• Jay Hall

Dear Stephen Harper, I’m Done With You ...



Dear Stephen Harper,


I’m done with you. While I completely understand that you are likely to stay my Prime Minister on October 19, I can no longer justify your place in my country. You’ve made decisions in the past that I did not like, but so would Justin Trudeau, or any other politician. I have to accept that there are things you know, that I don’t, and hope to hell you are acting on my behalf. But, you’ve taken your Idiocracy of a government too far.


I’ll generally listen to any politician’s viewpoint, as I know that the vast majority are not simply evil; they feel they are truly doing right. But you sir, a man I once worked for, have proven you have no business running Canada.


Why do I feel so strongly? I feel that you’re just talking to hear your own voice. A politician should, first and foremost consider his people in every decision, of which you have 35 million. You should weigh the scientific and socio-economic impact of your choices, to arrive at the best course of action. Emotion, or opinion should not play a role in any decision you make. Here is where you failed.


Let’s dissect your comments in the linked video for a second. 



“There’s overwhelming evidence about the negative long-term effects of marijuana use … Marijuana use is infinitely worse than tobacco.”


Okay, here’s are the official effects of marijuana listed by medical professionals (not politicians):

  • A distorted sense of time

  • Random thinking

  • Paranoia

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Short-term forgetfulness

  • Dizziness

  • Shallow breathing

  • Red eyes and dilated pupils

  • Dry mouth

  • Increased appetite

  • Slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles.)

Here are the official effects of cigarette smoking:

  • Harms nearly every organ of the body

  • Causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general

  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 690,000 deaths each year in North America.

  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than all of these combined; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Illegal drug use, Alcohol use, Motor vehicle injuries, and Firearm-related incidents.

  • Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

  • Smoking is estimated to increase the risk for coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times, stroke by 2 to 4 times, men developing lung cancer by 25 times, women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times.

  • Smoking causes diminished overall health, such as self-reported poor health, increased absenteeism from work, and increased health care utilization and cost.

  • Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of cardiovascular disease.

  • Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower.

  • Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.

  • Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

  • Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.

  • Smoking is directly linked to these cancers: Bladder, Blood (acute myeloid leukaemia), Cervix, Colon and rectum (colorectal), Esophagus, Kidney and ureter, Larynx, Liver, Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils), Pancreas, Stomach, and Trachea, bronchus, and lung.

  • Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant and can affect her baby’s health before and after birth.

  • Smoking is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Smoking can also affect men’s sperm, which can reduce fertility and also increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage (loss of the pregnancy).

  • Smoking can affect bone health.

  • Smoking affects the health of your teeth and gums and can cause tooth loss.

  • Smoking can increase your risk for cataracts.

  • Smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus and can make it harder to control. The risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers.

  • Smoking causes general adverse effects on the body. It can cause inflammation and adverse effects on immune function, and death.

Hmmm … I wonder, what a rational, scientific person with a medical degree would have to say about the effects of marijuana vs cigarettes? Oh wait, they’ve already spoke up in dozens of journals and magazines including Scientific American. While there are risks (just as there are with walking down the street), scientifically speaking marijuana is quite safe when used responsibly, and age appropriately. The same cannot be said about tobacco, or even alcohol. 


Speaking of alcohol, here’s the effects of that wonder drug that you, Stephen Harper consume regularly:

  • Slurred speech

  • Drowsiness

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Upset stomach

  • Headaches

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Distorted vision and hearing

  • Impaired judgment

  • Decreased perception and coordination

  • Unconsciousness

  • Anemia (loss of red blood cells)

  • Coma

  • Blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence)

  • Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence

  • Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity 

  • Increased family problems, broken relationships 

  • Alcohol poisoning 

  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases 

  • Liver disease 

  • Nerve damage 

  • Sexual problems 

  • Permanent damage to the brain 

  • Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation 

  • Ulcers Gastritis (inflammation of stomach walls) 

  • Malnutrition Cancer of the mouth and throat

Awesome sauce. Now, as a devil’s advocate, let’s put a very common drug up against marijuana to really drive the point home. 


Here are the effects of Tylenol:

  • Bloody or black, tarry stools

  • bloody or cloudy urine

  • fever with or without chills (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated)

  • pain in the lower back and/or side (severe and/or sharp)

  • pinpoint red spots on the skin

  • skin rash, hives, or itching

  • sore throat (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated)

  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth

  • sudden decrease in the amount of urine

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • unusual tiredness or weakness

  • yellow eyes or skin


Now before anyone says, I’ve taken Tylenol plenty of times, and never had any of these effects, let me be clear. The side effects listed above for all of the drugs are worst-case scenario, as backed by actual research. You can find this information online through credible sources. 


Simple examination of the facts proves that Stephen Harper lied to the country, blatantly. If a politician has a stance on an issue, he should know enough to have a rational debate. If he doesn’t, quite simply put, he should shut his mouth.




