As the discussion of medical cannabis in Canada makes its way to the forefront of the national discourse, this past Sunday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the country would be returning to the polls, asking Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Parliament for a general election October 19th. Canadians will be forced to choose between parties led by Harper (Conservative), Justin Trudeau (Liberal), Thomas Mulcair (NDP), Elizabeth May (Green), Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Quebecois), and Tim Moen (Libertarian). For 78 days, news of grander importance than who will inflate our government will have its column inches cut. Our agenda here at CinC is the end of the prohibition of our plant, and as we know ours won’t feature as prominently as it should in the campaign, we thought it important to outline where each party stands on cannabis so that our current national prominence isn’t lost in the election conversation.
Well, if the Harper government wasn’t made up of incompetent, fear mongering, monopoly installing, poorly informed, cannabis luddites, CinC may not even exist. Harper’s Conservatives have set the cannabis movement back years, if not decades, through near criminal practices and flawed policy. The MMPR, Health Canada, and Rona Ambrose are a triumvirate of failings, and to vote for the Conservatives is to vote for prohibition and LP cartels. In fact, on the eve of the election call, Rona Ambrose announced further restriction on what should be a free market, and “ordered a crackdown on groups that illegally advertise marijuana and re-stated the Conservative party’s pledge to keep storefront dispensaries illegal…”
The Liberals position themselves as the party in favour of legalization. But in their leader, Pierre Trudeau’s offspring seems a bundle of contradictions, which plays into the Conservatives’ portrayal of him as young and unprepared to lead. Justin Trudeau appears to be in favour of… well, we’re not sure really. CinC’s Caleb McMillan has questions:
“Is this the model Justin Trudeau has for cannabis in Canada? In Ontario, the Beer Store cartel is able to use regulation and fees to charge prohibitive fees to smaller breweries that hold out against the consolidation by corporate breweries, while at the same time charging themselves rock-bottom prices in their monopoly retail outlets. Will Canada’s dispensaries and compassion clubs fall under a guise of a private monopoly? Or will independent dispensaries still exist but supply the market with cannabis from the private LP cartel? Justin Trudeau came out in support of Glenn Price and his dispensary, but what about the BC growers who don’t have the Liberal Party connections? What about the BC growers who predate the MMPR? What about BC growers who have been criminalized and jailed under previous Liberal governments? Why the hell should they believe Justin?”
Though the New Democrats tradition of leading the far left suggests that a Thomas Mulcair government would expedite the end of prohibition, we’re not so sure. In fact, the NDP’s cannabis policy states that should they be elected they will enact the:
“Decriminalizing marijuana possession with the goal of removing its production and distribution from the control of organized crime.”
Adopting a harm reduction approach to substance abuse and permitting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
Perhaps the less informed will make the same assumption of the policies of the NDP, but as we argued previously, Mulcair’s stance on cannabis has more to do with poaching votes from his right than satisfying the voices on his left.
While Green Party leader Elizabeth May has stated that she is in favour of legalization and regulation, her party’s platform on social issues such as cannabis promises commissions to create government reports in order to inform decision. This country needs more commissions like it needs Rona Ambrose. Why a marginal party that uses “green” in its title doesn’t motivate the discussion on an issue like cannabis through ambitious policy relegates them further into obscurity is beyond us.
Gilles Duceppe’s separatist agenda includes full legalization of cannabis, though only if it’s referred to as, “plante verte médicinale du Québec” and is genetically modified to grow like a fleur de lis. Kidding. Actually, the BQ is in favour of decriminalization, but they won’t form our next government, so the best we can hope for is that if the topic comes up, they help inform the discourse.
Libertarian Party of Canada
Unfortunately, there’s only one party that satisfies the need to end prohibition quickly and competently, and return the plant to our gardens. That, of course, is the Libertarian Party of Canada, who promise:
“The Libertarian Party of Canada would end the war on drugs by legalizing cannabis and immediately decriminalizing the consumption and possession of drugs. The war on drugs has cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars in enforcement and incarceration of citizens who have harmed no one besides themselves. Drugs should be dealt with through harm reduction strategies, and as a matter of public health, not through the criminal justice system. The decriminalization of illicit substances ensures that organized criminals, both domestic and foreign, cannot profit from the drug trade.”
Seems simple enough. Would be lovely if the other party’s could display just a fraction of that rationale and common sense.
What serves our agenda best in this election is that we’re part of the conversation. Also, it’s important that your voice is heard. If you’re not registered to vote, do so here.