Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Alberta NDP Scores on 4:20

Notley, Mason Pass Dope Election Amendment

A few hours past high noon on April 20, Alberta NDP MLAs Brian Mason and Rachel Notley potted a ringer.

For the first time since the amendments to the Government's Bill 1 of a few years back, the tiny Alberta New Democrat caucus succeeded in having an amendment passed by a majority of (Progressive Conservative) members of the House.

When the smoke parted, it became clear that the amendment to Bill 7, the Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2010 (moved by Mason, but shepherded by House Leader Notley), would allow for instances of vouching for the validity of an Alberta citizen at a polling station during an election.

This would theoretically make it easier for the homeless or others without Government-issued identification to cast a ballot.

The amendment was supported by the Wildrose and Liberal camps as well, with Rob Anderson, Paul Hinman, Laurie Blakeman, Kent Hehr, and Bridget Pastoor casting votes in support.

From the Progressive Conservative benches, some notable supporters were David Hancock, Doug Griffiths, Lindsey Blackett, and Iris Evans, while Doug Elniski, Evan Berger, Jonathan Denis, Richard Marz, and Ray Prins remained opposed – though only Cthulhu knows why.

MLAs joked later that it was Notley’s 4:20 “supporters” outside that made the difference – perhaps Elniski and company had joined the protest and were simply suffering from paranoia.

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Your friends here at the Alberta Report have more pictures to share from the 4:20 protests in Vancouver. So enjoy – and remember, a bud in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Canadian Reefer Madness


The Story behind 4:20 - and Canada's best political potheads

EDMONTON – From Parliament Hill to Edmonton’s Dome to the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada was up in smoke today in each respective time zone.

Reports from Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver cite a police presence, but, as in past years, almost no arrests have been made as of 7 pm MST – although in Toronto, apparently the overflow was so astonishingly large that streets actually had to be closed.

But why 4:20? What does it mean? And what would possess a bunch of lazy, Zeppelin-loving, petiole-smelling, free-loving, dreaded-dope-addled-drop-outs to actually remember what day it is once a year – every year?

From the guy who can’t spell ‘theory’ on Urban Dictionary, here’s the scoop... er... Bud:

:: San Rafael theroy (sic)::
In the early 1970's, a group of teenagers who attended San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California used to get high every day at 4:20 in the afternoon under the Louis Pasteur statue.

:: Bob Dylan theroy (sic)::
In Bob Dylan's song, 'Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,' the lyrics contain 'everybody must get stoned.' 420 comes from the title, as 12 x 35 = 420.

:: Highway 420 ::
In Ontario, Canada in the 60's, marijuana grew freely on one of the Highways. This highway was later renamed in 1972 as Highway 420.

:: The Date 4/20 ::
April 20th is coincidentally (or not...) the birthday of Adolf Hitler who was born on April 20, 1889. It is also interesting to note that the Columbine High School shootings also occured (sic) on this date in 1999.

Well WTF… nobody seems to know, or care, presumably. So how ‘bout we run down the list of the most notorious Canada political prohibited substance scandals, shall we? It seems timely, at any rate, if you’re smoking what we’re rolling!

Top Seven Canadian Political Prohibited Substance Scandals

7. Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien - Claims to have never smoked a joint, but muses openly to a newspaper about lighting up upon its’ decriminalization by his Government. "Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal," he said. "I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand."

6. NDP Leader Jack Layton – The full quote from Pot-TV follows, but it’s also worth noting that the infamous Rahim Jaffer ad from the 2008 federal election campaign that saw Linda Duncan elected in Edmonton Strathcona focused on Layton’s assertion that marijuana was “a wonderful substance.”

Nobody (even on Parliament Hill) doubts that Mr. Layton, a one-time contemporary of Timothy Leary, has more than likely toked a reefer or two in his day.

"Folks, you're watching POT-TV, I'm Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, and I'd like to invite you to support our party, which is in favor of modernizing our marijuana laws, creating a legal environment in which people can enjoy their marijuana, in the peace and quiet of their own home, or in a cafe, without having to worry about being criminalized."

5. Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe – You gotta hand it to Duceppe, he’s got style. The quote (though we’re not entirely certain of its’ credibility):

"Like everyone else from my generation I'd be lying if I said I hadn't done it," Duceppe said in Quebec City. "Yes, yes, I inhaled.”

Duceppe was also a Maoist in University, leaving many astute political observers convinced that ol’ Gilles is very likely the coolest party leader to party on with.

4. NDP Candidate Dana Larsen – One of the wackiest of the wacky in the NDP goes up in smoke when a YouTube video surfaces of the nutter stuffing a few dozen joints in his mouth… and driving while peaking on acid and the near-poisonous DMT.

