Opening Statement



Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Oh Cannabis: Ontario PC Doug Ford?

UPDATE: Doug Ford seems to be walking back his support for free market pot, as the Ontario provincial election approaches, running into a lot of internal flack from the Ontario Conservative party, most predictably, it's social conservative wing @ PM



I make a very unlikely Ontario Progressive Conservative [PC] supporter, but here I am at the Toronto Congress Centre for new party leader Doug Ford's March 19th "Unity Rally". It's one of life's little ironies, I suppose. I have my "Oh Cannabis" media I.D. hanging around my neck. Also, a very important task: to learn more about new Doug Ford's plans for the sales and distribution of cannabis in our province, if he is elected premier.

Like him or not -kudos to Doug Ford! Cannabis will be legalized this summer. That's already in the works, come what may. Meanwhile, with a provincial election looming on June 7th, the PC cannabis Blue Meanies have a commanding 50%+ lead in the polls! So what does Doug do?

Suddenly, out the blue, Doug Ford has promised if elected, to take a good, old fashioned, free market approach towards legal cannabis! How? By handing the task over to Ontario's already flourishing private sector cannabiz industry! 

Fortunately, for we progressives, PC Doug's actually gone and introduced a much needed legalization debate into our spring election proceedings! Where the PC's have feared to tread! With voting less than 100 days away! Offering us a quite possible, free market alternative to the Wynne Neo Liberals! Their nefarious, corporate, legalization monopoly plan! 

No doubt, Doug's caught the provincial NDP napping! MIA! What more can one say? Seemingly they're still in a deep political slumber, nowhere to be see! 

The GOP in the US should take note! Canuck PC Leader Doug Ford knows! Legalization is both a good political and business move! Legal weed is a very excellent source of much needed tax dollars to help balance the budget! 

Plus Private  sector cannabis just makes great business sense! Why reinvent the wheel at great public expense, when there is already a perfectly functional cannabis free market? Already in place?

Should make perfect sense from a fiscal conservative perspective, no?



Ontario's underground cannabiz activist-entrepreneurs have realized that for years! It's grass root free enterprise, in it's most basic and purest form. 

Despite decades of Reefer Madness propaganda, lies and bullshit, cannabis is now widely known to be very safe. Much, much moreso than tobacco or booze. 

It's enjoyed by lots of folks of every race, age and persuasion. It employs a whole lot of everyday entrepreneurs of most every political stripe. 

We all have a great deal in common, across our fair province, in having our next government finally getting legalization right, for once and for all! 

Legalization should never have become just another big Corporate Neo Liberal cash grab! But unfortunately, up until now, the Ontario PC party hasn't shown any inclination whatsoever, towards championing free market cannabis, in the so called legalization debate. 



Aside from Doug, and maverick MPP Randy Hillier, the Ontario PC's have been blind that, quite simply put, from a fiscal conservative perspective too, free market weed just makes a whole lot of good, old fashioned dollars and sense!

Of course, Doug's Conservative Epiphany of sorts on free market weed all sounds pretty fine and dandy! Still, can he actually turn the party position around, with the provincial election less than 100 days away? 

The clock is ticking! Where are the details? Just what exactly does he plan to do?  

For example: 

Would a Ford PC government completely scrap the Liberal government monopoly stores? Mail order sales? Before they open this summer? Afterwards? Or keep them both in place too? 

What's are the rules and regulations? For a start up? To register a business? 


Moreover -a free Market? For Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

On and on it goes!



So here I am! To determine whether our Ontario PC Premier is actually just an emperor with no clothes! When it comes to even the most basic details about his seductive new plan for free market weed?

I dutifully register at the Toronto Congress Centre, as your "Oh Cannabis" reporter, over at the media table. Gingerly wade my way through a huge crowd of perhaps 2,000 of the Conservative Party faithful! 

I count two tables of caucus members, their families and friends. Many PC election candidates are out in full force, along with their riding association and election campaign members. There's lots of party operatives and officials. Also, many everyday "just plain folk" voters. 

It's a fairly diverse crowd of all ages. Demonstratively, very fed up with the corrupt and wasteful Wynne government. Just plain folks. Desperately, in search of a change.



I am belly up, stage centre, in front of the podium, as Doug arrives with much fanfare. He's flanked by three former leadership opponents, all now seemingly united behind the new Ontario PC leader; Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, and Tanya Granic Allen. 

Pat Brown? Conspicuous by his absence. 

Much hugs, back patting, sign waving and crowd cheers follow, but interestingly it is Doug alone who speaks.

Alas! Free enterprise weed isn't on the agenda tonight. Nor are any actual platform details whatsoever. 

Hmmmm. The PC's did have an election platform up, until a few weeks ago. Remember Pat Brown's "The Peoples Promise"? 

Alas! Kaput! All that much touted consultation and long, hard party work is now completely missing in action. The PC election platform sent packing too! 

Instead, Doug Ford has arisen from municipal ignominy and defeat. The controversial Ford Nation Toronto Phoenix of sorts, is now stepping up, last minute, as the newly minted PC leader! Reinventing the party on the fly as the election clock relentlessly ticks away!

