NDP Blocks End Prohibition From Political Convention

CANNABIS CULTURE – The anti-prohibition wing of Canada’s New Democratic Party is being blocked at every turn from having a presence at the party’s Federal Convention in Halifax this August.

Marijuana activist and former CC Editor Dana Larsen says End Prohibition, a group he founded for NDP members who want to end the failed War on Drugs, is being excluded from the convention with no explanation.

The following is a letter from Larsen:

End Prohibition ad and table blocked, & I’m banned from the NDP Convention page


During the month of June I booked space for two quarter page ads in the Convention Guide for the coming NDP Convention in Halifax.

One ad is for End Prohibition, and says “Thank you to the NDP for standing up against the Conservative’s failed War on Drugs.” It includes a quote from Libby Davies and contact information for End Prohibition. You can see it here: http://tinyurl.com/endproh-ad

The second ad is for the Vancouver Medical Cannabis Dispensary Society, a provincially-registered non-profit society of which I am a Director. This ad says “Thank you to the NDP for standing up for the rights of medicinal cannabis users.” It includes an image of a marijuana leaf and the contact information for the Dispensary. You can see it here: http://tinyurl.com/n78ke9

After booking the ads well in advance and then sending them in shortly before deadline, we were suddenly told after the deadline had passed that the ads were not acceptable.

I spoke with Drew Anderson, the fellow who is apparently in charge of producing the convention guide, on Friday, July 3. He said he would email me a copy of their policy on advertising which didn’t allow us to advertise. But instead on Monday July 5 he sent me an email which said only: “As promised, I am following up on our conversation from Friday in writing. The ads that you submitted are not consistent with our advertising policy. As such they will not appear in our Convention guide. Thank you. Drew Anderson.”

I wrote back and asked again to see a copy of the actual advertising policy, as well as to please know who is responsible for making the decisions. I also offered to make changes to the ads if possible so as to bring them into line with policy. Drew has not since replied.

On Thursday, July 9, I called National Director Brad Lavigne and spoke with him personally on the phone.

Brad said that he wasn’t aware of the situation, and that he didn’t oversee every ad decision in the Convention Guide. He gave me the impression that Drew was acting on his own.

Brad Lavigne took my phone number and said that he would call me back soon. As of the end of business on Monday, July 13, I have not heard back.

I know that last week Brad was also sent emails from MPs Libby Davies and Bill Siksay asking about this matter. To my knowledge neither Davies nor Siksay has received a response either.


Along with trying to book an ad in the Convention Guide, End Prohibition and the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary Society were both trying to book table space at the Convention. It is usual for many social advocacy and non-profit groups to pay for a table at NDP Conventions, and End Prohibition had a table at the last federal convention in Quebec. (We’ve also had tables and ads at many provincial NDP Conventions across Canada over the past three years.)

Our requests to book a table for these groups are now all going unanswered. Emails and phone messages from our groups are not being replied to. Clearly no table space will be made available for either of these groups, and no explanation as to why we are blocked is forthcoming.


The NDP has created an Official Facebook Page for the Convention. There are two Admins who control the page, Jen Anthony and Marena Winstanley.

The page is here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=92933656333

Over the past few weeks I have made three posts to the Facebook page wall, and all of them have been deleted within 48 hours or less.

I don’t have the exact wording anymore, but the first post was made around June 29 and said:

* If you are an NDP member who supports drug policy reform and wants to come to the Convention, contact [email protected] for information on how we can help to get you there.

The second post was made around July 9 and said:

* Why are the Resolution Priority Panels being held BEFORE the Call to Order?

The third post was made in July 11 and said:

* Long live the NDP! Jack Layton for Prime Minister.

Although there are many other posts from NDP members on the Facebook wall, all of mine were deleted within 48 hours or less of being posted.

I sent a message to Jen Anthony and Marena Winstanley, who are the two admins on the page, and who are both “Convention Organizers” in some way. I politely asked if they knew why my posts get deleted.

Jen didn’t reply, and Marena sent me a reply which said simply:

* I’m afraid I don’t have much to say in response to your messages. These are not my decisions to be made.

I replied asking politely who it is that is making these decisions, but I have received no further response.

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  1. Anonymous on

    NDPers who feels that Dana Larsen is being unfairly treaded should call Brad Lavigne at 613-236-3613 x2224 or, if he’s not there, try 613-761-6724.