“We’ve spent a couple of generations trying to reduce the use of tobacco in Canada.”


This is true … sorta. You haven’t really tried, Mr. Harper. It’s still just as easy today to get your hands on a cigarette, as it was when I was a wee lad. You just put some pictures on the packs, taxed it some more and enforced tougher fines for those selling to minors. Oh, and you’ve made it illegal to smoke in a public place. Sure, you’ve “tried”, but really, is there anyone out there that doesn’t know cigarettes are bad for you? I’m pretty sure it’s a widely known fact. 


That said, you can’t make cigarettes illegal. All you’re going to do is trade one enforcement headache to replace another. Quite simply put, the effects of smoking are a strain on the medical establishment (private or public). So, if someone is a smoker take away their free health-care. I know, it’s controversial, but as smokers always say, “It’s my body. I can do what I want with it.” Agreed, 110%! So if you smoke, extra coverage will be needed that you pay for. Take the average cost of a smoker on the medical system per year, and spread the cost. That’s an easily enforceable rule with a majority government. 



“We maintain tough laws against those that traffic or profit off of the sale of destroying people’s health.”


Wait. Did you not even hear the question? Those soldiers you so blindly send into battle over oil and other BS reasons find benefit in the use of marijuana. The medical establishment has come out in the support of it’s use. Scientists support its use. Patients who use marijuana while going through Cancer treatments have provided first-person data supporting it.


What does this all mean? It means, Mr. Harper, that you maintaining tough laws is a part of the problem. These people jailed for marijuana use and sale are jailed for all the wrong reasons. Drug addiction is a medical problem that needs treatment, not jail. But, in an overwhelming number of cases, marijuana users aren’t addicted. They are functioning members of the community. They pay taxes, have children, don’t strain the medical system, keep good jobs, and in some cases, have become digital marketing professionals. ;)




Other Great Points


Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you not the leader of the Conservative party? Doesn’t that mean you are supposed to be the one guy in the country that thinks about financial gain above all else? If you don’t back the legalization and regulation of marijuana, then perhaps you should decline as Head of State. 


Crime costs money. Regulation costs money. Taxes create revenue for the government. New jobs create revenue. Increased housing markets create revenue. Can marijuana help with any of this? Absolutely. There’s a case study called Colorado, population: 5 million. Let’s examine their government issued statistics since marijuana was regulated:


  • 10.1% decrease in crime.

  • Savings of roughly $20 million dollars with relaxed regulation.

  • $30 million in tax revenue.

  • 10,000 new jobs.

  • 8.7% housing appreciation.

Now, let’s apply those same numbers to a population of 35 million. Of course, we have no idea if the effects would be the same, but evidence shows Canadians are more open to marijuana than Colorado was prior to regulation, so I’d say, this is a pretty strong representation of what would happen in the Canadian economy:


  • 10.1% decrease in crime would mean roughly 12,000 less people jailed, and 44,000 less criminal charges.

  • $140 million in regulation savings.

  • $210 million in tax revenue.

  • 70,000 new jobs.

  • The average house in Canada is appraised at $437,135. An 8.7% increase would mean the average house would be appraised at $475,166.


Financially speaking, the Conservatives aren’t being very fiscally conservative by blocking marijuana legalization and regulation. These numbers are on par with traffic ticketing, which we can all agree is out of control, and dampens the morale of Canadians. Marijuana will improve morale, and I bet, the economy will see it’s largest boom in modern history. Let’s not forget, those that use marijuana are telling you that we’re okay with you taxing it. Go ahead. We’ll gladly give you our money.



Conclusion


I’ve shared a drink (water for me, beer for you) with you Mr. Harper, but I no longer would. Blocking the legal and regulated sale of marijuana, while keeping alcohol and tobacco on shelves in hypocritical. Blocking it’s sale at all, is just plain ignorance. Lying to support your claim makes you a jerk.


You’re an ignorant old man (nothing against older men, there’s plenty of open minded older men like my girlfriend’s dad), with preconceived notions built by Ronald Reagan and his loon of a wife. You stand there putting people, and their ideas on blast despite having zero evidence to the contrary. This is the mark of a truly out of touch and dangerous leader. 


When you get back into office later this month, my prediction will come true, and your win will be based on fear. You scare the people! If only we were strong enough to stand up to you. Sure Justin Trudeau is young and brash, and sure he’s going to make decisions I won’t agree with, but his decision making seems grounded in evidence, and his perspective comes from a world with cell phones, not communication via cup and string.


If you can’t tell, my reasons for not supporting you, Mr. Harper are not entirely about marijuana. I won’t support you because you lie, you aren’t at all what you represent yourself to be, and you allow misconceptions to guide your policy. It’s time to call it a day, and let visionaries into office.


Sincerely,


A former supporter.


WRITTEN BY JAMIE HALL Writer, Entrepreneur & Fan of Superman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

© 2020 by Jay Hall. Proudly created by Sync.