Larsen was then defended by the ‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery, who said in a newspaper column that: “Dana Larsen actually had a good reason for doing it, he was filming it to have the experience documented for all future researchers.”

Then of course, the heavy-handed antics of federal party bureaucrats gave the founder of eNDProhibition even MORE free ink by banning him from the party’s convention in Halifax. Nice work gang. Nice.

3. ‘Reformed’ Saskatchewan Party MLA Serge LeClerc – Saskatoon Northwest MLA LeClerc makes big political bank from speaking about his past life as a violent gang leader, drug dealer and drug addict who turned his life around after finding Jesus – and the conservative movement.

However, a brown paper envelope with audio tape and Internet chat files turned up at CBC HQ in Saskatchewan last week along with allegations that LeClerc was the voice on tape saying: "I had one guy come over with a little coke a few weeks ago and had great sex. He was one of the ones I weeded out, not because of the coke, just because of compatibility."

While LeClerc maintains his innocence, he has since “removed himself” from the Saskatchewan Party caucus.

One wonders if the reaction would have been different if the substance was marijuana. Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall has been quite candid about his marijuana use – at least to everyone but his mother.

2. Margaret Trudeau – Okay… she wasn’t an elected official. But what right-thinking Canadian wasn’t scandalized by the wild stories and titillating photos emanating from Maggie’s jaunts to the world-infamous Studio 54?

Answer: Everybody else, who either wanted to BE Maggie Trudeau, or BE WITH Maggie Trudeau.

The former ‘first-lady’ may have cleaned up her act now, but it seems nothing was too much for the former beau of Pierre Trudeau… who managed to catch the 50 year-old’s attention at the tender age of 22.

Nothing was untouchable it seemed for the better half of this dynamite couple. Peyote, marijuana, hashish, and (one would think at Studio 54 at least) cocaine were all fair game.

Scandalous? Yes. But extremely exciting for 1960s/1970s Canada.

1. Rahim Jaffer & Helena Geurgis – Their Gaffer Affair story isn’t worth repeating. But come on, they must’ve smoked dope. That is the gateway drug, after all… right?

Some other politicians on pot use, just for fun.

Happy 4:20!!

Speaking of Ethnic Politics...

Sikh Communities across Canada Shrouded by Tension, Violence

As the Victoria Times Colonist described it, “every time Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh hears footsteps behind him, he looks over his shoulder.”

That’s because the then-NDP MLA, now Liberal MP, was viciously beaten with a lead pipe way back in 1985 for daring to call for peace among members of the South Asian community.

"When I was injured many of my dearest friends wouldn't want to be seen coming to my house to see me, to visit me, in the light of day," Dosanjh told reporters in last week's story. "They were silent because of the fear."

This past weekend in Toronto, a meeting at a Sikh temple turned into a raucous melee of some 100 people nearly rioting.

Last year in Surrey, one erstwhile member of the Alberta Report Editorial Collective worked as a returning officer for a Sihk Temple’s elections – under armed police guard – in hopes that a repeat of a violent clash at the same temple would not be forthcoming.

But most fascinating of all? This past week, BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell announced that he would personally boycott the annual Vaisakhi parade (an event celebrating the first harvest and since 1699, the creation of the Khalsa, the first order of Sikhs under the Guru Gobind Rai), unless organizers apologized for this:

'Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh and B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer are not invited to attend the annual event — and if they do show up, they'll be responsible for their own safety.

No one else's security would be an issue at the parade, said organizer Inderjit Singh Bains.

"Just only two persons," said Bains. "Everybody else is no problem."'

At issue is the creation of a Sikh homeland, widely-known as Khalistan, as a “freeing” of Sikhs currently living under the domination of the majority Hindus in India.

Check out this web piece cataloguing past injustices:

- From the time of Gurus, Hindus have always been against Sikhs;

- During two holocausts in the 18th century and many wars against Mughals, Sikhs did not receive any help from Hindus, not even from Rajputs and Marathas;

- It was Hindus who betrayed Sikhs and helped British army to take over Punjab, Khalistan which included all of Pakistan and some of the Indian states like Kashmir, Haryana and Himachal Pardesh. For doing this Hindu Dogras got Kashmir and the rest of the country became part of the British empire;

- Sikhs had fought for helpless Hindus and freed their women from Muslim invaders for two hundred years and this is how Hindus returned the favor;

- Even Punjabi Muslims fought against British from the side of the Sikhs but not the Hindus.

At any rate, it was a rare show of bipartisan solidarity from Campbell, as well as a fascinating – and dangerous - example of how International politics sometimes leave home.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Colourful World of Ethnic Politics


Kash Camp Pays No Heed to Dirty Leaflet Question

VANCOUVER – Politicos familiar with campaigns in ethnically-diverse ridings have heard, seen, and felt no shortage of strange stories coming out of interactions with communities by politicians.

