Up in smoke

Two Canadian women have gone where none have gone before.

Two Canadian women have gone where none have gone before. Former governor general Michaëlle Jean will be the first female to lead the 57-member international Organization of Francophone States. In B.C., Irene Lanzinger was elected first female President of the 104-year-old BC Federation of Labour.

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Ours not to reason why …

Health Canada’s seven week anti-marijuana ad campaign ends this month. The $6 million campaign featured TV, web and social media ads warning of the damage using marijuana does to teenaged brains. Some medical experts and scientists question these claims, and some studies say the damage done to humans (young and old) by booze and tobacco is worse than what all the illegal drugs do put together.

Question: Why do the powers that be sanction (encourage?) the use of two harmful drugs, but outlaw and vociferously campaign against one which actually has some medicinal benefits. On another topic, the courts not only denied Kinder Morgan’s request to continue exploratory drilling on Burnaby Mountain, it also dismissed charges against the 100-plus protestors because the corporation had the trespass boundary in the wrong place.

Question: Why should taxpayers pay the policing and court costs incurred in the wrongful arrest of the protestors? Kinder Morgan made the mistake.  Volunteer organizations could find themselves in court battles if proposed changes to the B.C. Societies Act go through.  Section 99 of the proposal allows anyone and everyone to take any registered society to court  if they believe the society is “carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.”

Field day for lawyers, but it could bankrupt non-profit groups (charity, social, environmental, even church organizations) who might have to defend frivolous lawsuits launched by anyone who disagrees with them or their work. Some citizens’ groups are a thorn in the side of some establishments, but surely this is overkill.

Questions: Exactly what is the public interest? Who decides? Is this change constitutional?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.