Last week, I reported that a man named Al Gore had entered the running to become the Mayor of Toronto. Unfortunately, over the past few days it has been made clear that the Al Gore who used to ghostride the whip with Bill Clinton in the White House is not the same Al Gore who will be trying to clothesline dear ol’ Robbie Ford off of his cracked out pedestal. Inconvenient truther or not, as of today there are at least 21 people running for the mayor of Toronto and it’s only January 10th. One of those candidates is Matt Mernagh, a guy who I interviewed last year for his very notable accomplishment of nearly making weed legal in Canada.
Given the already farcical spectacle that municipal politics in Canada’s largest city became sometime between the news that Rob Ford’s crack tape existed, and the confirmation that Rob Ford’s crack tape exists, I wasn’t sure if Matt was serious about running for mayor or not. But I was curious nonetheless, so I gave Mr. Mernagh a shout and we talked about his political ambitions.
VICE: Why did you decide to run for mayor?
Matt Mernagh: To change the mayoral personality discussion everyone is bogged down in to a political one. My skills as a cannabis advocate are transferable to the mayor’s office and when you understand the true responsibilities the mayor has—they aren’t too much of stretch for what I am currently doing.
My skills speaking to the largest voting block—the non-voter—will really help me get votes where other candidates see none. I’m the non-voter voter candidate! Since announcing the amount of people who told me they’ve never voted before, but they’re voting Mayor Mernagh, has been enough of a reason for me to run. More people voted for cannabis legalization in Colorado than voted for President Obama. So my thinking is a pot person might be able to bring people to the polls who otherwise might not vote. Eight days into the campaign, Ford is talking cannabis.
Why is being a weed smoker better than a crack smoker?
Cannabis makes people productive, peaceful and creative while crack heads are angry, loud, sketchy types with very poor interpersonal skills.
Right. What do you want to see changed in Toronto?
Nothing drastic. A friendly city with shiny happy people who are led by a mayor who listens to residents, city staff, counselors, and most importantly is a visionary consensus builder.
How easy is it to run for mayor?
Too easy. Typical elections require a candidate to have nomination signatures. Much to my shock the municipal election doesn’t require any signatures from residents. We planned to use a New Year’s Eve party to get needed signatures. This simple step (50-100 signatures) would add credibility to the process. The ballot is going to be a legal sized sheet of paper by the time this is done.