OTTAWA (November 29, 2012) – A new national coalition launched here today is vowing to fight for safer and healthier neighborhoods by advocating for a national approach to prevent, detect, and deter criminal acts related to marihuana grow ops and clandestine labs.
Canadians from coast to coast experience the negative impacts of illegal marihuana grow operations and clandestine labs in their neighborhoods. Apart from the obvious invasion by organized crime into our communities, and the individual and community health and safety hazards associated with them, these operations drive up costs for various services while decreasing property values when left unmediated. In one way or another, we all pay the price for marihuana grow operations and clandestine labs.
The National Council Against Marihuana Grow Operations and Clandestine Labs is comprised of community-based representatives from a variety of industry sectors and governmental entities – including municipalities, real estate, insurance, financial industry, electric utilities, firefighting and police – with a vested and determined interest in bringing an end to this scourge in our communities to make citizens safer.
“The new National Council is a great example of the type of partnerships we need in the fight against marihuana grow ops and clandestine labs and the organized crime elements that support them,” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. “By working together, we can better address the threat these operations pose to the safety and security of our communities.”
Collectively, the Council’s stakeholders developed a shared vision and mission that is concise, responsive and representative of their overarching goals. The Council will provide leadership and guidance aimed at reducing the negative social, environmental and economic impacts associated with marihuana grow operations and clan labs.
In 2011, the RCMP launched the first federal Marihuana Grow Initiative (MGI) in Canada. This foundation continues to address the individual and community health and safety concerns that come into play when illegal marihuana grow operations (MGOs) are present in our neighborhoods. This Initiative has been critical to curtailing the effects of organized crime – which knows no boundaries.
Under the banner of the three principle pillars of the Initiative (deterrence, enforcement and awareness) and with the support of many partners, the RCMP has made some significant inroads into addressing the many collateral problems associated with illegal MGOs. One of the next steps of the MGI was to bring the members of the Council together.
“This is not solely a policing issue,” said Diane Colley-Urquhart, Council Co-Chair. “It is a community problem that requires the collective will, effort, action and strength that a National Council comprised of diverse organizations can bring to bear.”
“Every day over 100,000 Canadian REALTORS® are out meeting families, exploring neighbourhoods and seeing up close the impact and hazards of former drug operations. The public needs to know about these properties and how they can be fixed up to be safe to live in again," said Pauline Aunger, Council Co-Chair. "It’s going to take the will of many to address this important community issue. We’re proud to be part of the solution.”
Thirteen representatives from 12 organizations (see below for list of organizations) attended the inaugural meeting at RCMP Headquarters yesterday during which the Council elected co-chairs and established its top priorities as:
- 30 -
For more information:
Diane Colley-Urquhart, Co-Chair (representative of Calgary STOP Marihuana Grow-op Coalition and Calgary City Alderman), 403-875-7413
Pauline Aunger, Co-Chair (Director with The Canadian Real Estate Association), 613-285-9158
Organizations in attendance at first meeting of the National Council against Marihuana Grow Operations and Clandestine Laboratories: