Lawyer Kirk Tousaw's decision to resign yesterday as the NDP candidate in Vancouver Quadra speaks volumes about our political culture in Canada.
Tousaw, head of the drug-policy committee of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, is exactly the type of person we should be encouraging to run for public office.
He takes risks to stand up for his beliefs. He wanted to accomplish some things--such as help end the war in Afghanistan and promote a more humane way of dealing with addiction--rather than just get elected for personal glorification.
But because there's some video out there of him smoking a joint, that would create a distraction for the national NDP campaign.
It would have only resulted in a distraction because the numbskulls who make key decisions in television newsrooms are keenly interested in salacious pictures of people doing drugs before they ever thought of entering politics.
These television newsrooms appear to be far more interested in this than in the melting of the polar ice cap. Not one media outlet apart from the Georgia Straight showed up to hear NDP candidate Michael Byers speak about this yesterday at the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
The television newsrooms have also demonstrated very little interest in brain biochemistry that underlies addiction--even though addiction and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's war on drugs should be central issues in this election.
These television newsrooms are only slightly more interested in the futility of fighting a limitless number of Pashtun insurgents from Pakistan who keep crossing the border in droves into Afghanistan. But not quite as interested, it seems, as another revelation about an NDP candidate in an unwinnable riding doing drugs in the past.
Dumb, celebrity-obsessed, issue-avoiding television news programs played a role in turning over control of the White House to George Bush and Dick Cheney. This led directly to the debacle in Iraq and the financial meltdown plaguing global markets this past week.
In Canada, our dumb, pot-smoking-obsessed, issue-avoiding television news programs are probably elevating the risk of a Conservative majority government. Time will tell if Harper can replicate the financial and foreign-affairs records of the Bush administration.
In the meantime, good candidates like Kirk Tousaw are being driven out of politics.
And that's a real shame for all of us.