Opposition candidates in Edmonton Castledowns in 2008 allege that now Minister of Employment and Immigration Thomas Lukaszuk promised big grant funding to the Somali, Lebanese, and other Moslem leaders in return for their communities’ votes.

Ethnic newspapers in Edmonton make no secret of their tit-for-tat election or candidate coverage. Arab, Ukrainian, Indian, Chinese, and others barely trouble themselves to hide the fact that a purchased advertisement will lead to favourable editorial comment – usually on the same page.

But this story emanating from the former Liberal Solicitor General Kash Heed’s camp in British Columbia takes the cake.

Direct mail pieces depicting prominent photos of drug paraphernalia, coffins, and even portraits of known criminals and drug lords were sent to allegedly pro-NDP and undecided Chinese-Canadian homes in the constituency of Vancouver-Fraserview during the last provincial campaign.

The unsigned leaflets stated in no uncertain terms that the provincial New Democrats would legalize heroin and prostitution, as well as bring in inheritance taxes – in Cantonese.

Never mind that all three issues would prove difficult, if not impossible, to sanction through provincial legislation – the timing and the anonymity of the message also made the statements impossible to defend against, says NDP Van-Fraserview Campaign Manager Dwain Martin.

Martin’s candidate, Gabriel Yui, lost to the provincial Liberal candidate Heed by 748 votes.

Heed was removed as the province’s top cop only days ago, and in some cases denies vehemently the origin of the leaflets, while in other news reports he appears to not deny the possibility of the leaflets coming from his camp – only that he himself knew nothing about them. His initial full statement is here – but makes no reference to the leaflets. Meanwhile, the Canadian Press reports that no members of the Heed camp could be contacted.

A link has been established between the direct mail company that handled the flyers and Heed – the owner of North American Mailing’s son, Amit Khanna, worked on the Liberal campaign.

Politics in ethnic communities across Canada have a reputation as being the toughest take-no-prisoners style of campaigning you will ever see – but this is over the line. Heed has yet to be removed from the Liberal caucus, but if the investigation bears fruit you can bet a struggling Gordon Campbell will cut the strings quickly.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Ego Has Landed... as an Independent.


Rick Bell scoops on Dave Taylor departure from the Alberta Liberal caucus.

To be fair to beleaguered Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann, he threw a bone or two the way of departing Calgary Currie MLA Dave Taylor.

But Taylor didn’t want the oil and gas policy bone - he wanted the whole damn turkey.

The Calgary Sun dropped the bomb in a Rick Bell column earlier today, in which Taylor characterized Alberta’s Liberals as being “too unfocused, too lacking” to serve the needs of Albertans.

But the harshest criticism was reserved for Swann himself.

“I’m not doing this to get David Swann. It seems to me David Swann is doing just a fine job of getting himself,” Taylor told Bell. “I’ve given him 16 months to lead, to show me, the party and Albertans what he stands for and I’m still waiting. He drifted. I don’t know why he drifted. I don’t know if he’s aware the extent he’s drifting.”

"The trouble with the Alberta Liberals is that nobody's leading, nobody's following, and nobody will get out of the way," Taylor says, and the tepid David Swann response seems to bare that out.

Contrast that to other incidences of party abandonment, Stelmach style - or Paul Martin. Yes, even ditherin’ Paul Martin showed more backbone in dealing with the David Emerson turncoating than Swann showed today.

Swann obviously must tread carefully. Staunch Taylor loyalists such as executive Director Corey Hogan and former candidates such as Lisa Higgerty in Yellowhead, Craig Cheffins in Calgary Elbow, or any of a number of Taylor's leadership endorsements aren’t going to condone such outright slash and burn tactics from the office of the Official Opposition.

Based on the past few short lifespans on Independent MLAs in Alberta, Taylor won’t last independently. But Taylor evidently won’t be joining the Wildrose or the NDP anytime soon. His choice words for the NDP allow that the dippers have “all the answers to the problems plaguing Canada in the ‘60s” and his description of the Wildrosers as the “Wild-Eyed Alliance”, won’t win any friends. That leaves only two options open for Taylor: Join Stelmach’s waning government, or hoping the Alberta Party stops 'listening' and starts talking, so Dave Taylor can do what's best for that enormous ego - Lead the party.

Yet, the onus must also be on Swann to either poop or get off the pot. As Taylor says, in 16 months Swann has utterly failed in defining himself and his party to the public.

The Liberal Party would be wise to dump Swann this year – and ride the coattails of a new leader, any leader, into the 2011-2012 provincial campaign. Go rogue Alberta Liberals, go rogue - or just wait and allow the electorate to do that for you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner | Blogger template converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates