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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume 2 - Policies and Practices In Canada

Chapter 14 - Police Practices


Clearly, Parliament and the courts have recognized that, as criminals become more sophisticated, the police must be given more sophisticated tools to fight them. In addition, they generally view the illegal drug trade as a serious challenge. Courts often mention the sinister nature of the drug trade and the impact it has on society in rendering their decisions. They may be influenced by these concerns in determining where to draw the line with respect to police conduct. They recognize the difficult job police have and are often willing to grant them “considerable latitude.” An example of this attitude is the following statement by the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to the selling of drugs: “It is a crime that has devastating individual and social consequences. It is, as well, often and tragically coupled with the use of firearms. This crime is a blight on society and every effort must be undertaken to eradicate it.”[1][65] In another case, the following was stated: “… this Court must also consider the societal interest in law enforcement, especially with regard to the illicit drug trade. This pernicious scourge in our society permits sophisticated criminals to profit by inflicting suffering on others.”[2][66] However, the police have not been given “carte blanche” to do what they want to solve a crime. Their activities are scrutinized so as to ensure that their conduct does not shock the community and in any way detract from the fairness of an accused’s trial.  




[1][65] R. v. Silveira, (1995) 97 C.C.C. (3d) 450 at page 496.

[2][66] R. v. Grant, (1993) 84 C.C.C. (7d) 173.

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