Pot thoughts should have been heard sooner

It seems anytime the subject of decriminalizing marijuana comes up, there’s some “former” politician with a view on the matter.

Here’s a note to all current politicians. Once you step out of the public spotlight in a few years please don’t come back to the media with great ideas you should have supported when you had the opportunity.

It seems anytime the subject of decriminalizing marijuana comes up, there’s some “former” politician with a view on the matter.

Earlier this month, a handful of former B.C. attorney generals – Colin Gabelmann, Ujjal Dosanjh, Graeme Bowbrick and Geoff Plant – joined the chorus and spouted the need to decriminalize marijuana because the war on drugs wasn’t working, the courts are clogging up and the prisons are over-crowded.

I’m all in favour of them lending their voices to a cause but frankly where were those voices when these men actually had the power to push for change?

Are these the same men who perhaps helped increase the government’s role in online gambling but would now preach that gambling is bad?

Is it only a matter of time before another former attorney general, Michael De Jong, comes out and says he made a mistake when pushing for the unconstitutional drunk driving laws?

A quick glance at the definition of the attorney general’s role offers terms such as “judicial like,” and “guardian of the public interest.”

So what were these guys doing when they were actually supposed to be fulfilling those roles?

The Globe and Mail dug up a quote from Plant in 2002 when he was asked about the legalization  issue.

The attorney general of the day’s response to a Vancouver paper was, “This is a matter for the federal government. It is not a matter on which the government of British Columbia has a position and not a matter on which I have an opinion.”

Spoken like a true career politician.

Somehow or somewhere between running for election and being full of opinions, many politicians lose their ability to form an opinion once elected.

And it’s not just Plant.

Last November four former Vancouver mayors also voiced their support for the decrimilization of marijuana.

Yet they never came out in support of Marc Emery when his trials and tribulations were being played out right in their own backyard.

They never once spoke up when they were in power or showed support for the thousands of people who participated in pro-marijuana rallies that have been held in Vancouver for over a decade.

And now they have the solutions.

Even those still with the ability to impact change refuse to get tied into the issue while at the same time endorsing it.

The Liberal Party made a feeble attempt to garner public support during its convention in January by announcing it was supporting the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

But the fine print gives the party an out should the issue ever really come to the forefront.

The resolution isn’t binding on the leader or the party, which means there’s no guarantee that the party will ever campaign on the issue. Basically a good PR move and that’s it.

So there you have it. All these people in a position to make change yet they can’t muster the strength to offer anything new until after the fact.

You can only tax people so much and sell so much oil that sooner or later there will be a revolt or a disastrous environmental impact.

But until then I guess the powers that be will follow those old guidelines – build more prisons, more pipelines and push up taxes – because that’s how an economy flourishes. And when the economy flourishes they get to keep their jobs.

Of course the first lesson in politics is never to say anything controversial once you’re in power – unless you have a majority then who cares?

I gotta admit I like watching U.S. politics especially when it comes to the current Republican nomination process. Rick Santorum is proving that if a politician truly speaks his mind, he’ll get lambasted by the media. His stances on abortion, gay rights, and religion are all on full display. He refuses to hide them.

It’s just what we wish every politician would do – come clean and tell us what you really think. Of course that will never get you elected.

Mitt Romney is proving if you change your tune just enough in front of different states, you’ll get everybody on your side most of the time.

So which is better? A politician who speaks openly and honestly but may offend some people or the politician that is smooth and smart and tells voters what they want to hear without being controversial.

I’m not much of a betting man but I would wager a few bucks that once Christy Clark leaves her office in Victoria she’ll come out in support of decriminalizing marijuana.

Don’t believe me? Just read her quote this month when asked for her stance on the issue.

“I am going to leave the marijuana debate to the federal government,” Clark told reporters.

How odd that Clark, once an opinionated radio show host, doesn’t have an opinion on such a huge issue that has social and economic impact in the province she’s supposed to care so much about.

I’m sure she does have an opinion on the matter but we’ll just have to wait a few years and then she’ll join other former politicians and shout it from the rooftops.

Too little, too late in my view.