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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stockwell Day must come clean on “secret deal” with Marijuana Party: Western Standard

The Liberals and the NDP have been battling it out this weekend over which party is more deeply connected to those with "ties with extreme wings of the drug legalization movement."

The Liberals are demanding that the NDP come clean on its “secret deal” with Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery to bring Marijuana Party candidates and supporters over to the NDP. This story broke after two NDP candidates with ties to the marijuana policy reform movement -- Dana Larsen and Kirk Tousaw -- were forced to resign after being discovered smoking marijuana on archived Pot—TV video.

In response to this Liberal attack, the NDP are calling on the Liberals to come clean on their own “secret deal” with the marijuana policy reform community. Specifically, the NDP are taking issue with a $1000 donation to Stephane Dion’s leadership campaign by former Marijuana Party leader Marc-Boris St-Maurice. The party also asked "How many other Liberal insiders have close ties with extreme wings of the drug legalization movement?"

The Western Standard discovered today that Conservative MP and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day may have been a pioneer of the “secret deal” approach to courting the cannabis community. In his failed campaign to retake the leadership of the Canadian Alliance in 2002, Day said he was "working secretly, with Boris, to legalise pot." That’s former Marijuana Party leader Marc-Boris St-Maurice to be clear.

Here’s what we’ve uncovered in a story written by Charlie McKenzie in 2002 and published in HOUR Montreal /NOW Toronto:

In his bizarre bid to replace himself as leader of the oxymoronic Canadian Alliance, is Stockwell Day courting Canadian pot-heads? While a visibly stunned Day evaded that question Tuesday night, the seeds of this intriguing suggestion were planted by Day himself, shortly after his federal debut in a B.C. by-election, where one of his adversaries was Marc-Boris St-Maurice, leader of the federal Marijuana Party.

Day, who smoked dope in his youth, told a Kelowna all-candidate's meeting he was "working secretly, with Boris, to legalise pot."

Since then, under his leadership, Alliance MP Keith Martin has sponsored a private members bill to decriminalise the herb while party justice critic, Randy White, now chairs a Commons committee studying how to lighten Canada's drug laws.

At Day's leadership launch Tuesday night, armed only with a tape recorder, this reporter approached and asked him directly; “Sir, are you actively courting the marijuana vote?"

Mrs. Day laughed nervously while he blanched and biblically turned the other cheek. Moments later he was seen shaking hands with the leader of the Marijuana Party, so I naturally moved in and repeated the question.

The tape recorded this:

“I'm sorry,” Day says to Boris, “we can't talk here some guy's following me with a tape recorder.”

A security guard pulled me away and Day disappeared. Moments later, I cornered St-Maurice for details.

"He definitely remembers the Okanagan meeting," he said. "That's a good sign. He looked kind of paranoid though and said some guy was following him with a tape recorder so he moved on."

If Day is, in fact, a closet drug policy reformer and “soft on marijuana,” he doesn’t have too much to worry about. While Stephen Harper has taken the failed war on drugs to new heights of insanity, he seems decidedly more tolerant than NDP leader Jack Layton about candidates within his party who are critics of the war on drugs, MP Scott Reid being the prime example. I never tire of pointing out that the Lanark-Carleton Conservative MP and Harper booster, Reid, wrote:

Many currently banned substances have physical and psychological effects that are no more harmful than those associated with legal recreational drugs such as caffeine and alcohol. Like the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1920s, their prohibition skews the allocation of law enforcement resources, artificially raises prices to extremely high levels, encourages crime by addicts, and prevents the emergence of private institutions and products to deal with the very real social problems posed by addiction.

Layton could learn something about leadership from Harper, who seems to tolerate diverse political views in his party and stands by his candidates when they come under partisan fire.

And, by the way, here's hoping Day and Reid can temper Harper's misguided approach to drug policy.

UPDATE: In case it's not clear, Stockwell Day doesn't have to come clean on anything. The title was a parody of the rather silly NDP press release titled "Liberals must come clean on 'secret deal' with Marijuana Party." The idea that any of the parties have a "secret deal" with the Marijuana Party is absurd, as I pointed out in my post here with supporting comments from Dana Larsen and Marc Emery.

Day, however, has been on the record in support of marijuana decriminalisation, a vastly more thoughtful position than is currently being espoused by Stephen Harper.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 21, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink


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Weak! He "may" have done it. That's pathetic, almost CBC worthy "journalism."

Why don't you say "Bush did it" or "McCain did it" (or best: Palin did it.)

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-21 2:53:31 PM

Day is on the record supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. He's worth supporting for this and countless other reasons.

Obviously you don't talk about "secret" agreements unless you're joking...and Day was joking.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-21 2:57:18 PM

Get real asscaps, not a chance.

Posted by: Rick | 2008-09-21 3:21:39 PM

"He looked kind of paranoid though"

Isn't paranoia a side effect of drug use? :)

Posted by: Markalta | 2008-09-21 3:56:38 PM

When Stock was painting houses in Victoria, he sure was a fun guy. He's much too serious now. I liked the younger Stock more than I do the older.
Roll...Another One, Just Like The Other One...

Posted by: Furtz | 2008-09-21 4:33:49 PM

Now there's a secret agenda that will earn some votes. Mr Harper needs to deny this with a wink and a nod.

Posted by: dp | 2008-09-21 4:38:17 PM

Stockwell has come a long way. He doesn't allow the word "stupid" to be spoken in his house. That's a huge improvement over his Victoria daze.

Posted by: Sister Iris | 2008-09-21 4:52:11 PM

Cannabis consumption should be a non issue period.

Marc Emery and the Canadian cannabis community directed a lot of time, money and efforts towards the NDP over the last 5 years.

Although I did attend the Alberta NDP convention in June 2008 with Dana Larsen I have never voted NDP. I have now lost the respect I had for the NDP over the Dana and Kirk fiasco.

Harper is not stupid. He knows full well what was stated in The Le Dain Commission Report - 1972. Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs - 2002. Canadian Public Health Association Resolutions - 2007. Add the hundreds of such studies that state the same thing.
Instead Harper tried to introduce Bill C-26 mandatory minimums. 6 months for one cannabis plant. This would lead to privately run prisons over flowing with peaceful (easy and cheap to detain) law abiding Canadian citizens just like the USA is to this very day.

Posted by: Keith Fagin | 2008-09-21 5:07:51 PM

What's wrong with your head Matthew, gathering fodder for the Liberals at election time?
Smarten up or CBC will be calling to interview on the National with Petie Mansbridge.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-09-21 5:21:21 PM

Fair comment, Liz J, but I don't think this story hurts the Conservatives or Stockwell Day. In fact, I think it helps to soften the Conservative image to have some MPs oppose what is a very radical and, in my opinion, misguided drug war agenda.

Also, this post is mostly intended to point out how silly this whole "secret deal" issue really is.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-21 9:27:52 PM

I don't think it hurts the conservatives either. Most people realize it's time for a change in direction for our law enforcement resources.

I think Layton's reaction is more out of character. It really shows him for what he is, an opportunist.

Posted by: dp | 2008-09-21 9:35:42 PM

Cuts like a knife,doesn't it?...I think marijuana should be legalized,we are never ,ever going to stop people from enjoying themselves with a release that they see as harmless.I don't smoke pot anymore(I get way too paranoid),but many of my friends do,and they are good people,great people.Pot is not harmless,it does lead to other drugs,but in very few cases. I still have an occasional toke when I am out fishing or hiking.This should not be a crime. it is like having a beer when you are bbq'ing or watching a good movie.Or writng on a blog.Legalize now.

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-09-21 10:42:44 PM

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