Marc Emery update .. one side of Canadian election still crazy after all these years

Jan 4th, 2006 | By | Category: Key Current Issues

To help kick off the new year, the BC Prince of Pot Marc Emery has just been voted one of Frank magazine’s Top 100 Canadian Wankers to Watch in 2006. And this seems a good opportunity to update the counterweights editors’ last report on their own surveillance of the Emery political career, early this past August 2005.

The case is strengthened by the career’s latest phase. Right now Marc Emery is a man in legal limbo. But he has still patriotically taken pains to participate in the campaign of the checkered New Democrat candidate in Vancouver Centre, Svend Robinson. So the current state of Emery wankerism also fits any growing obsession with the Canadian federal election on January 23. Say whatever else you like as well, even in the United States nowadays there are staunch friends of the Prince of Pot’s own “Free Marc Emery No Extradition” campaign. And that is no doubt because its redeeming higher mission is to stop any expansion of the highly dysfunctional War on Drugs that remains so stubbornly supported in Washington (by both big US political parties?).

Date of extradition hearing to be set on February 13 …

The very quick background here is that Marc Emery ran a bookstore and assorted fringe political campaigns for many years in London, Ontario, before re-settling in Vancouver in the 1990s. It was in Vancouver that he also blossomed as a marijuana promoter and Prince of Pot.

If anything the mature Prince of Pot phase of the career was too successful – and especially internationally, so to speak, beyond Canada’s borders.

Late last July Emery and his BC Marijuana Party colleagues, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Gregory Williams, were arrested by Canadian police for possible extradition to the USA, to face charges of “conspiring to sell pot seeds to US residents” over the Internet, “conspiracy to grow marijuana, and money laundering.” According to one press report, they “could be sentenced to 20 years in prison if found guilty by an American court.”

Canadian police were acting at the request of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). A BC Supreme Court judge granted bail to Emery and his colleagues, pending their extradition hearing in Canada. According to recent media reports, the date of the hearing will be set on Monday, February 13, 2006 – exactly three weeks after the Canadian federal election.

Emery has recently said he’s “not afraid of being extradited” to face a trial in the United States. In Canada “I’ve been arrested 21 times and jailed 17 times, raided six times. I’ve had all my assets taken from me by Vancouver police on several occasions before.” But his current burgeoning “legal bills … have left him on the brink of bankruptcy.”

More to the point for we the larger people of Canada, if the Canadian government and legal system do finally extradite Emery and his colleagues, that will amount to saying the highly dysfunctional regime of the current US War on Drugs does extend north of the still unfortified border – Canadian sovereignty and Canada’s own kinder and gentler irrational drug policy be damned. And what sensible person living in Canada today (and, again, various regions of the USA too) wants any part of anything like that?

Marc Emery and Svend Robinson … still crazy after all these years?

If his ultimate cause is impregnable, Marc Emery himself, as a political hero of any description, certainly has at least several feet of clay.

The sometimes jaded editors of Frank magazine are not the only people who rate him as an abhorrent Canadian wanker – i.e. among “the pompous and the pathological, the slimy and the self-serving” … people who you “can’t miss … because they never met a camera they wouldn’t kiss,” and who are “in short … irritating, self-absorbed and a public nuisance.”

It is thus, to take just one of many cases in point, easy to detect some sleaziness in Emery’s recent entry into the Canadian federal election campaign, on the side of Svend Robinson and the New Democratic angels in Vancouver Centre.

As one media report explained, Emery “says … Robinson approached him for help with his campaign.” Robinson “says any support is welcomed, If Marc Emery chooses to get out there and bang on doors and phone constituents in Vancouver Centre in support of New Democrats and my candidacy, certainly he’s free to do that.'”And “Robinson says he’ll do anything he can to prevent Emery from being extradited to the US to face prison time.”

On the other hand, Emery did go to the trouble of getting judicial permission to participate in the federal campaign (no doubt putting further pressure on his legal bills). Thus just this past December 8 a “BC Supreme Court judge gave marijuana crusader Marc Emery the green light … to campaign during the federal election but warned the man wanted in the United States for drug trafficking shouldn’t advocate the sale of marijuana seeds in any speeches.”

Shortly after this announcement Maclean’s magazine suggested it would probably not help the NDP cause in Vancouver Centre that “Marc Emery – marijuana motormouth and indicted pot seed salesman – will campaign for Robinson.” Yet as an apparently reformed jewel thief (as well as a former first openly gay Canadian federal MP), Svend Robinson can no doubt not be too choosy about just who his supporters are at the moment either. Right now Robinson and Emery probably deserve each other. And they certainly add extra intrigue to whatever may or may not happen in Vancouver Centre on January 23.

Not even Marc Emery can make marijuana policy a real issue in this Canadian election

What seems quite unlikely is that either Marc Emery or Svend Robinson or anyone else will succeed in making the legalization or even mere decriminalization of marijuana a serious issue in the current Canadian election campaign.

Back a little while, both legal gay marriage and some form of marijuana decriminalization seemed to be twin platform planks of sorts for the Liberal Party of Canada. But now that legal gay marriage has been achieved (and put some stress on a diverse Liberal caucus in the process), “Team Martin” appears to have lost interest in marijuana, for the time being.

Yet on December 15, 2005, what would seem to be a libertarian website based in Alabama, of all places, raised a somewhat related intriguing question about Canadian foreign policy under the Team Martin Liberals. “Prime Minister Paul Martin” had just then “escalated a war of words with the United States … telling Washington not to dictate to him what topics he can raise in the run-up to Canada’s January 23 election … This particular tif is over a bilateral trade dispute over softwood lumber’ … It would be nice to see this new don’t f* with our sovereignty attitude spill over to … freeing Marc Emery from the clutches of the DEA. Time will tell if Martin actually grew large enough cajones to protect the rights of Emery, or is merely posturing for votes.”

Meanwhile, not even all Svend Robinson’s colleagues in the NDP appear to support “Free Marc Emery No Extradition” as unambiguously as Mr. Robinson himself. But almost all are almost certainly stronger supporters than almost anyone in Stephen Harper’s new Conservative Party of Canada. And presumably almost no one in Canada who is seriously concerned to ensure that Emery is not finally extradited for trial under the much more harshly dysfunctional regime of the US federal War on Drugs will be voting Conservative on January 23?

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