Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My afternoon with Chris Summerville

On August 20th , Cannabis Culture reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had appointed CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, and evangelical minister, Chris Summerville to a committee who's task is to study the link between cannabis and schizophrenia. The initial story can be found here.

A fellow activist forwarded my letter to the editor regarding the appointment to Mr. Summerville. We exchanged email responses(his and mine ), and Summerville agreed to meet me for a glass of wine (or three) when he visits Vancouver for a mental health conference. I agreed, although I find it highly amusing that Mr. Summerville suggested that we meet to drink alcohol, a substance that has a far higher correlation to schizophrenia than any other substance. This report is my account of our meeting, and what I believe is to be made of Summerville’s appointment.

The first thing to be said about Chris Summerville is that he is one of the most genuinely pleasant people that I have ever met.

“I want to assure you,” he prefaces our conversation as we sit in the lobby of the lavish Fairmont Vancouver, “the conference is paying for my accommodations. I don’t spend non-profit money this way.”

Summerville seems very receptive to my concerns that this study is merely going to be used as propaganda to support c-2 (including mandatory bodily fluid samples for “drugged driving”), c-15, and the whole neo-prohibitionist agenda of the Harper government. In fact, he feels that this could very well be the case. He wants to assure me that he will not contribute to this, and that he agrees that creating faulty research would be detrimental to the community that he has spent his life advocating for.

“I was upset with how [Conservative MP] Joy Smith announced the research, and with a great deal of their rhetoric. I have had serious concerns with the Conservative government’s exclusion of the social sciences on matters surrounding mental health policy”

I explain to Summerville the discrepancy in the raw data. Cannabis use has exploded in the past century, yet incidence of Schizophrenia has remained fixed at 1% of the general population. Even though he is not a scientist, he speaks the language of science, which does assuage my fears.

“There is one researcher on Vancouver island who strongly believes that there is a causal link. There are other variables to account for: environmental, dietary, and of course the changes in diagnostic methodology over time.”

We are joined by the vice president of the Mood Disorder Society of Canada, Bill Ashdown. Both men are adamant in expressing their displeasure with the Conservative government’s “tough on crime” strategy. Mr. Ashdown is far more vitriolic in his criticism, despite being a card carrying member of the Conservative party of Canada.

“If common sense ruled, then the whole war on drugs would be abandoned” Ashdown said, echoing my own sentiments. It is an odd feeling, preparing for a heated debate and finding only consensus. “Unfortunately, politicians capitalize on fear. They have elections to win. Change takes time.”

This should be both disappointing and reassuring for drug policy reform activists. On one hand, it appears that many influential mental health experts agree with us. On the other, they have taken a similar position to that of many scientists, and have refused to speak out for fear of reprisal. We may have allies that we have not fully realized in the mental health community. We have one significant shared burden: social stigma. Both those with mental health issues and those who use or abuse drugs (the difference is lost on prohibitionists), are faced with prejudice and hostility. Since prohibition adds to the social stigma facing those with mental illness, we would be well advised to build ties with the mental health community.

While I greatly disagree with Summerville on matters of faith and reason, and the existence of a theistic god, we seem to share a lot in common with how we approach our mutually exclusive belief systems. Summerville is an outcast among many theologians. He is quick to recount his experiences when he almost became an atheist as a young man.

"I have certainly had doubts about my faith. One of the most useful prayers for me is "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”.

I explain to him how I dislike the term atheist, and that I think it is a bankrupt term that opens the door to generalizations and unfounded fear. "I feel the same way about the term "Christian". In fact, I often do not like the interviews that I do with Christian media. I find that I am often misquoted, or that it is assumed that I am allied with the right wing. Evangelicals in Canada are much different than those south of the border."

This includes the Canadian Christianity interview in which it was said that there would be a spiritual aspect to his research. "Absolutely not. There will be no religious component." When it was claimed that Summerville's research is a " "a wonderful opportunity" for Christians to be involved in dealing with one of the most pressing issues in our society", Summerville's original quote was misquoted by somebody else, and was used for the interview to justify an incorrect assumption. Summerville believes that this is a "wonderful opportunity" for Christians to affect positive change to a serious problem, not for Christians to hijack policy and use tax dollars for a religious agenda. Summerville believes this is an opportunity for Christians to return to the true teachings of Christ.

"There is nothing in the bible, the New Testament at least, that indicates that Christianity is right wing. Concepts like environmentalism and social justice are perfectly compatible with Christianity.”

None of the positive qualities or promising signs that Summerville exhibited should diminish in the least our collective suspicion of Harper’s intentions. While Summerville may very well be a valuable and influential friend of cannabis activists, Harper will either manipulate the research, spin it so that he can get what he wants out of it, or bury it. Our response should be to draw attention to whatever he does. If Harper buries the research, it will be up to each and every one of us to unearth it, and to facilitate the proliferation of the damning conclusion.

Prohibitionist propaganda has not improved since the days of William Randolph Hurst, Harry Anslinger, and Emily Murphy. In the case of Murphy, she said that two puffs of cannabis made one insane. Now, Harper is trying to revive that claim. Sure, they use “schizophrenia” in place of the word “insane”, but it is the same nonsense claim. Information kills superstition. Hopefully the good reverend can help us exorcize the spirit of Emily Murphy, and in the process kill the superstitious faith called prohibition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Travis at

As of today, I am the newest blogger at Cannabis Culture. You can see my bio here.

My first post is my letter from 'The Langley Advance' on Friday, you can view it here.

I'm excited about this. I should post a report on my meeting with Chris Summerville next week. I am looking forward to that, I think Chris is a nice guy and I feel that he will be receptive to my concerns.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Three more letters

Here I criticize H1N1 hysteria in the 'Langley Times'.

Here I criticize Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender's flat out STUPID testimony in front of the Senate hearings on bill c-15. The Mayor embarrassed Langley in front of the entire country.

Here I discuss the Vancouver Police Departments new weapon that they wish to destroy our eardrums with.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Letter writer of the month

If I may take this moment to do a little self-promotion and celebration, I have been named DrugSense Weekly's letter writer of the month for october 2009. I had 4 letters to the editor and one Op-Ed published in the past month. It is quite an honor to be named the top writer on drug policy in the world for a month.

Not bad for a kid from Langley. Although today is my last day of teenage...five minutes until I have lived two decades on this wonderful planet. It's been a scream so far and I have only just begun. Thank you for sharing some of it with me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Three new pieces...

Well I have pretty much given up on updating this blog regularly, as you no doubt can tell. I have been extremely busy with third year classes, more responsibility at work, and all of the issues surrounding Marc Emery and David Malmo-Levine's jailing...

However, I do have two letters and one featured opinion piece that I have contributed in the past week.

The first, which can be viewed here, is my assessment of US President Barack Obama's decision to no longer prosecute medical marijuana users, as well as the possibility that the US will legalize cannabis before Canada.

The second, here, is my response to a prohibitionist letter that says legalization will increase crime. How anyone can still believe that at this point is beyond me. It really is sad how one sided this argument is...

The third is an opinion piece for the University of Guelph's independant student newspaper, 'The Ontarion'. I responded with an online comment to a piece saying that Salvia is the new drug threat and the new hot party drug. They asked me to write an opinion piece and the first comment seems to be positive. You can read my piece here.

I am particularly proud of the last one. I can't believe that anyone would want to give gangs yet another resource to exploit.

Please go to and read up on what YOU can do to FREE MARC EMERY. Also now we must show our support for David Malmo-Levine, who has been sentenced to 6 months in jail for running the Herb School and Museum of Drugwar History. I recommend you search youtube for 'Drugwar walking tour' or David's name and see what the tour consisted of.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two new letters...

