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ABC’s Of Democracy Anybody But Conservatives, by Ted Smith

By admin | October 14, 2008

ABC’s Of Democracy
Anybody But Conservatives, by Ted Smith

Cannabis Digest #19

Possibly the most important election in Canadian history will be settled on Oct 14, and if the Conservatives win a majority the cannabis culture is in big trouble. Voters need to consider their personal beliefs against the ideals of individual parties while trying to make sure the moral minority does not gain power through vote splitting. There are many reasons average Canadians should fear a Conservative majority and do everything they can to get the vote out to stop that from happening.

 When they lead a minority government the Conservatives were brash enough to attempt to pass Bill C-26, laws that gave minimum 6 month jail sentences to people caught growing even 1 plant. With full legislative authority we expect Stephen Harper to pass cannabis laws with even more severe punishments. While it is clear whom the cannabis community does not want in power, it is not so easy to fully endorse any single party in opposition to the Conservatives.

Thankfully the Marijuana Party of Canada is no longer getting serious attention, for while it did bring the issue into elections, it was not a serious political party, had many candidates that had a questionableunderstanding of federal political issues aside from drug policy and it took votes away from opponents of the Conservatives.

In the last election many cannabis consumers put their support behind the NDP after their leader Jack Layton went on with Marc Emery stating that he personally believed in legalizing cannabis, though his party had not yet made that its official policy. This election has been different. After old videos came to the attention of the media showing NDP candidates Dana Larson and lawyer Kirk Tousaw using cannabis, the party quickly forced their resignations. The videos of Dana were controversial, showing him driving while smoking a joint after taking LSD hours earlier, etc. but the video of Kirk shows him simply trying various strains of cannabis. Some speculate that Dana handed in his resignation in part because members of the NDP did not like the fact he is opening a compassion club on Hastings St.

So with this turn of events, it makes it difficult for a cannabis activists to state that they support the NDP at all times. In Victoria we are going to continue supporting NDP MP Denise Savoie. Denise supported the CBC of C when it was being raided years ago. She also spoke out in the House of Commons against Bill C-26 and came to a rally we held last Dec to protest that legislation when it was first proposed.

Dr. Keith Martin, from the Esquimalt/ Juan de Fuca riding, also came to that protest and has been the most vocal federal politician in Canadian history in support of changing cannabis prohibition laws. Dr. Keith Martin is a member of the Liberal Party, and in many ridings it makes sense to vote Liberal to ensure the Conservatives do not get elected.

Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada have been quite refreshing this campaign and anyone who votes for them is acting with both their heart and head. It would be great if some Green Party MPs were in the House of Commons this next session. No mater who wins this election, there is one thing we know for sure. We will be fighting no matter who is in charge of this country when the votes are all counted.

Then there is the municipal elections in BC on Nov 15, which is also International Medical Marijuana Day. We have not had an opportunity to learn what Bill Reid thinks about medical cannabis or legalization, but we do know his opposition in the race for mayor, Dean Fortin, has been supportive of the CBC of C as a member of city council. Dean is a strong supporter of harm reduction and if elected is expected to lead a left-leaning council. Most of the councilors trying to get re-elected have been supportive of the CBC of C through the police raids of years ago or statements they have made since, including Pam Madoff, Chris Coleman, Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Sonya Chandler. With Helen Hughes and Bea Holland leaving city politics along with mayor Alan Lowe, the three most conservative members of council will soon be gone. The fact that so many council seats are open has brought out many excellent candidates for city council. While there are some obvious councilor candidates like Rose Henry I could suggest, I cannot help but advise people not to vote for Phil Lucas. As you can see in other articles in this issue, I do not trust him and do not think he would represent the cannabis community or Victoria well. If you do not vote, don’t complain.

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