  2. Andrew on

    Don’t forget that paper and stamp carries more weight than an email and that letters to a Member of Parliament do not require postage. Jack Layton’s address (or any other MP) is c/o the House of Commons, Ottawa, K1A 0N6.

  3. SenatorwannabeEMay on

    Anyone that would even write the words ‘Jack Layton for P.M.’ is a moron for a number of reasons.

  4. Anonymous on

    I left the NDP and joined the Green Party for this exact reason.

    After years of waiting for a policy statement from the NDP, I gave up on the NDP. I won’t be donating money to them again. Layton is a total hypocrite, appearing with Marc on Pot TV promising a policy statement that he never delivered. If it’s not in writing, it’s not worth a dime.

    The Green Party has a clear statement in their platform on this issue. That’s why I’ve gone Green. Goodbye NDP.

  5. Reggaesmoker on

    Ever since the Liberal party crumbled the NDP have been on a vote grab. It’s not the party it was five years ago.

    I’m really starting to think that Canadians atleast the majority seem to vote for the most stable party. Truly with the way all parties flip flop on just about every issue how else can a person vote?

    Clearly and sadly at this point the most stable party and the only party people really understand are the conservatives.
    Everyone pretty well knows what harpers agenda is and what he wants to do be it good or bad(definitely bad).
    True you can’t trust what he says, but people feel they have a pretty good idea of what he secretly wants. This wins him the undecided vote.

    In an age of deceitful politicians, its the only way to win the vote.

    Just another lowly mortals opinion

  6. Anonymous on

    I am with you guys

    green party time

    fuck ndp liars, fuckers, corrupt politicians

    they all the same
    unless they green

  7. jeremiah on

    I am also a disillusioned NDP member and have flirted with tearing up my membership card and walking away (on this issue and others), but I’m glad I calmed down and thought twice. The party, like the government, is supposed to be what we make of it – giving up just plays into the hands of those responsible for this crap, and they would be happy to see us go.

    It seems to me that if we want to make a real impact on politics we have to continue making inroads into ALL of the parties that currently have their hands on the levers of power and seize every opportunity to do so. If certain party members are unwilling to support the issue, we just need to keep pressing on and change their minds or replace them.

  8. Dana Larsen on

    Please don’t leave the NDP. If you support me and the idea of ending prohibition, then please stay in the party and help me with this battle.

    I have received so much support from within the NDP! Dozens and dozens of NDP members have been contacting me to help me with this situation.

    Two MPs are actively working on my behalf to help with this problem.

    If you want to end marijuana prohibition in Canada, and you believe in my work, then please join me in my crusade, join the NDP and back me up!

    Don’t let a few ignorant people in the NDP hierarchy ruin this party for us! The NDP belongs to us too, and we have the numbers and the strength to overcome these challenges and make our party into a strong, unified voice against the failed drug war.

    Keep in mind that the NDP voted against C-15, and the party has been a strong voice against prohibition on many occasions.

    Please back me up and join the NDP so you can help me end the war on drugs.

  9. Disillusioned on

    As a life-time card carrying supporter of the NDP and a member of eNDP I’m totally POed with Layton’s flip-flopping performance as of late not to mention the whole party’s swing to the right.

    Next they’ll be supporting Bill C-15.

    I’ll be asking to have my name taken off their mailing list and stopping my monthly contribution to their cause. It’s only $10 but every drop helps fill the bucket and I no longer care to help.

    I believe that Mr. Layton thinks that if he blends in with the two leading parties that he may garner more votes.

    Not from me he won’t!

  10. George Lenard on

    The motives behind any politician not dealing with the problems the “War on Drugs” is creating, is either ignorance or having ulterior motives? It is my belief that the record amount of heroin that has been shipped out of Afghanistan during the Bush effort there.(03-08) The highly addictive powder that is generally injected yields much larger profits then marijuana and keeps your client coming back much more often? Unless the information is politically suppressed I believe that for the last few months and from now on the number of heroin related arrests will increase, continually over the next few years, while the numbers incarcerated, increase for marijuana related offenses. The exact opposite that cannabis legalization would do! I say here and now that some of our Canadian Federal Politicians know exactly what I am talking about. This is very serious charge that I state! The Conservatives and all those from every party that fall prey to the charade that Canada’s currant direction in the WAR ON DRUGS is 180 degrees the wrong way!

