Local politicians show true colours in their response to Sensible B.C.'s marijuana campaign

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      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.




      Oct 1, 2013 at 10:08am

      Over 20 years ago when I was living in East Van. For a couple of seconds I witnessed a getaway (a gun was seized from the car I identified)from a shooting and had to go to court over a year later as a witness in the subsequent attempted murder charge. One of the two people I witnessed was apparently the one in the witness box- with facial hair grown over that long intervening period. I could not identify the witness who walked. I later complained to then AG Wally Oppal (on CBC)that tying up the courts with marijuana charges was an impediment to successfully prosecuting more serious charges such as this attempted murder and he replied he sympathized but that we had to think of the pressures from the U.S. with regard to marijuana. It seems this mentality is still pervasive in BC though things are gradually changing for the better in the U.S.


      Oct 1, 2013 at 10:13am

      Please go to these politicians with a petition for them to sign and report back on who signed and who didn't and then you'll have a story.

      Billy Bones

      Oct 1, 2013 at 10:40am

      Politicians for the most part,(99%) have now and have always had only one real agenda. That agenda centres around getting reelected, period.


      Oct 1, 2013 at 10:46am

      Why not name the politicians that do support?

      Tom Mulcair has publicly supported this initiative.

      Why so biased?

      Arthur Vandelay

      Oct 1, 2013 at 11:23am

      Charlie, can't remember last time you were this fired up on a topic. Good on you identifying the broad spectrum of politicians. Bottom line, potheads don't vote, law and order types do. This will always be an uphill battle for early adopting jurisdictions, same as gay marriage was. Be easier once others do successfully first. Washington and Colorado, if they go well, should help provide political cover for the timid here.


      Oct 1, 2013 at 12:09pm

      By "political hypocrisy" I assume you mean people like Adrian Dix who talked about "ethics" in government, but who violated those very "ethics". Pot is only important to those who smoke pot.

      if people could only see

      Oct 1, 2013 at 3:10pm

      someone suffer from the effects of cancer or other chronic pain condition that is relieved by mary jane they would understand. but it only seems those folks are interested if it directly affects them. btw, don't count on Joyce Murray for anything. she's the one that toed the liberal line and helped close St. Mary's in New West. she's part of the problem, not the solution. thank her in part for creating longer wait times for hospital beds. funny how that all gets forgotten on the political climb to the top.

      Alan Layton

      Oct 2, 2013 at 8:55am

      Maybe the problem is with SensibleBC? This is just a guess because I remember when the campaign first started the headlines said what a great start they had gotten off to, but since then it's just been complaints by SensibleBC that everyone is against them. I think Charlie Smith might want to examine the people running the operation instead of elsewhere. Just because they are for the same thing as you does not mean everything they do or say is perfect. Maybe they need a leadership or tactical change? I'm a supporter for legalizing pot, but something tells me SensibleBC are the wrong people to repe

      Mike Palka 100 Mile House, BC

      Nov 6, 2013 at 3:43pm

      I am finding it very difficult to find where to sign or register my support for this. Can anyone tell me if there is anyone getting signatures around 100 mile house?