Green Party Candidate nominated for Northumberland Quinte West

I ran my regular Google news search on Green Party of Canada, and apparently there was a candidate nomination contest last week in Northumberland Quinte West. I must confess that I was curious, because one of my Green Party colleagues had attended the meeting, and implied that Stan Grizzle, the new candidate was someone to watch.

Stan Grizzle

Stan Grizzle

According to this Northumberland Today article,  Stan was a liberal in his previous political incarnation, who sought the local liberal nomination in opposition to Paul Macklin, the candidate in the last federal election. I simply do not know how credible Stan’s nomination contest was, but if he was serious, then in all likelihood, he has a local support network to bring to the table for the EDA. I was also pleased to see that the EDA is actively preparing for the next election. At least, the existence of an election readiness commitee, that is meeting later this week implies that they are actually preparing in advance.

According to this NorthumberlandNews article, Stan is also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Brighton Colour guard, which are both important credentials, as any rural politician can tell you. Here’s a snapshot of the electoral landscape in the riding:

Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Conservative Rick Norlock 27,615 48.7%  
     Liberal Paul Macklin 16,209 28.6%  
     New Democrat Russ Christianson 8,230 14.5%  
     Green Ralph Torrie 4,633 8.2%  
Total valid votes 56,687    
Total rejected ballots 186    
Turnout 56,873  %


Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Lou Rinaldi 22,288 45.4  
     Progressive Conservative Cathy Galt 15,328 31.2  
     New Democrat Carolyn Blaind 6,481 13.2  
     Green Judy Smith Torrie 5,020 10.2  


As may be seen from the Federal numbers, the GPC Campaign missed a very important milestone, 10% of the vote, missed by a margin of  1,057 votes. This is truly significant, because in the last election, the GPC Campaign actually spent $34,300, which would have entitled them to a $20,580 rebate. I know that money isn’t everything, BUT that’s a lot of hard work put into fundraising, and minding the pennies. It would be nice to think that the next campaign had a $20,000 leg up. The 2008 Campaign was obviously pretty active, given that they received donations from 104 people, which is a pretty good number for a GPC EDA during the course of an election.

My first piece of advice to Stan, and the EDA is to prepare right now to GOTV to the advance polls in the next election. In 2008, the campaign only pulled in 469 out of 7,466 ballots cast at the advanced polls. That represents 6.3%, and is a few hundred votes shy of the % mark set on the general election day.   Never ever forget that the advance polls are your chance to lock down the soft green supporters, as well as ensure that all the committed GPC supporters do actually vote.

In the last election, Brighton delivered 415 votes out of 5,395 ballots cast. I would hope that Stan, being a member of the Brighton Colour Guard can call on friends and allies to really work the area, and pick up another 400+ votes there. Quinte West is another obvious target. It is the largest group of electors in the riding, but the GPC support levels were only 7.6%. Sooner or later the EDA will have to break through there, and  it might be a suitable target for an intensive effort next time. Based upon the Elections Canada tabulated results, and sorting the advanced polls, there is no really concentrated GPC support in the riding. Since there is no substantial strong point, I believe that the campaign might be well served to create one. Don’t forget that in another 19 months or so, there are going to be municipal elections. Look at the small towns where there is likely to be a contested election. Look for mayoral, and council candidates whom you can pull into a strong local team. If, for example, you were able to find a slate of council candidates for Quinte West, and put a mayoral candidate at their head, then you might have the beginnings of an electoral machine. The quid pro quo is simple. Campaign for us, and build our supporter lists, then we’ll campaign for you, and share our lists and infrastructure. Unfortunately, I do not have the local knowledge  to be more explicit in my advice than this. The riding is divided up into smaller townships, so take this fact, and win the district one town at a time. Don’t forget that the Green Party is a very valuable political ‘Brand’. It will work Municipally, and Provincially, as well as Federally, so put it to work for you!

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Correlations between Campaign Spending and Green Party of Canada vote outcomes.

