OTTAWA — A former Conservative MP seeking to return to Ottawa as an Independent has lent his name to a national campaign urging right-wing politicians to legalize pot.
Inky Mark, who represented Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette for 17 years before resigning in 2010, is a spokesman for the Canadian Conservatives for Legal Marijuana.
The group’s website lists three current Conservative MPs and several former ones, including prime ministers Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, along with quotes from them supporting the idea of legalizing marijuana. It also points to numerous efforts in the U.S. where right-wing politicians are on side with legalizing pot.
"The (Conservative) government is on the wrong track on this totally," said Mark.
The Conservatives are against legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and have accused Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau of wanting to make it easier for kids to buy it with his promise to do so.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose didn’t specifically address Mark’s involvement or that of current MPs Patrick Brown, Scott Reid and Gerald Keddy, but restated the government’s opposition to changing laws regarding marijuana.
Instead, she only went after Trudeau.
"We continue to oppose Justin Trudeau’s deeply irresponsible scheme to make it easier for our children to access marijuana by selling it in stores, just like cigarettes," she said in a statement. "Justin Trudeau’s Liberal plan is irresponsible and can have only one effect: increasing access and use of marijuana."
Mark is running in the federal election as an Independent in his old riding. The seat is currently represented by Conservative MP Bob Sopuck. He was not available for comment Monday.