Joy Davies, federal Liberal candidate for South Surrey-White Rock, was under fire Thursday from both party Leader Justin Trudeau and her riding president after her pro-marijuana-use comments came to light.
UPDATE: Davies sent a resignation letter via Twitter and Facebook Thursday afternoon: “After much consideration, I have decided to resign as the Liberal candidate for South Surrey-White Rock, effective immediately. I believe in the work that the Liberal team is doing and my personal opinion and past comments should not distract from what is most important right now – ensuring all Canadians receive the real change and new leadership they deserve.”
Trudeau – who has vowed to legalize pot – was quick to distance himself from past Facebook statements by Davies that marijuana being used or grown in a home causes no harm to children.
Trudeau – campaigning in the Lower Mainland Thursday – told reporters the position of the party is that marijuana needs to be controlled and regulated to protect children.
“The views expressed by the individual in question do not reflect the views of the Liberal party of Canada and certainly do not reflect my personal views,” he said.
Trudeau added he would be meeting with his advisers and would have a further statement on Davies in a matter of hours.
“We are all deeply concerned by this,” riding president Ginny Hasselfield told PAN. “This does not reflect the views of the party…we are going to be looking into this.”
Meanwhile Conservative candidate Dianne Watts reportedly told news website The Huffington Post that Davies’ statements indicated bad judgment and being out of touch with riding priorities.
The website had quoted Facebook posts by Davies – a long-time public advocate of medical marijuana – as saying that secondhand pot smoke in the home does not pose a risk to children, that marijuana use reduces domestic-violence incidents, and that the Canadian Cancer Society promotes the pharmaceutical industry rather than investigating the health benefits of marijuana.
Davies did not respond to PAN’s request for comment Thursday morning.
In the past, Davies had told PAN she uses marijuana, primarily in oil form, to counteract the effects of fibromyalgia following a 1997 car accident.
She is a founding member of Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners, and was active in the organization’s lobbying of the City of White Rock, in January 2014, for support of a provincial medical-marijuana program.
She has also said the Liberal party was well aware of her views through an extensive green-light process before winning the riding nomination on May 30.