Simpson gives campaigning a second try

Brad Works
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xcluded from candidates debate, hemp advocate says he's already being treated unfairly

AMHERST -Better known for hemp advocacy than his last run for federal office, Rick Simpson has become the second independent candidate in the race to represent Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley in the House of Commons.

Simpson, 58, of Little Forks, Cumberland County filed his nomination papers Monday for the Oct. 14 federal election.

"I ran in the last election on the same issue," said Simpson, a former power engineer. "They called me the one issue candidate but they were wrong, hemp is not just one issue."

He said using hemp is more than just about curing cancer, which he and his supporters claim he has been doing with the plant for years.

"It's not just medicinal," Simpson explained in a telephone interview from his home. "It's capable of producing energy, creating jobs and supporting industries that won't be harmful to the earth.

"We have to get people back to the land," he said. "If the economy collapses, which it's close to doing, cities will become war zones. At least in the 1930s (during the Great Depression) most people lived off the land."

Simpson acknowledges his way of thinking flies against society's accepted norms, but is undeterred.

"Today we have fossil fuels and corruption," he said, "and the fossil fuels are almost gone."

Last February, after being fined $2,000 for production of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the purpose of trafficking, following an incident in 2005, Simpson pondered leaving the country.

"After five years of trying to bring this medicinal oil to the people, I'm very disillusioned as to how this country is being run. It seems the health and welfare of Canadians means nothing to Ottawa," Simpson told the Amherst Daily News.

Now he is trying to evoke change from the inside, but says he is facing an uphill battle.

"The Truro Chamber of Commerce has already called me to say I'm not welcome at their candidates debate.

"It's not fair," he said. "You pay your $1,000, collect your 100 signatures and you're not allowed to speak."

The Truro chamber, which is hosting a candidates' debate for the riding on Oct. 2, sees it differently.

"Mr. Simpson is a one issue candidate," said executive director Tim Tucker. "We will be debating a broad spectrum of issues."

Organizations: House of Commons, Amherst Daily News, Truro Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Little Forks, Cumberland County Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    How strange ! How smug ! How do they know what other issues he wants to debate . It doesn't matter anyway as this riding is nomansland , even much worse than when the Liberals were in power and the member was on the opposition side .The liberals were fair and the member belonged to a credable party that could take power and be in a position to return the fairness . Now the riding gets punished and the bums rush ,just like Ricky is being treated . IMO

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    What platform does the other independant have......oppose....oppose.....oppose. That doesn't get the area any further than Mr Simpson would.

    I do hope people put the well being of the area first- not the ego of one individual.

  • Susan
    January 18, 2010 - 10:42

    If one independant can participate why not both. Maybe just the major party candidates only. Someone is being treated differently here. Is it Mr Simpson or Mr Casey.

  • Sebastian
    January 18, 2010 - 10:39

    Usually, these events are billed as 'All Candidates Debates.' That implies 'all.'

    Although the Chamber is unfortunately within its legal rights to not issue an invitation to Mr. Simpson, it most certainly does not make for good optics. Those optics are fairly blunt: tired, old backroom orchestrations; the muzzling of offering full democratic choice; the non-visible and implied endorsement of one candidate.

    Mr. Simpson has done all that is required of him by the Elections Act to enter his name as an independent candidate. He has dug into his own financial pocket as opposed to the pocket of a friendly governmental funding agency. By refusing his participation at the debate, the Chamber not only directly scoffs at Mr. Simpson's legal requirements, it also indirectly scoffs at the country's Elections Act.

    The Chamber's conduct is small town thinking and small town politicking. It is a 19th century anachronism and cronyism. It is a political embarrassment.