There is a new face on the South Surrey-White Rock federal campaign trail – and the likelihood of another, in the wake of the resignation last week by Liberal candidate Joy Davies, embroiled in controversy over pro-marijuana Facebook posts.
The Libertarian Party of Canada – which also supports the legalization of cannabis and ending the ‘war on drugs’ as part of its campaign platform – has announced the candidacy of South Surrey resident Bonnie Hu in the riding.
The 22 year-old, a 2015 business administration graduate of Seneca College in Ontario, told Peace Arch News she is motivated to run for the party because she believes in “less government involvement in people’s lives,” and has also been inspired by the presence of “young and involved candidates” in Greater Vancouver.
A new candidate was also expected to be named Tuesday by the Liberal riding association to run in place of Davies, although by PAN press time no announcement had been made.
Davies – a longtime medical-marijuana advocate – resigned after controversy erupted over past Facebook posts in which she asserted that smoking marijuana was not harmful for pregnant women, and that being around marijuana in the home was not harmful to children.
In a resignation statement sent through Twitter and Facebook Thursday, Davies said she is dropping out of the race because she believes “my personal opinion and past comments should not distract from what is most important right now – ensuring all Canadians receive the real change and new leadership they deserve.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had stated prior to Davies’ resignation that while the party advocates marijuana legalization, it needs to be controlled and regulated to protect children.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, campaigning for the Conservatives in New Brunswick last week, said Davies’ comments were indicative of what he termed Trudeau’s “irresponsibility” in “advocacy for the full legalization of marijuana.”
Conservative candidate Dianne Watts reiterated Monday that it is “irresponsible to suggest in any way, shape or form that it is all right for pregnant women to use drugs,” or for children to be around marijuana use. “It’s not something that the community supports, for sure.”
Hu, however, said her Libertarian platform includes “removing victimless crimes from the Criminal Code.”
“We want to legalize cannabis and decriminalize all other drugs,” she told PAN.
She added her party also supports lower income taxes, the removal of CRTC Canadian content quotas, the removal of “all other tariffs and quotas” and the opening of Canada’s borders to “allow more immigrants and more tourism.”