NDP Marijuana Activist Booted Out Of Halifax Convention

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen with NDP Party Leader Jack Layton.Marijuana activist Dana Larsen with NDP Party Leader Jack Layton.CANNABIS CULTURE – Dana Larsen, organizer of End Prohibition, an 800-strong organization within the NDP membership, has been banned from the annual NDP convention this weekend at the Halifax Convention Center.

The NDP claim Larsen was “attempting to buy votes” of fellow delegates by offering to assist in the transportation costs of fellow delegates if they were short on money to attend. Delegates are chosen by constituency associations or by recognized associations within the NDP, like Young New Democrats.

Larsen, a former editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, has been an active member of the New Democratic Party since Jack Layton volunteered to visit me, CC publisher Marc Emery, at my home in October 2003. Layton recorded a video for POT.TV encouraging people in the Canadian cannabis culture to join his party and get involved. Layton had become leader of the NDP earlier in 2003 and visited my house that October day to widen the appeal of the NDP to young people and drug law reformers. Watch the video from POT.TV here.

Dana Larsen joined the Sunshine Coast NDP riding association shortly after and worked on the 2004, 2006 and 2008 campaigns. Larsen won the NDP nomination for Sunshine Coast-Sea-To-sky Country for the October 2008 federal election, but NDP election coordinator Gerry Scott ordered Larsen to resign after media began showing video from Larsen’s days as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, including footage showing him enthusiastically smoking marijuana joints.

Since 2005, Dana had organized 800 members of the NDP into a group called End Prohibition. Dana Larsen attended all provincial NDP conventions since 2006 and at each one succeeded in introducing and passing resolutions, all aimed at reforming the prohibition on marijuana and other banned substances.

The Halifax annual NDP convention is taking place this Friday to Sunday, and Dana Larsen and END Prohibition have resolutions in contention, seconded by various constituency associations across Canada.

Larsen has been active in 12 previous NDP provincial and national conventions. He considers himself to have allies in NDP MP’s Bill Siksay and Libby Davies. Davies was to introduce Larsen’s resolution that calls for the NDP to adopt a clear, detailed policy calling for non-punitive regulation of the cannabis industry and the distribution of cannabis.
Suddenly, earlier this week, the NDP party brass dispatched Davies to the Middle East as part of a parliamentary fact-finding mission, even though she was scheduled to speak at the convention this weekend.

NDP National Director Brad Lavigne.NDP National Director Brad Lavigne.Bill Siksay was to replace Davies in speaking to the motion at the NDP resolution prioritization meeting, which is being held on Friday morning outside the convention, as the call to order does not come into effect until Saturday morning. This decision to hold the prioritization of resolutions meeting on Friday, before the NDP delegates have arrived and been called to order is illegal. Many delegates won’t have arrived by Friday morning, and since it is not on the convention agenda, many wouldn’t even be aware of it. The reason for this is that Dana Larsen expects over 150 delegates who are his allies to be at the convention on Saturday, and the NDP is trying desperately to sideline Larsen’s increasing clout and presence in the NDP.

Dana was denied advertising in the convention booklet for END Prohibition, and then denied access to a table at the convention for End Prohibition literature and publications, and then informed this morning by email that by order of the NDP National Director Brad Lavigne (mobile phone 613.292.8015), he was banned from the convention as a delegate and observer for “attempting to buy votes”.

I interviewed Larsen today and asked him what Lavigne meant by that.

“I offered to help pay the transportation of some of the delegates who were having difficulty doing so,” he responded. “But I’ve checked the rules – the unions bus people to conventions all the time, and plane fare is paid for – for hotels, the union delegates are assisted considerably. You can’t make assistance to a delegate contingent on how they vote, and of course, I haven’t done that. So they are inventing these rules as they see necessary to curtail my influence at this convention.”

Larsen will still be at the Halifax Convention Centre, if only in the hallways co-ordinating his allies inside the convention.

“I’m a loyal NDP member; I still am,” Larsen said when I asked about this brazen usurpation of democracy. “What they’re doing is wrong but it won’t drive me out of the party. I’ll be at the convention, but now the pundits and media have something to write about that will cause Lavigne’s action to backfire. Our resolution will be more talked about, while the Executive attempting these undemocratic backroom moves will only encourage cynicism about the NDP’s commitment to democracy within its own party.”

Comments

21 Comments

  1. Pingback: banned from NDP convention (c) – Cannabis in Canada The Illustrated History by Dana Larsen

  2. Adam on

    You know this really illustrates a truth: All Dana has to do is keep pressing the NDP’s buttons and no matter what the reaction he will be shaking things up in the right ways. He seems to already know that sticking to his guns on the NDP thing is going to produce positive effects no matter what…

    Fucking glad to have you Dana, don’t ever change!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous on

    Virtually all the NDP party members voted NO on the final reading of Bill C-15. Virtually ALL Liberals voted yes, including the rookies like Justin Trudeau (who you’d think would know better). Bob Rae abstained or was absent during the voting process.

