About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Up In Smoke

As talked about in yesterday's blog, it was a bit of a rough week for Stephen Harper. Well, it wasn't any much better for Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton either.

Dion had to talk around the fact that he backing away from the Green Shift... but not really, because it was never the centrepiece of the Liberal platform... but it is. Alas, it's too bad that the Liberals seemed to be doubting their own policy, for their own sake, because it gave Harper the fuel he needed to try and overcome his own issues in regards to Gerry Ritz.

What about Layton? He never misses an opportunity to hop on pop so long as "pop" is a less-than-affectionate nickname for either Harper or Dion. Well, it begins with one Dana Larsen, candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, and ends with Kirk Tousaw, running for the NDP in Vancouver Quadra. Before politics Larsen was the former editor of Cannabis Culture magazine and was a co-founder of both the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Marijuana Party of Canada and Tousaw was a lawyer and campaign director for the B.C. Marijuana Party in 2005 and has done drug-policy work for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Larsen had to resign Wednesday after some pretty incriminating video was leaked showing Larsen lighting a mouthful of joints before driving while stoned and taking, wait for it, LSD and DMT, both powerful hallucinogenics. Video killed the political star in the case of Tousaw too, as film of him judging various varieties of pot for a competition in 2005 made it's way to Google. Tousaw stepped down Friday. And Americans think that the McCain Campaign had problems with its limited vetting of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

But in all fairness, where is all this surprise coming from? Larsen was "co-founder of both the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Marijuana Party of Canada" for crying out load, is it at least conceivable that there might be a little Pineapple Express-like footage from his past. We know many Canadians are kind of laissez-faire about pot-use, and those people usually count the NDP amongst the allies in marijuana-friendly politics. Which is why these "resignations" have hit Layton so thoroughly; the NDP supports decriminalization. So why let these men be tossed aside for matters an NDP government would barely write you a ticket for?

Another layer was added today when a Marijuana Party activist said that he raised money and recruited people to the NDP because Layton and the New Democrats promised to support legalization. Today. in Edmonton, Layton says that he made no such deal, nor did he force the resignation of Larsen and Tousaw. Marge Groenendyk, a pro-pot activist that uses the drug for medicinal purposes, says that's not what she's heard in talking to the two former candidates.

Marijuana party activist Marc Emery, who was the one that accused Layton of breaking the alleged deal, said he expected at least a dozen more candidates would resign because of marijuana use before the Oct. 14 vote. "Every party has members of Parliament, cabinet ministers and former prime ministers who've smoked marijuana," Emery said. "Why someone who has used marijuana in the past, or is not repentant about it, is bumped as a candidate from the NDP, I still can't understand."

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