Now there’s an exciting post title for you! Seriously folks, I have seen a little discussion here and

It Matters

It Matters

there about just how important election spending is to winning votes. I thought I would sink a little time into quantifying the relationship between EDA formation, campaign spending, and electoral success. I trotted off the the Elections Canada website financial reports database, and the election results database. It’s pretty easy to get sortable data from here, all you have to do is look up the relevant Candidate, Party, or District, and then download the data as a txt file. This file can be imported into an excel spreadsheet, and viola, you have sortable datafiles to play with.
It actually took me a little time, because I had to sort the data so it was all in compatible rows and columns, but I finally got every Electoral district in Ontario, into a spreadsheet, along with every EDA that filed a return in 2007.

The three sets of data I merged were candidate financial return summaries, 2007 EDA financial return summaries, and the actual election result summaries. The data is incomplete, due to some late filings, and of course, not every campaign reports all the data consistently. Still, there were some basic, and irrefutable findings to share. I wish I could figure out how to upload an excel file, then I could put a link here so you could download the actual spreadsheet, but I’ll have to settle for the outcome of some basic statistical analysis.

Correlation between spending and % Vote: 0.76573958
Correlation Between 2007 EDA Assets and %vote: 0.53411402
Correlation between Transfers into campaign and % vote: 0.72692593
Correlation between campaign contributions and % vote: 0.27744132
Correlation between spending and total votes: 0.75095156
Correlation between EDA assets and total votes: 0.57536407
Correlation between transfers into campaign and total votes: 0.6979957
Correlation between campaign contributions and total votes: 0.3293264


So there it is folks, this table was produced using the basic CORREL function in Excel. A correlation of 1 means a perfect positive correlation between the two variables, and a correlation of 0 means no relationship whatsoever.  As you can see, there is a very strong relationship between reported election expenses and both the total number of Green Party votes, and the percentage of the total vote. The relationship between the financial position of the EDA the year before, and the actual vote outcome is less important, but still pretty strongly positive. Whether the funds were raised by the Campaign, or by the EDA prior to the election was still a positive relationship, but much less influential.

For what it’s worth, the data supports the following conclusions:

1) Raise as much money as possible, from whatever sources you can find.

2) Form an EDA, and make sure that you are doing your utmost to raise money through it.

3) Make sure that your campaign has a finance chair, and continue to raise money throughout the campaign.

All these things will have a strong positive outcome on your vote come EDay. Please don’t bombard me with criticism about the nature of causal relationships. I know that in many respects the money is a symptom of organizational strength. That’s why I ran a number of different correlations. This data is weak in many respects, BUT it does demonstrate that even in the absence of an EDA organization, hard cash still has a major impact.

As to how you spend your money, I wish that EC laid out the detailed spending reports in an easily managed format, because then I would irrefutably prove that local advertising is a waste of F***ing money. If you cannot canvas widely, your advertising should be in the form of flyer’s, widely distributed, which will drive people to your website. Do everything you can think of to ID voters, build your mailing, and emailing lists, and get more supporter data stored away for the next election. Unless you have a lot of eday volunteers to GOTV, you can pay for voicemail message delivery, and telemarketers to GOTV for you. I don’t have any hard data to prove it, but I believe that broadcast recorded message drops into voicemail will be effective in converting voters. Keep it fun, and make sure that you have plenty of chances for volunteers to party a little. These are some of the appropriate uses for all that money you’re going to raise for the next campaign.

As a sort of a post script to this, there is some happy news for 18 Ontario EDA’s. These are the campaigns that broke the 10% barrier, thus being entitled to a rebate on 60% of their election expenses. The rebates will range from a low of $2,800 to a high of $46,000, so that means a fair number of teams will go into the next election with a substantial war chest. One the other side of the coin, it really hurts to see Ottawa Centre miss their $24,946 rebate by a mere 45 votes! There were altogether another 10 campaigns that missed their rebate by a few hundred votes, so that goes to prove that even at our level, every vote counts!

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Green Party’s Frank DeJong the news hit today.

Extra! DeJong's in the News.

Extra! DeJong's in the News.

Every couple of days, I hit the google news search with Green Party Canada, just to see if anything interesting crops up. I am sad to report that for the past few months, very little of interest has surfaced. Today I was pretty amused at the outcome.

Frank DeJong, leader of the Green Party of Ontario is taking a swing through Northern Ontario, and he came up at the top of the relevant news. I’ve known Frank for 4 years now, and he has a very pleasant demeanour. He’s a gifted Politician, in the sense that he doesn’t love the sound of his own voice. He listens before he speaks, and he’s very much a consensus builder. What was truly refreshing about his news coverage was the balanced way he criticises the Liberal Government. In the first news link, he actually applauds the positive initiatives of the Ontario Liberals, criticizes what he considers their shortcomings, and then proposes some innovative policy proscriptions. What a breath of fresh air!

Frank DeJong

Frank DeJong

In the second news link, He criticizes the Liberal Government briefly, follows it by proposing the Green Party’s alternate policy prescription, and then reaches out to fiscally conservative disaffected Tories. Now that’s how you grow your’ Party. By explicitly reaching out, and asking people to join. In the third news link, he focuses exclusively on positive policy, without breathing a word about the other Party’s.

Frank is obviously paying attention to the growth in membership, and electoral strength of the Green Party’s North Ontario Constituency Associations. He is touring the North in support of them, and he is presenting a positive message with sincerity and conviction. This is entirely relevant to my Green Party of Canada focus. There was a recent Angus Reid Poll released where, yet again, Ontarians supported the Green Party of Canada at nearly twice the rate of the rest of Canada.

The Green Party of Ontario is chock a block with talented organizers, and strong Riding

Nagy and Jolley. The A-Team

Nagy and Jolley. The A-Team

Association builders. Shane Jolley in Bruce Grey Owen Sound with his team, and Mike Nagy in the company of his heavy hitting Guelph Team have both benefited greatly from the synergy between Provincial and Federal organizations. The fact is that they work hard identifying supporters, and building their organizations at both levels, so the energy, skills, membership, and volunteer base grows with every election, whether Provincial or Federal. These two CA’s are far from alone. The majority of the Province is organized in tandem now, and the lessons of the top performers are being learned across the Province. It seems that when David Chernushenko’s supporters left the Green Party of Canada to Elizabeth May, they didn’t completely disappear. They simply withdrew their talent from the top table at the GPC, and transferred their efforts to their provincial organization.

By the way, the fourth news article was entitled: Green Party Mired in Silence?

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Green Party Canada by-election prospects multiplying.

The first definite candidate riding for a By-Election campaign for Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada will be coming into play sometime in the next 115 or so days. Last week, the recently elected Dawn Black, NDP MP resigned her seat to seek the same seat in the upcoming Provincial election. Kudo’s to Mark Taylor for pointing out that the second place Conservative candidate, Yonah Martin was just appointed to the Senate. This is a very interesting situation indeed, given that there was such a tight race between the NDP and the CPC, with the Liberals coming in third by a wide margin.

New Westminster—Coquitlam

Canadian federal election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democrat Dawn Black 20,787 41.8% +3.49
Conservative Yonah Martin 19,299 38.8% +6.27
Liberal Michelle Hassen 5,615 11.3% -12.23
Green Marshall Smith 3,574 7.20% +4.25
Libertarian Lewis C. Dahlby 314 0.6 NA
Marxist-Leninist Roland Verrier 103 0.20% +0.10
Total valid votes 49,692 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 165 0.33

The total turnout in this race was 61.74%, which is about average. The Liberals have been floundering in the New Westminster riding, and have steadily been shedding votes since the 2000 election. With a new, and relatively centrist leader, the Liberals can probably expect a bit of a bounce back at the expense of both the NDP and Conservatives. It is no secret that the best opportunity for a Green Party victory is with a high profile candidate, (Like Elizabeth May), and a four way split amongst the electorate. IF, (and it’s a big if), the Liberals decide to field a centrist candidate to split the tory vote in this traditionally right of centre riding. If the Green Party hires a hot damned professional campaign manager, and IF Elizabeth May decides to throw her hat into the ring, then this could be the first properly elected seat for the GPC in Canada.

From what I know of Elizabeth though, she will tap the shoulder of her old friend and ally, Adrian Carr to run the campaign. Adrian has reputedly acquired an old NDP Campaign manual, and this will probably qualify her in her own, and Elizabeth’s eyes. Elizabeth would be well advised to gently deflect Adrian, and hire a real professional. (If she can find one). As she hopefully learned in the 2008 Central Nova debacle, it takes a tightly focused Poll by Poll canvas to take on and beat the Conservatives in their own natural surroundings.  She needs someone who will win the riding by contesting each and every poll. Dropping 75% of the Campaign budget on advertising simply does not cut it. Direct contact is what wins elections. I mean, for crying out loud, Central Nova could have hired professional call centres to canvas the whole riding for the kind of money they spent on print and radio advertising. It all smacked of a total rookie campaign manager, who simply doesn’t understand how retail politics is done but had an inkling that money wins elections.

