What happened to you, NDP? You used to be cool

NDP Leader Jack Layton shaking hands with Marc Emery in 2003.NDP Leader Jack Layton shaking hands with Marc Emery in 2003.She may not be heading to Halifax, but that hasn’t stopped ITQ from following, with equal parts bemusement and amusement, the fracas surrounding once-and-not-likely-future NDP candidate Dana Larsen, who was — at least, according to his tweeted version of events –unceremoniously banned from attending the convention — or even hanging around the building — earlier today.

Apparently, the party was distinctly unimpressed with his efforts to get out the vote on a pro-pot legalization resolution that may well not even make it to the floor, and revoked his credentials on the spot. In fairness to the party, it turns out that NDP national director Brad Lavigne gave him a heads up via email earlier this week that he would not be welcome on the voyage due to his alleged offers of “financial inducements to other delegates” which are “contrary to the democratic principles of the [party]“. Did I mention this is an NDP policy convention? Just checking.

Anyway, this led to a mini-outburst from his supporters, which — predictably — wound up splattered all over the wall of the Facebook page set up for the convention, which – even more predictably – was hastily disabled, thus prompting Larsen to convert the page he set up in support of his resolution into an “unofficial and uncensored” alternative event page, that – at the moment – has more members than the original, many of whom are now happily expressing their utter outrage and disbelief at his treatment at the hands of his fellow New Democrats. Larsen, meanwhile, is using the party’s twitter hashtag — #hfx09 — to spread the word about his ejection from the floor in between media interviews, which is convenient for those of us stuck watching the convention via CPAC.

I’m going to let you in on a little journalistic secret here, NDP organizers: We — we-the-media, that is — expect — nay, demand — at least one zany resolution from every party policy convention. If you’re not going to give us a leadership review — or, better yet, a multi-ballot leadership vote, complete with delegates, drama and intrigue, and — of course — thundersticks — then you’d better darned well give us something to get us out of bed in time for that three hour plenary session at the crack of nine on Saturday morning. In recent years, for the Conservatives, it’s usually something about abortion or same sex marriage; for the Liberals, it’s Quebec nationhood and — thank you, youth wing — legalized prostitution, and for the NDP, it’s nationalizing the banks and decriminalizing soft drugs. It happens every time: One of your riding associations comes up with a crowd-pleasingly controversial proposal, we write about, it either passes and goes nowhere, or it fails, and we all go home, satisfied by having taken part in a proud Canadian political tradition.

Instead, you boot the guy out, thus giving us something even better to cover: a banned delegate with an axe to grind! And a twitter account! It’s like you planned the whole thing just to give us a good hook for this weekend’s coverage. Since the delegate in question is on the ground in Halifax, and even under an NDP government, you can’t have the province put him on the next plane back to BC, he can scrum with reporters, maybe round up a few dozen supporters to picket the opening session — really, he’ll wind up with far more media coverage than he would have gotten if he’d managed to pass his pro-pot resolution in the first place. It’s just the silliest thing ever, although while we’re on the subject of silliness, ITQ would suggest that keeping the full list of policy resolutions under wraps is a close second, since they always end up leaking out anyway, and really, see above re: proud Canadian traditions.

Anyway, ITQ is hoping to liveblog — by CPAC, that is — at least some of this weekend’s official festivities, but she’s hoping that some of her friends who are lucky enough to be there in person will keep her in the loop as far as the off-camera antics. Solidarity forever, y’all!

– Article from Macleans.

Read Cannabis Culture’s coverage of Dana Larsen and the Halifax NDP convention.



  1. Anonymous on

    Canada was down for legalizing in 2002, until the US threatened to shut down the borders if they did.

    And it is definitely an amazing question as to why countries follow in the US’ footsteps, in any aspect of anything. The opposite seems to be the best.

  2. Anonymous on

    Why do people still use the “we can’t discuss it until the Americans do” when the Americans are actually talking about rolling back the drug war? Guess they don’t follow the news.

  3. Anonymous on

    I don’t think legalization is a practical objective in Canada, simply because of its proximity to the obsessively anti-Cannabis Americans. They may allow medical use in a few states but that’s as far as they will ever go. If Canada even started talking seriously about full legalization, they would get so much pressure from the US that they would have no choice but to drop it. Canada is simply too reliant on the US to ever go against them in any major way.
    I think a more realistic goal is to get sensible punishments, like fines. Just fine them and that way it’s as if a tax has been imposed, a tax on being careless or unlucky enough to get caught. Prison sentences are counterproductive, costing money instead of making it. By imposing fines, the Americans can’t say Canada isn’t doing anything about Cannabis use, just that they are smarter than them and have moved beyond the simplistic and counterproductive prison solves everything mentality. Sadly, in reality, Canada isn’t that smart yet. They are still every bit as stupid as the Americans, and that’s seriously stupid.

  4. Anonymous on

    The NDP are picking their battles. Its all about PR.

    Given the state of the world today, with all the serious problems that face us, the NDP are prioritizing. They can’t afford to get into the legalization battle right now. The conservatives would tear them apart with relentless propaganda. At least, that’s the mentality of the NDP. People can argue about weather supporting legalization would be good or bad for the party but no one can really say for sure.

    As much as I’d like to see Marijuana legalized, I can’t blame the NDP for taking this stance. At the end of the day they’ve got to play the game just like everyone else. Standing up for ideals like justice is all well and good but when there are so many voters who are easily swayed by propaganda such as “the opposition is soft on crime” there’s not much you can do.

  5. Anonymous on

    you tube ; new world order eyes of tha slave

  6. Ogmios on

    thats why i back the antichrist when he destroys the vatican with his earthquake weapon but thats as far as i go because he uses himself as a religion the puke! at the same time he destroys the vatican he will take over turky. most people will be totally blind to this as the media will put full attention on the destruction of itally thinking it is a natural quake. there is no stoping it now the begining of the end has already started! have you read in the news about increased quakes in the indian ocean? thats him testing the weapon! OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!we are about to war with the devil itself and its our own ignorance that caused it! mabye if we had more respect for nature like the old ancients 50,000 years ago this would not have have happend! but its too late! gaia is dieing because of the parasitic humans and they will continue to rape her until they all perish!

  7. Anonymous on

    This is the NDP:

    “The NDP grew from populist, agrarian and democratic socialist roots. While the party is secular and pluralistic, it has a longstanding relationship with the Christian left and the Social Gospel movement, particularly the United Church of Canada. However, the federal party has broadened to include concerns of the New Left, which advocates issues such as gay rights, peace, and environmental protection.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Democratic_Party

    If they’re Christians, they will never accept Cannabis other than as a token mention to try to get a few votes from that demographic while not actually promising to do anything in particular. I don’t know why, but Christians seem to have something against Cannabis.

    Giving Larsen the cold shoulder was pretty bad too. Maybe if he tones it down to just advocating a trial legalization of coffeeshops in Vancouver, in emulation of the Dutch model. Calling for blanket legalization is too extreme for Christians to handle. You have to ease it on them little by little so their safe little world doesn’t change too much at once. If you just walk in there and say hey guys, let’s legalize dope, they’ll turn on you. A violent lot, the Christians.

  8. F.U. Layton on

    What a bleeding loser that layton is! than again so are all canadian political candidates!BLOODY OPPRESSERS!!!