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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

NDP's Dana Larsen resigns his candidacy

The CBC and Globe and Mail are reporting that Dana Larsen, NDP candidate for MP in Vancouver, has resigned his candidacy after news of his selling coca seeds became public.

The Globe and Mail reported that, "Mr. Larsen's resignation came hours after The Globe and Mail questioned Mr. Larsen about his involvement with the Vancouver Seed Bank, which sells seeds for coca plants with leaves containing cocaine alkaloids. The company also sells marijuana, poppy and hemp seeds. Mr. Larsen said he helped set up the company and worked as manager but no longer works for the company."

The NDP, meanwhile, is insisting that Larsen's marijuana-related activities played no role whatsoever, but that his involvement with coca seeds was the real concern.

The Western Standard had a Question Period with Larsen, where Larsen attempted to make the case that libertarians should support and vote for the NDP. On September 9, I spoke with Dana Larsen and asked him several questions for a story we were planning to write about him and his candidacy.

Asked what his position on marijuana was, Larsen wrote, "I support the New Democrat policy on marijuana, which is that there should be no penalties for personal marijuana cultivation and possession, and that commercial sale of marijuana to adults should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. We also support ending the US-style drug war and focusing our national drug policy on public health, good science and harm reduction."

Asked about Marc Emery and the "BC3's" pending extradition hearing for selling marijuana seeds to U.S.-based customers, Larsen wrote, "The NDP is opposed to the extradition of Emery and the BC3. Canada should not be outsourcing our justice system to the USA. As a friend of Marc Emery, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, I would be very sad to see any of them sent off to an American prison for acts which don't even warrant a single charge in Canada."
His opposition to the War on Drugs is matched by his support for freedom of expression in Canada. Asked about Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, and the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, Larsen said he wanted to see section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act repealed, adding, "I tend towards the right to free expression even for speech which some consider offensive."
When asked about his views on guns, Larsen wrote, "I believe that guns should be regulated and licensed. I support the right to own a gun in some circumstances, but in an urban environment there is less need for a gun than in a rural one.

The long-gun registry is an expensive and failed piece of legislation. The money spent trying to enforce the registry would be better spent on other programs.

The best way to reduce urban gun violence would be to end the drug war, because prohibition is the root source of much urban gun crime and property crime."

Given Larsen's pro-liberty stances on several issues, we at the Western Standard are saddened to hear that his candidacy has now come to an end. While we did not agree with Larsen on several economic policy issues, his strong commitment to freedom of expression–especially his desire to see section 13 repealed–his many years fighting on behalf of the pro-marijuana legalization movement, and his opposition to the long-gun registry, made him a candidate worth supporting.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on September 17, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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So let's see ... so the Conservatives lost their hand-picked candidate in Halifax two days after appointing her because they didn't know she is still on probation for a criminal conviction for uttering threats.... The Liberals lost their candidate in Quebec City because he essentially advocated killing hundreds of native people.... Now this....

Is this normal in a Canadian election? I don't remember so many candidates having to pull out in scandals like these before. And it might not be over yet. While he might decide to ride out the storm, Gerry Ritz should probably be shit-canned too. Who will be next? And how many more? Stay tuned....

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-17 9:27:14 PM

FC- I wonder about wonder boy Monte Solberg's sudden resignation. I suspect there'd have been some issues if he'd run again.

Posted by: dp | 2008-09-17 9:47:49 PM

Seems to me that "NDP" continues to stand for "Nothing Done Properly"... in this case vetting their candidates. It usually applies to their financial dealings, policies, etc. "No Darn Planning" would also fit.

Posted by: Chris | 2008-09-17 10:24:59 PM

For once, I agree with Fact Check. This election has been like amateur hour all around.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-09-17 10:32:16 PM

Well this sucks! Poor Taliban Jack will have no one to designate his new foreign minister to go to Afganistan and straighten that country out...and plan the import of all those poppy seeds they grow there. Layton will be pissed now...

Posted by: Markalta | 2008-09-17 11:26:14 PM

Wow! For selling coca seeds, eh? When I was back-packing around Peru and Bolivia, huge bags of coca leaves could be found openly in the marketplaces everywhere. People chewed them all day long, and made tea with them. The cocaine element in them was pretty low, but I'm told chewing and drinking it all day could produce a very low-level narcotic effect. I don't like tea or chewing leaves enough to have experienced the slightest effect. The political reaction to this "revelation" seems way over the top.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-09-18 1:38:28 AM

>"I'm told chewing and drinking it all day could produce a very low-level narcotic effect"

Narcotics make you sleep, coca does the opposite.

Cocaine is NOT a narcotic, it is a stimulant.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-09-18 11:16:34 AM

Yes, a lot of people are being shucked from the ranks. Lessons have been learned from the last elections, when the Tories nearly gained, and then lost, a majority based solely on optics and other inconsequentia. It's a shame that this election has become such a comic farce, but Canadians have no one but themselves to blame for making their leaders so skittish.

Politicians respond to what they think the public wants. And if the public chooses to obsess over unpredictable and irrelevant minutiae instead of real policy, then a dog-and-pony show is the inevitable result.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 11:39:43 AM

P.S. But come on. This man is a DRUG DEALER. Would ANY of the parties with a chance of winning a seat have kept him?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 11:40:53 AM

If you prefer the Bolivian way of life, Grant, you're welcome to go back there, that is if they'll have you. As I've said before, it will require more than the support of the Birkenstocks and backpacks crowd to re-legalize marijuana, let alone hard drugs. That is a political reality. Credentials matter.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 11:44:19 AM

Drugs are a leftist issue. They are the ones who are most invested in taking them.

Why not treat it the same as two other big Leftist issues that are equally controversial ... homosexuality and abortion.

Just don't have any laws at all ... and invoke a don't ask don't tell rule.

End of problem eh?

Next ... euthanasia ... It's my body and I'll die if I want to.

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-18 12:20:27 PM

John V: "Just don't have any laws at all..."

Sounds like anarchism to me. You realize that such a state of affairs would put you at the mercy of the world? And she's a callous bitch.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 12:23:07 PM

I was referring to the specific issues I mentioned. You have reading comprehension problems?

Posted by: John V | 2008-09-18 1:03:30 PM

You're right, John V, drugs are a leftist issue--namely, pro-government, nanny statists want to continue the war on drugs.

What laws do you propose with respect to homosexuality? You think we need a government to ensure that we're dating the "right" people, and not kissing the wrong sort?

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-18 5:44:50 PM

John V wrote: "I was referring to the specific issues I mentioned."

But why stop there? Why only those issues?

John V wrote: "You have reading comprehension problems?"

That'll be the day.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 7:29:55 PM

Well, P.M., for the record, I'm not opposed to gay unions. However, we shouldn't call it marriage because that's not what it is. Symbolism for some reason is far more important to Leftoids than reality--I guess it's a right-brain thing--and what they really wanted was for society to certify them as normal. A separate but equal union for homosexuals wouldn't have provided that.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-18 7:31:43 PM

Fact Check: it's the labour shortage, it hits all sectors. Finding competent people is difficult enough in the private sector, and since the dregs have always drifted down to the public sector, poor quality candidates are all the more apparent these days.

Posted by: hikuta punch | 2008-09-19 12:41:30 AM

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