Home > NDP, NDP Convention 2009 > Removing Dana Larsen From NDP Convention Democratic Thing To Do

Removing Dana Larsen From NDP Convention Democratic Thing To Do

August 13, 2009

It seems that Dana Larsen, an drug legalization activist and NDP member, has been barred from NDP Convention.

Now, let me preface this by staying that I generally support the legalization of Marijuana. But with that being said I don’t think that barring Larsen has anything with his pro-legalization resolutions. Rather, its about his buying votes to support said policies. Don’t believe me? Have a look at his own words from Rabble on this issue:

Well I will be there of course. I think it will be my 11th NDP convention, but I’m starting to lose count.

If there’s any Babblers who want to go but perhaps cannot afford it, please contact me. I am organizing transport and lodging for groups of delegates. All that I ask in return is your vote on an anti-prohibition resolution and perhaps one or two other issues, otherwise you can vote and do as you please.

If you are interested, please contact me.

Really, I can’t see how vote-buying could be spelled clearer than explicitly saying if one votes in the manner I want, I’ll help one with transport and lodging?

You see, delegates go to convention to make decisions about the future direction of the party. These decisions should be made based on the judgment of the delegate based on what she/he thinks is best for their riding association and the whole party. Now, if there are people offering financial inducements to get delegates to vote in the manner they want, what has just happened is the transfer of power from the average delegate to the rich; the one person controlling many votes. This is clearly undemocratic.

This is the thing: if the party turned a blind eye to Larsen’s actions, then when would it stop? The rich CEO trying to getting policy passed at an NDP convention that is antithetical to the party’s values?

If anything, the NDP needs to ensure that clear rules barring the buying of votes are developed and/or made well known.

PS: I will say this in regards to the NDP organizers: this offer of vote-buying as been available on the internet since January 20th, 2009. Couldn’t you chosen to remove Larsen a few months before convention, ya know, before he paid for his travel to Halifax and all of the media attention that comes with conventions.

PSS: And I will say this in regards to some of those that have been actively working on the Internet to try to get Larsen back into Convention: Don’t you think that posting Brad Lavigne’s phone numbers everywhere is a bit much?‡

‡ Yes, I am remotely aware of the irony of that statement.
Categories: NDP, NDP Convention 2009
  1. Fire Brad Lavigne
    August 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Oh BS. The funding issue is an excuse. Brad is the COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR and his phone number is widely available.

  2. August 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    The question of vote buying comes down to would he have dumped those people on the street if they did not vote the way he wanted?

    I think his intention was to do a GOTV, and completely messed up on the part that you are supposed to GOTV, and hope that the majority of people you bring out will vote your way.

    You are right though and he should’ve been barred for that slipup.

  3. james ellison
    August 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    The NDP doesn’t like Dana Larsen (for his past crime of embarrassing the party when he was a candidate) or his issue (because they think it will scare away some tory-NDP swing voters in the west) and they are using this as an excuse to ban him from the convention.

    • August 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm

      I disagree. It’s quite clearly about somebody trying to subvert the democratic process by vote-buying.

      If it was about the drug issue and preventing discussion about it, the NDP wouldn’t bother to remove Larsen as it would only serve to, well, promote discussion about it.

  4. Fire Brad Lavigne
    August 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    The “vote buying” line sounds a lot like the talking point that the NDP used when it was discovered they had a vote-getting deal with Marc Emery. Deny, obfuscate, spin.

    Ian Capstick wrote this on twitter this afternoon:


    If I were running a candidate 4 NDP President campaign (I’m not), I’d rent a bus tomorrow and shuttle folks from airport for free. #hfx09

    Bit of a double standard, no?

  5. Fire Brad Lavigne
    August 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    So a troll is someone who pokes holes in your argument? I see how you haven’t addressed the Capstick comments.

    Forget dropping the “new”…the NDP should change their name to the “Non-Democratic Party.”

    • August 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      A troll is somebody who has a name like “Fire Brad Lavigne”, has a fake e-mail address, and spews out nonsensical points that I’m not going to waste my time explaining to a troll.

