Tom Mulcair, national NDP Party leader, stopped for morning coffee and to pitch the party’s platform to abolish the Senate and work for marijuana reform Friday.
Mulcair and his wife, Catherine Pinhas, were greeted by a small gathering of about 40 supporters and press at Mon Petit Choux Bakery and Café at about 8 a.m. for a meet and greet with supporters and local MLAs.
Mulcair categorized the visit as part of a “listening tour” to hear concerns of British Columbians, but the overall tone of the event seemed a lot more like a campaign stop as he promoted federal NDP goals of abolishing the Senate and attacked the federal Conservatives and Liberals.
“Well, it’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing since May when we launched the Roll Up the Red Carpet campaign,” Mulcair said. “We’ve had the same position for quite a long time, in fact going back to the (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Party), that in a democratic society you don’t let unelected people make laws for the rest of it. You especially don’t let unelected people reverse the laws. You might recall that the House of Commons enacted legislation to fight climate change with a bill to reduce greenhouse gasses and it was adopted by the the House of Commons, but reversed by the Senate, so that was a watershed moment for Canadians.”
Mulcair also cited recent scandals involving senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.
“You don’t fill the place full of bag men, party hacks and fundraisers and then expect Canadians to have respect for such an institution,” Mulcair said.
Mulcair also said he is in favour of decriminalization of marijuana and made a point of suggesting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was hypocritical by admitting he had used marijuana, but voted with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to increase penalties for marijuana possession.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Mulcair said. “If you’re saying that marijuana can be used and can be legalized, which is what we’ve been saying for 40 years, you start with that and then you work on the rest of it. You do the best analysis possible to rate the concentrations, the strengths and the types of drugs you’re dealing with and then you can go to the extra step, but it has to be done in order if it’s going to be credible.”
Ideas and concerns from Islanders Mulcair said he’ll take back to Ottawa centre on the environment and the desire for sustainable development and pressures from foreign interests multinational corporations.