  4. TAS on

    The N.D.P. has changed to a ( i dont give a shit about the voters , i just want to be voted in at any cost. )My vote will become GREEN.

  5. Rhonda on

    What a disappointment with the NDP party ousting Dana over a technicality. Perhaps they should consider renaming their political party, to the tune of “we sold out to the Tories” or how about “The Undemocratic Party”. Such shallow thinking on their behalf. Are we confused about this wonderful country we live in that touts Freedom? With all their canoodling, we should be discussing the legalization of Marijuana and what can be done to decrease the crime wave due to drug lords running the show! its “high time” to re-think our approach and get this item on the agenda for parliament in September!

  6. Anonymous on

    Yeah, we know. We needed lube.

  7. Anonymous on

    That said, boy do I admire Dana for his courage and his conviction. He’s done everything by the book, believing in a system that has baffled him at every chance. Here is what I believe, Dana thinks. And I will use the system of social democracy through the party that claims to uphold it the most, and I will change the world. I don’t know, sometimes it works, I guess. If anyone can achieve legalization through legal political channels, it’s got to be Dana.

    The problem, however, isn’t ‘diversity of tactics’–but the fact that this diversity comes from the same person. We’re used to our politicians and lobbyist being cardboard cutouts. They speak only bromides and tripe, and the public can only conceive of them in that role. When evidence arises that suggests multiple dimensions–say occasionally being inarticulate on camera (forgiveable, since he was clearly so fucking high) or even irresponsible–well, that does not compute. No political party would accept Marc Emery as an official delgate or lobbyist (the Marijuana Party obviously excepted), but Dana, who has carried himself with dignity and determination these past years, should be a different story. Well, not in Canadian party politics, apparently.

    Unfortunately, Dana carries his conviction in all matters of his life: he writes articles and fiction about it, he sells seeds, he lobbys political parties and occasionally (okay, frequently) lights up. He even believes in legalization of all (gasp!) drugs–something that the Canadian public (encouraged, of course, by the the short-sighted ruling parties (and those who cravenly wait, desperately, in the wings) and the corporate media) finds incongruous. Dana, sadly, is not a one-trick pony with a one-track mind, and so on the stage of electoral politics, he is doomed.

    But, as usual, the NDP blind to its own position onthe political spectrum has covered itself in shame and foolishness. It has missed another chance at principled democracy, foolishly clinging to the lie that if it just acts like the other brokerage parties, it can replace them for a few years.

    Enjoy the next decade at 20%, Jack, while the chances that your forefather Tommy Douglas jumped at pass you by.

    Dana, you have my enduring admiration and respect.

  8. Anonymous on

    That letter to Dana was absurd. No matter what your opinions are of drugs and the governments that percecute their users, if you can not see that this is Party Establishment arbitrarly dropping the rule book in a rather inappropriate and untimely way than you might be part of the Party Establishment.

    This is actually a great example of how drug laws are applied too. The dominant decision makers use their rules when it suits them. So, Dana offering airfare to a delegate that can not afford to go is “anti-democratic” but a rich uncle/father/mother/union buying their kid a plane ticket is “democracy in action”. Fuck that shit. The NDP (or whatever stupid-ass-navel-gazing-focus-grouped name they waste their time inventing) has no idea what democracy means.

    There are many posters here who I can just tell want to sink their teeth into this drug addict who embarrassed the party. The self-important people who stripped Dana of his right to participate in the convention no doubt had to use their best lies and progressive platitudes to suppress that agonizing ‘DRUG ADDICT WHO EMBARRASSED THE PARTY!!!’ to a dull roar in the back of their minds as they checked tax law to back up their decision.

    Dana, you have an almost naive patience for a party and political system that can barely contain its hatred of you.

  9. Big Bat on

    As it has been said a thousand times the ndp are a bunch of liars and that is a FACT! The other fact is that MANY where banned or locked out of cc forums for trying to stop the insane drop of the marijuana party and take an alliance with the ndp.The truth remains the same .

    Perhaps when some guy comes speaking smooth and sweet in a suit ,just maybe you could tell him to just fuvk off.
    GRAMMA TOLD ME THAT ONE KIDS.
    oNE day the words of the wise will be seen.

    always CRAZY BIRD

    AKA JAY

  10. Tokin' Terry on

    that might be your Mom. My Mom has been dead for 12 years
    no wonder the NDP is rusting out with supporters like you

  11. Dude, I agree on

    YAH! FUCK YOU LAYTON!!! CHICKENSHIT ASSHOLE WHO PANDERS TO THE WORST IN HIS PARTY AND IN CANADA, ASK JACK, HE’LL TAKE A STAND AGAINST ANYTHING IF THERES $$$ OR POWER IN IT FOR HIM, MEGALOMANIAC PRICK

  12. ?? on

    Hey Terry, I know for a fact your mom disagrees with you, why don’t you ask her, she’s right here in bed beside me.

