAWA 001975 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2013

Classified By: Pol MC Brian Flora for reasons 1.5(b) and (d)
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 OTTAWA 001975




E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2013

Classified By: Pol MC Brian Flora for reasons 1.5(b) and (d)

1.(U) The following draft cable is being sent to Dr.Barry
Crane and Richard Baum for their comments. Once post has
received ONDCP's input, we will retransmit the agreed-to text.

2.(SBU) Summary: In a series of meetings with Dr. Barry Crane
of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,
officials from several Canadian government departments set
out the government of Canada's drug control strategy. While
the GoC appears intent on displaying a more serious approach
to drug control, it wants to devote more attention to public
education and studies than enforcement, and the scale of its
efforts seems inadequate in relation to Canada's increasing
drug problems. End summary.

3.(U) White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
Deputy Director for Supply Reduction Dr. Barry Crane
discussed drug control policy with officials from several
Canadian federal government departments in Ottawa on July 8.
Dr. Crane visited officials at the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Health Canada and
the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, the Department of
Justice, and the Department of the Solicitor General. He also
held a lunch meeting with members of the Parliament of Canada
on Parliament Hill. Dr. Crane discussed the broad objectives
of U.S. drug policy, and concerns about current trends in the
use of methamphetamine by Americans. The Canadian officials
described their government's new national drug strategy, the
roles played by their respective departments, and GoC's
proposal that possession of small amounts of marijuana be
decriminalized. Other U.S. representatives attending the
meetings were Richard Baum, Branch Chief, International
Policy and Interdiction, White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy; Tony Pratapas, DEA Attache, U.S. Embassy
Ottawa; and Mary Witt and Craig Bryant, Political Officers,
U.S. Embassy Ottawa.

Dr. Crane's Message

4.(C) Dr. Crane delivered a con
sistent message at each
meeting. While it is not the role of U.S. officials to tell
Canada what drug policies it should follow, Dr. Crane said,
it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to protect
its population, and particularly its children, from illicit
drugs. Noting that Canada is a significant supplier of
precursor chemicals, used in the illegal production of
methamphetamine in the U.S., Dr. Crane commented that
methamphetamine might be more widely consumed in the U.S.
than cocaine in just a few years. As a result, the USG is
compelled to take actions to try and limit, if not eliminate,
the methamphetamine threat. Dr. Crane also noted that high
potency marijuana presents a similar risk to the U.S. High
potency marijuana, Dr. Crane observed, is the largest single
cause of narcotics-related emergency room admissions in the
U.S. Dr. Crane stressed the need for the U.S. and Canada to
work vigorously together to safeguard our societies from the
threat posed by illegal drugs.

5.(C) Turning specifically to GoC's proposal to decriminalize
possession of small amounts of marijuana (Bill C-38, now
pending in the House of Commons) Dr. Crane noted that the
problem with decriminalization is that, while we are trying
to persuade our children to avoid marijuana, Canada's
decriminalization plan sends the message that marijuana use
is acceptable. For the U.S., Dr. Crane calmly stated, such a
development on our northern border would necessitate stronger
U.S. interdiction efforts, in order to protect American

Canada's response

6.(C) Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(DFAIT) - Ruth Archibald, Senior Coordinator, International
Crime and Terrorism Division, and Terry Cormier, Director,
International Crime and Terrorism Division, responded that
Canada is in the process of renewing its national drug
strategy. Canadian officials are concerned about the impact
of illicit drugs on the health of every Canadian, Archibald
noted. Health Canada will continue to provide leadership and
coordination for Canada's drug strategy, as it has done in
the past, but DFAIT, Justice Canada, and the Solicitor
General's Department will also be involved in planning and
executing Canada's response to narcotics. Archibald indicated
that execution of what she termed as Canada's "renewed" drug
strategy would proceed independently of the cannabis reform
bill introduced in May in the House of Commons.

