Canada’s newest political party has been scoring media attention during the past few months, as Marijuana Party candidates challenged the leaders of two political parties during September by-elections.
Joe Clark, leader of the once-mighty Conservatives, and Stockwell Day, leader of the rising Alliance Party, both ran and easily won separate by-elections to gain their seats in the federal Parliament. Challenging Clark in the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants were a number of candidates, including Alex Neron of the Marijuana Party. Despite weilding a 1979 letter in which Joe Clark clearly states his support for marijuana decriminalization, Neron was excluded from an all-candidates meeting at Acadia University. The Student Union president was quoted as saying, “We don’t have to hear from all sides, that merely clutters the mind.”
Marijuana Party leader Marc (Boris) St Maurice travelled to the Okanagan riding in BC to run against Stockwell Day. St Maurice seems to have charmed the Alliance Party team. “He’s bright, articulate,” said Glen Duncan, Day’s campaign manager. “He’s a single issue ? he makes no bones about it. He doesn’t denigrate any of the other candidates… I think he’s become a favourite ? one of the few favourites of the whole audience ? at the all-candidates meetings.”
During the campaign, Day stated that possession of marijuana should not be a criminal offence, and even made a surprise appearance at a Marijuana Party rally to close the campaign. St Maurice described Day’s comments as “commendable,” but added “the real challenge for Day will be to get the Alliance Party to adopt this as official policy.”
A federal election is going to be called in the fall or the spring, and the Marijuana Party intends on running 50-100 candidates nationwide.