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Uploaded on Sep 22, 2008

NDP Leader Jack Layton: "The first thing to do is get [marijuana] out of the criminal code."

SOURCE: MuchMusic JUNE 2004


The Ubyssey Editorial

Getting off your high horse with the NDP

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

If youre a fan of maturity, then youve probably been disappointed by this federal election. In one corner, the Conservative Party of Canada. When their war room isnt putting up online ads that show a bird taking a shit on Stéphane Dion, candidates are jokingly wishing the death of an opposition MP.

The Liberals arent much better. So far, their defence is pretending that their one bold policy statement—the Green Shift—was a crazy idea that all of us imagined. Their offence is telling the world that Stephen Harper is a bad scary evil man, a strategy that worked wonders for them last time.

You would think that out of this leadership vacuum might rise the New Democratic Party, what with a strong set of centre-left policies, and a leader who can actually inspire a crowd. You would be wrong.
Take the resignation of local NDP candidates Kirk Tousaw and Dana Larsen. Earlier this month, Tousaw, a former campaign director of the provincial Marijuana Party, was nominated here in Vancouver-Quadra. Larsen, himself the former editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, was nominated in West VancouverSunshine CoastSea to Sky Country. In the past week however, both of them have resigned, after realizing that they would be a distraction for the NDP in the election.

Of course, thats not really what happened. What happened was that a few old videos surfaced on the Internet showing the two candidates enjoying our provincial pastime, and that was the effective end of their candidacy. Because to the NDP, its completely fine to advocate for the legalization of marijuana, but its not fine to actually, you know, light up. At least when the camera is rolling.
Even somebody blitzed out of their mind can figure out the hypocrisy here. The NDP fully knew the backgrounds of these two candidates, and did nothing to stop them from attaining the nomination. But lately, sensing an opportunity to supplant the Liberals as alternative to Harper in many parts of Canada, they decided they needed to pull an Eliza Doolittle and appear respectable to the middle class. This leaves the NDP in the peculiar position of supporting InSite, decriminalization of marijuana and a less militaristic approach toward drugs, while ousting any candidates who have lit a joint.

Its always been the NDPs problem at the federal level. Sometimes they want to be the conscience of the nation, taking bold stances on big issues, saying what many privately think but are too timid to publicly advocate, and appearing principled and honourable even when 75 per cent of the country disagrees with them. Other times, they yearn for respectability, have visions of slightly enhanced legislative power, and blatantly pander to the centre of the political spectrum. And all of the time, they appear laughably hypocritical and unfit to govern or lecture the country, precisely because of a never-ending identity crisis.

So kudos to you, NDP. We were getting worried there for a moment that you guys might actually appear halfway mature this election. But hey, if in three weeks from now, some UBC students still want to get high in the morning and vote Layton in the afternoon, you wont have a problem with that, will you?



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