  11. Anonymous on

    As former NDP supporters seem to be commenting on this situation, I’ll jump in as well, since I’m also one. I stopped voting for the NDP when they stopped taking the moral high ground on important issues, and apparently began deciding party policy according to the latest opinion polls. Simply because harsher pot laws appear to be around the corner, and Marc Emery is gong to jail in the US, doesn’t mean the Canadian people support either measure. The two-faced politicians who drove me to the NDP while Ed Broadbent was the NDP leader, seem to have infiltrated the NDP. What both Tommy Douglas and Ed Broadbent understood, was that a pricipled political stand would gain you both votes and repect. A slippery,unprincipled,unethical and hypocritical stand may gain you votes in the short term, but once the truth is out, people remember. The NDP has lost the votes of many people since they began to veer to the middle ground, where opinion polls and current events govern party policy. As a relult, NDP policy of late is almost identical to the Liberals, which is very close to the right wing Conservatives. If the NDP wants to stop the bleeding, in terms of dwindling support, especially among young people, the party needs to rediscover its moral compass, and and get back to taking principled stands on controversial issues for a change. A principled stand on the part of the NDP on the marijuana issue might draw me back to the NDP, but the events outlined indicate they’re still governed by opinion polls and current events, and are no diffeent than any of the others – except the Green Party.

  12. Anonymous on


  13. Anonymous on

    I voted for the NDP in the last federal election and I doubt I will ever vote NDP again. Jack and most other NDP members (there are of course fantastic people like Libby Davies) don’t give a crap about cannabis and drug reform.

    NDP are liars and backstabbers.

    Dana ditch these losers and work with the Green Party.

  14. Anonymous on

    Seriously, I’m with you

    I’m going to be writing them asking to be removed from their mailing list… this is bullshit

  15. BC_Budman on

    I would have said it differently, but it would have had the same sentiment. After years supporting the NDP they have disapointed me for the last time!

  16. Anonymous on

    The two words are


    maybe three more words


  17. TAS on

    That is just great, first the Liberals now the NDP. What party will stand up for all the the non violent weed smokers in jail and those who are to go to jail in the future?What about all the drug addicts who need help not jail? I have been a liberal voter. Then i thought i would go NDP. Now what to do?

  18. Anonymous on

    Dana’s continued attempts to engage the NDP remind me of a battered spouse who keeps thinking that “this time” they wouldn’t hit them. Jack’s inner circle have expressed profound hostility toward cannabis consumers (even medical consumers) while giving lip service to the issue.

    This is a great eye opener:


    On the Friday, in the panel to prioritize resolutions on equity issues, Joe Comartin, MP for Windsor – Tecumseh and Bob Gallagher, Layton’s chief of staff, can be seen frantically trying to stifle resolutions that criticize the NDP caucus’ support of Stephen Harper’s law and order agenda. Particularly contentious is a resolution on the age of consent. The day before, at the youth convention, keynote speaker Jane Doe fired the young people up by calling the NDP’s support of Harper’s age of consent law “bullshit,” to huge cheers.

    The youth and LGBT caucuses are pushing a resolution that will oppose the Conservative legislation. But Gallagher and Comartin don’t want it to hit the convention floor and the eyes of the media. The party will support Harper in Parliament, and they want to avoid the “embarrassment” of a policy driven by the party members who will be most affected by the new law: youth and queers. The resolution has been put 60th on the list by the party management’s own pre-convention committee, meaning it will never be heard.

    After the youth succeed in prioritizing the resolution to go to the convention floor, Gallagher and Comartin organize against them. Gallagher furiously works his Blackberry to stuff the panel with caucus staff and union friendlies. Caucus members glower at the youth delegates who are arguing for their resolution. At the last minute, MP Jean Crowder moves that it be tabled. Gallagher’s people are filing in even after the doors are supposed to have been “tiled.”

    Gee, maybe it’s time to talk openly about Jack’s cocaine use.

    I also heard recently about a scandal brewing about some forged adoption records and the daughter of an NDP politician. (Jack Bauer would be interested in this one, for sure.)

    Fuck you Jack.

  19. Classyathome on

    Any mj smoking voters that counted on the NDP to actually help them are sadly boned…

    I knew when the pro-mj candidates were pushed out that they wouldn’t be sympathetic. Politicians are like strippers, they only pretend to care until they get what they want.

    I guess it’s time to end the eNDProhibition. Fool us once…