Ottawa Just Might Go To Pot

Men's Giant Slalom Snowboard gold medal winner Ross Rebagliati of Canada shows his delight during the medal ceremony at the XVIII Winter Olympic Games, February 8, 1998. (Photo by Dylan Martinez/Reuters)Men’s Giant Slalom Snowboard gold medal winner Ross Rebagliati of Canada shows his delight during the medal ceremony at the XVIII Winter Olympic Games, February 8, 1998. (Photo by Dylan Martinez/Reuters)Ross Rebagliati, whose gold medal in snowboarding at the 1998 Winter Olympics was obscured briefly by marijuana smoke, is seeking the Liberal nomination in a B.C. riding for the next federal election.

One wonders if his political idol was former U.S. President Herbert Hoover, who in 1928 promised voters a chicken in every pot … If Rebagliati defeats incumbent Stockwell Day and becomes an MP, he could be asked to serve on the odd joint committee … Parliament Hill in Ottawa should be the mecca for those who favour marijuana. After all, what sound does the bell in the Peace Tower make every time it tolls? Why, “bong,” of course.

– Read the complete article at The Leader-Post on October 24, 2009.

‘I think I’m going to bring the country together:’ Ross Rebagliati

by Adrian Nieoczym,

About two dozen members of the Liberal Party of Canada showed up at a Penticton law firm yesterday evening to select 1998 Olympic gold medalist Ross Rebagliati as their candidate in the next federal election.

He will be up against Conservative incumbent Stockwell Day, the Minister of International Trade, who handily won the 2008 election with close to 60 per cent of the vote.

Rebagliati ran unopposed and the vice-president of the Liberals Okanagan-Coquihalla riding association, Jodie Taylor, declared him the winner and adjourned the meeting within five minutes.

The proceedings then moved to a meeting room at a local hotel where Rebagliati delivered his acceptance speech, chatted with party members, posed for pictures and took questions from the six members of the media who turned out to see him.

Rebagliati is positioning himself as a youth candidate whose star power can help him connect with those younger voters who in recent years have stayed away from the polls.

“They’ve been completely uninterested in politics and I can’t blame them. I have also been over the years completely disinterested in the process. I haven’t had anybody run in any election that I can remember that I was remotely interested in as an individual rather than as a politician,” he said.

Since news of his candidacy broke late last week, Rebagliati has been inundated with messages of support from excited young people.

“We have received an overwhelming flood of e-mails and Twitters and Facebooks and you name it in the last couple of days. Not only from this riding from all across Canada from coast to coast to coast,” he said. “One of the nicest comments I heard was someone was going to move to the riding just so they could vote for me.”

He also said he will rely heavily on new media such as Twitter and Facebook to reach potential voters, not just in Okanagan-Coquihalla but in other parts of the country as well.

“I think I’m going to bring the country together even though it’s just this riding that I’m running in.”

Rebagliati was approached by the Liberal Party to become their candidate in Okanagan-Coquihalla and while he said he has never been a member of the party, he has always been a supporter.

“The Liberals represent who I am as a person as far as values are concerned,” he said. “It seems like from election to election that they’ve always talked about the issues that are important to me.”

He cited the environment as one important issue for him. And because he recently became a father, he said access to daycare is something that is also top of mind.

Likewise, because he has an aging grandmother he cares deeply about, seniors care has become another issue of concern for him.

Rebagliati said he has not yet had a chance to speak directly to party leader Michael Ignatieff.

“I’ve had a chance to watch the party leader on television say that he’s very excited that I’m on board and that’s good enough for me.”

Dave Perry, who was the Liberal candidate here in 2006 and lost to Day by more than 13,000 votes, is excited to have Rebagliati carrying his party’s banner into the next election.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the riding. We have a person of note and a young person particularly,” he said. “We have a chance to form a whole new constituency with young people throughout the riding.”

– Read the complete article at on October 27, 2009.