It’s Time For NDP Leader Jack Layton To Call For An End To Prohibition

If NDP MPs are interested in finding solutions, they will set themselves apart from the Conservatives and Liberals by pushing for a national debate on the prohibition of drugs.

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton will be in Vancouver Kingsway tomorrow (March16) to push for more crime prevention and more resources for the police.

This visit comes at a time when the federal NDP is languishing. A March 10 Ipsos Reid poll for Canwest showed that the federal NDP only has the support of 12 percent of Canadians.

I suspect that Layton is pushing the crime issue because it will help the provincial NDP, which will try to unseat the B.C. Liberals in the May 12 provincial election.

One of Layton’s higher profile MPs, Dawn Black, will run for the provincial NDP in New Westminster. Black is the mother of two Vancouver police officers, and she’ll be talking up the crime issue as well.

Black, along with other New Democrats like Mike Farnworth and Carole James, will say the solution is more police and tougher laws. They probably think this will increase their chances of seizing power.

But so far, the NDP has refused to speak about prohibition, which is the central issue driving a lot of the gangland carnage on our streets.

Last month, retired judge Jerry Paradis told the Straight that the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and 1930s led to the proliferation of criminal organizations and widespread violence.

The same could be said for previous bans on gambling in Canada and the United States.

If federal NDP MPs are interested in finding solutions—rather than just electing provincial New Democrats this May—they will set themselves apart from the federal Conservatives and Liberals by pushing for a national debate on the prohibition of drugs.

Vancouver East NDP Libby Davies has set an example by courageously speaking out against prohibition in the sex trade. She has taken a lot of abuse for doing this. But she knows that in the end, this is what will save lives.

Perhaps some of her NDP colleagues in Parliament (Bill Siksay? Don Davies? Peter Julian?) can stiffen their resolve, and start talking about solutions rather than engaging in cheap photo ops designed to pander to the corporate media.

The NDP has nothing to lose. With its current polling numbers, the party will be decimated in the next federal campaign. Taking a stand against drug prohibition could transform the next federal election because Layton would get lots of coverage from antiprohibitionist journalists, including Dan Gardner and Ian Mulgrew, just to name a couple. The news media employ scores of libertarian-minded commentators and reporters who will love this idea.

Often, the NDP and its precursor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, have been vindicated when they weren’t afraid to speak the truth to the corporate media. Layton took a risk when he called for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. He now reflects the dominant view within the country.

In 1970, then-federal NDP leader Tommy Douglas took a stand against then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s draconian imposition of the War Measures Act to deal with two political kidnappings. Douglas was vilified, but history has vindicated his position.

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation wasn’t afraid to call for universal pensions, universal health care, and unemployment insurance—all of which are mainstream concepts today.

The NDP is at the crossroads in 2009. Does it back the status quo on illegal drugs—which amounts to a death sentence for scores of Canadians in the coming years—or will it take a risk by seeking longlasting solutions, even if those solutions rile our American neighbours?

Layton should forget about those provincial NDP dinosaurs—they’re beyond hope when it comes to developing imaginative policies—and get on with the job of serving the country.

– Article from The Georgia Straight on Sunday, March 15, 2009.



  1. Adam on

    Stop saying it’s time for JL to call for anything, this is why he keeps lying about even wanting to end prohibition. He says we should legalize dope on Pot-TV and we all go around saying “eNDProhibition!” as if they were our best hope. NDP is only the leftist flavour for oppression.

  2. joe and his six pack on

    Just think about it the government wants to put people in cages for the behavior of one’s self not because they commit a violent act against another person and they want the population of the tax payer to pay for it. The government wants to imprison none violent behavior that hurts no one. The USA has been bankrupt and Canada is following them because they are too afraid to act like a free Country. The government wants you to pay for it while our hospitals are being close while our nurses are leaving the country because of cut backs while our nursing homes are not enough to support the aging population while 16 million Canadians will retire out of 33 million people in four years. While we will need 7 million nursing home beds in 7 years across the county. Who will take care of these people and where will we get the money and the labor force because we will jail half of the population that is left for a profit contract can be awarded to a harpers supporter while the tax payer flips the bill as they bankrupt Canada because the USA is doing it to them self’s. Because we have to do what the USA Corporation want. The Canadian puppets MP that are getting kick backs to run their phony election promises’ while hiding behind closed doors while blocking the freedom of information process. Are we in a war for freedom or is it just for corporate profits of a war industry. The Harper government wants to support organized gangs by protecting their profits rather than legalizing the drug trade to take away their lively hood and means of income. The underground economy will outperform the industrialize economy. And organize gangs will lawby the MP to protect their profits with prohibition because and uncontrolled and untaxed product is the lively hood of gangs.

  3. foam on

    Someone maybe MPP or Norml has a sign that says “Remember Prohibition it still doesn’t work”

    These signs should be all over the Mexican border and at Laytons appearence. I find it hard to believe Layton has become a luddite but some of his rhetoric seems to support that he has.

  4. Smokinfish on

    HI all

    sorry for the double entery.I didn’t know there was a delay,and that it had been posted lol. I’m also Pssoffatgov

  5. Smokinfish on

    Hi all

    Ok so what happened with the NDP supporting decrim/legalizing pot? I watched the video with Mark and Jack myself, and I know I didn’t smoke “that” much prior to watching it, look it up. Now they are following Harper like little sheep or what? More cops harder laws. What ever happened to ending prohibition there Jack? Just when it looked like someone in goverment had the balls to take this on.Now who to vote for? Who will put an end to this crazy mess of prohibition.I’m not sure who fisrt said this but ” God made cannabias,
    Man made alcohol, who do you trust”. Please someone stop the madness

  6. Pissedoffatgov on

    Hey all,

    What happened to the NDP supporting decrim/legalizing pot? I watched the video with Mark and Jack and I know I didn’t smoke “that” much prior.Look it up.So what is he saying now? more cops harder laws. As always just when it looked like someone in the goverment had the balls to stand up and do something about this crazy mess, he follows like a sheep.There goes my vote ,now what.God put this plant on earth for a reason, please wake up.I don’t know who I’m quoting by saying this but , “God made canabias, man made alcohol, who do you trust?”.