NDP forum focuses on energy and weed
By Angela Marie Denstedt
In a forum held Wednesday in the University Community Centre
atrium entitled “Cleaner Cars and Cannabis,” local
representatives of the New Democratic Party suggested government
time could be better spent on environmental issues and marijuana
“Paying off old debt has become a mantra of right-wing
government; meanwhile, there are plenty of social and environmental
problems which can be fixed — and this needs to change,” said
Irene Mathyssen, NDP representative for London-Fanshawe, expressing
her eagerness to see the federal government change hands.
“These changes include an intelligent, visionary government,
as well as a higher priority placed on environmental issues,” Mathyssen
said, adding that lower emissions standards would be an ideal
first step. “We know how to make cleaner cars more energy
and fuel-efficient, yet we continue to drift along in the same
“It’s time to look at things a little more realistically
if you want to address the environmental problems in this country,” said
Rob LeBlanc, a third-year political science student and candidate
for the position of London-West NDP representative.
On an even greener note, the legalization of marijuana was
also a top concern for NDP supporters.
Marc Emery, head of the British Columbia Marijuana Party,
was a scheduled guest speaker for Wednesday’s presentation
but was unable to attend. Early last week while attending a
smiliar event at the University of Saskatchewan — he
was arrested off campus and charged with trafficking marijuana — he
was passing a joint, explained legalization activist Hailey
Emery did make an appearance by video from Saskatoon.
“I was originally head of the Green Party, but I am
now giving full support to the NDP,” Emery said. “The
vision of this party can fix the problems we face as a nation
with either a Liberal or Conservative party running the country.
The government is wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars
prosecuting people for the possession or use of marijuana,
which is far less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol.”
“The legalization of marijuana would be a proactive
start to cutting back on wasted tax dollars,” said Louise
Collins, a third-year political science student.