      Now I should stop feeding you and be ready to respond to real commentators.

  6. August 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm


    If he had said “Anyone interested in voting on X, Y, and Z give me a call I can provide transport and lodging” there would be no problem. You guys used the marijuana party until it became a percieved liability and now you are dumping them like old garbage.

    Congrats, you’ve shed your ideals just like a real political party, except that you still can’t break 20%.

    • August 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      First of all, there is a lack of evidence of some deal with the Marijuana Party, so uh, yeah, have fun with that line of thinking.

      Second of all, he didn’t say “Anyone interested in voting on X, Y, and Z give me a call I can provide transport and lodging,” and even if he did, that should raise alarm bells.

  7. Fire Brad Lavigne
    August 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Hey, Northen BC Dipper, if you blogged under your real name I might return the courtesy.

    There is lots of evidence, including a video with Jack Layton himself, of the BC Marijuana Party deal.

    You know if you spin too much you might throw up!

    • August 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      Tell me where the blog “Fire Brad Lavigne” is? Twitter? Anything?

      Didn’t think so.

  8. August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Can we just drop criminalization of marijuana already? If not, let’s add tobacco to the same list.

    • August 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm

      It would be nice for marijuana to be decriminalized or even legalized. But don’t be fooled: this is about anti-democratic vote-buying, not drug policy reform.

    • Rebecca
      August 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

      No, this is definitely about suppressing potentially controversial resolutions from ever making it to the NDP’s officially party policy – even though similar resolutions have already been passed on a Federal level, they have all been subsequently ignored by the NDP.

    • August 13, 2009 at 9:55 pm

      The NDP are very good at not holding their values at both levels of their party, conveniently taking whatever stance is easier at whatever level.

  9. August 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Well layton certainly had a deal with me as one of the founders of the bc marijuana party….and as an ndp member and as a member on the ndp executives
    And I got the first cannabis resolution for the quebec city convention in 2006 where I even had to run for president of the ndp just to even say the word cannabis

    its all on the internet
    google it
    and I just want to thank jack again for helping me so easily build the Green Party…who is already now for RE-LEGALIZED cannabis and who just went up by 41% in votes as you ndp shrank

    You will really shrink next election….mark my words !!

    • August 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm

      Let’s see, Lack Layton talks on PotTV in favour of drug reforms and Emery alone makes claims about some sort of deal with the Marijuana Party.

      Yeah, there really is lots of evidence of a deal.

  10. Rebecca
    August 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I seriously doubt anyone adamantly against Dana’s resolution would be swayed by a free ride to the convention.

    I’m most annoyed that it implies all of the resolutions that Dana has presented at conventions were passed under these exaggerated circumstances.

    His ads for the convention booklet were denied, he was not allowed a table for his group at the convention and he’s been completely barred from the convention center. This is pretty extreme punishment for offering rides and help with lodging to people who are already party delegates.

  11. Rebecca
    August 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    • August 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm

      And that denotes a deal how?

      It’s like the Conservatives having a deal with the Greens because Harper talked about environmental issues.

    • Rebecca
      August 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

      It denotes that Jack Layton was clearly in favour of modernizing our drug laws in 2003, so why are the drug and marijuana related resolutions being sidelined and disregarded at every NDP convention, despite that fact they are being democratically voted for and passed by party members?

  12. August 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Only the blind wont see what this is really about…..its the LSD videos that even emery ignores when he defends larsen
    I said step aside and put a new face but they dont get it

    and yes I had a deal in person with layton…”go get the grass roots support”
    He lied…..we did our part…he caved….I was there !
    its all out there and will be again coming back…thanks

    In the end it will be remembered as the end of layton…..watch and wait!

    • Fire Brad Lavigne
      August 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm

      Shavluk, learn to format. You make good points but people think your unhinged because of your, um, ‘unique’ posting style.

      I’m considering voting Green after this, though.

  13. August 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Dana Larsen has attended eleven previous NDP conventions and delegates passed resolutions that originated from Larsen’s NDP constituency association or from Larsen-minded NDP riding associations across Canada at 10 of those 11 provincial and national conventions.