What’s with this obsession with local advertising anyways? Elizabeth insisted on the same bloody thing in the London North Centre by-election, with full page ads in the local papers. A few hundred bucks for event notices and such, sure. A little advertsing dough to render the editorial staff receptive, well, that’s how politics is done. Popping your whole budget to reach a fraction of the electorate with a couple of print impressions? That’s not how you do it! Money in politics means paying professionals to help with GOTV. It means phone banks canvassing like crazy to feed the GOTV machine. It means vehicles rented to drive people to the advance polls. It means retailing your message, one on one!

Above all, Elizabeth needs to be very careful not to lose in her next trip to the polls. The Green Party can be publicly very forgiving of  the failures of their leadership, but there are already significant rumblings within the ranks. In the spring of 2010, the Green Party of Canada wil be gearing up for a Leadership race. Another electoral failure of the ‘Great Green Hope’ so close to the next Leadership race will be taken as a signal by many Greens. A signal that the gamble with a media savvy Leader was not as good as it seemed at the time.

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An open Invitation to Municipal Politicians: Join the Green Party of Canada.

Ontario Municipal elections 2010

Ontario Municipal elections 2010 prime objective

On Nov.8, 2010 there will be Province wide municipal elections in Ontario. There will also be municipal elections in Alberta, Manitoba, and P.E.I. In the fall of 2009 there will be municipal elections throughout the Provinces of Quebec, NewFoundland, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon.

So who cares? says you. Green Party organizers sure should care says I. I’ve posted before on the value of ambitious municipal politicians and candidates as potential organizers, and candidates for both the Provincial, and Federal Green Party’s. There is significant value to both would be Mayors and

Alberta Municipal elections 2010 prime objective

Alberta Municipal elections 2010 prime objective

Councilors, and to the local Green Party Riding association. Municipal politics is a tough business. Typically, it takes many years of activism in the community to build the networks, and name recognition that it takes to draw in the volunteer base, and sufficient votes to win in a local election. Building a policy platform is far from easy, and getting your message out to a fairly disinterested electorate takes luck, skill, and a lot of hard work.

There are a number of Green Party EDA’s across the country that have the power to anoint local councilors, and Mayors. In Ontario, Guelph, Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Toronto Centre, Toronto Danforth to my certain knowledge, and probably a fair sprinkling of other EDA’s have thousands of identified supporters. They really should be reviewing the municipal Ward boundaries, and making plans for the 2010 Municipal races. What would it be like in a handful of councilors, and one or two local Mayors owed their jobs to your EDA? These are people who spend every day networking in the community, and solving peoples problems for their electorate. They often have full time political staff, and NOBODY knows the local issues, and who falls on which side of them like the local Reeve/Councilor/Alderman etc. Many local politicians will have been out busting their humps for the other Party’s Federally and especially Provincially. Let them know there is a price to be paid, and exact that price in 2010. Those four EDA’s are in the big leagues now, and they have more power potential in local politics than the major Party’s do.

An openly Green municipal candidate can readily put their platform across by publicising their

Don't forget Manitoba for 2010 municipal elections!

Don't forget Manitoba for 2010 municipal elections!

endorsements by Green Party associations, candidates, and leaders. The Green Party is increasingly popular with the electorate, whether as first or second choice both Provincially and Federally. The association will bring an immediate positive response to the candidate with a majority of the electorate. In addition, Green Party riding associations have a small, but sometimes quite effective political organization. The local association has membership, and supporter lists that can be easily canvassed to deliver a fair sized block of votes.  Since municipal elections typically have very low turnouts, this list of motivated electors carries a great deal of weight in a local campaign. There is also the benefit of having a core group of experienced Green Party campaigners on the team.

The benefits are not all one sided in favor of the municipal candidate. Provided the municipal

Little PEI is still worthy of our Effort in 2010

Little PEI is still worthy of our Effort in 2010

candidate is openly, and explicitly the Green candidate, then the municipal ID the vote effort will be building up the lists of identified Green Party supporters at the municipal level. These voters will be prime candidates for the Federal, and Provincial canvass in subsequent elections. The Candidate will be building contacts, and a supporter base amongst local organizations. These local contacts may prove a valuable source of Green Party volunteers, and votes in subsequent elections.

