Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pot Prince Emery, Still Sticking It To The Man

Facing extradition to the United States and the possibility of a life sentence without parole - for doing only what he says he's been doing openly, in Vancouver, for a decade - Marc Emery and his supporters see something sinister at work: A foul American violation of Canadian sovereignty, and a supine Canadian government letting it happen.

Vancouver-East New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies says Vancouver cops were used as foot soldiers in the U.S. war on drugs: “It feels to me like the long arm of U.S. enforcement reaching into Canada.”

The nationalist Council of Canadians says the proceedings “raise serious questions about Canada’s sovereignty over law enforcement.” The Canadian Action Party says the case goes to “the core of being Canadian, being a sovereign nation, being able to make decisions we choose in our interest, in our own time, on our own terms.”

That’s what you’ll hear from voices as disparate as Province columnist Ian Mulgrew (“an outrageous infringement of Canadian sovereignty”) and the Communist Party of Canada - Marxist-Leninist (“No to the Extradition of B.C. Marijuana Party Officials! Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!”)

Sorry, but that's not the explanation I propose in my Chronicles column today.

Why is Emery in this mess, then?

“My mentor is Ayn Rand,” Emery told me, referring to the American anti-state prophet of selfishness beloved of right-wing libertarians. Long before Emery got into the marijuana business, he’d already had a history of civil disobedience as a bookshop proprietor in London, Ontario, in protests against Sunday shopping bans, obscenity laws, and even street-sign bylaws.
During our conversation, Emery reiterated his view that Canada’s universal health-care system should be scrapped, and public schools should be abolished in favour of a voucher system allowing parents a free choice of private tutors for their children. And no public funds should be spent on medical care for anyone over the age of 70, either.

Make of that whatever you like, but don't tell me it's about chafing against Yankee Imperialism.

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Elsewhere, Ivan Coyote has written her first novel. Grant Shilling talks to her about it here: Working Class Dignity. You can be pretty dang certain Bow Grip will be excellent.

3 Comments:

Blogger Robert G. said...

Not sure how libertarians expect the system to work if they're all baked half the time.

11:05 AM  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

I don't deny that Emery's ideology is a central reason for him being in hot water. But do you really think this is the only reason, or the sole explanation? Or, even, such a large part of the explanation as to make other issues irrelevant in comparison?

Isn't it also true that this case does raise sovereignty issues? Of course Americans and Canadians are routinely extradited between countries. This is reason to yawn. But in this case, the problem appears at least partially political, and largely cultural. Emery cannot be extradited for political or cultural reasons, and he cannot be extradited if the punishment he is to face would "shock the conscience" of the average Canadian.

I'm suspecting that it *would* shock the conscience of average Canadians to hear that he's facing life in prison. I say this only if his jail terms and treatment by officials in Canada is any indication of the sentiments of average Canadians on this issue. And I think they are.

Ideology may play the most important part in Emery's case, but the issue of sovereignty (and related worries) are not altogether absent from this case.

Enough so that we shouldn't let it happen.

12:55 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

"...the issue of sovereignty (and related worries) are not altogether absent from this case."

Which is also what the Yanks can say about this case.

3:56 PM  

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