    Jack Layton made that invitation in 2003 on POT.TV and Larsen, editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine at that time, took up Layton’s call to join the NDP.

    As editor of Cannabis Culture for ten years, author of the brilliant parody “Hairy Pothead”, operator of a sophisticated medical marijuana dispensary, Larsen has a great deal of credibility among Canada’s 5,000,000 to 7,000,000 Canadians who have consumed cannabis in the last year (source: UN World Drug Report 2008).

    He does have allies in Libby Davies and Bill Siksay, respected MPs.

    He was nominated as the candidate for Sunshine Coast-Sea-To-Sky Country in the 2008 federal election but was asked to stand down after his video work at Cannabis Culture came to light, all of which are outstanding journalism, if anyone had bothered to watch the controversial and brilliant POT.TV videos Larsen made.

    Banishing Larsen will be interpreted as a rejection of those thousands of NDP members whom Larsen and I signed up in the 2003 – 2008 period. In 2004, I went on a tour across Canada to 25 universities, each one sponsored by the campus NDP club, to promote the support of the NDP by the cannabis culture.

    Since 2004, Layton and the national directors have been distancing the NDP from the issue and the people (myself, Larsen) who represent the issue, yet our work today is as it always has been for 15 years.

    There is another political party breathing down the NDP’s neck, it’s The Green Party of Canada, and their commitment to ending marijuana prohibition is clearer. Elizabeth May and all candidates are not afraid of saying so.

    62% of British Columbians want to repeal marijuana prohibition according to the last Angus Reid poll, and 52% nationally. If we had a functioning democracy, cannabis prohibition would be repealed today. But we don’t have a functioning democracy.

    Ejecting Larsen from the mainstream of the NDP is making the NDP tent that much smaller because the signal being sent is that all drug-law reform voters who want a change from the prohibitionist impulses of the Liberals and Conservatives can now only consider The Green Party as a place to put their vote and energy. The NDP just aren’t sincere about the issue.

  14. August 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I have voted for the NDP my whole life.

    I asked Brad Lavigne to call me back and explain to me how he was making sure that every person who didn’t pay their own way was excluded from the NDP and that all the Unions that paid for their members to go were booted out.

    I thought the whole point of the NDP was to get members to encourage other people to be members … it seems like a game that almost everyone is allowed to play but only certain people get ruled out of line about.

    If this was just about “vote buying”, then the NDP would not have refused the advertising Larsen had attempted to buy. This is actually about euphoriphobia, smoke-a-phobia, and old people playing anti-democratic games because they feel that playing it safe is a winning strategy.

    More and more people are going to be switching to the Green party for their bravery on the “flower-war” or “medical/industrial/recreational tree-of-life” issue. It’s a shame the “NDP” – or should I say the “P” – can’t grow a pair of gonads quickly and pass this resolution before the convention is quickly over-shadowed by Canna-gate.

  15. Fire Brad Lavigne
    August 13, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Tell me what your real name is, Northern BC Dipper, and I might consider it. As a matter of fact I do run a well-read blogging service.

    Yes, didn’t think so…

    • August 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm

      Well okay, I’m not talking about the fact that posted autonomously. I’m fine with that. It’s the fact that you come in with a flame-baity name like “Fire Brad Lavigne” and then expect to not to think of you as a troll that’s got me riled up.

      So, I’ll apologize for my rudeness.

      Now, in regards to Capstick’s twitter comment, first of all, I’d rather think that it would be useless, as the delegate should have already planned out transport.

      Secondly, If they did come with buses, it better be without the expectation of voting for a candidate. Larsen’s comment specifically shows an expectation that the delegate in question vote in a certain way.

      Third of all, thinking about it, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with the presidential candidates bring in buses in the first place. One would think that should be over the spending limits for running for president in the first place, but I’d guess that’s a whole different conservation.