Sorry for neglecting you all... here are two letters from 'The Advance' this Friday...

I demand that Langley MP Mark Warawa stop lying to us

I call out hypocritical PM Harper

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nowhere Man, By Marc Emery

Here is a poem I wrote from my prison cell.

Nowhere Man (With apologies to Lennon and McCartney)

Imagine life without cannabis,
that's life here.

Imagine life without music,
that's life here.

Imagine life without fresh food,
that's life here.

Imagine life without any privacy,
that's life here.

Imagine life without any sex,
that's life here.

Imagine life in only red pants and a red shirt,
that's life here.

Imagine life in a 8 by 10 foot concrete cell,
that's life here.

Imagine never touching the sun's rays,
that's life here.

Imagine life without being with any one you know,
that's life here.

Imagine being hungry every waking hour,
that's life here.

Imagine life without love,
that's life here.

Imagine never seeing a grape or a peach or a tomato,
that's life here.

Imagine changing linens threadbare once every ten days,
that's life here.

Imagine your happy memories gradually fading away,
that's life here.

Marc Emery is an activist currently locked up at North Fraser Pretrial Center in Port Coquitlam, B.C., while he awaits extradition to the United States for selling marijuana seeds on the internet and using the money to fund anti-prohibition activism around the world.

Monday, October 5, 2009

You heard him... he gets high with a little help from his friends...

So Stephen Harper gets high with a little help from his friends. Does he throw them in jail for a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 6 months for drug trafficking after he gets high with them?

By the way, Paul McCartney still smokes cannabis every day. Harper would throw him and the rest of The Beatles in jail if he could.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Decent start, both fantasy and reality

So I am officially 1-1 in fantasy football this year. I was fortunate enough to draft Maurice Jones-Drew. I also think Carson Palmer will do well, I like Cincinatti this year. Not many people are starting him but he's been decent thus far, and can do much better.

Meanwhile, my Eagles destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs, without their starting quarterback, starting running back, and second receiver. Kevin Kolb set an NFL record with his two first starts resulting in 300+ yards, and Desean Jackson set a record for three straight games with one 60+ yard touchdown pass to start the season.

Go Birds!

Erbacher v. Summerville pt. 2

So 'The Advance' printed Summerville's and My email's to each other, which were forwarded to 'The Advance'

Monday, September 28, 2009

This is what marijuana prohibition looks like

How many families must be torn apart before we end this civil war?

A dark day in our country's history...

With the departure of Marc Emery to a foreign prison - for political reasons no less - advocates for sensible drug policy have come to a fork in the road. On one hand, the DEA and the United States government could have just achieved the biggest victory since the UN ‘Single Convention on Narcotics’, and that was over 50 years ago. On the other hand, however, 'The Prince of Pot' may very well have given the United States government precisely enough rope with which to hang itself.

As we have seen from the Bush administrations other policies, inflammatory war rhetoric coupled with poorly planned and executed actions are a recipe for disaster. 'Dubya' told enraged Jihadists "bring it on", and displayed similar stupidity in going after the two people who can mobilize and unite drug reformers: Tommy Chong, and Marc Emery.

From Saskatoon correctional in 2003 Emery gave one of the great humanist statements of all time, summarizing the spirit of civil disobedience:
"It is the height of moral conscience to refuse to obey an unjust law. To obey an unjust law is to give credence to its oppressive power. To obey a law that punishes where no crime exists is to surrender to tyranny and, by acquiescence, endorsing the oppression.

The only righteous place for this kind of man is the jail cell. He must break the bad law openly and without apology, and without any victim but the pride of the state, it will be soon apparent to all that an injustice has taken place. Gradually, eventually, a crisis in the public confidence occurs, and in this vacuum, in this opportunity, change will come."

In its simplest form it is referred to as the ‘as if’ principle. Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus, and in doing so was living ‘as if’ segregation was already abolished. Harvey Milk lived ‘as if’ he was equal to a straight person, even if the law did not consider him so.

The cannabis user must live ‘as if’ prohibition has been abolished. They must break the law in the same way that White Americans and African Americans did in the cannabis-friendly jazz clubs of the 1930’s. They too acted ‘as if’, ignoring both the new hysteria surrounding cannabis as well as racial prejudice. As far as they were concerned they were not hurting anyone, and in fact people were brought together as a result of this act of highly moral ‘criminal’ behavior.

Marc’s extradition is the beginning of the end for drug prohibition. California has introduced a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana use and cultivation. Many states have decriminalized simple possession, and above the static nonsense that is our modern media a call for both fiscal and moral responsibility with regards to cannabis is beginning to gain traction.

At the same time that America finally begins to move forward, Canada takes a huge step back. The government has introduced mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, desperate to fight against the renewed opposition to cannabis prohibition.
People fight hardest when their back is against the wall. This is why it is more important than ever to overgrow this government. The breaking point is almost upon us.

What can you do?

-Come out of the closet. Look to the gay rights movement for inspiration on how to overcome social stigma and systematic oppression.

-Plant the seeds of freedom in public places. When people see that cannabis is simply a plant, the illusions become far less manageable for the government to maintain.

-Write letters to the editor. Local papers, university papers, national papers, hit them all with polite and well reasoned arguments against Marc Emery’s extradition, cannabis prohibition, and the influence of fundamentalist Christianity on our government. Always remember to fact-check and get a friend to proofread, as you will be held up as representative of the entire movement.

-Organize a local activist group. Begin with protests at your MP’s office, or stand at a busy intersection handing out literature and educating local people about cannabis prohibition. This is important particularly in small rural towns with Conservative MP’s. The revolution will begin and end where oppression is at its strongest. The resistance must be stronger.

-Get out in the media. Call local papers and news channels before protests. Try to debate your MP into a corner in front of reporters (it’s not difficult). Call into radio shows.

-Get involved in the political process. Seek the nomination of your local Green, NDP, Marijuana, or Libertarian party. Attend all candidates debates and ask quality questions about drug policy of the candidates.

And most importantly... VOTE! Most truly intelligent people realize our political system has been bought and sold by special interest groups, and therefore don’t bother voting. If the NDP has a real chance of winning, vote for and assist them. Same goes for the Liberals(but let them know you only support them because you want the Conservatives out). If not, support your local Green party candidate. The Green party of Canada is the only mainstream party with legalization of cannabis in their platform.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rally for the Prince...

So today's 'Worldwide rally for Marc Emery' went very well. Thousands of people from Vancouver, to South Africa, to Germany, to the Southern US protested the extradition of Marc Emery.

In Vancouver, several hundred gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of Marc, and the movement as a whole, as well as to send a message to the Conservative government: You are going down, and we aren't going anywhere.

The extradition of Marc Emery is clearly a political hit-job. The DEA and US government is feeling pressure to legalize marijuana, so they decided to take out the leader of the movement to stifle it. All this has done, however, is galvanize and motivate those fighting for freedom and rationality.

Letter of the day #2

I unearth the racist roots of drug prohibition, and demand an apology from PM Harper

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yet another Quarterback..

So Donovan broke a rib in the third quarter on Sunday, unfortunately. This caused me to freak out a little, as the backup is Kevin Kolb, who may be the worst backup in the NFL. What do the Eagles do?

They sign Jeff Garcia.

This team is for real, they look like they are willing to make any move necessary to win.

I love it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So it isn't even half-time yet, and my Eagles are up 31-7 on the Carolina Panthers. Abiamiri scored a defensive touchdown off of a Delhomme fumble (enjoy that ridiculous contract, Panther fans), and my main man, DeSean Jackson, returned a punt for a touchdown.

