While I am doing my best to address all of the issues faced by the Victoria city council, there is no doubt that my main focus is on helping all level of government amend the new cannabis laws towards the most rational, functional and efficient regulations possible. The legalization of cannabis is an incredibly critical moment in history yet no one in any level of political office has any real experience in working in this field- with the exception of Doug Ford and his hash dealing days.
Massive changes are about to completely change the cannabis industry. Without any substantial voice in the political sphere, many of us are rightfully fearful of the future and how big corporations are poised to take over what we have worked so hard to attain. Compassion club’s like the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club are faced with the decision to comply, letting their members suffer, or continue to provide the same medicines at risk of more vigorous enforcement.
Since Victoria is also the capital city of B.C., the eyes of the entire world are on us. There is no doubt that being on city council will give me an opportunity to advocate to the province and federal governments for improvements to the law. Please help me ensure that the grassroots cannabis industry that fought so long for legalization does not get squashed in the transition.
My passion for community, justice, economic efficiency and helping the poor and sick, has given me a wealth of experience that I believe will make me an excellent councilor in Victoria, British Columbia. My name is Ted Smith, and I would like your support as I run for the city council of this great city. If you would like to help me hold the provincial and federal governments accountable for their failings, while working together to find practical solutions to our problems, then please give me your vote.
We need forward-thinking councilors able to challenge other levels of government for fairness while at the same time engaging more effectively with our own citizens to create and implement programs and infrastructure. Many of the problems faced by our city, including drug addiction, homelessness, climate change and lack of affordable housing, are situations generally created by poor policies of higher levels of government. If elected to council, it is my intention to use my voice as an advocate for marginalized communities.
With the housing crisis in Victoria pushing many outside of the city to live in other more affordable places, we need to push for the dense development of affordable housing along the Douglas Street corridor as we build an adjacent rapid transit system. Everyone wants to preserve the beautiful architecture and landscapes this city offers, but there are areas where the city could encourage more intense development. At the same time, we need to ensure that in the rush to develop we do not forget to reuse everything possible from deconstructed buildings and use the most advanced environmentally friendly materials and infrastructure wherever possible.
My political career began in high school, where I was very involved in the students council and was valedictorian of Galt Collegiate Institute in Cambridge, Ontario in 1986. When attending Wilfrid Laurier University, studying economics and philosophy while playing rugby for 5 years, it became clear to me that our world had many complex problems that could only be solved with focused effort and coordination. Striking out west after graduating, most of my life I have been working to improve myself and the world around me, taking what I need to thrive while giving as much as possible of myself to others.
In my experience as a cannabis advocate for over two decades, I have gained many skills that will assist me in my work as city councilor but I have some history working in the nonprofit community in Victoria that gives me more depth than one might see at first glance. In the 1990s, I became involved with a street youth organization, Inner City Youth Works Society, that gave me some intense experience running a nonprofit and an opportunity to represent the group in the community. This led me to become involved in the Community Economic Development Association as a founding board member, the Victoria Street Community Association, the Bent Nail and the CRUNCH Initiative, that I sat on as the youth representative for about two years.
Personally, it is my belief that my health and the health of others always comes first. Constantly engaging in physical activities, eating an excellent diet and enjoying nature are all very important to me for my health, as I clearly see how important it is for me to be healthy when I strike out to help others. As a city councilor it will be important for me to help others live healthy and happy lives by being an excellent example to others and helping encourage conversation about healthy living.
After many years of successfully operating a highly political business in Victoria, there are many reasons why being on city council is a natural fit for me. Whether it is working to build more affordable housing, create a rapid transit system, making improvement to roads and bike lanes, fighting for better health care for the most marginalized, demanding environmentally friendly building practices or helping to ensure the new cannabis legalization laws are progressive, there is a lot I can do for Victoria. The biggest challenge of council is to bring stakeholders together so the community can find the right tools for each community project, finding ways for new partnerships to form while strengthening community associations.
Ted Smith is a big Boy Scout. Constantly helping others in need, Ted has successfully advocated human rights for decades. Founding the world’s oldest compassion club in 1996, he has played a large role in the battle to the legalization of cannabis. In the 1990’s, Ted gained a footing in Victoria by working with several organizations, including Inner City Youth Works Society, the Victoria Street Community Association, the Greater Victoria Community Economic Development Corporation, the Victoria International Education and Development Association, the Bent Nail and the CRUNCH initiative.
Ted took a few years away from the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club to care for Gayle Quin as she died from cancer and he created a tea company, Gayle’s Tea, in her honour. He was the publisher of the Cannabis Digest newspaper for 9 years. He is also the author of HEMPOLOGY 101: THE HISTORY AND USES OF CANNABIS SATIVA.