7.(C) Archibald said Canada's renewed drug strategy will
continue to emphasize demand reduction, i.e., public
education, and will focus on the more vulnerable sectors of
society in an effort to decrease the number of Canadians who
try drugs. She said Canada has developed a fair amount of
expertise, at the federal level, about demand reduction based
on its programs to deter alcohol abuse and tobacco use. Other
key components of the new drug strategy, Archibald said, will
include training programs for law enforcement (one example:
how to detect marijuana levels in drivers), and increased
funding for collecting and analyzing drug use data. She
expressed appreciation for Dr. Crane's visit, and said they
are very interested in learning from our experience. In
particular, Archibald indicated the Canadians would like
further discussions with U.S. officials on how we test for
drug use, how we track drug use among certain populations,
and our methods for collecting and evaluating data to
identify drug use trends. (Note and Comment: Archibald and
other Canadian officials will travel to Washington the week
of July 14 to discuss Canada's drug policy, and particularly
GoC's proposal to decriminalize marijuana, with members of
Congress. Post was subsequently informed that Solicitor
General Wayne Easter is requesting a meeting with Attorney
General Ashcroft the week of July 14, presumably to discuss
narcotics-related issues. End note and comment.)

8.(C) Health Canada - Dr. Crane met with Beth Pieterson,
Director General; Cathy Airth, Director for Drug Strategy;
Carol Bouchard, Director of the Office of Controlled
Substances; Richard Viau, Director of the Drug Analysis
Service; and Patricia Begin, Director for Research and
Policy, at the offices of Health Canada. Pieterson led the
discussion by making clear Canada would continue to approach
drug abuse primarily as a health issue. She admitted that
GoC's previous drug strategy suffered from inadequate funding
and attention. Pieterson said this was not the case now,
that GoC is committed to providing funding for research,
rehabilitation and, most importantly, counter-narcotics
education and messaging. Pieterson said Health Canada is
studying how best to get its 'don't do drugs' message across
to Canada's youth, and is looking at the approaches followed
by other countries to determine what has worked, and what
hasn't. She commented that one aspect of Canada's strategy is
to encourage parents to take a more active part in directing
their children away from drug use.

9.(C) Cathy Airth said the renewal of Canada's drug strategy
had been recommended by the Auditor General of Canada,
following a review of the federal government's past
expenditures on drug abuse prevention. As a result of this
review, she indicated the Canadian government plans to almost
double the amount it spends annually on drug control. Airth
repeated that Canada's drug strategy would emphasize
prevention, that they want to reach people before they begin
using drugs. Dr. Crane noted it is important to emphasize
both prevention of drug use and law enforcement,that there
should be a balance. He pointed out that, according to recent
U.N. drug reports, the U.S. is making progress in reducing
the demand for illegal drugs by Americans.

10.(C) Carole Bouchard, Director of the Office of Controlled
Substances at Health Canada, then presented an update on the
implementation of Canada's precursor chemical regulations.
Phase I of the regulations, directed at the importing,
exporting, production, and packaging of Class A precursor
chemicals, took effect in January 2003. Phase II of the
regulations, focusing on domestic transactions in precursor
chemicals, went into effect July 7, 2003. Bouchard noted that
under the regulations, the GoC has authority to inspect
licensed chemical facilities if there is evidence diversions
are taking place; however, compliance by Canada's drug
importers and manufacturers remains voluntary. She indicated
Health Canada hopes to obtain additional financial resources
to carry out further inspections at production facilities.

11.(C) Richard Viau, Director of Canada's Drug Analysis
Service, took issue with U.S. concerns about the increased
potency of marijuana grown in Canada. Viau said a lab at
Health Canada regularly measures the potency of marijuana
seized by law enforcement officers for use in criminal
trials, and presented a detailed graph reflecting the potency
of marijuana seized in recent years. Viau indicated the
majority of the marijuana tested at Health Canada contains
THC levels averaging 10%; they see very little marijuana
exceeding a 20% THC level. He acknowledged Canadian growers
are becoming smarter in terms of choosing the best species,
methods of cultivation, and the optimal time for harvesting
the plant. Dr. Crane said he would like to study Dr. Viau's
data more closely.

