Pubdate: Fri, 11 May 2001
Source: Chilliwack Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Chilliwack Times
Note: Not to be confused with Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Author: Melissa Shaw
Bookmark: (Canadian Marijuana Party)
Bookmark: (Cannabis, Medical)


Marijuana Candidate Spreading The Gospel

Burnaby-bound for a protest, Norm Siefken admitted to feeling annoyed.

The B.C. Marijuana Party wasn't invited to BCTV's debate, and the 
wind whistling through the passenger door of his late-model Neon was 
getting on his nerves. His campaign manager for the Chilliwack-Sumas 
riding tried opening and shutting it twice, but then it got stuck 
unlatched, and wouldn't budge.

"I'm sorry Norm, I guess I shouldn't have slammed it so hard," Brian 
[name redacted] of the Holy Smoke Healing Centre said.

"That's OK man, stuff happens."

Siefken pulled to the side of the road, leaned back and gave the a 
door a powerful kick that knocked it back into place.

A little convoy of protesters pulled up behind and hopped out to see 
what the problem was.

"I bet this never happens to Barry Penner's car," one of them joked.

At the television studio, hundreds of people had gathered. There were 
Marijuana candidates from around the province, but reporters lined up 
to interview Siefken.

"I used to feel sorry for politicians," Siefken said in the car on 
the way back. "They're always in the public eye, and they don't have 
much privacy. But I believe so strongly in the Marijuana Party, and 
that's why I'm here."

Five years ago, Siefken wasn't going anywhere. He was hit by a car 
while using a crosswalk, and the muscle spasms around the fractures 
in his spine left him "twisted in a knot."

It was seven months before he was back on his feet, and thankful he 
had given up a career in skydiving for the U.S. military to learn a 

He put on his "Sunday best," briefcase in hand, and applied for work 
as an x-ray technician at every hospital between Hope and Whistler. 
He soon landed part-time jobs in Hope and Langley, and settled in 
Chilliwack to ease the commutes.

But the pain persisted, and 'round-the-clock prescription painkillers 
didn't help. His doctor suggested he visit the Compassion Club in 
Vancouver, where marijuana treatment found him pain-free for the 
first time since his accident.

The experience, he said, left him with heightened compassion for 
others who were sick, hurt and dying.

Siefken was a founding member of the Marijuana Party of Canada and 
ran in his home riding in last fall's federal election. For him, a 
campaign for MLA was a chance to be involved in the party's platform 
and one more way to keep the issues he's passionate about at the 
front of debates. And he believes he's had some success.

Tucked in his windshield's visor is a laminated copy of his photo on 
the front page of the National Post.
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