Ted Smith: 'My passion for community, justice, economic efficiency and helping the poor and sick, has given me a wealth of experience that I believe will make me an excellent councilor in Victoria, British Columbia.'
Please read more at this post on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tedsmith2018/posts/277508979466979?__tn__=K-R
By Kristyn Anthony Vic Press
Aug. 31, 2018
Longtime cannabis activist Ted Smith is running for a seat on Victoria city council to ensure the industry he helped build locally is properly represented when legalization takes effect this fall.
“Nobody in politics really knows anything about it,” says the founder of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club. “I see this as an opportunity to take the work I’ve done in cannabis and make it count.”
Smith, who studied economics at Sir Wilfred Laurier University, has been advocating on behalf of medicinal marijuana users since the mid-’90s.
Back then he also took an active role with the former Inner City Youth Work Society and for years sat on the City’s health and safety task force.
“The work I’ve been doing for decades has been very political in nature in Victoria,” Smith says. “I think I deserve a chance to sit at the table and help guide other issues.”
It’s the decades of experience in the cannabis industry that Smith feels could help substantially as the City transitions to managing the substance when it becomes legal, Oct. 17.
Compassion clubs who provide safe access to medical grade marijuana are at risk, he explains, because of regulations the federal government has outlined. Product must be supplied from licensed producers approved by Health Canada, but Smith says the standard concentrations of THC are too low, and leave longtime medicinal users in the lurch.
“Most patients need stronger medicines and we provide a wide range of alternatives to smoking,” he says, referring to the government’s outright ban of edibles. “Patients aren’t their prime concern, tax dollars seem to be.”
. . .
Crystal Pool Redevelopment Needs Reboot
Many questions have been raised about what is happening with Crystal Pool and Central Park as the city moves forward with replacing the old facility. Early last year the city announced plans to work with other levels of government to upgrade the pool, assuring the neighbourhood that the park would be protected as much as possible. Everyone was happy to hear the aging facility was being replaced.
However, when details were released this summer, another plan was announced by the mayor, and supported by the majority of council, to build a community center and affordable housing where a parking lot was planned. At the same time it also become clear that there was no money budgeted for the much loved basketball courts, tennis courts or children’s playground. Signs to save Central Park have sprung up all over the neighbourhood.
While it is important for the city council to be bold and think of the future, it is also important for them to make sure that neighbourhoods affected by their plans have plenty of opportunity to engage in the decision making process. When neighbourhoods are shocked with haphazard consultation, the consequences range from personal anxiety to entrenching negative attitudes about politicians and , most importantly, everyone is left to live with projects that may have been much better if more input was sought by the city.
Affordable housing is critically important, but not so important that we should build in parks. We have to protect our green spaces. If this was proposed for Beacon Hill Park the uproar would be quick.
In fact there is a parking lot across the street from the new facility that the city partly owns at the back of the arena. In my opinion, we should be using that parking lot for the new pool and not be putting vehicles in the park at all, except a few spaces for the disabled, after the building is complete. This should be an opportunity to improve the park, not fill it in with buildings and cars.
The new Crystal Pool will be the biggest project handled by the next council. While some decisions will have been made by the time I get a seat, it is my intention as a councilor to ensure proper consultation regarding city initiatives and proposed changes to them. Our city will function even better if we learn how to work together more effectively.
Sex workers need protection.
It is time for us to have a grown-up conversation about sex work.
Before I say anything else, I feel I need to premise this debate with the fact that is it very sad there is not more love in this world. Almost everyone could use more love, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is very distressing for me to see people unable to find a deep love in this beautiful world that is full of magic if you are able to tap into it.
We need to learn how to give and receive love in all forms in order to thrive. While I was caring for Gayle in her last years, the love I shared and received from others sustained me on every level and gave me the strength I needed to pour more love into her. Love truly makes the world go around and the feeling of love, even the hope for love, is what drives us to be better humans.
What does this have to do with my run for city council? Everything.
One of the most critical tasks of local government should be the defense of its citizens against poor public policies of higher levels of government. Far too often the responsibilities of government are divided in ways that give the municipal governments few powers but leave them to deal with the problems that result. A perfect example is the failed war on drugs, which is really a war on some people that use some drugs.
Likewise we live in a society that punishes people for providing sex work and those that seek it. Sadly, we cannot seem to accept that many struggle to find love will go to great risks to temporarily fill that void with a sex worker. Even more disappointing is our society’s willingness to punish women desperate enough to risk their lives for a few dollars.
The problems of the sex trade are complex and I only have a superficial understanding of the issues they face but I have no doubt it will be my job on council to protect vulnerable citizens, especially when it is government policies that make their lives worse. Indeed, it seems clear to me that my job on council will be to try and defend those marginalized by policies from higher levels of government. While I am not First Nations, or a woman, person of colour, transgendered, drug addicted, homeless or mentally ill, those are the people I hope to help by making the decision makers accountable for the things they do that make the lives of these vulnerable populations worse.