The Browns-Vikings game has been very entertaining. It will be interesting to see how Eric Mangini does in Cleveland this year. I hope Bret Favre throws 30 interceptions this year for Minnesota.

So again I am playing fantasy FB, here is my team:

QB Carson Palmer

WR Greg Jennings

WR Steve Smith

WR Jerricho Cotchery

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Best fantasy player IMO)

RB Larry Johnson

TE Owen Daniels

K Stephen Gostkowski

DEF Dallas


Wes Welker (Injured)
(NE - WR)

BN Kevin Walter

BN Willie Parker

BN Matt Hasselbeck
(Sea - QB) QBBN StL Sun

BN Anthony Fasano
(Mia - TE)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A special letter..

Mike Harvey, who has a letter in the paper nearly every day, mentioned me and 5 others in a letter to the Advance which you can read here.

I'd just like to say that I wish there were more people like Mr.Harvey. He cares about his community, and cares about the world of conflicting ideas that surrounds him.

Mr.Harvey is a deeply religious man, from what I see. He took the time to mention that he enjoyed all of the letters in the paper, including mine, which attacked Stephen Harper for appointing religious figures to government posts. This is an attitude I am unused to seeing from the deeply religious, and is something to be commended.

I guess this is just to say that I honestly appreciate this letter, and Mr.Harvey's contribution to the community. As much as I like riling people up and making them angry, it is nice for once to have someone who may not necessarily agree with me recognize that we are both working to change our world, which we share, for the better.

Thank you, Mr.Harvey. Keep on writing.

Two local letters...

The first is my friend Dan Grice, two time federal Green candidate, on the HST and why we should not let the Conservatives emerge unscathed.

The second is BC Green leader Jane Sterk on how the BC Green approach is different from the BC Liberal approach.

Dance to the radio...

So I will be on CKCU radio tomorrow morning at 630 AM pacific time to discuss pastor Summerville and the role of religion in the Harper government. You can listen live at and I will post a link or file when available.

I watched a great documentary about Joy Division today, hence the post title and the video:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jesus Christ on Marijuana

(This video courtesy of Russell Barth)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yet Another Letter...

I assess the motives and merits of Stephen Harper's senate appointments in 'The Advance'

Not a bad week for me, 3 or 4 letters published with one more pending, a response to one from a local MLA, and a meeting set up to meet Harper's head of mental health research.

Plus I got to meet a great ally, Jeff Hill, and visit with the Prince of Pot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Second fight of the week: Erbacher Vs. Polak

So here is an exchange between Langley MLA Mary Polak and I in the Langley Times. The first is my initial letter on the HST, the second Mary's response, the third my yet to be published response.

My initial letter

Mary Polak's response

And this is my response to her response:

Mary Polak is correct in saying that both the BC Green party and the BC Conservatives have supported bringing in the HST. However, the point that I was trying to make, and the point that Ms. Polak missed, is that a more competitive electoral system would keep the ruling party in check. I was not saying that the HST would not have been brought in, but rather that it could have been done differently. For example, the BC Green party recommends that the HST be at 10%, rather than simply combining the two taxes for a sales tax rate of 12%. This approach would make the transition much easier for consumers. We also recommend exemptions be brought in for items such as bicycles, and many measures could be brought in to make the HST less painful for the average person who is still hurting in todays economy. Other provinces have made an effort to help low income people manage the transition, which the BC Liberals have neglected to do so far.

I am not sure why Ms. Polak missed this crucial point, as I made it certain to point out that the HST could be done in a much better way and is not an inherently bad policy. I agree with Ms. Polak that simplifying the sales tax is a good thing. I stressed in my previous letter that the timing of the HST, as well as the way the BC Liberals have handled it has been very poor.

Our electoral system is broken, and is not conducive to quality discussion. One significant improvement to be made with electoral reform is that the Conservatives and Greens, parties that are fiscally responsible, would have been more prominent and could have spoken out to greater effect against the reckless spending of the BC Liberals. Cutting funding to healthcare and education while spending billions on the olympics is reprehensible.

The BC Liberals have run up the biggest deficit in the history of this province, which I and other fiscal conservative are not comfortable with.

I appreciate Ms.Polak's response and hope that the BC Liberals will listen to the suggestions coming from the other parties as well as from the general public, as so far their handling of our tax dollars has been less than stellar.

Travis Erbacher, BC Green Party

Here is Jane Sterk on the HST, which I basically re-stated in my first letter

Another Radio Show..

Following my letter on pastor Summerville's appointment, I was contacted by a woman named Heather Bruce who hosts a radio show called "Sound Mind" on CKCU (Carleton University) radio in Ottawa. The show deals with topics related to mental health, which relates to the subject of pastor Summerville's study, cannabis and schizophrenia.

Major props to my main man, Russell Barth, for sending pastor Summerville my letter and attracting this attention.

I shall post a link of the radio show when available.

It will be interesting getting up at 6 AM for this though...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Letter, The Rebuttal, and the Response

So The Advance printed my letter on Pastor Chris Summerville's appointment, it can be found Here.

Mr. Summerville seemingly didn't like my letter. Russell Barth sent him the letter and elicited this response:

Mr. Travis Erbacher, the founder of Langley Residents for Drug Policy Reform, was the Green Party's candidate for the Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding in BC’s last provincial election. I have visited a number of web sites that have provided me information on Mr. Erbacker’s philosophy and political views, as well as his
blog, .

As regards Mr. Erbacher’s letter to the editor of the Langley Advance on Tuesday, September 01, 2009, allow me to make several remarks.

Mr. Erbacher is to be congratulated as a young man for his commitment to a more just and fair society for all in Canada.
He is entitled to hold to his anti-Conservative Party and anti-Christianity views and to express them without any censorship.
His letter to the editor reveals much bias, prejudice and lack of doing his homework or getting the facts straight.
I wonder if Mr. Erbacher would be so bold to write as critically of and prejudicially against Aboriginal worldview of “body, mind and spirit”!

