Libertarian Party of Canada members from across Canada, including Marc Emery, gathered in Edmonton on the Victoria Day long weekend to elect a new leader. Calgary-based legal agent Dennis Young won a close contest against party president Alan Mercer in a secret ballot vote on Sunday afternoon. In a speech before convention delegates, Young stressed his military and policing background as qualifications to lead the party. Young served as a full time soldier in the Canadian infantry from 1983 to 1989 and as a military police officer from 1991 to 1997.
He saw active duty in NATO operations in Bosnia, an experience he says helped shape his views on foreign policy. “I was a working soldier for 12 years, and I care too much about our fighting men and women to be reckless about war. Harper has become a voice for a failed Washington foreign policy. I want to be a voice for Canadian soldiers and their families,” said Young.
The Libertarian Party supports a military non-interventionist foreign policy and believes trade is the best way to foster cooperation and peace among nations. “We believe in a strong national defence. What we don’t believe in is preemptive war and nation building,” continued Young.
After wining the leadership, Young welcomed an endorsement on behalf of the party from Cannabis Culture publisher and marijuana legalization advocate Marc Emery. Emery, who spoke at the convention, faces extradition to the U.S. on charges related to selling marijuana seeds. Emery sold seeds openly and was a Health Canada-recommended supplier to licensed medical marijuana users. “Marc Emery faces a lifetime in a U.S. prison because the Conservative government refuses to stand by its own drug policies and enforcement practices. Instead, they’re ceding Canadian sovereignty to a politically-motivated drug agency in the U.S. I oppose his extradition, and so should Stephen Harper,” said Young.
While Conservative MPs, including Stockwell Day, have supported liberalizing marijuana laws in the past, the party under Harper has taken a hard line on drug policy and shown no willingness to oppose the extradition of Emery, a case which will be before the courts on February 9, 2009. Young’s work as a military policeman included domestic police work in Petawawa, Ontario, where he first began to question the war on drugs: “We have finite policing resources — and the time we spend prosecuting people for using marijuana is time taken away from protecting people from violent crimes.”
Young also expressed his support for former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant and Maclean’s magazine in their respective efforts to fight media censorship by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Levant was hauled before the CHRC for publishing cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed in February 2006. Maclean’s magazine faces an ongoing complaint for publishing excerpts of Mark Steyn’s book America Alone. “The Conservative government has abandoned Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. If you care about free speech and a free press, you should vote for the Libertarian Party,” said Young. “When we talk about freedom, we actually mean it.”
– Article from The Western Standard