British Columbia

Another NDP candidate quits in B.C.

The federal New Democrats lost another pro-marijuana candidate in B.C. on Friday, the second to quit in a matter of days.
Kirk Tousaw, a civil liberties lawyer and former campaign manager for the B.C. Marijuana Party, resigned Friday as an NDP candidate in a Vancouver riding. ((CBC))

The federal New Democrats lost another pro-marijuana candidate in B.C. on Friday, the second to quit in a matter of days.

Vancouver-Quadra candidate Kirk Tousaw, a civil liberties lawyer and former campaign manager for the B.C. Marijuana Party, resigned Friday afternoon. 

Tousaw has been a long-time advocate for the legalization of marijuana and once appeared on Pot TV, a website run by party leader Marc Emery. He is also chair of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association's drug policy committee.

"I feel compelled to make this difficult decision in light of the events of the past few days and the likelihood that my past involvement in drug policy reform work might serve to continue to take the focus away from the issues that matter most to Canadians," Tousaw said in a statement Friday.

He said he still believes the NDP has the right ideas and policies on the environment, health care, the economy and ending Canadian involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

"This election is too important, and change in Ottawa too necessary, to allow the focus to be taken away from Jack Layton and the New Democratic team's goal of preventing Stephen Harper's Conservative agenda from harming the interests of all Canadians," Tousaw said in his statement.

On Wednesday, Dana Larsen quit as the NDP candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast after video footage of his public use of marijuana and LSD surfaced and was reported by the media.

B.C. Marijuana Party Leader Marc Emery says smoking pot should not be considered something that gets a candidate bounced out of the federal NDP. ((CBC))

Larsen co-founded the B.C. Marijuana Party and is a senior manager of the Vancouver Seed Bank, which sells a variety of marijuana seeds. He is the former host of a program on Pot TV.

Emery said on Friday that people associated with his party are being unfairly scrutinized.

"It seems like anybody who's associated with us is targeted for a special treatment not at all applied to any other candidate of any other party," he told CBC News.

"Smoking marijuana should not be considered something you get bounced out of the NDP for," he said.

NDP Leader Jack Layton made little comment Friday on the fact a second pro-marijuana candidate from Vancouver had dropped out of the race.

"Once it was done, he resigned. He's no longer our candidate," Layton said of Tousaw's resignation.

"I'm certainly not the only candidate of every party that smoked marijuana in the past," Tousaw told CBC News in an interview Friday night.

"As we move into the future you'll see more and more of that," he said.

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