Can he save the day? Still nail down the PC's huge polling numbers with a majority government? While now also including lefty potheads under the big Ford Nation tent too?

I stare into Doug's sweaty face from a mere few feet away as he speaks. His eyes dart about nervously but he's very deliberate. Focused. Stays on script. 

Tonight's unity speech is a full frontal attack on Premier Kathleen Wynne. A call to arms! Doug makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he's out to get her.



Still, with less than a hundred days until the provincial election, Doug's Unity Rally speech is totally devoid of any election specifics. Only that we are being offered up Doug, as Kathleen's "worst nightmare".

It's a reoccurring theme that resonates well with the party faithful gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre. But let me be frank. Or David. As a native Torontonian, I have lived next door to Ford Nation for most of my adult life. Have experienced first hand the Brother Ford's rocky tenure at Toronto City Hall. 

Long time readers of my blog site will know that I have been no fan of Rob or Doug! 

IMHO, the Fords have been a very toxic, divisive political force, a neo con wrecking ball of sorts, not conductive to good order and government. Plus with Rob and Doug, the devil is always in the details!

I'm certainly not an Ontario PC supporter either, especially their neo conservative thrust. Then again, as a retired teacher, I watched the provincial Liberals compromise our once proud unions and destroy the collective bargaining process, once and for all, far more effectively than the Harris Conservatives ever did. 



Recall that it also was our supposed "labour party", the provincial NDP, whom so unceremoniously goosed the so called "social contract" down our union leaders' slippery throats. 

Most progressives have our own Ontario political horror stories and pet peeves! With all our parties! On any number of fronts! 

Over the last thirty years, time and again, we've been asked to choose between successive turn coat Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum governments of all three party stripes!

Neo Cons? Neo Libs? Or NDP Socialist's - Not Socialist's? No matter! 

We've constantly seen our hopes and dreams dashed, on the corporate altar of government austerity, thanks to a whole lot of Oligarchical Rigging 101!



And so, it's provincial election time again? In all fairness, I very much appreciate and will remain open, to Doug Ford weighing in on our provincial legalization debate, from a free market perspective. 

Our long suffering cannabiz growers, producers, sellers, dispensaries, bud workers and activist entrepreneurs? They should profit from the long struggle for legalization. Not the government bully boys and their greedy corporate buddies, now so eager to cash in on their grief. 

Clearly we need to make a wise and informed choice on June 7th. To do so, we will need to know a helluva lot more about Doug's actual plans! 

Truly, between now and election day, it's very necessary for each of us to grill all three parties on free market verses monopoly weed. There are just so many pressing legalization questions that need to be asked. 

Here in west Toronto where I live, the early bird candidates are already knocking on our doors. Ha! Truly, this opportunity has been a very, long time coming. 

Think about it: Doug Ford has helped finally dragged legalization into the election limelight. An alternative to the Wynne government's corporate weed monopoly is actually on the table! Maybe we will really see some real change? 

Doug finishes up onstage, the consummate politician. Stares me in the eye. Gives me a high 5. Then moves on, working the excited crowd, now bubbling over, cheering, clapping, reaching out, shaking hands, taking selfies, bathing in Doug's all encompassing glow. 

Doug's on home turf tonight. He's surrounded by an adoring Ford Nation crowd. But it'll be all up or downhill from here, in the short election daze ahead.



To the right hand side of the stage, former Social Conservative leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen is holding court. She's surrounded by bright camera lights. A gaggle of reporters. A big, excited, adoring crowd of the Ontario PC Tea Party style faithful. 

I waste little time. Leap in among the battery of questions about "party unity". To ask if she supports Doug's position on legalized weed. 

Doug's the leader. He'll make the policies. The now united party will support him. But in fact, Tanya won't commit. See @ WATCH VIDEO!

Tanya's clearly not impressed, nor ready, willing or able for that matter to answer my question. 

That in and of itself says a lot! Are Doug Ford's PC "Party Unity" claims, like his free market weed ones, little more than a glittering generality? 

Moreover, what of the PC's large continent of Social Conservatives and other old school Reefer Madness conservatives? Will they also be on board with Doug Ford's cannabis policies too? 



When it comes to choosing Ontario's next provincial government, we hardly want to end up with another pig in a poke. However, if we ask enough questions repeatedly, all three parties will know cannabis is an important issue. They will suddenly need to pay attention to us too, come June 7th. 

Plus if it's a tight race, with all three parties feeling the pressure, we might just squeeze a compromise or two out of them each. 

Think about it! It's not much. But it's a whole lot more than we are getting now! 

Imagine! After June 7th, Ontario could have a free market weed market! Instead of the Neo Lib Wynne government's dreadful, government controlled, cannabis monopoly! 

So let's start asking questions! Let's work for real change! Let's help grow our Ontario Cannabis Community together! 

Pax!

David C

PS: Please: If you get some interesting responses when questioning any of the election parties and/or candidates, please feel free to share them here with us, in the "Comment'" sections below!

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