Local politicians show true colours in their response to Sensible B.C.'s marijuana campaign
Political hypocrisy runs deep in this province.
There is no shortage of elected officials who loudly proclaim their support for harm reduction and civil liberties.
They will appear at photo-ops at Vancouver's supervised-injection site. They'll march in Pride parades and walk for reconciliation.
They're among the first to condemn Conservative government legislation that will increase the prison population in Canada.
But when it comes to taking a concrete step to advance harm reduction and civil liberties, they do a disappearing act.
As far as I can tell, not a single elected official in the Lower Mainland has publicly proclaimed their support for Sensible B.C.'s campaign to try to stop police from busting people for marijuana possession.
It's shameful that none of these so-called progressives has invested any energy—in the form of news releases or news conferences—to declare that they're signing the initiative sponsored by Dana Larsen.
Dr. Hedy Fry is the Liberal critic for health and the MP for Vancouver Centre. She doesn't need any education from me about the determinants of health.
Her leader, Justin Trudeau, has publicly called for legalization of marijuana. He argues it would reduce harm because regulating cannabis would make it easier to keep it out of the hands of minors.
Has Fry invested any of her organizing skills to assist Sensible B.C.? Not as far as I can tell.
The same can be said for Vancouver-Quadra MP Joyce Murray, even though she called for legalization of marijuana when she ran for leader.
Let's move on to Spencer Chandra Herbert, who's become the darling of progressives in the arts and environmental movements.
Will Chandra Herbert stick his neck out and hold a news conference to say he's signing Larsen's petition? Not bloody likely.
And where's David Eby, the newly minted MLA for Vancouver–Point Grey? He used to fashion himself as a champion of civil liberties. Why isn't he standing outside the Sensible B.C. bus gathering signatures?
Several former attorneys general have publicly condemned the war on drugs. But all we've gotten from Vancouver NDP MLAs and MPs is silence on Larsen's marijuana petition. Don't you just love party solidarity?
Then there are those mice in Vision Vancouver and the mayor of Burnaby, who makes such a big deal about how good his city is in addressing public-policy issues. Don't even get me started on them.
SFU criminologist Neil Boyd has estimated that the province spends $10 million per year prosecuting people merely for possession of marijuana.
The number of people who've been charged in B.C. doubled between 2005 and 2010.
According to Sensible B.C., this province's rate of charging people for marijuana possession is twice the rate of any other province.
Last year, more than 3,500 people were booked, raising the prospect of future travel and employment restrictions, all because they wanted to smoke a joint to help them relax.
Where's Svend Robinson when you need him? You can bet that the former MP from Burnaby would have spoken up for people's civil liberties.
Unfortunately, Robinson is in Geneva and in his place are a bunch of wet noodles.
They appear to be more interested in preserving their political capital than in effecting real change to improve the prospects for young people.