Larsen resigns after drug past becomes an issue 

NDP candidate says he's a victim of war on drugs

What had been an uneventful election campaign in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country finally got interesting Wednesday with NDP candidate Dana Larsen announcing his resignation.

Larsen resigned after word got out that he used to work for a company that sold Peruvian coca seedlings. There are also videos of Larsen smoking marijuana and dropping acid on YouTube.

Larsen, who has not worked for the company since 2007, responded: “Stephen Harper is advancing another failed drug war in this country, and I do not want these harmless coca seedlings to become an issue for Harper’s campaign to sping against the NDP.”

A release from Larsen, the founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party, states that coca plants have been used for thousands of years in South America as a mild stimulant, similar to coffee. The release further states that “it is virtually impossible to produce cocaine from coca unless the coca is grown on a very large scale.”

“I believe in the benefits of medicinal plants like coca,” Larsen said in the release. “But I didn’t want this to distract from the campaign to elect Jack Layton as prime minister.”

“I do not want anything to distract from the important work of your New Democrats.”

It is not known if the NDP will nominate another candidate for the riding. Candidates must be nominated by Sept. 23 to run in the Oct. 14 election.

Meanwhile, John Weston, who has been the Conservative Party’s candidate for three and a half years, took advantage of his early start to get signs up and meet with constituency groups.

For some of those meetings he was accompanied by Diane Ablonczy, a Calgary MP and the Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism, who was promoting the creation of a BizPal network for West Vancouver to streamline applications and certifications for entrepreneurs. For others he was accompanied by Coquitlam MP James Moore, who is the minister responsible for the Olympics and Pacific Gateway project.

The message, says Weston, is that the riding needs to have representation in Ottawa.

“In my meetings the issue of leadership comes up again and again,” he said. “We are contrasting the decisive leadership of Stephen Harper and the fact that he’s done so much for Canadians in the past two and a half years, versus the riskier and more indecisive option of Stephane Dion.

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