When Canada’s legendary “Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery makes his triumphant return to Canada in August (assuming border security doesn’t stop him), don’t expect the welcoming committee in Windsor to include Canada’s current Prince of politics Justin Trudeau.
JT’s patrician visage may grace the cover of a very special limited edition zig-zag packet, but his support for legalization apparently doesn’t extend to reaching out to this country’s most famous/infamous legalization crusader, Marc Emery.
Those who read the blog regularly will know that there is a certain theme that has appeared more than once. This is the sad history of American meddling in what is jealously guarded by many others, especially developed countries as their inviolable sovereignty.
Emery, perhaps, perfectly illustrates my theme better than almost any other case. He has been serving his sentence in a Mississippi prison for the past three years for various trumped up criminal charges (including money laundering, distribution of an illegal substance, etc.). Ever since the HEADY days (sorry) that Emery, a self-styled libertarian started a campaign for the legalization of pot by opening a head-shop in Vancouver’s East Side, he has been persecuted non-stop by the law in Canada, often on behalf of our morally conflicted (see 2012 legalization of the Herb in Washington & Colorado), drug crazed neighbours living below the 49th. Emery is just one of many victims of U.S. hysteria over the massive quantities of B.C. Gold that crosses over the U.S. Canada border (often illegally) every day.
In October of 2013 a handful of brave MPs (though not Justin for some strange reason) took a public stand in solidarity with Emery (Marc’s politically engaged wife Jodie organized the rally) and called upon Public Safety Minister Steven Blainey to sign his extradition papers so that Emery could serve the remainder of his sentence here in Canada, closer to his family and friends.
But since we are dealing with the same tough on pot-heads right-wing polices that resulted in his extradition to the U.S. in 2010 to face an absurd trial in a foreign courtroom, no one ever expected the Harper government to act on this.
The irony, is that Emery’s so called crimes (he freely admits that he sold seeds through the mail all over the U.S. but maintains that virtually all the profits went towards his international campaign to legalize it) were never serious enough for Canadian law to intervene, until they faced growing pressure from Uncle Sam to turn him over to the gringos. In effect, we are looking at another double standard of epic proportions here folks.
There is no doubt that Emery’s arrest was motivated by politics more than anything else (read the DEA’s statement on his arrest). This isn’t just a grave miscarriage of justice, in other words, it is a question of Canada’s legal obligation to protect its own sovereignty and ensure that its citizens receive due process of law, in spite of growing intrusions into our internal affairs by the U.S.
Now Emery is coming back to Canada with a vengeance, including planning a cross-country tour to rally support for JT’s legalization plan. But hold your horses Marc! The LPC spin-doctors are already in full damage control making it clear that they want no part of Emery’s campaign to get Trudeau elected.
The reason: Emery’s a convicted felon with a libertarian ideology and a penchant for cursing a blue streak in public. In other words, hardly the stuff of middle-of-the-road, solidly suburban, Tim-Horton-eating –Canadian-middle-class-values. The very same values that Trudeau the Younger (and indeed all the federal political leaders except maybe Elizabeth May) continues to espouse in his non-stop courtship of Canadian voters that make up the bulk of the electorate.
Plus the Tories are already spinning their own narrative that portrays Emery and Trudeau as two peas in a pod, in their ongoing, some would say vain, efforts to frighten away all the average Joes and Janes from Prince Charming and his untried policies, like legalization.
Will it work? I like to think on this particular issue, Harper’s mighty propaganda machine is not only on the wrong side of public opinion but also the wrong side of history. Trudeau and Emery, may not agree on the means, but they both understand the social, economic and legal importance of decriminalizing the most widely used and unregulated illegal drug in the marketplace.
Other articles by David DesBaillets
The NDP Month from Hell
New Bloc leader Mario Beaulieu will drive party into the ground
Bedford 2: This time it’s personal!
Supreme Court Chief latest victim of the Harper shoot-the-messenger policy
Chickens coming home to roost on “open nominations” promise
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