Friday, August 14, 2009

Bravo, Brad Lavigne: You've made Dana Larsen a martyr

Whether you agree with Dana Larsen's banishment from the NDP convention or not (personally, i think banishment is an over-reaction), I think it's fair to say that NDP executive director Brad Lavigne and the party brass have handled this whole affair very poorly.

The Larsen saga continues to dominate the #hfx09 twitter feed, as his supporters within the party voice their displeasure.

The reports from the policy prioritization session this morning, which apparently saw the floor vote to move the marijuana anti-prohibition resolution from 20th spot (where it will never reach the floor) to 2nd, and the vote then nullified and the resolution sent back down to the basement because (depending on who you talk to) of either a procedural oversight (vote was called before a speaker had spoken against it) or procedural shenanigans (party brass fiddling the rules to have time to stock the room with opponents), won't help quiet matters either.

The Larsen story hit a number of media outlets this morning, and according to Larsen's tweets there's more to come:

Metro: Turfed B.C. NDP delegate plans to stay in Halifax
CP: NDP hoping to turn provincial wins into federal seats as party meets in N.S.
North Shore Outlook: Pot activist Larsen says he was ousted from NDP convention
Macleans: What happened to you, NDP? You used to be cool

Instead of sulking at home, Larsen is hanging out on the sidewalk outside the convention centre and telling his story:

And he's finding support from within and without the party including from the youth officer for Hamilton Centre NDP MP David Christopherson, who calls the party's handling of Larsen undemocratic:

It's becoming abundantly clear that what Lavigne and the NDP have done here is create a martyr, and Dana is more than happy to climb up on that cross. All in all, I bet he's pleased as punch with the way this has all worked out.

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Dana said...

I am hardly "pleased as punch." I don't want to be the guy outside the convention with a sign, I wanted to be the guy inside lobbying for drug policy reform.

But I cannot stand down when I am falsely accused of bribing delegates and buying votes. I have been to a dozen NDP conventions and this one was the first time that our End Prohibition ad was rejected from the convention guide, and trying to book a table included 3 months of no replies before we finally got a table on the same day I was bounced as a delegate!

I love the NDP, and my fellow New Democrats generally seem to support my work. But clearly Brad Lavigne doesn't like pot smokers and has a hate-on for me personally.

Thanks for the coverage!

Tim said...

There where a whack of highly voted comments over on -- the twitter, flickr and youtube aggregator set up for the convention. All of a sudden the supportive posts began to disappear and the ability to vote twitters up and down was disabled. Now there is just mostly a bunch of boring tweets from higher ups (but I did see one of Jason Cherniak's tweets get through).

Word from the convention floor is that they are scrambling (without success) to contain this story. They sure don't seem to be very good a media management.

hello_kittyhawk said...

The Non Democratic Party now has *zero* credibility

these tactics a as bad or worse than the ongoing disgusting Harperialist games

feh, blech, yuk.

The NDP needs to stop trying to be another Conservative party - we already have two ...

A BCer in Toronto said...

Perhaps not pleased as punch. I guess what I was getting at was that, by handling this the way that he has, Lavigne has brought far more prominence to yourself and the issues you advocate for and given you a bigger platform in which to espouse them than you would have had if he'd even done this, say, a month or two ago, or let you come and just work quietly through procedural means against the policy.

It seems like he wanted it to all go away, but instead he blew it up bigger than ever.

mardy26 said...

In other words… Well-played Dana! LOL

ADHR said...

hello_kittyhawk: As bad as Harper? Wow. Very credible.

Larsen misplayed his hand; I think that's pretty obvious. He already embarrassed the party in the election, and should've been trying extra-hard to keep his nose clean. He didn't; whether or not offering to pay for transport and lodging in return for favourable votes is technically vote-buying or not, it certainly looks like vote-buying. It's too bad -- the resolution has merit -- but, really, if he expected any different, he was... well... you know.

Robert McClelland said...

Hey Jeff, if it were up to you would you let Larsen into the Liberal Party?

A BCer in Toronto said...

Why Robert, is the NDP kicking him out of the party? I just thought he was banned from the convention. Do you think he should be kicked out of the party?

To answer your question, I see no reason to hypothetically deny him membership in the LPC. I wouldn't support him as a nomination candidate though, if that's what you're asking.

Robert McClelland said...

I wouldn't be surprised if he was kicked out of the party and yes, I think he should be. You would too if he acted like this during a Liberal convention.

Anyway, glad to see you'd take him. Maybe you should tweet an offer to him.

Pearce Richards said...

Robert McClelland - Your bitterness is an ugly cologne. Obviously the NDP thought they could just do whatever they wanted to Dana and nobody would do anything about it. Wrong!

I agree with Dana, this is hardly how we wanted the convention to go. We knew there was internal resistance, but this is mind boggling.

The media coverage is nice only in that it exposes how the brass in the NDP treats ideas that are popular amongst the grassroots, but don't mesh with their ideals.

leftdog said...

Pearce ... 2 points:

1) Most New Democrats do not believe that THIS reflects our policy on lessening of penalties for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

2) Ask Mr. Jedras here, to explain to us about hypocrital Liberal policy on marijuana possession. They consistently introduced federal legislation promising 'liberalization' while letting each Bill die on the Order Paper. In the real world that is called playing both sides of the fence.

leftdog said...

Typo in my post ... that should read 'hypocritical' ...

Pearce Richards said...

leftdog - here I was hoping you were linking to the resolution, so I could point out that it had the support of the most riding associations (9) and the disability council prior to the convention.

Instead, you just posted a red-herring link of Dana doing a publicity stunt for a magazine photo-op, an event that has nothing to do with the resolution or the current story. Stay classy.

Also, this isn't about the Liberals. I'm not sure why you bring that up.

leftdog said...

"Also, this isn't about the Liberals. I'm not sure why you bring that up."

Are you kidding? I nearly choked on my coffee ...!

Today, Liberal blogger after Liberal blogger has jumped into a defense of Mr. Larsen in hopes of trying to stick it to the New Democratic Party. If you want to get into the debate, ante up and explain why when they had the opportunity - when they were in power, the Liberal Party of Canada played games on this issue!

Quit making me choke on my coffee ...

Robert McClelland said...

The political left will not support this issue after Larsen's stunt, Pearce. Good luck selling it to the public without us.

Pearce said...

Robert and his sour grapes. So the NDP will take their ball and go home because drug policy activists are sick of being jerked around by the party. This is the reason you want to perpetuate asinine social policy? Wow.

leftdog - Jeff is the only Liberal I see really pushing the story, hardly a vast Liberal conspiracy to stick it to the NDP.

Jon Pertwee said...

"The political left will not support this issue after Larsen's stunt, Pearce."

Thanks for speaking for all of us McClelland. Feel like becoming absolute ruler of all Canadians next?

wordsworm said...

I'm not a fan of Layton. Dana Larsen for PM!

I'm sick of what we've got for sad sacks in parliament. We've got a pro-torture part-time Canadian Ignatief on top of the Liberals (dear god, how did that happen?!), the anti-pot NDP who clearly is there only for the unions and no one else, the Bloc Quebecois which is probably the only respectable party in the nation but which will never be more than what it is now, and the Conservatives who are screwing the country yet once again but at a faster pace than Mulrooney ever had. These are some dark days on Parliament Hill.