Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2008
Source: Pique Newsmagazine (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Pique Publishing Inc.
Author: Andrew Mitchell


NDP Will Have New Candidate By End Of Day

Former NDP candidate Dana Larsen says the decade-old videos of him
using drugs that came to public and media attention this week was
clearly "a hit job."

Larsen makes no secret of his views on drugs and drug laws, as a
founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party, founder of End Prohibition, and
both founder and former manager of the Vancouver Seed Bank - a store
that sells, among other things, marijuana seeds, opium poppy seeds,
peyote, Peruvian coca plant, and other psychoactive plants.

But in the second week of his campaign as the NDP candidate in the
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding the activities
of the Vancouver Seed Bank - namely selling coca plant - were brought
to light, as well as old videos posted online that show Larsen smoking
marijuana, taking hallucinogenic drugs and driving after consuming DMT
(dimethyltryptamine) and smoking a joint.

The videos were originally posted on a now-defunct site called,
but were still available over the Internet.

As a result of the exposure, Larsen resigned as the NDP candidate on
Sept. 17.

"Clearly it was a hit job, it's not that there was anything secret
about this stuff - at least to anybody who knows me," he said Friday.
"The videos were 10 years old, although I still stand by most of the
stuff. but maybe I was naive to think I could get through an election
campaign without this stuff coming forward.

"I stepped aside for the good of the party and for the good of the
national campaign," he added. "I'm willing to defend what was in the
video or my past and to explain my reasons, but in the end I didn't
want (NDP leader) Jack Layton to have to answer questions about what
one of his candidates did 10 years ago. I didn't want to divert focus
from the national platform, so I took one for the team in that sense."

Larsen has been the NDP candidate for the riding since April of 2007.
He has been honest since the beginning about his own drug use, and his
goal to legalize or decriminalize drug use and treat addicts as health
care cases rather than criminals.

He says most Canadians, including MPs from all parties, have probably
experimented with drugs at one point in their lives, or have friends
or family who have used drugs. Given the statistics, he finds it
interesting - and hypocritical - that politicians are held to a higher

"While I'm always ready to talk about these issues, and my reasons for
supporting alternative drug policies, the middle of a campaign is not
the time you want to be clarifying things or getting into the

The riding association responded quickly, holding a new nomination
meeting on the afternoon of Sept. 19. Larsen maintains his membership
in the NDP, and says he will work for whichever candidate is selected.

Larsen did make some appearances on television and spoke to reporters
about his decision to resign, but he says he has since turned down
several requests for interviews to make the story "go away."

"I want Jack Layton to be Prime Minister, and I don't want to screw
this up for him or for any of the other candidates. It's an important
election, there are some real issues, and this is a distraction," he

Larsen ran three times to be selected as the NDP candidate, and hasn't
ruled out running again.

"Maybe in another four years, when those videos are 14 years old, and
hopefully nobody will care anymore," he said. "It was a happy 11 days,
and maybe next time I'll get all the way through. This time it's best
to step back. Regretfully."
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath