Rights should be sacred with cannabis laws

Dear Editor,

Cannabis becomes legal in Canada in October, and it continues, to be a contentious issue.

Presently municipalities are amending their bylaws to comply with the legislation.

Under the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Act, citizens of a municipality may, by plebiscite, opt out of retail liquor sales.

The citizens of Cardston, Ab. following a plebiscite, have not had retail liquor sales, for many years.

Unfortunately, our provincially elected officials in Alberta, in enacting the Alberta Cannabis Act, did not include a similar opting out clause, as did the provinces of Saskatchewan and Quebec.

Perhaps our Alberta government, does not respect the rights of Albertans to make that decision on their own?

Albertans, through a democratic vote, in a plebiscite under proper election rules, should be able to decide whether they may opt out of cannabis retail sales.

I believe the non-inclusion of this clause is a direct infringement of citizens’ rights under Section 7 of the Charter Rights and Freedoms. Section 7, which states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice” was specifically included in the Charter so the rights of citizens, be protected and not trampled, by Governments.

Citizens of a municipality should have the right to decide whether to opt out. I question whether the Alberta Government is forcing an agenda upon their citizens, and removing Albertans democratic right to decide.

Is the Government of Alberta, in pushing the cannabis agenda and not including an opting out clause, hoping municipalities for financial reasons and a possible long battle in the courts, hoping they will simply opt out of the fight for their democratic rights?

On August 15, the Village of Alix council voted unanimously to have a public vote under proper election rules on the cannabis issue, so our citizens may have the democratic right to decide if they want a retail cannabis store in their community.

The citizens of Alix, both pro and con, on this issue, are being afforded the right to decide and not have the federal and provincial governments make the decision for them.

I urge all Albertans to contact their members of the Legislative Assembly and members of Parliament and make their feelings known.

Do not allow, your democratic right to be infringed by the federal and provincial governments.

 

E.W. (Ed) Cole

Alix, Ab.

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