As regards my own life, views and the Schizophrenia Society of Canada’s Cannabis and Psychosis Project,
I have not been a pastor of any congregation since 1995. While obtaining my doctorate, Dr. Paul Meir a psychiatrist was one of my professors. I am certified with US Psychiatric Rehabilitation as a certified psychosocial rehabilitation practitioner. Dr. Pam Forsythe, a psychiatrist, and I presented last week at the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s National Conference in St. John’s, NF at the invitation of the Association’s President, Dr. Susan Abbey.
I have been the CEO (not interim) of SSC for over a year and the Executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society for 15 years.
Yes, I am a Christian. More specifically I am a “progressive evangelical” as an imperfect follower of Christ Jesus. Progressive in that I am not aligned with the “far right” side of politics and actually find myself in agreement with several platform positions of the NDP and Green Party.
Yes, I do believe in a God of creation, call it intelligent design, etc. Over 90% of the world’s population holds to religious/spiritual beliefs.
I am not a fundamentalist as “Christian” fundamentalist groups would never allow me to be a member due to my social liberal views, nor do I wish to join such as I do not have a fundamentalist Christian agenda. I am pro-life, pro-environment, pro-poor, and pro-civil rights, etc. I believe in the medical/therapeutic use of cannabis.
Yes, I do believe in the “dark side of life” as does Steven Spielberg and George Lucas who are Buddhists. Whatever you want to call that evil force, I believe we can connect with it and it can influence our lives. When we are faced with any adversity in life I believe there are psychological and spiritual ramifications in how we journey those adversities.
Schizophrenia, as with all mental illnesses, has a strong genetic component. I hold to the stress-vulnerability model of illness and treatment (bio-psycho-social-spiritual). Schizophrenia is not demon-possession, etc.
I have never performed or tried to perform an “exorcism.”
I have not heard of or read, “A member of his evangelical group said this is ‘a wonderful opportunity’ for Christians to influence public policy.” However I believe in a democratic society where any person of any faith group may seek to influence public policy. That is the nature of democracy.
Scientific studies as regards cannabis and its relationship to psychosis and schizophrenia point to either causality or correlation. Dr. Richard Williams of the Early Psychosis Clinic in Victoria believes strongly in causality. See articles below in Evisions Journal. Yes, science is divided. (Christians aren’t the only ones!)
All political parties are “motivated” by some philosophy of life and political viewpoints. All hold to “presuppositions” that have some support in society. Thus, that’s why we have elections.
The SSC project is not anti or pro cannabis use. It is not anti or pro Conservative Party. It is not pro or anti Christianity or any faith group. It is a participatory research project in which people with lived experience of schizophrenia or psychosis and also lived experience of use of cannabis will interview other youth to determine how to address mental health promotion among that demographic as it come to substance use.
The use of the term “schizoid” is an improper, non-scientific use of the term. Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, and emotional coldness. (Authur S. Reber- Dictionary of Psychology, Penguin p.690 1995.) My psychiatrist has not given me that diagnosis. Nor does Prime Minister Harper have that diagnosis! Mr. Erbacher engages in social prejudice and stigma in his usage of the words, “He has mental health issues” in referring to me. And associates such with those holding to creationism and a literal reading of scripture.
Families affected by mental illness have long suffered from the social prejudice within our society towards those with mental illness. The Schizophrenia Society of Canada, along with its provincial counterparts, seeks to improve the quality of life for all affected by schizophrenia and psychosis. Towards that end we welcome all regardless of their political affiliation or religious views to join us in promoting research for a cure, enhancing treatment options and eradicating society’s stigma towards those living with mental illness.


Chris Summerville, D.Min., CPRP
Chief Executive Officer/Chef de la direction
Schizophrenia Society of Canada/Société canadienne de la schizophrénie

Wow, the CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada reads my blog! Anyways, here is my response to his rebuttal:

Dear Mr. Summerville,

I greatly appreciate your response to my letter, and the debate has generated some controversy.

In no way have I stated that your being a person of faith disqualifies you from a position such as this. The intent of my letter was to ask why someone who is not a doctor, and has no background in conducting scientific research was appointed to such a position.

My concern about your religion may have been misplaced. You can understand why I, as a non-christian, would not want a christian agenda financed by my tax dollars. Imagine the position you would be in if an Imam was appointed to this position and a member of his mosque said that this is a great opportunity for Islam to influence public policy. I of course can not hold you accountable for what someone associated with you has said, however you can understand why I would not want a religious agenda financed by public funds. Science and reason alone should influence public policy, and at the very least you chose your words very poorly when you stated that: "Satan will use any opportunity to attack, including mental illness". That is a very shocking statement, and it entails a lot of metaphysical baggage, and beliefs that may in fact impact the nature of your work. I am glad to hear you say this agenda is not an explicitly religious one, but those original concerns remain.

To characterize my views as anti-Conservative party and anti-Christianity are not quite accurate. In fact, if the Conservative party had fact based views on the environment and drug policy, I would probably be a member of the Conservative party. I have never once stated that people should not be allowed to freely believe whatever they wish. Obviously I don't have a problem with people of faith serving in public positions as we have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and Atheists serving side by side. The issue arises when one espouses a statement like you did, one which suggests a literal reading of a holy book that will interfere with reason and in turn policy.

I am glad to hear you are not a fundamentalist and that you will approach this with some sense of scientific objectivity. That remains to be determined.

The charge of bias I could not be acquitted of, I have strong beliefs and I express them. I too believe you have the right to say whatever you want, and if someone were to try to suppress freedom of religion or expression you could count on me to be one of the people on the front lines fighting for those rights. Few people believe more in freedom of religion than people who have no religion. Freedom of includes freedom from, which is why this seemingly religious agenda troubles many people. (I am not the only one who takes issue, merely the first to write about it.)

I would be so bold as to criticize the Aboriginal view of "mind body and spirit". You would be unwise to challenge my boldness, Mr. Summerville. Any belief that is not grounded in evidence is equally ridiculous. However, we are talking about a pastor who literally believes in a devil that can cause mental illness, not an Aboriginal priest influencing public policy based on his unfounded beliefs in spirits or the afterlife. This is a non-sequiter and I wonder why you jumped to citing Aboriginal sprititual belief. Let us talk about the issue at hand.

However, first as a citizen who pays taxes, and second as a politically active person aiming to change Canada for the better, I have a right to clarify disturbing statements made by public people, and to ensure that my country is not being taken down a road that it should not be.

I appreciate your response. Mental illness is an issue we can all agree on, so long as we keep the discussion on the grounds of reason.

PS: My original title was "Theocracy comes to Canada". I have 2 years of university level psych and I am aware that schizoid is an unscientific term. The title was put on the letter by the editor.


Travis Erbacher

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Harper's Hypocrisy

Stephen Harper has taken yet another step towards being the worst prime minister in our country’s history. Mr. Harper has appointed eight new puppets in the senate, one the illiterate hockey coach Jacque Demers, another the husband of a cabinet member, and he stands to appoint more later this year. For someone who holds the position that senators should be elected, he sure seems to enjoy appointing them.

This is a significant story because the huge omnibus crime bill that has passed in parliament, and is waiting on the senate’s to-do list, has been under serious scrutiny from those of us who have actually looked at it.

The bill includes what died previously in parliament as bill c-15, which brings in mandatory minimum sentences of 6 months for growing as little as 5 marijuana plants. This is at a time when most US states are repealing mandatory minimums for drug crimes. Governor David Patterson of New York has said that: “few initiatives have failed as badly and for as long as the Rockefeller Drug Laws [mandatory minimums for drug possession]”.

This bill also includes provisions that would give police the authority to take bodily fluid samples from a driver who appears to be high. However, there is no test that can reliably determine if a driver is stoned. The only test available gives false positives and can only tell if the person has smoked marijuana in the past month, not if they were stoned while driving. This means a lot of innocent people will be locked up, costing you, the taxpayer, millions every year.

The Canadian Criminal Justice Association(CCJA) has declared these provisions unconstitutional as they violate one’s charter rights to privacy and security of person. Imagine that, something about police officers randomly pulling people over, and forcibly taking bodily fluids for no reason, seems slightly authoritarian. Because of the CCJA’s objection, our prime minister is stacking the senate with people who will vote the way he tells them to. Forget the ‘Triple E’ senate, he is working on the ‘Triple I’ senate: Ignorant, Incompetent, and Immoral.

It has been a source of national pride for a long time that we have more sensible laws than the US, however there are now 13 states with more lenient drug laws than Canada. This is a dark time in our country’s history. This is change I can’t believe.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A vow

I will complete a work of short fiction by this time next week.

I will use the techniques outlined in "The Surrealist Manifesto" as well as those offered to us by the great Salvador Dali.

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."

"What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust."

"It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning."

"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision."

"One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams."

- Salvador Dali

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quote of the day

You no doubt have heard this quote but I was re-reading Marx's critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right" and can't help but marvel at Marx's command of language. Most people butcher this quote, and only include the last part. In context, it is far more powerful.

"Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."
-Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a note...

Islam is not a race.

Criticizing mainstream tenets of Islam does not mean that you wish a "war against muslims".

Not all religions are the same. Some are more dangerous than others.

