Friday, April 20, 2012

Young Liberals take strong stand against Mulcair's pro-Harper, pro-prohibition stance on marijuana

Today Young Liberals across the country are taking part in a campaign taking on NDP leader Tom Mulcair for his pro-Harper position on marijuana prohibition. I'm proud to count myself as part of the Ottawa team, putting up posters, handing out information and buttons, and reaching out to the majority of Canadians who believe that continuing the war on marijuana would be a mistake.

The current state of marijuana laws in Canada are hitting taxpayers hard, and Stephen Harper's tough on wallets crime schemes will only make the situation worse. Hardworking Canadian policemen and policewomen should be working on stopping serious crimes, not be forced to arrest Canadians for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. It is particularly disappointing to see the NDP and Tom Mulcair stand with Stephen Harper on the issue of marijuana, as those punished under the current laws are disproportionately youth, members of racialized communities,and those with limited income.

Liberals are taking a strong stand for common-sense drug crime policies, as legalization will hurt violent gangs by depriving them a significant source of income, and help policemen and policewomen keep more dangerous drugs off the street. I am happy to see the Young Liberals take the lead on this issue and push the senior party in the right direction, making clear, strong arguments for evidence-based policies.

Liberals want to treat Canadians like adults and take on Harper on his costly and ineffective prohibitionist policies. The NDP and Tom Mulcair want to capitulate and let Harper set the terms of discussion on drug laws and crime. A big part of rebuilding the Liberal Party is staking out bold new policies and advancing them to Canadians, and I'm glad I can play a part in that process today.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conservative attacks on eco groups should give LPC an opportunity to reach out

A lot has been written about the attacks on environmental groups in the recent Conservative budget, most of it negative, such as this Globe and Mail editorial:

While the Conservatives are wasting your tax dollars to go after legitimate environmental groups (full disclosure: I am currently working part time for an environmental organization, although as the group is not a charity I don't believe the new guidelines would impact us) and gut Elections Canada, I believe the federal Liberal Party should use this as an opportunity to expand ties with environmental groups across the country, and help ensure the importance of the environment in the Liberal platform.

I think in retrospect a failure of the Green Shift in 2008 was that a lot of environmental groups couldn't be brought onside to promote it and the Liberal Party as the best choice for environmentally minded voters. One only needs to contrast how vocally environmental groups rallied around the Ontario Liberals in the most recent provincial election to see the difference this kind of support can make. Both the NDP and Conservatives seem to be wanting the next election to be framed as an economy/environment battle (as Paul Wells has written extensively about) for different reasons, and the Liberals risk being shut out of this conversation (which would be terrible for any hopes of escaping third-party status) unless we can present a pragmatic middle ground approach, and talk about building the green economy and creating jobs here in Canada in a way neither the NDP or Conservatives can do. Having the support of the environmental movement behind a green jobs approach would be absolutely vital, and I think the Liberals need to move quickly and firm up these ties, while at the same time keep active talks open with the natural resources sector, to make balanced environmental regulations and create jobs, without the vilification of either environmental activity or the hard-working Canadians who work in the natural resources sector.