NDP denies deal with pot activist Marc Emery
The NDP is denying they made an informal deal with marijuana activist Marc Emery.
Emery alleges he and NDP Leader Jack Layton had an agreement to bring Marijuana Party members to the New Democrats. In exchange, Emery claims the NDP said they would continue efforts to decriminalize pot.
Emery told CTV.ca in a phone interview from Vancouver he told Layton in 2003 that he and his supporters would bring thousands of new people to the NDP, offer up qualified candidates, and get voters excited about the party.
"We did all that. We fulfilled every obligation we had," he said Saturday.
"I think it's disingenuous to invite us, and then have a candidate acceptable all the way through the process ... and at the last minute they're unacceptable because they associated with me or have smoked pot."
News of the alleged deal came as two B.C. NDP candidates, Kirk Tousaw and Dana Larsen, resigned after separate videos emerged that allegedly showed the pair smoking marijuana. Both were formerly active members of the B.C. Marijuana Party.
The NDP flatly denied they made a deal with Emery.
"This is pure fantasy," campaign spokesman Brad Lavigne said. "The New Democratic Party has made no such deal with any other party or with any individual ... This is nonsense, absolute nonsense."
The NDP said Tousaw and Larsen resigned because they were a distraction from the NDP's focus on issues like the economy.
In a release, Tousaw attributed the move to the likelihood that his past involvement in drug policy reform work might serve to continue to take the focus away from the issues that matter most to Canadians.
"I became involved in the New Democratic Party because I believe that our party has the right ideas and policies on the environment, health care, the economy and ending Canadian involvement in the war in Afghanistan," he said. "I still believe that."
The NDP said on Saturday that retired school counsellor Bill Forst will replace Larsen in the riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. Forst will challenge incumbent Blair Wilson, a former Liberal MP who is now running for the Green Party.
With files from The Canadian Press