For example, in the 1930's, the Roman Catholic church was far more dangerous to civilization than Islam. The Roman Catholic church supported the Nazi regime in Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, as well as fascist regimes in South America. Each religion takes it's turn to threaten the survival of mankind.

This time it is Islams turn. All religions are equally false, yet not all religions are equally dangerous at all times. Roman Catholics do not kidnap reporters, riot, threaten novelists and news organizations, or burn down buildings. To recognize that all religions are different is not racism. And to throw this bs at me, and attempting to pass a charge of racism that is unfounded as a serious argument only shows the weakness of your mental capabilities.

When human beings forsake their thinking minds, and accept the dogma of faith over the process of reason, there is no measuring the body count or the damage that can come of this. The problem is religion. Not economic opportunity.

When the right can't argue logically they claim their opponents are unpatriotic. When the left can't argue logically they argue that their opponents are racists. How about just sifting through the evidence and engaging in the dialectic?

Pacifism is no reason to not recognize the truth.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Religion Poisons Everything

So Mike Huckabee, who in last years Republican debate said of the seperation of church and state:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And thats what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."

Takes your breath away don't it?

On a religious extremist-sponsored trip to the west bank Mr. Huckabee went to the right of the democrats, republicans, US public, UN, the entire international community, and even conservative Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and declared a two state solution "unrealistic".

Anyone saying this is simply a territorial dispute, and that religion does not cause unnecessary violence and tribalism is WRONG. Huckabee, following in the digusting tradition of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and other inflammatory Jesus freaks, is continuing to drive a wedge between Israelis and Palestinians in order to ensure that the Jews are all in Israel when Jesus comes back. Of course, when he does come back, he will kill them all and send them screaming and crying into hell. Mike Huckabee, the blood is on your hands.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Today in the mail..

So I received my copy of 'Letters to a Young Contrarian' by Christopher Hitchens today. I am highly excited about this book. I can't get enough of his writing or debates, whether political or religious.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It was a good day...

Ladies and has happened. Michael Vick has signed with an NFL team.

Now throughout this saga I have mused on whether or not my Eagles could use Vick, since 2nd round pick Kevin Kolb out of Houston has been absolutely terrible in relief of Donovan McNabb.

Well...Guess who Vick signed a two year deal with?

So the Eagles have 3 big play, deep threat receivers, 2 running backs who are both excellent receivers, and now they have the single most athetic QB in history to use as both a backup and a weapon.

The best part of this though is that when those terrorist supporting, arsonist and murderer funding, "eating chicken is morally equivalent to the holocaust" propagandizing MORONS at PETA will have to deal with the drunkest, meanest, most violent fans in the NFL.

Just try it PETA. I dare you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You don't say!

Autopsy: Cocaine contributed to Bill Mays' death

No wonder he was always yelling...

What the world would look like if we listened to the anti-war left

-Saddam Hussein would have annexed Kuwait in 1991 and would now be in possession of a vast weapons arsenal, possibly including the threat of nuclear arms through which he could blackmail the entire region

-Saddam Hussein and his thugs would still own Iraq and it's oppressed masses, and he would be their supreme dictator, as opposed to six feet under, where he is now and where he belongs.

-This means that a significant amount of the worlds oil would be under Saddams control.

-The people of Kurdistan as well as their peoples resistance would be still under threat of genocide from Hussein

-The Taliban would still be in control of Afghanistan

-Osama Bin Laden would still be their most welcome guest, kicking back and relaxing in his safe haven, Taliban controlled Afghanistan.

-Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia would be pursuing war with Iraq to do overthrow Saddam and take their respective areas and resources that they desire. The Kurds would be not only under threat from the man who committed a genocide against them, Saddam Hussein, but they would be threatened by the invading powers.

-The pro-western election results around the middle east, first in Lebanon and then in Iran, would likely not have taken place. This is partially due to President Obama, and partially due to the fact that a democratic and somewhat stable Iraq is now a reality.

As Christopher Hitchens stated in his debate with that despicable, disgusting fool George Galloway: "If I had the political record that the anti-war left had, I would be VERY modest"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eagles '09 Season Preview

Yahoo! Sports Predicts an 11-5 season from my Eagles

I think this is exactly where they will be. I LOVE what they did this offseason. Picked up 2 pro-bowl calibre tackles that are nearly a decade younger than the guys they replace, drafted a receiver in the 1st round who has legit deep threat speed, a 2nd round running back...the only thing they are missing is a power runner.

I love this team...dare I say this is their year?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


This guy should go to jail for a long time...

"I believe in the power of prayer"

Good for you. That belief killed your innocent daughter. Just and loving god eh?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pride this Sunday!

This Sunday is the annual Vancouver Pride parade, and the BC Green party will be out marching and have a booth there. We will be in 60's attire celebrating 40 years after Stonewall.

I am hoping to get Sunday off of work so I can get out there and show my support. It should be a great time and it is always an important event! If anyone in Langley wants to head down with me, give me a call and we can arrange a carpool.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RIP Jim Johnson

A sad day for football...

Jim Johnson, defensive co-ordinator for my beloved Philadelphia Eagles, has passed away today after a long battle with cancer. Johnson was the architect of the high pressure, in your face, aggressive style of defense that has made the Eagles the consistent NFC powerhouse they are.

He was a great co-ordinator, an innovator, a brilliant football mind, and from what I hear a great family man.

Thanks for the memories, Jim. Eagles fans will miss you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Shermer - Genesis Revisited

As you most likely know, Dr.Michael Shermer is an outspoken atheist, formerly a born again christian, who speaks out on the absurdity of biblical literalism. He is the founder of the skeptics society and editor of Skeptic magazine.

This video is based on Dr.Shermer's "Genesis Revisited", a retelling of the Genesis creation story, which is edited so as to account for the science that we have discovered that is incompatible with Genesis.

Pretty funny stuff when you logically think through illogical beliefs. Enjoy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!

I can't believe it. Sarah Palin, the anti-intellectual, anti-choice, fundamentalist Christian, racist, extremist, creationist, all around enemy of science, reason, and freedom has decided not to run for Governor of Alaska again, and will actually give up her role as governor in three weeks time.

I have not been this happy in a long time.

This woman wants to restrict the teaching of science in schools, and force the teaching of junk pseudo-science.

She wants to force women who have been raped to have their rapist's children, even if the birth threatens the mothers life.

She threw words like "terrorist" in Obama's direction, her campaign speeches had not so subtle undertones of racism and violence, and she played the lowest level of "guilt by association", McCarthy-esque politics.

She paraded her knocked up daughter around as nothing more than a campaign prop, in my opinion forced her into a sham engagement for political purposes, and then accused David Letterman of being an evil pedophile for making a joke about said (and now legal) daughter.

She wanted things all ways at once, and now she has nothing. I thought God had chosen her to be Governor and ultimately VP or president? Did God change his mind? Is God what we call in politics a flip flopper? A legitimate question when considered within the context of her rhetoric.

I sincerely hope that she can find reason, and sanity. Take a vacation Sarah, prefferably to a mental insitution where you can get the help that you need. Anyone who believes that the earth is 6,000 years old, and that witch hunting (a euphemism for MURDERING INNOCENT WOMEN) is a legitimate job for a priest, should really be in a straight jacket and undergoing medical therapy.

Is Sarah Palin crazy?