    Fuck lavigne, stay in Dana, take that party over and force sensible, humane policies down their collective fascist throats

  13. FUCKULAYTON on

    FUCK YOU LAYTON YOU TWO FACED ASSHOLE YOUR JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER POLITICAL CANDIDATES! FACE IT PEOPLE WERE LIVING IN A COMMUNIST COUNTRY!!

  14. g on

    This latest attack against Dana – under the transparent pretext of funding rules – ought to be the last straw. Anyone who suggests that the real objective is not getting rid of a calm, rational, persuasive, and passionate (and therefore highly embarrassing) advocate, is living in a self-inflicted druggy dream world.
    This is not rocket science. Shame, and shame again, on the federal NDP, for suppressing progressive opinion within its ranks. I’m pretty sure even this won’t faze Dana for long, but that just shows he’s a better person than I am.

  15. foam on

    Just know Dana your persistant hard work is very much appreciated by many.

    I might be more inclined to support the Greens since they are more free marketeers as opposed to the corporatist here in the states or socialist NDP..

  16. gstlab3 on

    DISSENT IS TREASON IN THESE PEOPLE EYES AND THEY WILL HAVE YOU SILENCED AS BEST THEY CAN SO THEY CAN CONTROL WHO HEARS WHAT AND BY WHO.,IT IS ALL BEING DELLIBERATLEY MANUFACTURED WITH THE END RESULT BEING THE OVERALL TAKE OVER OF THE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION MOVEMENT SO THEY CAN INTERJECT THEIR CONTROL MODEL OVER THE FREEDOM LOVING PEOPLE OF CANADA!!! WE ARE FIGHTING LIKE CRAZY IN THE UNITED STATES RIGHT NOW OVER HEALTH CARE REFORM AND THE EVER ENCROACHING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C. ., A FREE AND WELL EDUCATED POPULACE MUST BE MAINTAINED OR WE ALL BECOME SERVANTS TO THE GOVERNMENT MACHINE!!! DO NOT LET YOUR FREEDOM BE SILLENCED BY ANYONE!!! GOD SAVE CANADA!!!!! GROW YOUR OWN!!!! PEACE!!!

  17. From the 70s on

    The Liberal Leader Iggy voted for Bill C-15 (i.e to lock up young Canadians for so-called marijuana offenses with mandatory minimum sentences). Are the NDP going to make the same mistake Dana Larsen ?

  18. Anonymous on

    greENDprohibtion

  19. Adam on

    Well I voted green in the last federal election because they were the party who has lied the least.
    I’ve always kept track of Layton, I’ve regarded him with suspicion for years and I was right to vote green. That was after he propped up the conservative government twice, and the party had to issue some bullcrap about how it was good for the left side not to defeat the tories in a non-confidence vote. Bull****.

    He didn’t fool me just by appearing on pot-tv, he is the leader of a left-wing party; these days that’s just good politicking. Reassuring at the time, but now we know.

    Yeah I also remember the last time they did this to Larsen, it’s getting ridiculous. But I wonder if this motion against him comes from feelings held by NDP’ers before or after Larsen started making waves? There could be external influences, ie. the Conservative Party, which could lead to this infighting. Politicians are the easiest people on earth to manipulate. There may be some attacks on Larsen coming from his own party that are more misguided than malignant, but if Larsen quits the NDP and lets them interbreed as usual, they will just turn out to be more like the Conservative party and almost as bad as the Liberals.

    So I don’t know anymore, can anyone help me out? My reaction to this is really weird, almost the opposite of my past reactions to NDP falsehoods… should I start voting for the NDP? Only if that will help Dana et al. change them into something respectable. If Dana and eNDProhibition can keep doing what they’re doing without my voting for the NDP, even better. I’ll keep voting green.

    I may have the answer already. It’s the same old right answer, and it is not to vote for the party, vote for the person. Vote for the eNDProhibition candidates alone and not for the infighters or deceivers. Yes that will shrink the party’s federal representation. But at least it will be the party we need. We as voters have to resist voting for the party and break it down a little further. Take away the strength they have in their numbers.

  20. Tokin' Terry on

    Take a hint Dana- the NDP doesn’t want you.

    according to other articles in CC this is not the first time you have been given the old heave ho by Jumpin’ Jack Flash himself. It seems clear to everybody by now your career in politics is pretty much over. Unless you start your own super delux pot party and help BC become a soverin stoner state of itself. Marcs day in the sun has definately eclipsed, so its up to you to create a stoner political movement- sevearal people stand behind you at this point

    Maybe write another harry pothead book = but stick with what you know and that seems to be selling pot seeds and quasi legal stoner herbs,and dope in general.

    Besides, if you stayed a politician people would just end up hating you like all the rest of those lying weasels.

  21. Poter Principle on

    If Dana doesn’t stay with the NDP, he loses them as a vehicle for change. It’s better he’s on the inside. I get it.

    peace and pot