Liberals support monarchy, marijuana

OTTAWA — God save the Queen and pass the joint.

Newly-elected Liberal party president Mike Crawley

Newly-elected Liberal party president Mike Crawley

OTTAWA — God save the Queen and pass the joint.

Federal Liberals have shot down a proposal calling for Canadians to consider cutting this country’s ties to the monarchy. But they’ve thrown overwhelming support behind another calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

The Liberals also announced Sunday the election of Mike Crawley as new party president, rejecting Sheila Copps.

The proposals on the monrachy and marijuana were among of a handful of controversial resolutions at the party’s renewal convention.

They were put forward by the party’s youth wing, which argued that the Liberal party, reduced to rubble in last May’s election, needs to advance bold ideas if it is to revive.

“I think that there’s a certain amount of generational change happening in the party,” said Samuel Lavoie, president of the Liberal youth wing, on Sunday.

“We’re willing to push the envelope and we have the numbers and we have the will power to flex our muscles when it’s needed.”

The marijuana resolution is not binding on the leader or the party. And delegates rejected a proposal to remove the leader’s veto over the contents of future election platforms, so there’s no guarantee the party will ever actually campaign on the idea of legalizing pot.

Still, with an overwhelming 75 per cent of delegates voting for it, Lavoie predicted: “I think it is really difficult for anyone to just ignore the result and the will of the membership.”

The marijuana vote followed a move late Saturday to throw open the doors of the party. After a heated debate, delegates approved a proposal to create a new class of Liberal “supporters” who will be eligible to vote for party leaders in future, along with card-carrying, fee-paying members.

Delegates balked, however, at adopting a U.S.-style primary system to elect future leaders. They rejected a proposal to introduce a system of staggered regional leadership votes.

They did support reforming the country’s electoral system, voting to adopt preferential balloting in federal elections, rather than the current first-past-the-post system. Preferential ballots would ensure that only candidates who receive more than 50 per cent of the vote in their ridings would be elected to the House of Commons.