You betcha!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Michael Ignatieff"'s response to my email

Ignatieff, Michael - M.P. to me
show details Jun 23 (1 day ago) Reply

Thank you for your email regarding Bill C-15. Please be assured that your concerns have been duly noted and shall be given consideration as we craft our future policies on important issues such as crime and justice.
The Liberal Party believes that strong drug laws are only one small part of what is needed to fight gang violence. Law enforcement agencies need to have sufficient funding to deal with the many types of crimes that affect Canadian families.
To succeed in keeping our streets safe, we need to have a balanced approach. The Liberal Party believes that government can meet its responsibility of making Canadians safer by expanding on the Conservatives’ narrow-minded approach to crime and justice issues and by pushing for more effective prevention and rehabilitation measures.
As the Official Opposition, the Liberal Party will take responsible action on the issue of crime and justice by remaining faithful to its principles and values. We also believe that our democracy is best served by an open and constructive dialogue with all Canadians on important issues such as this. With that in mind, I thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns with me on this important matter.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me again on this or any other important issue.


Michael Ignatieff, M.P.
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marc Emery Farewell Tour coming to Langley

I am pleased to announce that I am putting together a Marc Emery Farewell Tour appearance in Langley.

Marc ran in the same riding that I did, Fort Langley-Aldergrove, in 2005 for the Marijuana party. It would be cool to have a tour stop in Langley, and our options are to have it in somebody's backyard or perhaps in a park. Marc will give a speech and hang out with everyone, and we can give him a fine farewell before he leaves to serve his prison term.

If you have a large yard and would like to host this event, please email me at or message me on facebook to let me know. If we can't find a good place for a private event we can find a park to host it in.

Join my facebook group "Langley Residents for Drug Policy Reform", as I will send out updates through that group as well as to my email list.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letter in the Advance

Marijuana: 'Tough' law just election grab
Langley Advance
Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Dear Editor,

Prior to the last election, Stephen Harper introduced legislation which would give a six-month mandatory minimum sentence to anyone caught growing even as little as one marijuana plant.

Now, my opposition to prohibition is well documented, but the opposition to mandatory minimum sentences from prosecutors, defence attorneys, judges, criminologists, and virtually everybody who has a working set of eyes from which to view the evidence is staggering.

The legislation died in the process when the last election was called, but the Harper government felt that marijuana is such a problem that they must reintroduce the bill, which has just recently passed successfully through the house.

Sixteen groups and individuals provided testimony before Parliament, and 13 of the 16 said that mandatory minimum sentences do not work. Each of those witnesses provided at least a couple of legitimate scientific studies to prove their claims.

Three of the 16 said they support mandatory minimums, but not one could provide even a single study to suggest mandatory minimums work, just that they support them.

Why do mandatory minimums not work? First, they do not work as a deterrent, but more importantly, they take away judicial discretion. Bill C-15 would apply the same sentence to the medical user who cannot successfully get a "medpot" licence (less than two per cent who apply get one) and is growing five plants for personal use, and the large scale grower growing 199 plants for an organized criminal organization. Both people would get a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail.

This takes small-scale growers out of the market, increasing and protecting the monopoly that gangs have in the drug trade. Why would the Harper government want to do that? Their "tough on crime" approach has not worked as well as they have hoped. By introducing these "tough" sentences, we will see drug prices rise, gang profits rise, turf wars increase, more innocent bystanders get shot, and in turn, the frightened public will call for more prisons, more police, and more powers for the government and law enforcement.

One particularly dark moment in the 2008 US presidential election occurred when a John McCain advisor said that another terrorist attack on the US would help McCain win the election, as the public saw McCain as the "tough on terrorism" candidate.

This is precisely the mentality we see from the Conservatives. If crime increases, their "tough on crime" stance looks much more legitimate, and it will help them succeed politically. How could this objectively terrible bill pass in a minority government? Well, the answer lies in why the Conservatives introduced the bill in the first place. They know that mandatory minimums do not work. They simply want to appear "tough on crime," and most people in the general public are worrying more about putting food on the table for their children, and do not have the time to research whether or not these policies work.

The shocking part of this is that the Liberal Party has voted in lock step with the Conservatives to pass this bill. They have sold their soul as a party. They do not want to go in to an election looking "soft on crime," so they voted through a bill that they know is terrible.

I have been a federal Liberal supporter my entire life, but the party has now left me. When you go to the polls, as we inevitably will, remember that the Liberals exhibited the same type of "facts optional" approach to policy as the Harper Conservatives.

As for me, I will be voting Green.

Travis Erbacher, Langley

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something funny I thought I'd share

Props to my friend and BC Green comrade Jeff Hill for sharing this with me, it made me chuckle.


You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called “Cowkimon” and market it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once are engineerer milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Short Poem

Some sing: "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"
I'd be worse off if they were gone;
These College students, just like me,
March on Tehran, a see of Green.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On "Right to die" legislation, from the Langley Times

There is no one view on morality

Published: June 09, 2009 9:00 PM

Editor: Never one to shy away from controversy, I feel like it is my responsibility to resist attempts to restrict personal choice. And it is for this reason that I must respond to Todd Hauptman’s letter “Society must value life over death,” (The Times, June 5).

The first thing I must do is to address the word “must.” This denotes an urgency and sense of authority that does not make sense when talking about values or morality. Values are not some absolute concrete thing — our values are all different.

Morality is a discussion to be had, not one view to be legislated and enforced on all citizens. There are morals that have been evolved over the course of human history that are naturally a part of our brain function, but those that are not are areas to discuss, not to dictate.

Mr. Hauptman may think that it is reprehensible to assist people in pain in their very difficult decision to end their life. However, what we are talking about here is not helping depressed or down people kill themselves. We are talking about the person lying in a hospital bed, developing bedsores, unable to keep down any food, as cancer eats away at their body.

These decisions are not made hastily, and to portray this bill as such is wrong, and is a slap in the face to the families of those who make that tough decision.

Mr. Hauptman frequently referenced the phrase “life is a gift from God” as a reason why we “must” prohibit euthanasia. Well, quite frankly, many religious people believe in the right of one to die with dignity.

Many others do not believe there is a God, from which this “gift” is given. In fact, those who declare themselves atheist or agnostic are the fastest-growing group in North America.

To legislate a prohibition on euthanasia based on theological grounds would be inappropriate, to put it mildly. A country in which one religion’s holy book dictates the law is called a theocracy.

Keeping terminally ill people who are in horrendous pain and wish to end their life alive is tortuous, not only to the person, but their family. I hope that The Times’ readers can see the difference between personal religious beliefs and the necessity for prohibitive legislation. I also hope they see that compassion on the part of physicians, when treating fully consenting terminally-ill patients, is not the same thing as choosing to value death over life.

Let’s cut through the euphemisms here, folks. Let’s have an honest discussion, one grounded in science, reason, and respect for the plurality of belief systems that make up our community and nation.

Travis Erbacher,


Friday, June 5, 2009

Grass: A Marijuana History (Narrated by Woody Harrelson)

As you may know, Woody Harrelson is one of the biggest legalization advocates in hollywood. He narrated this great documentary called 'Grass: A Marijuana History', which gives you a step by step look at how cannabis became illegal, why it became illegal(hint: racism) and how the prohibitionist arguments have changed over the course of the past century.

Part One:

I won't put it all up here as it takes up tons of space, but you can link to the next from this embed player after the first ends.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Dark Day Pt.2

So this morning bill c-15 was debated. The Liberals silence was deafening. They struck down an amendment presented by the NDP to take clause 3 (mandatory minimums for posession of schedule 1 substances) out of the bill.

I applaud the members for Vancouver East, Halifax, and Western Arctic for their eloquent opposition to such a terrible bill. It is good to see that in the absence of leadership from the party that I am today ashamed to belong to, some members of parliament are willing to put the health and safety of Canadians ahead of political positioning. I was particularly impressed by the member from Halifax, Megan Leslie, and her attempt to convey the fact of the matter:

Not a single study


has EVER suggested

that mandatory minimums work.

