ParkTales cops and pot on the Hill

Cops hug each other in pot haze on Parliament Hill
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

ParkTales Image, small

01 May 2014 — When last in Ottawa I checked out what was going on and came across the Marijuana 420 demo on Parliament Hill.

Never missing a chance for a demo on Parliament Hill I ventured up to see what was going on. I had never heard of this movement 420 before but since I am in favour of legalizing Marijuana I thought I would check it out.

I went early not knowing that the main event was at 4.20 p.m. when 15,000 people showed up. Later  I thought to myself I would sure love to see that many on Parliament Hill for a Peace demo, or for affordable housing or raise the minimum wage to $14 or better still to “Get Rid of Stephen Harper and his government” and have some compassion on The Hill.

When I arrived the Hill was filling up. Already many people of all ages including families of different nationalities where sitting on the lawn. Some having a picnic, some dancing to the music that was coming from a huge sound system. People were enjoying the moment and luckily the beautiful day.

I mingled in the crowd and mentioned to some how this reminded me of the Vietnam War days when we had train loads of protesters coming from all across the country to demonstrate against that terrible unjust war. We would camp out all night on the ‘Hill’ and marijuana was ‘in’ then. Some would be smoking and say “Give Peace a Chance” John Lennon’s famous song, and give the peace sign. I remember the collection of thousands of signatures on our Peace Petition to end the war.

As we learned later, after the war ended, demonstrations across the world did have an influence in ending the war.

As I mingled in the crowd someone was giving out little plastic discs. I took one and in my ignorance, asked a group of young people what is this for. They laughed and said it is for grinding the ‘leaves’. Oh, I said and gave them mine saying I didn’t need it and I had tried ‘smoking’ but it didn’t do much for me except make me giggle.

As I was leaving the grounds I saw a cop with a box containing some of these little gadgets. I said what are you doing? She replied, “It is a privilege to be on Parliament Hill, and these are drug related items.” I thought to myself everyone is here ‘smoking’ and she is doing this!

I asked the police officer to repeat what she just said and she replied “It is a privilege to be on Parliament Hill.” My blood began to boil and I said I find those words very offensive “It is a privilege to be on Parliament Hill.” It belongs to us. We pay taxes. It is our ‘hill’. She said check out the Charter of Rights. I was about to continue but being from out of town didn’t want to get arrested.

A young man heard all this and said to me “good for you” and we had a long conversation as I told him  of our  struggles of the past. So glad to meet you he said, and continue as you are.

As I left  the grounds I came across two cops having fun with the people and having their pictures taken with the ‘smokers’. I said to the two cops “what does it mean? It is a privilege to be on Parliament Hill.”

They looked at each other and replied “What are you talking about?” I explained the situation and said how I pay taxes and the only problem on this hill is the occupants, and I pointed to the parliament buildings. They both laughed and said, We have no argument there. They laughed again, hugged each other, and said we hope we can help you feel better about your experience.

And I did. My Canada.