New Canadian Liberal Leader Stephane Dion: the Politics of Pot and Opium

Stephane Dion was not asked directly during the leadership campaign about his opinion on marijuana prohibition or the extradition of the BC3. Good portents however include the presence of Mark Boris St.-Maurice, the founder and former leader of the Marijuana Party of Canada, in the Stephane Dion campaign team. St.-Maurice joined the Liberal Party in early 2004 after resigning the leadership of the Marijuana Party, which he founded in 2000.
St.-Maurice was very active at the convention that saw Stephane Dion start out on the first ballot with under 20% and in third place, soaring to 57% and a majority on the fourth ballot, knocking off Bob Rae on the third ballot and Gerard Kennedy on the second ballot. Dion is pro-Kyoto Treatry, and is considered the most environmentally aware and informed of all the leadership candidates.

Dion also distinguished himself as a progressive on social policy. Dion gave a speech at the leadership convention, attended by over 4,700 delegates from across Canada, that was peppered with warnings about US federal government influence within the current Conservative government in Canada.

The following is from the KOBY blog. Dion has been asked about pot laws in informal interviews and his views are vague and poorly formed, if this blogger’s encounter is to be believed. This person interviewed each of the Liberal Party leadership candidates during leadership debates. Here is his experience with Dion at that Vancouver meeting.


Q. The Senate committee on marijuana concluded that the “Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol”? Do you agree with this conclusion?

A. He said no. I know Dion is a bit of a contrarian, but this is ridiculous. I will give him points for consistency though. Dion feels that marijuana possession should be decriminalized; he wants fines imposed in place of criminal penalties. He noted that Canada’s possession laws are applied unequally throughout the country and that a system of fines would be better.

Q. Can NATO succeed in both stabilizing Afghanistan and destroying the country’s number one industry, the opium crop?

A. Dion said yes, but it was hardly a firm one. He said that what needs to happen is a “redesign of the mission”. As with the other candidates, Dion is open to the idea of Western governments buying opium to replenish medical supplies from Afghan farmers.