So to get a better understanding of this issue, I had a meeting with my friend Lisa. When she asked me if i supported sex workers, I said yes and added that it was my opinion that we needed to legalize the victimless trade of sexual favours. She promptly stated that decriminalization was the answer, as the most marginalized sex workers would never be willing to comply with regulations.
After a great conversation we realized that we were both right, we need both legalization and decriminalization at the same time! The two concepts are not mutually exclusive and they can compliment each other in many ways. In fact, the same could be said about cannabis and we would have been a lot better off as a society had we first decriminalized the herb before jumping into legalization.
There are many valid reasons for the sex trade to become legal, especially for the protection of the workers. However it would make no sense to punish those who choose to remain outside of the legal system. While we cannot eliminate all of the problems that come with the sex trade, we can stop punishing people for trying to enjoy themselves and the people who serve them.
This is what Lisa had to say about the idea of legalizing the sex trade and decriminalizing all other consensual acts between adults.
“Designing the administration of alternative medicines, (unregulated, illegal drugs), and sex work, along a continuum of healthcare, with utter medicalization, including training, regulation, and licensing, being at one end, and utter decriminalization, sans all regulation and licensing, at the other end of the spectrum, makes so much sense. I think, especially with sex work, there will always be those clients who value anonymity, and privacy, over clinically supervised continuity of sexual care. With cannabis, there will be those self-directed consumers who may, also, prefer anonymity and may not have, or be willing to admit to, a medical condition that would allow them access to regulated cannabis.”
After decades of debating legalization versus decriminalization in the cannabis field, it was really neat coming to the realization that they could exist together. As we approach cannabis legalization, I really wish we had started with decriminalization for a while first and then kept both policies complimenting each other.
We all want to see our communities thrive, but as long as we are punishing each other for consensual acts between adults, we are causing many unnecessary negative consequences and curbing our potential to develop together. Ending the war on sex work needs to start now with decriminalization before we work together to create balanced laws that protect workers and customers. No longer should laws built on moral values inflict punishment on those who defy them in an attempt to enjoy life.
Of course, some will condemn me for this position, proclaiming that I somehow support the exploitation of children and vulnerable women. Some believe that we can somehow wipe out demand, like there is a magic wand we can wave across the world to forever satisfy everyone’sexual desires so that no one will be willing to pay to sensually touch another person. Let me assure my critics and supporters alike, that I support this platform out of nothing but love for sex workers, their families, clients and support networks, in the hope that if we all work in this direction we can solve many of the problems we see as a result of making their work a crime.
Youth Center Will Build Skills, Educate, Employ and Inspire
Every since the original Inner City Youth Works Society folded in 1999, I have wanted to create another place just like it. At its peak we had 10 small businesses and a big kitchen to feed the 30-35 youth who were working there every day. When I am elected to city council I will put this project on track.
If I spend four years building a foundation for Little City Youth works Society, then even if I do not get back on council for a second term we should still be able to move ahead. If I remain on council for a second term, then I can guide the project along, hopefully with the city as a full partner. Either way, just one term in office will be enough for me to kickstart this to life.
ironically the last center failed because it was doing so well. In the spring on 1999, the group decided to pack everything up and move to the mountains near Nelson. Instead of realizing how important it is to have stores in downtown to support a farm, they just wanted out of the city.
This time the center will have both a place in the country for members to grow food and produce other things along with a storefront in Victoria to sell items and provide services. Our motto is A HAND UP NOT A HAND OUT. With hindsight as a guide and good intentions our fuel, together we can build a solid foundation upon which this youth collective can be built.
Povertly and homelessness are complex issues that that few successful people in business or government understand because it is so hard for them to relate to people with so little. Instead of dreaming that for profit businesses or cash-strapped governments are going to solve the issue of poverty, we have to create non-profit societies capable of maintaining themselves with revenue while providing other valuable services.
Churches used to be the organization we depended on to look after the mentally ill and poor. While governments have appeared in their replacement, their cumbersome bureacracy and tight budget make the public sector a poor choice for this work. Locally managed non-profit societies have the potential to form strong relationships with the community, delivering valuable services to clients and the public at large.
Just to be clear, this project is meant for those between the ages of 18 and 29 for several legal and practical purposes. This is a critical age for many, as without solid parents most poor young people are wandering around with little resources and few places to learn important life skills. With the right space around them, most youno adults can blossom and thrive, becoming contributing members of the community instead of a drain.
It is wonderful to see how many friends from the old center have bounced back, with many owning their own business. The lifelong friendships that formed in the old ICYWS have enriched many lives, including my own. Though we can never have the magic of the first Inner City again, with your help we will make Little City Youth Works Society and even better, permanent part of Victoria.