Government Announces Plans for Crack Cocaine Sales

Faced with mounting deficits, and light traffic at the betting windows of Island race tracks, Provincial Treasurer Mitch Murphy today announced plans to begin selling crack cocaine in Summerside and Charlottetown.

The additional revenue that crack sales provides will allow us to significantly improve the infrastructure at the Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway,” Murphy said on the steps of the Legislative Assembly.

While critics say that the sale of crack cocaine, which they claim is a powerfully reinforcing psychostimulant, will lead to social and health problems, Murphy dismisses these complaints. “Crack is in widespread use in major cities across North America,” Murphy said, “and it would be irresponsible of us not to tap into the potential new revenue source.”

Using funds from the sales of crack, the grandstand of the Charlottetown Driving Park will be rebuilt, a new restaurant and lounge will be constructed, and an underground network of 200 specially constructed “crack dens” will be housed in the area under the grandstand. “Crack users have been crying out for a central, clean, well-lighted place to practise their craft; we’re simply answering that call,” explained Murphy.

Construction of the crack facilty is expected to start after Old Home Week in August, with the crack fully available in early 2005.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 17, 2004 - 16:38 Permalink

If you read this, you will understand my sarcastic outburst better. The depressing thing is that I wrote whaat I wrote, and then found this link, and found frightening parallels in what Murphy actually said. How can he say, with a straight face, things like “It’s increasing the number of VLTs at those locations. It’s not a casino… No slots, no blackjack tables, no roulette wheels.” What is a VLT than a slot machine without a handle?

Casper's picture
Casper on May 17, 2004 - 16:40 Permalink

Brilliant! Your “modest proposal” would make Jonathan Swift proud!

With all the crazy things that happen on PEI, Islanders could at least be proud that they never succumbed to the casino bug. Whoever would have believed twenty years ago that there would be “gaming” estabishments from puritan Ontario (where until about 1965 you’d be clapped in the public stocks for playing catch on Sunday) to the Bible Belt of Mississippi and Alabama?

But these VLTs are just as poisonous. I don’t think I can bear to meet another Islander who’s lost their home and everything else playing those bloody machines. They’re a shameless tax on addiction and desperation.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 17, 2004 - 17:30 Permalink

I think what it comes down to for me is: we are better people than this.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 17, 2004 - 18:11 Permalink

Isn’t the real bizzaro aspect to this Mitch Murphy quote:

“Right now we’re providing about 65 per cent of the purse pools,” he said. “Can you imagine if that stopped and a purse that was worth $1,000 was suddenly worth only $350?

Why does the province provide 2/3s of the winnings to horse races rather than letting it survive on a cut of the bet? Is the need to maintain the sport and traditional gambling venue so great that it would not continue without tax dollars going to the fastest gee-gee?

Robert  Paterson's picture
Robert Paterson on May 17, 2004 - 18:43 Permalink

Great piece Peter

Why is horse racing so important? It has been dying all over for a generation. Why does it have to be saved and why this way?

Why so hesitant to raise taxes but so quick to exploit our worst instincts/

Casper's picture
Casper on May 17, 2004 - 20:02 Permalink

Wes MacAleer was quoted in a Guardian column just before the provincial election last fall:

Ken's picture
Ken on May 18, 2004 - 01:51 Permalink

Here is my funny version of your funny version:
Peter Rukavina is named commissoner of the exotic dance licensing bureau. VLT’s and crack are available at most of these newly licensed establishments, which promise to bring in more revenue to the provincial purse. Tuesdays are geek nights, geeks drink free.

Charlie's picture
Charlie on May 18, 2004 - 15:09 Permalink

VLT discussion aside, I find it interesting that yesterday we had Peter’s post discussing “Distilled Island culture served live” and how wonderful this is compared to the concerts on the waterfront that don’t really show Island culture and yet today all the talk is “Why save horse racing?”, an activity that’s been active on the Island for over 100 years. Perhaps if we could get Alan Rankin in the sulky and Nils driving the starting gate around the “Carmody Comedy Oval” more of you would be willing to support it?