16 experts testified on the efficacy of mandatory minimums. 13 of which said they do not support the bill, and provided huge numbers of studies from Canada (including from our own justice department), the US, and the UK. Those 3 who said they support the bill could not provide a single study to support their position. A one-sided debate no?

Ms. Leslie also brought up what I think is the most important underlying issue to this bill:

The Conservative party is tabling this bill not because they think it will work. They don't care if it will work or not. The point of introducing this bill is to appear "tough on crime" before the election.

I expect this kind of political and intellectual dishonesty from the Conservatives. But I never thought I would see this despicable behaviour supported by a party that I have a membership with.

A dark day indeed.

A Dark Day in Canadian Politics

So today bill c-15 (mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes) is set to pass.

The worst part about this? I am a member of the party that helped prop this terrible bill up. I don't know what I am going to do about this. If the Liberal party wants to sacrifice the lives of some of our citizens in order to look "tough" in preparation for the upcoming election, then they are no better than the Conservatives.

This bill escalates the civil war we have been struggling against for a century. I don't know how they can justify this. Previously, decriminalization of cannabis was taken off the agenda as a result of direct pressure and coercion from the American government. However, I figured that with Obama in office, a more reasonable and compassionate man appointed as drug czar, and the Liberals about to take power back from the neo-cons, the climate would change and we could start to do the right thing.

One of the issues that I am going to put forth to Langley's candidates in the upcoming election is that of Canadian sovereignty. Mr.Harper has allowed Canadians to die on death row in the US, despite the fact that we have no death penalty here. That is a despicable, dangerous, and shameful precedent to have set. He also has followed blindly whatever the US has done. He is throwing our money at the auto bail-out nightmare. As well as allowing a Canadian citizen to be extradited to the US for a crime the Canadian authorities deemed too benign to bring someone up on charges for.

We've got to kick the DEA out of Canada, protect our citizens, and remove Washington influence from Ottawa. If the financial crisis can show us anything, it is that we should not let the US pull us down with them, and we need to start looking at how we can be a self sustaining, steady state economy, free of outside influence.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making my mark

So I was reading the local papers today and I was very happy with the Letter to the Editor pages of both The Advance and The Times.

Last week there were that series of homophobic letters I referenced earlier, as well as two ridiculous religious rants. There was also a number of 'tough on crime'/anti-legalization letters.

Normally these go unanswered, or are supported by more rabid religious/prohibitionist people.

Lately, things have been different though. Every letter in favor of prohibition is being answered right away. And now the same is being done to the religious nutjobs who dont believe in evolution or genetics.

Here is my letter responding to a charge that "programmed atheism" and the theory of evolution is responsible for Bin Laden calling us 'infidels'. I recommend reading the first one because it is quite funny.

Here is another one, in response to Mike Harvey(who believes in ghosts and angels and things of that nature). 'There is no higher power'

Here is a letter on the border and prohibition.

Interesting to note that The Times today had a opinion piece from Abbotsford saying Tim Felger is an idiot, but prohibition isnt working so it's time to legalize. Nice to see someone in the media seperating the idea of legalization from the few morons in the legalization movemnet who just cause problems for attention. Tim Felger is not a representative of the movement, I hope you all know that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Absolutely Sickening...

It never ceases to amaze me how many despicable bigots live around here. I literally felt sick to my stomach reading the recent wave of anti-gay letters to the editor in The Langley Advance. Of course the leader of the pack (they attack in a group, like wolves, strength in numbers makes them feel justified in their hatred) was Ron Gray, former leader of the National Socialist...I mean... Christian Heritage party (Heil!Heil!Heil! A nice clean white Christian country! Heil!).

Im so glad that there are people like Mr.Gray though. If it weren't for people so stupid that they think genetics is a big atheist conspiracy, people might take the Christian right seriously. That is why, however, I completely defend Mr.Grays right to be a bigot. The maniacs on the fringe should be allowed to speak their mind if for no other reason than they only hurt their efforts. Besides, if they are allowed to speak out we can tell who they are, and it is good to identify such people. I'm surprised Mr.Gray hasn't crossed the wrong person yet. Can't say I won't smile when he does.

It's fascinating how people can completely ignore all reason, science, and facts, in order to believe something so ridiculous.

I won't link to the uncensored letter, but Here is a response that absolutely breaks my heart.

Here is my letter in The Advance about the Conservative attack ads on Michael Ignatieff and the upcoming election

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This story is unbelievable...

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but a whimper."

T.S. Eliot - "The Hollow Men"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things just keep getting better..

So Jane Sterk, BC Green Leader, called me today to thank me for running and inform me that she wants me to be involved with the Green Strategic Planning Committee. So I basically will be working on policy and how to effectively convey our message, which is what I have always wanted to do. Thank you to Jane for the opportunity!Unfortunately I can't make the AGM as I cant take the time off work, but I am very excited to help in any way I can towards the 2013 election!

Some analysis of my candidacy

Here is some analysis on my campaign from Matthew Claxton's blog:

"The two interesting people to watch will be Travis Erbacher of the Greens, at 19 the youngest candidate in the race, and Jordan Braun of the B.C. Refed Party. Will Erbacher make a significant dent in Chaddock-Costello's numbers? Will Braun get a few hundred protest votes from right-of-centre voters who don't like the carbon tax? Their numbers will be an interesting straw poll on the level of dissatisfaction with both the NDP and the Liberals as the natural governing parties of B.C.

"In Fort Langley-Aldergrove, Travis Erbacher made a pretty good impression for a 19-year-old; he could have the makings of a long term political career, assuming the Greens ever get into power at any level."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Sign Outside My Work

This is kind of cool. I was also endorsed by the Georgia Straight, Marc told me last night. Not bad.

An end and a beginning...

Thank you to all of my supporters, my family, my friends, co-workers and boss, Marc and Jodie Emery, Jane Sterk, and the Green Party of BC. This has been an unbelievable learning experience for me, and it is a great starting point for my political career. The tide will turn my friends, this is not the end of the fight, and I will never give up. I managed to get over 1600 people in Fort Langley-Aldergrove to vote for me, and that is huge for a controversial young man like myself, running in a highly conservative riding.

In the next four years I hope to remain a noteworthy figure in local politics. I am going to arrange a number of protests whenever they are necessary with regards to the environment, transportation, drug policy and gang violence, and social justice. I will be an activist until the next campaign. If anyone is interested in the activities of my activist group, please post some ideas and join my facebook group: "Langley Residents for Drug Policy Reform". My new project is to get a website up and running and connecting with local progressive drug policy archives and group networks to arrange a more cohesive outlet for fighting against this civil war called "The war on drugs".

I hope anyone who voted for me who reads this will keep in touch. The beautiful thing about the Green Party is that we have the facts on our side, and we function not as a rigid party of smooth talking insiders, but as a grassroots network of socially conscious people. Each and every one of you who voted Green are as important to this community and planet as me, or any other candidate. I will not let you down, and never stop fighting for freedom, sustainability, and electoral system reform.

Peace and love,


Thursday, April 30, 2009


So I was on CKNW am980 on the Bill Good Show today, it went ok, the NDP woman dominated the discussion though and of the half hour we had maybe 10-12 minutes of actual content. It was cool to meet Bill Good though and it was a decent experience. I picked up my signs from the BCMP today, they look great! Thanks so much to Jodie and Marc and their graphics team for their wonderful work and contributions to my campaign.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


My Eagles selected Missouri Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin in the first round, providing yet another speedy big time target to pair with Desean Jackson. I like the look of the upgraded O-Line, and I love the pick of such a speedy playmaker. Im looking forward to this football season, the Eagles are going to do some damage.