A more direct synergy exists as well. A Federal or Provincial candidate gets a lot of publicity during the election. The most valuable possible asset for a municipal candidate is name recognition. By standing as a Green Party Candidate in the upcoming Federal election, an ambitious local politician can build and train a local political organization. By working hard canvassing, and building lists of supporters, they are laying the groundwork for a successful municipal candidacy. That is why I highlighted the timing of the next municipal elections. I think that it is increasingly likely that there will be a general election in Canada, either late in 2009, or in 2010. In Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and PEI, any candidate who stood for office in the spring, would still have name recognition, and a team with recent campaign experience to help them out when their municipal campaign launches in the summer.

Local EDA executives should be seeking out, and talking with local candidates, and potential candidates. This is a very persuasive argument to be used to recruit effective politicians into the Party. And if that candidate ends up winning their election, believe me, there are a lot of advantages to having full time politicians, and their staffers as allies in the local political arena. Lets not forget that old Green Party slogan, ‘Think globally, act locally.’ We can dramatically advance our agenda by gaining power and influence locally.

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Elizabeth May to tilt at Central Nova windmill again.

Oh No! It’s deja vu all over again.

Running in Central Nova again?!

Running in Central Nova again?!

I just read back to back posts at Report on Greens, where yesterday Elizabeth May had seemed to back down on her insistence on running in Central Nova, and thenflip flopped in a CTV interview. Yesterday I was quite pleased. I assumed that Elizabeth had seen the light, and realized that it was simple necessity  that she win a seat fair and square. Even casual observers of the GPC could see that her future, and even the Green Party’s future depends upon meeting the raised expectations of the electorate and the Party. After all, if the Greens were content to make marginal, and incremental improvements in their vote, then they would have elected David Chernushenko leader, and been guaranteed solid organisation and management. Instead, the GPC elected Elizabeth May because her high profile. Her undoubted media savvy seemed to offer the best chance of a strong Air War, and maybe a couple of seats in the next general election.

We all know that things somehow went wrong when Elizabeth rejected the professional advice of Dan Baril, and decided to run against Peter Mackay in Central Nova. I won’t rake it all over the coals again. Suffice it to say that Central Nova would vote for Peters dog if Peter was unavailable, just so long as the dog went by the name Mackay. It could be that Elizabeth thought that her pact with Dion not to run a Liberal candidate against her would suffice to unseat the favourite. There’s no question that Elizabeth’s desire to represent the riding where she and her family have lived for several decades weighed heavily on her. I have little doubt that more than a dash of wishful thinking was involved.

What actually happened is history now. The Green Party of Canada injected $80,000 into the campaign, out of which an astonishing $31,000 was spent on mostly print advertising. The bulk of the balance of their spending was on office rent, heat, and phones. A total of $55,000 was expended, (about $25k less than the spending limit), and Elizabeth May came in 6,000 votes behind Peter Mackay. Mind you, this was without any Liberal candidate in the race.

Now I’m sure that the Central Nova campaign identified all of the local GPC supporters. (NOT). I’m sure that they learned all about running an effective campaign in Central Nova, (NOT). Does Elizabeth imagine that with Ignatieff’s commitment to run a Liberal candidate against her, this will split the Conservative vote? Will the Lib/Con split to a greater extent than it splits her own vote? Not gonna happen. I don’t have any local opinion research to back me up, but I sincerely doubt that Elizabeth does either. I will eat my hat if any serious polls of the local electorate would support her in her decision. What the devil is she thinking then? The only thing I am left with is to suppose that she knows something that I don’t know.

