Letter: Siebring, Manhas out of touch

Bill C-216 the leadership that is needed to change archaic laws surrounding users of illicit drugs

Siebring, Manhas out of touch

In response to the April 14 article, “N. Cowichan adds support for Canadian drug law changes”, by Robert Barron. I thank Robert for bringing this important story to the attention of the public.

In my opinion, Bill C-216 introduced by MP Gord John and with MP Alistair McGregor sending letters to both Duncan and North Cowichan councils, is the leadership that is needed to change these archaic laws surrounding those users of illicit drugs who are mentally challenged.

The fundamentals of the war on drugs were flawed from the beginning. Treating the mentally ill homeless individuals with the same laws as the illegal drug pushers should have never happened in Canada. Unfortunately the federal government followed the made in America model which was a flawed solution.

However North Cowichan’s Mayor Siebring and his wingman Councillor Tek Manhas seem to believe that the war on drugs is still the solution. In my opinion these two individuals sitting on North Cowichan’s municipal council are demonstrating just exactly what our community, doesn’t need; a lack of understanding of really important issues in our community. In my opinion, there could have been unanimous support by our council just as the City of Duncan’s council gave, instead we get a comment by our mayor that is out of the 1960s. Quote, “I’m sick and tired of hearing we can’t enforce our way out of this.” I thought the mayor was sitting in his position to represent the people of our community, not himself. In my opinion a mayor that is living in the past and that is so disconnected from the reality of the issue, doesn’t deserve to be sitting on our council.

Fortunately the rest of the councillors at North Cowichan are living in present times and did the right thing and voted in favour of Bill C-216. The majority of the council seems to understand the complex nature of the issue in our community and are leading with their support of Bill C-216 with a 5-2 vote.

I am happy to hear that Mayor Siebring will not be seeking re-election this fall and really hope Tek Manhas either will not seek re-election or is ousted by a candidate that will represent our community with up-to-date knowledge and an understanding of what our community really needs.

North Cowichan needs a progressive council that will support initiatives like this and others that will help lead our community through the complex social challenges that we will face more often than ever before. We are a unique rural community that is in desperate need of new ways of helping our citizens. Hopefully in the fall election we will see two new faces on our municipal council that will augment the obvious current five that really care.

Bryan Senft

North Cowichan


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