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NDP shocked pot activists smoke the stuff

By admin | September 30, 2008

NDP shocked pot activists smoke the stuff
Les Leyne, Times Colonist

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Federal New Democrats are left looking like spineless wimps after last week’s bizarre handling of a marijuana fuss.

The resignations of two of their candidates were hastily arranged after vile, despicable acts from their pasts caught up to them.

(Make sure you’re sitting down before you continue reading. Because this is horrifying stuff.)

The two gents in question smoked marijuana!

And it’s on YouTube!

Something smells about both these resignations and it’s not just the odour of B.C. Bud. Dana Larsen was running as a New Democrat in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. Kirk Tousaw was running in Vancouver Quadra.

By last Friday both of them had decided to resign from the race.

Tousaw said he made the difficult decision because of the likelihood that his past involvement in drug reforms might take the focus away from the issues that matter most to Canadians.

Larsen did the same thing earlier, saying he was quitting the race so “the Conservative Spin Machine” wouldn’t manipulate his past activities into something that would harm the NDP campaign.

Candidates occasionally step down abruptly after some embarrassment from their past comes to light. And it’s even more routine for the parties to request those resignations, which is likely what happened in these cases.

But these two gents are among the most ardent pro-pot advocates in B.C. and have been for years. Where exactly is the scandal in learning that leading dope activists actually smoke dope?

Larsen’s official biography on the NDP website up until recently noted he is the former editor of Cannabis Culture magazine. “He built it into one of Canada’s most successful magazines, with a print run approaching 100,000 copies.”

It goes on to hail him as co-founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party.

Tousaw is also a former Marijuana Party member. In fact, he’s the former campaign director.

Gee, you’d think that might have been a clue that they smoke dope.

The NDP knew exactly who these two candidates were when they welcomed them aboard. They knew exactly what they were getting into. But at the first sign of controversy, everyone bailed out. It’s a bad precedent and it’s based on an odd premise. It turns out the specific problem isn’t their marijuana track record. It’s the YouTube and PotTV videos of them toking up. One is doing so while driving, and apparently using other drugs.

That somehow changes everything. It means the drug use isn’t in the past. It’s right here in the now. There’s no such thing as ancient history. It’s all streaming live on the Internet, which somehow escaped the party’s notice.

This “scandal” would have lasted about 15 minutes if the federal NDP had the courage of its convictions. It’s not like they’re going to form government. Surely there’s room in an election campaign for a pot point of view.

Just So You Know: The rise and fall of NDP candidate Julian West was another example of a flip-flop in the party. His bout of spontaneous nudity 12 years ago was acknowledged and discussed within the party when he stepped forward to become a candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

When it came to light again — as expected — he issued a statement and yet another apology. “On a number of occasions throughout the weekend I removed my clothes in the presence of minors,” he said. “Beyond that, nothing inappropriate occurred.”

It’s one of the more arresting quotes from this campaign so far. It was supposed to end the matter. Yesterday, however, he stood down.

To provide some context, it’s worth noting he was a Green party member at the time. And the Greens back then were far from the buttoned-down purported contenders they are today.

West’s romp occurred at a time when the party had just emerged from a period when it was run — how to put this gently? — by a collection of wingnuts.

They once had a Green meeting at a Cobble Hill barn where a “vibes sensor” was one of the official table officers. They spent a day and a half arguing until it was decreed half the people there should shut their eyes and be led around the barn by the other half, as a trust-building exercise. (Sounds like a budget lockup.)

A Green acquaintance of mine recalled another meeting in the Kootenays where the chairwoman opened the meeting by reading all her astrological prophecies for the coming year.

By Green standards of the time, spontaneous nudity sounds tame. But the NDP and its candidates in 2008 will seize up over just about anything. The trouble is that they agree to let all this stuff go by during the screening process, then have second thoughts and panic at the first sign of controversy.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

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