As of March 17,2003, the 5-year-old Bloc Pot has amassed 75 candidates for the April 14 Quebec Provincial Elections, and is seeking another 50 to fill every electoral district in the province (applicants may contact the Bloc Pot at the phone number, below).
With many Quebec voters enraged over the government’s cuts to health care, the 2003 provincial election will be a tight race between the ruling Party Quebecois (PQ) and Liberals – so tight that Bloc Pot Leader Hugo St-Onge predicts his party could spoil an otherwise victorious party’s win by swinging the vote one way or the other in a number of crucial districts. Regardless of how many seats the Bloc Pot captures, the power to spoil a win imparts vast political clout to the Bloc Pot, drawing attention to the issue of ending prohibition.
“It is about leverage in this election,” St-Onge told Cannabis Culture. “We are in a position to hit the government hard with the issue of pot.”
The goal, says St-Onge, is to force other parties to craft more enlightened policies concerning cannabis. For example, he wants to warn Quebec voters against what he says is a widely held belief that the PQ will legalize cannabis if the party should win a possible future referendum to split Quebec from Canada and establish the province as its own country.
“If they win a referendum, the PQ plans to make Quebec join the United Nations, and sign the UN’s convention against pot,” he said. “But the PQ doesn’t want to clarify the situation.”
The UN’s Convention on Psychotropic Substances – by which countries agree to participate in the international drug war – is routinely quoted by federal politicians around the world as an excuse for continuing pot prohibition.
St-Onge also warns against the Quebec Liberals’ pro-decriminalization policy.
“They want OCauchon-decrim’, he said, referring to the Federal Minister of Justice, Martin Cauchon. “They want the ticket and the fine. It’s not really decriminalization. It’s punishment without court. Before [the controlled drugs and substances act of]1995 you got a jury, and now you just get a judge, and under ‘Cauchon-decrim’ you won’t even have a judge, just the police giving you a ticket.”
The Bloc Pot hopes to score points with it’s two-policy platform, which includes ending pot prohibition and widespread reforms of the government and electoral system.
“We want to criticize the way it is built,” said St-Onge. “Because the government has been pushing prohibition on us for 80 years. And how did they do that? We need to find out and change it. We need to give the power back to the people.”
Other than that, St-Onge vows that the Bloc Pot won’t make more promises than it can keep. “We aren’t saying that we will be an answer to all of their problems. We don’t want to deceive the people and say we will do all this stuff for you. If someone is telling that to you then they are just lying so that they can get your vote.”
– To contact the Bloc Pot about becoming a candidate in the 2003 Quebec provincial elections call: (514) 528 1768
– Check out the Bloc Pot website: www.blocpot.qc.ca