12.(C) Justice Canada - Dr. Crane met Paul Saint-Denis and
Donald Piragoff, senior counsels in the Criminal Law Policy
Section. Piragoff stated the problem for GoC is that the
current marijuana law is not respected. He said police
officers and prosecutors refuse to pursue cases involving
small amounts of marijuana, and marijuana users know this.
Saint-Denis said that under the current law, only one of
every two possession incidents results in a charge by the
police (he noted that this statistic does not include the
province of Quebec). The government believes, therefore, that
decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana
will free up law enforcement officers and prosecutors so they
can devote more attention to large suppliers and grow
operations. The government also believes the proposed
marijuana law will be more fairly enforced in all areas of
Canada, as under the present system non-white and rural
Canadians are more likely than others to be prosecuted for
marijuana possession.

13.(C) Saint-Denis noted the percentage of persons using
marijuana in Canada has increased each year for the past 10
years. He said the government wants an enforcement mechanism
and penalty that will work. Under the government's cannabis
reform law, as it is now written, persons found in possession
of up to 15 grams of marijuana will be given a ticket and
required to pay a fine, similar to traffic or other health
and safety violations. If the violator is a minor, parental
notification will be required. Piragoff cited the example of
Australia, where enforcement of the marijuana law increased
significantly after it was revised to permit tickets and
fines for persons possessing small amounts. Saint-Denis
suggested that by notifying parents of marijuana violations,
adults would be encouraged if not forced to take a more
active role in educating their young. He said he expects C-38
(the cannabis reform bill) to fully complete the
parliamentary process before the end of the year. (Comment:
Post believes Saint-Denis and Piragoff were the principal
drafters of C-38. End comment.)

14.(C) Solicitor General Canada - Dr. Crane met with a large
group of officials at the Department of the Solicitor
General, including Christine Miles, Director General,
Policing and Law Enforcement; Anita Dagenais, Acting Director
of Hemispheric Cooperation; Policy Analyst Lyndon Murdock;
and Superintendent Mike Gaudreau, Director of the Drug Branch
of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Miles directed the
presentation, which repeated Health Canada's message that
Canada views its drug abuse problem primarily as a health
issue, and that attention and resources should be focused on
that aspect of the drug problem. She said law enforcement
does play an essential role not only in supply reduction, but
also in educating the Canadian public of the harm drugs can
cause (citing the DARE program as an example of an
educational program led by law enforcement). Miles noted
proudly that the counter-narcotics budget for Canadian law
enforcement will increase incrementally over the next five
years. She admitted, however, that there is much to be
learned in the law enforcement area, for example, how to
assess impaired driving caused by marijuana use.

15.(C) Mills stated that Canada looks forward to assuming the
chairmanship of CICAD (Inter-American Drug Abuse Control
Commission) in Montreal in November, and welcomed
opportunities to make the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism
stronger. Mills said the Office of Solicitor General is
encouraged by the progress made in addressing Canada's
precursor chemical diversion problem through the enactment of
new regulations, and that Canada's pharmaceutical companies
are cooperating. She noted, however, that more needs to be
done and that, at present, it is difficult to measure the
success of the new regulations because there "just has not
been enough time." (Comment: when asked specifically if RCMP
has been able to initiate prosecutions or make arrests for
any precursor chemical diversions since the first of this
year, Gaudreau said no, there have been no arrests or
prosecutions under the new regulations. End comment.)

16.(C) Canadian grow operations were also discussed during
this meeting. Gaudreau indicated the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP) is beginning to work with the Canadian
Association of Chiefs of Police to develop a more coordinated
approach to going after "grow ops". According to Policy
Analyst Lyndon Murdock, this is the first time federal and
provincial law enforcement have had a shared focus on grow
ops. In the past, the RCMP often had to struggle with the
attitudes of local law enforcement, which did not look on
marijuana offenses as a priority. Gaudreau said the RCMP
intends to utilize the additional resources and officers it
will receive, as part of the renewed national drug strategy,
to pursue the organized crime elements which operate grow
houses. Gaudreau commented that the RCMP might not actually
receive funding for new operations until early 2004.
(Comment: DEA Ottawa's RCMP sources have indicated that the
number of drug-dedicated units in Canada has been decreased
this year. End comment.)

