By Clare Ogilvie
A long time marijuana legalization activist is the new federal NDP candidate for Sea to Sky country.
Dana Larsen was declared the candidate April 21 in Roberts Creek at a meeting of NDP supporters.
Though formerly a Marijuana Party Candidate Larsen joined the NDP in 2003.
“The NDP is the last and best hope for Canada to maintain our sovereignty and go boldly into the future so I think it is the right party for me to be in,” said Larsen this week.
Though it is unclear when the next federal election will be Larsen said he is already on the campaign trail.
“There is probably not going to be an election until the fall, though we don’t know for sure, but for me the campaign started when I became the candidate and I plan on working through most of the summer and touring the riding and trying to drum up support,” he said.
“I want to go boldly into West Vancouver because I think sometimes we have been a little afraid of going in there and I think there are a lot of people there who could be sympathetic to our ideas, so I plan on really campaigning hard in West Vancouver and trying to get some support there.
“I think the NDP is well positioned to grow in this next election.”
Larsen hopes the NDP can draw support from other parties positioned on the left as well as from the Liberal and Conservative voters who dominate the riding.
“Our riding is certainly a challenge for us,” he said.
“It is pretty evenly split between the Conservatives and the Liberals in terms of where the vote is. The NDP has had some strong growth and I don’t see any reason why we can’t increase more. If we take 3,000 votes from the Green Party and about 2,000 votes each from the Conservatives and the Liberals then the NDP would be able to come up the middle and win this riding.”
And that’s a goal Larsen intends to keep for the long term. If the plan doesn’t work out this time he plans to stick around and work for success in coming elections.
The West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding is currently held by Liberal Blair Wilson. Prior to the last election the riding was held by Conservative John Reynolds, who has since retired from politics.
Though well known for his strong stance on legalizing marijuana and changes to drug policies Larsen, who manages the Vancouver Seed Bank, said other issues will also be important in his campaigning.
His priorities will be fighting for tough action on climate change, fairness for families struggling with the high cost of long-term care and tuition fees and implementation of the civil rights policies, which parliamentary committees have advocated.
Larsen, and partner Rebecca have a home in both Vancouver and Roberts Creek, where Larsen’s nine-year-old daughter lives.