Unfortunately my Flyers were knocked out today by the Penguins. Off to work tonight, then preparing tomorrow for the LTA meeting on Monday. I'm going to take steal the night, sorry Ms. Chaddock-Costello.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You say one issue, I say big picture

So Frank Bucholtz, editor of the Langley Times and noted Liberal supporter and prohibitionist has tried to paint me as a one issue candidate, despite the fact that Transit has been my main priority thus far. His editorial is Here

My response:

In The Langley Times (April 24) Editor Frank Bucholtz characterized me as a one issue candidate, and I must correct this. Yes it is true, I am an activist who has dedicated a significant part of my young life to fighting what I view to be unjust laws. I would hardly characterize myself as a one issue candidate however, and feel Mr.Bucholtz is being very unfair.

Since this campaign has started, the 3 issues most people are concerned with are the economy, the environment, and crime. By repealing the prohibition of cannabis (which the Canadian Senate recommended in 1972) we would take huge amounts of money out of the hands of criminal organizations and the problem of innocent bystanders being shot would disappear. Simultaneously the government would see huge amounts of revenue come from the taxation of cannabis which could be used to help those who have been neglected under the Liberal government, such as BC students, particularly those with special needs. When FDR came to power in the United States he repealed prohibition of alcohol because they could no longer afford it in tough economic times, and the time has come to do the same for cannabis. Since crime and the economy are the top issues I hardly see myself as a one issue candidate, as the repealing of prohibition is simply one part of a comprehensive solution to solve BC’s problems, and it is all part of the big picture view of the BC Green Party.

It hurts to think outside the box, and it is certainly human nature to not want to admit one has made a mistake, especially when that mistake goes on for 100 years in the case of prohibition or 8 years in the case of climate change. I will be presenting my comprehensive vision at the Langley Teachers Association issues night at the Chief Sepass theatre at the Langley Fine Arts School. I would invite all concerned citizens out to the event to see that I am in fact not a one issue candidate.

Travis Erbacher
Green Candidate, Fort Langley-Aldergrove

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Continued Press

Had a great meeting with Ron Today, we had breakfast at Rickeys and talked/strategized for THREE HOURS.

We will be doing a fundraising night at the twin rinks lounge soon, $18-25 for dinner and $8 of each goes to our sign fund. Please come out! I will let you know the date soon.

I did an interview with Global TV today, so I should be on the Global News either tonight or in the near future.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Thanks to Frank Discussion, a progressive marijauna policy organization ( here is the audio of my cold call on CBC radio, so that you do not have to skip through on the archive:

You can download it from there. It's great to be getting attention from various groups from around North America!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

As Promised...

So I was on CBC radio's "The Early Edition" on 420, shortly after Marc Emery. I had a huge migraine that day and my mom came into my room and shook me awake and I had to do the interview half asleep and feeling terrible, which is why I sound groggy.

But I promised so here it is:

Click on monday, im an hour and 11 minutes in. Terrible I know. Hopefully Bill Good goes much better, at least I will be awake for that.

Campaign Signs

How's this for a good looking campaign sign? Props to Jodie and Marc Emery and their graphics team for the signs.

Another Radio Show!

I will be live in studio on the Bill Good Morning Show on CKNW on Thursday, April 30th at 9AM. Hope you all can listen in and here me talk about the election and what it is like to be a young candidate. I am rather excited.

Monday, April 20, 2009

To celebrate today, two quotes from Ayn Rand...Legalize it!

"Unjust laws have to be fought ideologically; they cannot be fought or corrected by means of mere disobedience and futile martyrdom"

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Green Young Guns in the Media

is an article from Fridays Vancouver Sun about me and Lisa Girbav

Here is an article from Thursdays Langley Advance about the FL-Aldergrove candidates using the internet in the campaign

And I should be on CBC radio in the morning, on The Early Edition, I will let you know when I find out when I will be on for sure and link you to the show.

Hopefully I can organize the fundraising concert in the next week and get some cash together to get some resources. Things are looking good, my age seems to be a useful promotional tool, as our young candidates are creating a huge buzz!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Going strong..

So I really need to get my paper done, hopefully I can get it started tomorrow after filing with the district, getting my campaign account up and running and doing some general campaigning and strategizing with Ron Abgrall, Green candidate for Langley City. It's tough when the ruling party gets a head start, and gets all the corporate donations. Im hoping to run this on very limited funds, capitalizing instead on word of mouth, canvassing of neighbourhoods and things that are less dependant on money. That being said, you could lessen the burden by donating ;)

Your Metro Vancouver Green Candidates

Here is one of the Green Party group photo's. This one is courtesy of Marc and Jodie Emery. Unfortunately I ruin this one. Bleh.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Smoke Em Out!

Last night really got me in the campaign mood. Great speeches by Jodie Emery, Rex Weyler, and Jane Sterk. Highlight of the night for me was getting up to give a personal reason for running (Inspiring other young people to get involved, as Jodie already got out the anti-prohition message). I took the mic and Marc Emery gave me a shout out. Giving credit where credit is due, I probably wouldn't be running if it wasn't for Marc and Jodie, they have been incredibly supportive and I really appreciate it. I got to meet about 20 or so candidates (Including the other young candidates, Trevor Loke of Surrey-Newton and Fraea Bolding of Chilliwack) and I have all my papers in order. I will be filing with the local office on Wednesday most likely.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Early success?

So I have 105 signatures and I require minimum 75 to secure my nomination, so things are going well. The NDP has not designated a candidate and it looks as if they may be in disarray, which would be a tremendous boost for the Greens. I will be on CBC radio sometime next week, I'll direct you all to the link to the archive once I know it is up. I read my poem "Reflection" which was cool, it gives the people greater insight into me personally.

I feel like such a narcissist since the campaign started, im seeing my name everywhere and reading about myself, I hope it doesnt go to my head hehe.

Im very excited, this is a dream of mine and I think I have a shot at shaking things up in this election and helping young people feel more important. Young people can make a difference!

I'd like to again thank Windsong for the incredible 45 signatures! I am going to write a poem for you all to express my gratitude! Your generosity is beautiful and inspirational!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Come out Thursday!

At 4pm we are going to gather signatures starting at Wendells bookstore and coffee shop in Fort Langley on Glover Rd. I hope you can come out and help me complete my nomination! Lets get out the message of diversity, comprehensive holistic thinking, and electoral reform!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Great start to the campaign! I got 24 of 75 signatures in just under 3 hours in a conservative area of Aldergrove. I can do this and I will do this. Im determined and cant wait for Thursday to meet all the young (and older) candidates! Im so excited for Jodie's presentation! Should be a great night!

Im out Thursday collecting signatures so anyone who can help call me 604-307-0477.

Monday, April 6, 2009

LTE Writer of the week?

So I googled myself today (not in that way) and I found this little bit of info about myself:

I won the letter to the editor writer of the week for my latest letter from, a progressive drug policy archive. (Im fourth from the top)

Seems like I have been on their radar for quite a while. I am more influential than I think.

Now to work tonight where hopefully I will get some signatures, and then more tomorrow!

Come out and support my candidacy!

Tuesday, April 7th I will be out and about in Fort Langley collecting signatures for my nomination. I will first stop by Hempyz store to drop off signature forms, then hit up various spots around the riding. If you want to meet up and help me out give me a ring at 604-307-0477.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I may or may not be the Green Party candidate for Fort Langley-Aldergrove. Depending on how the process goes.