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News (Media Awareness Project) - Canada: Column: The Bold New Liberal Plan To Legalize Pot
Title:Canada: Column: The Bold New Liberal Plan To Legalize Pot
Published On:2012-01-17
Source:National Post (Canada)
Fetched On:2012-01-19 06:02:44

A lot of readers may find this hard to believe, but when I was in
university I was a member of the national board of the Young Liberals.
I was even whip of the Young Liberals' efforts during the party's 1978
convention to win approval of 38 policy resolutions we had identified
in advance as priority positions. We did everything we could to push
these motions up the debate agenda. We used walkie-talkies and
strategy boards to track the progress of resolutions in different
breakout sessions in meeting rooms around Ottawa's famed Chateau
Laurier hotel and moved our delegates from one vote to another to
ensure we could carry the day on such issues as twinning western rail
lines from Winnipeg to the grain terminals on the west coast,
providing cheap tuition for university and college students and
creating Canada Pension Plan benefits for stay-at-home moms.

So it was with great interest that I read that the newest, boldest
idea the present-day Grits could come up with at their weekend policy
conference in Ottawa was the legalization of marijuana. We'd passed
the same resolution 34 years ago. So it is neither new nor bold
unless, you know, you consider the Bee Gees to be musically hip still.

The Australian pop/disco group ruled the music charts in '78. Either
they or their younger brother Andy held down five of the top eight
positions on the Billboard charts that year. Mork & Mindy - the zany
sitcom about an alien (Robin Williams) rooming with an uptight Earth
girl - ruled TV, along with Happy Days and Three's Company, while
Grease, the first Superman movie and National Lampoon's Animal House
were tops at the box office.

A friend of mine, a Young Lib from Ontario, proudly pulled up at the
convention in a new Ford Maverick Grabber he had managed to buy for
the astonishing price of (I think) $3,200.

Yes, if that all seems new and exciting to you, I imagine you'll be
willing to don your leisure suit and restring your puka shell
necklace, fire up your Sony Walkman and pogo over to the next meeting
of your local Liberal riding associate eager to get in on the party's
refreshing spirit of innovation and fashionability.

On the weekend, the 2012 Liberals also adopted the idea of single
transferable balloting in elections. Voters rank the candidates in
their riding in order of preference with the bottom candidate being
dropped from the ballot after each round of counting and the
second-place votes on his or her ballots being distributed to the
remaining candidates until one receives 50%+1 of the total. That bold,
new system was used in provincial elections in Manitoba and Alberta
from the 1920s to the 1950s and in B.C. provincial elections in the 1950s.

During a debate on whether or not to sever Canada's ties with the
monarchy (which 67% of delegates eventually rejected as too bold),
speakers reminded delegates of recent Liberal government achievements,
such as repatriation of the Constitution (1982) and creation of
Canada's new Maple Leaf flag (1965).

Don't tell me the Liberals are a hidebound party stuck in a rut of
their past glories! I'll have none of that kind of criticism.

What will these forward-thinking Grits come up with for their next
convention, universal health care? A national energy policy? A baby
bonus? Green taxes to stop carbon emissions?

Actually, maybe I shouldn't mock them on their environmental
commitment. If their weekend convention proved anything, it's that
they are definitely the best party at recycling - especially when it
comes to ideas, vision and candidates.
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