Nils Ling's picture
Nils Ling on May 18, 2004 - 15:10 Permalink

Lovely piece, Peter … once again reminding us that the worst addiction is society is government’s addiction to money …

Chris Llantz's picture
Chris Llantz on May 18, 2004 - 15:26 Permalink

Excellent piece. It sickens me that governments are so addicted to the revenue they bring in from gambling addicts. The addiction to gambling is just as real and just as powerful as addiction to drugs. It is destroying peoples lives and with that comes health problems, crime, etc. Yet another reason to grieve the loss of Dr Don Taylor who fought so tirelessly against VLT’s. We need to continue his battle.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 18, 2004 - 15:52 Permalink

So is this hobby propped up with tax dollars for some cultural reason or to just to ensure that a form of gambling revenue more culturally palatable than VLTs continues? The excellent moonshine is as common form of unique Island heritage in my experience — perhaps the most worthy. That no doubt needs federally financed subsidy as well.

Ken's picture
Ken on May 18, 2004 - 17:00 Permalink

Does anyone know where I can buy some crack in PEI?
For the big May run weekend!

Jim's picture
Jim on May 18, 2004 - 17:18 Permalink

here’s how it works:
purses raced for in Ontario are much higher than here on the island — say $8000 compared to $450 for the slower classes. this forces serious horsemen, that is those who do it for a living, to eventually move to Ontario to make a living or get out of the industry altogether which is not easy when it is all one has ever done.
before gaming was part of the Ontario tracks they were in a very similar situation to here and tracks were closing. now tracks thrive and offer purses greatly enhanced by dollars spent gaming at the track. bigger purses, better horses, bigger crowds. the industry has become self sufficient. as with anything, there are pros and cons and i honestly believe there will be many more people attending for the enjoyment of seeing quality racing than going to lose their houses.

funny how government handouts for technology are rarely blasted on this site, save for the ATC

christopher's picture
christopher on May 18, 2004 - 19:02 Permalink

ah c’mon, Peter is an equal opportunity naysayer. He recently reminded us how often we have paid for the tip to tip public highspeed network we never actually got, since that original release extolling its world class features in 1997. I suspect the only reason for a shortage of negative comment about government handouts to the IT sector is that they have just about dried up — except for the bottomless pit of the ATC. One would hope that the reason they have dried up is that the government has sat down and reread every press release they have issued on their world class IT projects since 1997 and asked themselves what the real outcomes were.

Jim's picture
Jim on May 18, 2004 - 19:15 Permalink

i just feel that people shouldn’t speak negatively about things that they don’t know the whole story on, and i’m not necessarily talking about peter at all.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 18, 2004 - 20:02 Permalink

Jim, you’re not suggesting that the Charlottetown Park is ever going to be Toronto’s Woodbine and that the only way to get there is to throw 1.3 million of tax payer’s money on the purse. If the goal is to be self-sustaining you do not get there by dependency.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on May 18, 2004 - 21:59 Permalink

I remember back in the 80s and early 90s when the only casino in all of Canada was at the Fort Garry Hotel (?) in Winnipeg — and this was more of a national oddity than anything else. Then Casino Rama, Casino Windsor & Casino Niagara hit Ontario and casinos popped up in Montreal and Hull. Then Nova Scotia’s enlightened government of John Savage brought in Sheraton to run casinos in Halifax and… Sydney. Then Ontario’s and Alberta’s enlightened governments of Mike Harris and Ralph Klein respectively brought in “charity” casinos which can be found in can be found in places like Medicine Hat, Ft. McMurray, Lethbridge, Gananoque, Thunder Bay, Brantford… I think PEI and Newfoundland are the only provinces left without casinos.

I also remember back in the 80s when walking across Charlottetown to Birchwood there was this little corner store on Gerald St.(?) that never seemed very profitable but all the kids at school knew there was a backroom to the store where illegal VLTs were kept. The owner of the store would pocket the purse and distribute winnings as needed. No age limit to gamble either. Every few months Charlottetown’s fines would show up with a rental van and seize the machines, slap a little fine (of course they never knew about the bootlegging now did they), and it was all hushed up. A few days later “new” machines would show up and it would continue.

Then the provincial government under Ghiz or Callbeck got involved & then Atlantic Lotto and Pat Mella/Pat Binns made their harness racing/simulcasting/VLT deal… Keep on taxing the poor. Very progressive provinces and country we all live in, providing this “choice” to our citizens.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on May 18, 2004 - 22:01 Permalink

I think PEI and Newfoundland are the only provinces left without casinos.