  16. August 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    BTW, to NBCDipper and others: you have to understand that drug policy reform activists are well seasoned when dealing with lies, half-truths, and spin. About twice a week there is yet another torqued story in the papers, on TV or online about how “bad” marijuana is. ‘Course it’s all BS, and more and more journalists and editors are embarassed to print these stories, but you still see them. Racism still exists, after all, more than a hundred years after slavery ended.

    I hear that Brad and the NDP brass are fuming about the fact this story has taken off. Good. Maybe they will man up and sit down with Dana and eNDProhibition and stop playing passive-agressive, childish bureaucratic games in a feeble attempt to silence our voices.

    Maybe they shouldn’t have underestimated our reach, our passion, and our experience. Smacking down lies about marijuana is almost a sport to some of us, so when you lie and misrepresent one of our advocates, we come well seasoned to the battle.

    • August 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      Kinda hard to misrepresent somebody with their own words verbatim.

  17. August 13, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    “Kinda hard to misrepresent somebody with their own words verbatim.”

    Many Dipping Bloggers tried with Elizabeth May in the last election, and before even then. They said she called Canadians stupid, and that she was in favour of abortions, taking her verbatim words out of context. Remember Brad and Leftdog going on about the stupid Canadians thing?

    • August 13, 2009 at 10:07 pm

      Well, I’ve linked to the context in the main post, if you’d like to see it. Kinda hard to translate it to something else other than what it is.

      Oh, and “Dipping Bloggers?” Really?

    • August 14, 2009 at 11:28 pm

      Ah, Blogging Dippers I meant.

  18. August 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I’m still waiting to hear how what Dana did is ANY different than what numerous other NDP groups did (unions, youth groups). Merely by making the mistake of stating it? So as long as it is behind closed doors, the party brass thinks it’s a-ok? Does turning a blind eye to the unions doing this then punishing eNDProhibition really sit well with you?

  19. August 13, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Signed by Jack himself.

    Also: http://img219.imageshack.us/i/jack1n.jpg/

  20. August 14, 2009 at 2:09 am

    so much for “democratic”….

  21. August 14, 2009 at 11:15 am

    “Larsen’s comment specifically shows an expectation that the delegate in question vote in a certain way.”

    Actually, you should re-read what Larsen said:

    “If there’s any Babblers who want to go but perhaps cannot afford it, please contact me. I am organizing transport and lodging for groups of delegates. All that I ask in return is your vote on an anti-prohibition resolution and perhaps one or two other issues, otherwise you can vote and do as you please.”

    Larsen is obviously saying that Babblers should vote ON the issue – he doesn’t say which way the Babblers should vote.

    You’re making up the “in a certain way” part to justify the continued persecution of the cannabis community.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    You still haven’t explained why the “P” (formerly known as the “NDP”) allow every other community (Unions, Youth Groups, cultural and ethnic and homosexual and women groups etc etc) to pay for their members travel expenses but the pot people are not allowed to do such things.

    And why, if this is just about Dana’s supposed “vote buying”, did the NDP also censor his ads?

    Your silence is deafening.

  22. August 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve got to say, it so disappointing to see people who support changes to drug policy support undemocratic vote-buying.

    • Rebecca
      August 15, 2009 at 10:06 am

      Offering rides to people who are already in favour of the resolution is not vote buying.

    • August 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

      Its because Larsen has credibility with our massive cannabis culture. Brad Lavigne, who the fuck is he to us? He’s some back room control freak who is marginalizing our man in a Party thousands of us have invested some effort, money, votes and participation in.

      The net result is a diminished NDP and a Green Party of Canada that looks radically more attractive after Lavigne’s chicanery this weekend. Whose vote did Larsen buy? Is there any proof? Is Lavigne qualified to eject a delegate? Larsen’s offer to cover transportation and lodging is no different than the unions or associations who do the same.

      The NDP has insulted tens of thousands of us this weekend (as well as burying Larsen’s resolution) and will pay the price heavily in BC, where the Green Party’s Adrienne Carr virtually tied star NDP candidate Michael Byers (10,000+ votes each) in the last federal election in Vancouver Centre.

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