Is Peter Mackay going to run in the next election or not? If he goes, and decides not to run his dog against her, then May suddenly becomes my favourite to win there. That could explain it. I will profusely apologise if that is the case. If it isn’t, then I am very disappointed indeed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Bill Casey, the Independent, and formerly Progressive Conservative incumbent in the next door riding of Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, has announced his intention not to run again. The Liberals will nominate Tracy Parsons again, which is not the best news for a run by Elizabeth, but this riding is a much better choice. It will be up for grabs, and there is enough time to do the fieldwork needed to elect Elizabeth there. This will meet Elizabeth’s need to be close to home, and will meet her Party’s need to bloody well put the puck in the net. If Elizabeth wants a slam dunk, then perhaps she could, for just a teensy weensie second, consider a guaranteed seat in Ontario? It’s called Guelph, and Mike Nagy has done a bang up job, and I mean really excellent, of preparing the ground for another heavy hitting candidate.

If not Elizabeth, then perhaps an invitation to David Chernushenko to stay in Guelph for 6 months or so is in order? The press would really eat up a ‘Leader in Waiting’ story, and I guarantee David would have an enormous volunteer presence if he took this bold step. It could be that he will be running municipally in 2010, but David, consider well how a high national profile could affect your future. The leadership of the GPC would be yours on a platter were you the first elected Green.

I think that the Green Party of Canada has to start examining it’s devolution into a leaders cult. We need more breadth, more high profile candidates to move forward with. I think that we need to start actively seeking out, and recruiting ambitious souls who are Green at heart. There is no question that there are many hundreds of Canadians with high profiles, who might leap at the chance to be the first Green Party Member of Parliament. There is no question that there is a plethora of high profile local ‘talent’ that could make a go of it in one, or all of our stronger riding’s. I don’t expect that our Ottawa office will look all that kindly on any major figures who stand forward, so it’s going to be up to the local EDA’s. Have a look at my previous post about recruiting municipal politicians as candidates. Hook up with your local councillor, mayor, and the second and third place candidates in the last election. Check out the candidates from the losing Party’s in the last few elections. You never can tell, but I bet if every EDA in Canada were to approach all of the above, we would recruit quite a few strong contenders, and win a seat or two in the next election.

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Conservative Party introduces subsidy measures for criminal gangs

Dope smokin' hippies don't vote conservative

Dope smokin' hippies don't vote conservative

OK, I know I promised that this blog wouldn’t be about policy, but I am pretty pissed off with the Conservatives right now. Under the pretense of cracking down on gangs, the Conservative Party has introduced legislation to apply a minimum sentence of 6 months in prison for growing a single pot plant. If this lonely little plant is grown in a rental apartment, then the minimum goes up to 9 months. Aggravating factors, like growing that plant for the purpose of trafficking can draw a 14 year prison term.

First of all, I would like to mention that It has been years since I smoked any dope. It’s not that I have been born again or anything weird, it’s just that I am too busy trying to get things done to fry brain cells, and play video games. I don’t even hang out with many people who do, not at least to talk about it. By the same token, I don’t think I know anybody who delights in sending innocent, and harmless people to prison either. Actually, based on the most recent public opinion poll I could dig up in 30 seconds, more than half of Canadians support decriminalizing Pot.

What will the impact of this legislation be if passed? Lots of people will decide that rather than norml_potleafgrow their own stone, they’ll take a walk, and buy it ready grown from a dealer. Thousands of people will turn from penny pinching grow your owners,  into paying customers for criminal gangs. There is no question that commercial grow ops will continue to thrive. In fact, with so much less competition from hobbyists, they will acquire a much stronger monopoly on dope production. Prices will inevitably edge up a little, and profits will boom.

But wait a minute, now that they have a really large domestic market, local turf becomes a really valuable commodity. It’s time to snuff out the local competition, and turf wars erupt across the whole frigging country. Over what? Dope! Reefer! Innocents will be gunned down while bad asses do battle to control the local reefer trade! So here we are. The Conservative Party is actively supporting criminal gangs with a strengthened monopoly. It makes a perverted kind of sense. By promoting open gang warfare, they will be scaring the hell out of people across the country, in those smaller towns and cities where gangsters are currently under represented. Because gullible people for some reason think that these stupid conservative policies are the best response to gang bangers, they will actually grow Conservative support across the country. It’s sick, but the Conservative Party of Canada actually has a vested interest in encouraging gang warfare, and increasing violent crime rates.

OK, that’s the end of my rant. In the future, I will try to stick to the nuts and bolts of electoral politics, but do yourselves a favour everybody, and speak up on this issue. Don’t let lots of harmless people be thrown in jail. Don’t let criminal gangs receive this free ride from the Conservative Party.

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