A well-known Canadian med-pot advocate will be running as a candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada’s upcoming federal election. Alison Myrden, a wheelchair-bound med-pot patient who suffers from multiple sclerosis and a variety of painful related ailments, has a legal exemption from the federal government to possess and grow marijuana. She recently won the NDP nomination for the Ontario riding of Oakville, and will represent her party in the June 28, 2004 election campaign.
Myrden had originally sought to obtain the nomination for Burlington, Ontario, but lost. Undaunted, she accepted an offer to run in a different riding in her hometown of Oakville. She says she is excited at the prospect of going into the election.
Before she was a pot activist, Myrden was a medical secretary as well as a provincial corrections officer working with at-risk youth and young offenders. She was introduced to med-pot by a friend in 1995. “I felt strange witnessing all this commotion and court time being used to prosecute young offenders for simply smoking a joint, while at the same time I was doing the same thing away from work for health reasons.”
Myrden describes herself as a long-time “closet NDP supporter,” but says her decision to run as a candidate came when she saw federal NDP leader Jack Layton backing legal cannabis.
“When I saw Layton on Pot-TV, talking to Marc Emery about legalization, I began to think about other issues and needs that people in my position have. Affordable housing. A disability pension geared to the cost of living. Wheelchair access. Health care waiting times. The list goes on and on.” Myrden decided that the time to act was upon her and that the place to do it effectively was within the NDP.
Myrden points out that the full legalization of cannabis has greater benefits than just those for med-pot patients, indicating that it’s a way to get rid of the criminal element and black market, and that it is a potential source of tax revenue which could be spent to better the lives of all Canadians. She recommends taxing cannabis and putting it into a regulated market where people have more controlled and responsible access.
In addition to marijuana legalization, the inadequacies of the health care system, fair collective bargaining rights, and environmental issues such as clean air and water, Myrden’s platform also contains a promise to fight against “joining the US with their international aggression” ? something many Canadians are deeply concerned with.
Myrden’s first action as an official candidate for the NDP was on May 1, 2004 in Toronto’s Queen’s Park, during the Global Marijuana March. She led 1,000 demonstrators, chanting “We love weed” and calling on Ottawa to legalize the herb. “Protest is important to raise public awareness about the medicinal benefits of marijuana,” she told media. “People don’t understand that sick people still don’t have an affordable, quality source of medicine,” she continued. “Our government is not helping us.”
Alison Myrden believes she is the right choice to represent the NDP. “I can do anything that I put my little heart to. Just ask anyone that knows me.”
? Alison Myrden: 905-681-8287; email [email protected]; web themarijuanamission.com
? Donations for Alison Myrden’s campaign are tax deductible.
? Send checks by regular mail to: Oakville NDP ? Alison Myrden campaign. C/O Tina Agrell, 1318 Amber Crescent, Oakville, Ontario L6J 2N8. (A PayPal account will be set up soon for people to donate online.)