Burn your candidates if you got ?em

President of the B.C. Marijuana Party Marc Emery says his party will pull candidates in ridings where more “mainstream” candidates openly support marijuana law reform.
Emery, who usually runs for the BCM in Vancouver-Burrard, said he will step aside because an understanding reached with the NDP candidate and Vancouver city councilor Tim Stevenson.

“I’ve told Tim Stevenson that in exchange for some acknowledgement that the marijuana issue should be dealt with in a regulated manner, I wouldn’t run against him there,” Emery said. Stevenson was unavailable for comment.

The BCM, which ran a full slate of candidates in 2001, received little more than three per cent of the popular vote in the last provincial election. Emery said he is trying to forge relations with “more mainstream” parties to lend legitimacy to his cause in exchange for his party’s portion of the popular vote.

“Realistically we have a lot of problems running as a party. People are afraid to run,” Emery said. He added BCM candidates are usually students, retired people, and radicals. “You literally cannot run for us if you in anyway have a mainstream profile or do business in the mainstream, because you come under a microscope.”

There are several candidates across the province Emery said his party would support if a formal arrangement is met.

Candidates like Rob Fleming, who is running for the NDP in Victoria-Hillside. Emery said Fleming has been really supportive of the medical marijuana club in Victoria while sitting on Victoria city council. Because of this, Emery said, the BCM party won’t run a candidate against him.

Likewise, the BCM is trying to reach an arrangement with the NDP nominee for Powell River-Sunshine Coast Nicholas Simon and Brian Johnson, the DR BC candidate for Cowichan-Ladysmith, who Emery says both support his cause.

“We need some real commitment in writing or a statement that I can repeat,” Emery said.

Yesterday afternoon, Emery met with the Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Point Grey Damian Kettlewell about the BCM lending support for his campaign.

Kettlewell, however, was less than impressed to be associated with the BCM in an interview with Election Central.

After reiterating the Green Party’s stance for legalizing marijuana, Kettlewell said his party had a lot to lose by being too closely affiliated with the BCM party.

“We have no formal agreement with the Marijuana Party,” Kettlewell said. “Legalizing marijuana is not one of our key issues.”

Kettlewell said the Greens have a “brand problem” that would only be exacerbated by commenting on marijuana issues.

“Certain people believe that the Green Party is a one-issue party, that we only have environmental concerns. I’ve even had friends in certain ethnic communities that get the Marijuana Party and the Green Party confused,” Kettlewell said. “We’re working to be a credible electable political force and if people perceive us as having marijuana legalization as one of our top five objectives, it’s going to affect our brand.”

The only party the BCM has yet to throw its support behind is the B.C. Liberal party. Emery said it was because he has “never met” a Liberal candidate that supports his cause.