16.(C) It was noted that, under the government's cannabis
reform bill, the maximum prison sentence for conducting a
grow operation will increase from 7 to 14 years. When asked
if mandatory minimum sentences had been considered by the
government, Miles commented that Canada takes a different
view of incarceration than the U.S. Miles said it is not the
"Canadian way" to impose mandatory minimum sentences, as the
purpose for incarcerating an offender is rehabilitation, not

A Different View on Parliament Hill

18.(C) Parliament Hill - During a lunch meeting on Parliament
Hill, members of Parliament had a frank exchange of views
with Dr. Crane, primarily on C-38. The members present at the
meeting either have serious reservations about C-38, or are
outright opponents of it. MP Dan McTeague, the leader of the
Liberal opponents of C-38, presented a detailed critique of
the bill. Several members expressed concerned that the House
leadership will try to push the bill through, regardless of
the possible consequences for members from more conservative
ridings. The members voiced their concerns about the negative
impact decriminalization would have on U.S. - Canada
relations, and expressed the desire for Dr. Crane and other
U.S. officials to become involved in the marijuana debate.
Senator Anne Cools raised the possibility of inviting a U.S.
drug control official to testify about decriminalization at a
hearing, and several of the House members present expressed
interest in this idea. (Comment: The House of Commons is in
recess and will not reconvene until September. It is
uncertain, particularly in light of Prime Minister Chretien's
lame duck status, how hard the government intends to push the
bill when the House reconvenes. But the bill cannot be
declared dead yet. End comment.)

Navigating the Road Ahead

19.(C) Dr. Crane's tour d'horizon among Canadian government
officials was informative and useful. He made clear
throughout the day that the USG is concerned about the flow
into the U.S. of Canadian-produced marijuana and diverted
precursor chemicals, and highlighted that the U.S. must, and
will, act to stem that flow - for the sake of our children
and our future. His Canadian interlocutors echoed their
concerns about the impact that drug abuse, whether of
marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or alcohol and tobacco, have on
Canadian children and society at large. However, the Canadian
officials also emphasized that they intend to address their
drug demand and supply issues in a way that conforms to their
style of problem solving. They made it clear that while they
will listen to U.S. experts and do want to learn from our
experiences, they will not be lectured to or forced to take
measures (including abandoning Canadian initiatives) because
Washington says so. In this atmosphere, post believes Crane's
presentations hit the right balance between learning and
teaching. Undertaking research studies is all well and good;
however, post questions the utility of waiting a year or more
to complete an academic analysis of a problem when the
harmful effects of that problem are being experienced now. We
suggest Canada does not see that the wolf is at the door.

20.(C) We clearly have an uphill battle in front of us.
Though post thought (perhaps wishfully) that the GoC's
marijuana decriminalization bill had died when the House
recessed in late June, the bill may well be revived in the
fall as part of Prime Minister Chretien's final push for a
legacy. The self-selected Liberal Party back-benchers who met
with Dr. Crane are clearly concerned their Party's leadership
may choose to force C-38 through the House. While Dr. Crane
said, loudly and clearly, that the U.S. respects Canada's
right to make its own legislative choices, the pleading of
these MPs for Washington intervention was startling. They
obviously feel powerless to oppose their leadership. This
leads us to wonder whether others, even more influential in
the Party structure, would pay heed to their constituents if
the Canadian public at large voices opposition to the
decriminalization plan.

21.(C) The Canadian approach to the precursor chemical
diversion problem may be just as worrisome, albeit less
openly debated. Keeping in mind that U.S. chemical diversion
regulations and procedures took years to develop and refine,
we appreciate that 6 months of a new regime is too short a
time to prove the success of Canada's regulations. We regret,
however, that Canadian authorities have declined offers of
assistance from U.S. experts on the development of such
regulations, a decision that could cost the Canadians many
man-years of valuable lessons learned.

22.(C) Yes, the Canadians will do it their way and we hope
they will succeed. Perhaps the best way we can help is to
remain consistent in our message: we stand ready to help,
but in the end the U.S. government will do what it must to
stem the flow of drugs that are produced in or transit Canada
from crossing the U.S. border.