Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 17, 2012
Federal Liberals endorse marijuana legalization
They overwhelmingly approved Sunday a resolution calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana — a position immediately endorsed in principle by interim leader Bob Rae, although it remains to be seen how, or if, the resolution translates into a platform plank for the next election.
“Let’s face up to it, Canada, the war on drugs has been a complete bust,” Rae declared in a closing speech to a three-day Liberal renewal convention.
Until now, Liberals have called only for decriminalization of marijuana, as has the NDP. The new call to legalize it completely and regulate its production and sale, much as is done with alcohol, is in stark contrast to the governing Conservatives, who’ve included stiffer penalties for marijuanaÊpossession in their omnibus tough-on-crime bill.
The legalized pot resolution came on the heels of another potentially risky gamble for the Liberals. After a heated debate late Saturday, delegates agreed to invite all liberal-minded Canadians to take part in choosing the party’s next leader.
The party will create a new class of Liberal “supporters” — anyone willing to register as believers in core Liberal values — who will not have to pay a fee for a membership card to participate in leadership contests.
Wrapping up the convention, Rae heralded the two moves as a sign the chastened Liberal party is reaching out and renewing itself after last May’s humiliating rout, when the party was reduced to a third-party rump with only 34 seats.
“We Liberals have clearly and emphatically said to the people of Canada: ‘We embrace change and we embrace all Canadians as we rebuild this great national party.”‘ (Source: CTV News)