I guess N.B. too…

Gary's picture
Gary on May 18, 2004 - 23:54 Permalink

Taxing the poor? I know a lot of poor people who don’t gamble. More like taxing idiots.

Arthur's picture
Arthur on May 19, 2004 - 01:36 Permalink

I heartily recommend the PEI government to use the Pac Man Arcade machines as a substitute for VLTs.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on May 19, 2004 - 04:21 Permalink

Pac Man Arcade… substitute for VLTs

I’d be for Robo-Cop or Choplifter… Blinky/Pinky/Bashful don’t seem to be enough to compensate for the withdrawal.

Taxing the poor? I know a lot of poor people who don’t gamble. More like taxing idiots.

I guess maybe you’re suggesting gambling isn’t as addictive as some phychological studies have shown?

Perhaps it’s the same with other vices out there too… Aren’t all abuses overrated when you strip empathy and emotion away? Kind of like Kelly Hrudhey on HNIC tonight saying concussions in hockey are overrated — but then again he seems like a voice crying out in the wilderness.

I know a guy in Halifax who is into coke recreationally. He’s literally broke all the time and his comp sci. degree is on hold interminably while he continues on this path but he’s not completely gone (yet), despite people trying to help him and his rejecting any assistance. Pitiful but worthy of personal sympathy and/or societal compassion?

Then again, fortunately (and I’ll state it selfishly) I’ve been a teetotaller all my life (Thank God) and can’t truly understand how human beings can become addicted to gambling, alcohol, drugs and tobacco either. So we should think that mental illnesses which could contribute to problem gambling are just a sign of personal weakness, A.A. and G.A. are a communist conspiracy, and those that chose to live by the sword (VLTs) should die by the sword (VLTs)?

Dico's picture
Dico on May 19, 2004 - 13:11 Permalink

Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde.

Jim's picture
Jim on May 19, 2004 - 13:20 Permalink

i guess time will tell, and i’ll opt for “the glass is half full” approach on this one

Kevin's picture
Kevin on May 19, 2004 - 14:29 Permalink

It’s only just begun…

Front page with the photo radar the other day. (Not even the “Ontario gestapo” was successful in bringing these things on line — ah, but this is PEI… baaaaa)

One thing though, no matter what amount of pain the old blinking money-sucking monsters hoover up down at the track, should a dissatisfied “client” dare express a tittle of frustration on the highways, the new blinking money-sucking monsters will take care of that to society’s benefit.

Why does it feel sometimes like the governance ‘class’ is at war with the rest of society (even themselves)? If revenues really sag will they put on “please speed through here” zones so their digital cyclops will stay busy?

New anarchists are beginning to make sense to me.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on May 19, 2004 - 14:41 Permalink

I am for better use of our tax dollars. Specifically, a similar call for reduced funding and government bailouts of other losers that should be forced to stand on their own…like support for the Arts, Theatre, and things like “important” “artists” who come from “away” and call for government financing for what amounts to nothing more talented then fingerpainting…all accompanied with their “Support Island Culture” tongue-wagging. How can things like Drive-In movie theatres and Poetry recitals be more culturally deserving of government bailouts and public support then Harness racing? None are any better, in my opinion.

Ken's picture
Ken on May 19, 2004 - 15:48 Permalink

Waynes list of funded losers also known as voting groups or volunteers.

Kevin, Binns has given his cabinet (which means everyone?) the order: revenue now! Photo radar is the best they can think of, or get consensus on, since they’ve heard about from Ontario. God forbid they devise an original scheme here. What could they imagine? A potato tax?

Jim, does that glass half full approach work for alcoholism as well?

Dico you were a Pacman freako!

Both Pacman and VLT are great escapes, if you’ve got lots of quarters and want a break. It’s stealing that is the crime, which certain players seem prone to do. At least my mother could take a run at the arcade man. Who gets yelled at when daddy spends the rent on VLT?

Ken's picture
Ken on May 19, 2004 - 15:52 Permalink

Could they have bought the photo radar gear from Ontario, that would be a capper!

Can we expect a new photo-radar manufacturing deal, jobs & all, that would be high-tech eh?

christopher's picture
christopher on May 19, 2004 - 19:27 Permalink

nah, Ken, but expect one heck of an expensive database and real time connectivity solution.