Dana for BC NDP Leader

    December 30, 2010
    "I'd like to thank Party President Moe Sihota for calling me and apologizing for his recent statements to the media," said BC NDP Leadership Candidate Dana Larsen in a statement released today.
    In a recent phone call, Moe Sihota agreed he was wrong to say that Dana Larsen was "ineligible" to run for the leadership.
    First, Moe Sihota conceded that Larsen is currently a BC NDP member in good standing.
    "Moe agreed that my most recent donation to the party was in November 2010, paid by credit card," said Larsen. According to the BC NDP Constitution: "An individual member shall be in good standing for twelve months from the date of his/her last donation to the Party."
    "Moe also agreed that my donation had been incorrectly processed by head office, and that this was more of a clerical error than a serious problem," said Larsen. "And he also accepted that his comment was irrelevant, as under our party's Constitution, even if someone was not currently a BC NDP member, that person would have until mid-January to join the party and still be eligible to run for leader."
    Second, Sihota agreed that he was factually incorrect when he told the media that Larsen "was deemed to be ineligible to run federally."
    Larsen was accepted as an NDP candidate in the 2008 federal election, and chose to resign of his own accord. "I chose to step down as a candidate so as not to be a distraction to Jack Layton's federal campaign," says Larsen. "I took one for the team, but I was never deemed ineligible to run as a candidate. I'm glad Moe has agreed that he misunderstood what had actually happened at that time."
    "I am a longstanding, loyal and active member of the New Democratic Party, and my membership is up to date," added Larsen. "I am glad that Moe Sihota has acknowledged that I am as eligible to run for the Leadership as any other member of our party."
    "I would also like to thank Mike Farnworth for coming out in support of my democratic right to run for the leadership," concluded Larsen. "I appreciate his fair-minded comments to the press."
    BC civil rights lawyer and NDP member Kirk Tousaw explained that the BC NDP Constitution does not allow the Executive to ban a party member from running for Leader.
    "The Party Constitution only states that candidates for positions like MP or MLA must be approved by the Executive. But candidates for the party leadership do not require the approval of the executive."
    "The Constitution only gives the executive the power to create 'regulations' for leadership candidates," added Tousaw, "such as the entry fee, the maximum amount a candidate can spend during their campaign, and so on."
    "The executive does not have the power to bar members from running simply because they disagree with a candidate's priorities or lifestyle. I have never heard of a BC NDP member being barred from running for Leader."

    December 29, 2010
    Dana Larsen, others, respond to erroneous statements by NDP President Moe Sihota
    Dana Larsen has issued a response to the surprising comments by BC NDP President Moe Sihota Wednesday that he is ineligible to run for the leadership of the party due to a lapsed membership.
    “I donate regularly to the NDP and have been a member in good standing for 7 years. In November, I spoke with the BC NDP office to renew my membership, change my address and make a donation. The donation was processed, however, my address change, and now it seems my membership, were not” said Dana Larsen. “Moe Sihota chose to resolve this clerical error through the media rather than contacting me directly, that is highly irregular, and given the affect of his comments, not at all in keeping with the NDP's commitment to democracy.”
    President of the “West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country” riding, Charles Burns, in which Mr Larsen used to live, responded with an open letter to NDP President Moe Sihota via the NDP affiliated "Sunshine" email list.
    “I am very disturbed you are pursuing spreading this false information that Dana Larsen's membership is not valid. He currently appears on our most current federal membership list as a member in good standing for the federal riding.” said Charles Burns. “I know Dana has been trying to get his membership transferred... for some time... I also know that over the last 7 years Dana has always kept his membership paid up and valid at all times.”
    Prominent Vancouver civil rights lawyer, former NDP candidate and drug policy reform advocate Kirk Tousaw was surprised at the statements by Moe Sihota, and felt they may negatively impact Dana's campaign.
    “I am not saying this is interference in Mr Larsen's campaign, but it certainly could be interpreted that way” said Kirk Tousaw. “The NDP is a diverse party, with many people of different backgrounds, and it is up to the membership of the NDP to judge the viability of a particular candidate, not the job of the party president.”

    Dana Larsen Press Conference
    December 29, 10:15am - 1182 Thurlow st, Vancouver
    Dana Larsen, long time activist, founding editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, former federal NDP candidate in “West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country”, founder of “EndProhibition – NDP Against the Drug War” and founder of the Vancouver Medical Cannabis Dispensary, will be making an announcement tomorrow (December 29) regarding the BC NDP Leadership, 10:15am at 1182 Thurlow St in Vancouver.
    “This province needs leadership that respects and listens to the community and that makes sustainable decisions based on evidence, not ideology. The BC NDP must be the party of ideas, not simply opposition” said Dana Larsen, “On Wednesday, I will announce my intentions for the future of the BC NDP and the future of this province”.

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