Jodie Emery creates a problem for the Conservatives

Colby Cosh on the dangers of ignoring the libertarian vote

Jonathan Hayward/CP

Marc and Jodie Emery (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

Update, Jan. 17, 2015: The Liberal party candidate review committee has rejected Jodie Emery’s bid to run in Vancouver East. Emery told CP that she respects the committee’s decision and has no plans to run for another party. Colby Cosh wrote about the would-be candidate in July: 

Jodie Emery, the wife of marijuana activist and seed dealer Marc Emery, has declared her intention to run for a Liberal nomination in the NDP stronghold of Vancouver East. Emery’s husband, you will recall, was arrested in Nova Scotia in 2005 at the behest of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA’s boss immediately called the arrest a “significant blow, not only to the marijuana trafficking trade . . . but also to the marijuana legalization movement.” Not one of history’s happier forecasts, you’d have to say.

Mr. Emery, convicted of mailing contraband seeds to American buyers, served five years in American prisons before being released last week. Canada’s Conservative government had not only shanghaied Emery and extradited him for a crime practically deemed beneath notice by Canadian police, they intervened against a plea bargain he made with American prosecutors that would have allowed him to serve part of his sentence here. Now that he is free, he plans a tour of Canada in support of the Liberal party. It is a less rude version of what I would do in his place.

Jodie Emery stood by her husband during his American sojourn and served as his spokesperson. It is not surprising to find the Conservatives snickering at her proposed Liberal candidacy; it is a little surprising to find politically independent academics and pundits getting derisive about it, emphasizing the problems she would supposedly create for the Liberals. Are we really so sure she creates none for the Conservatives?

The Canada Revenue Agency was happy to cash enormous tax cheques from the Emerys’ seed business until the DEA waggled a finger. It is thus hard to see how Marc Emery’s arrest was morally distinguishable from kidnapping. One might even say it was a kidnapping mail-ordered from our Conservative government, in much the same manner as Emery’s seeds.

The people who applauded the arrest are those who ordinarily talk the loudest of Canadian sovereignty. Are they even slightly embarrassed that the U.S. federal government changed its policy while Marc Emery was still bunged up, and now suffers pot to be sold openly, in industrial quantities, in two U.S. states? I would ask on what principle this man was condemned, but even some mere excuse beyond sadistic frivolity would be nice.

Probably Jodie Emery’s single-issue candidacy will get nowhere. But one notices that the Conservative party has had a number of cops and crusading crime victims graduate from single-issue crank to skull-cracking law-and-order MP. At this, no one bats an eye. When a farmer runs for public office in a farm riding, wins it and spends his political career demanding flood assistance and drought assistance in alternating years, nobody regards him as a pitiful absurdity. Advocacy of “single issues” is where rank-and-file politicians emerge from.

And, as “single issues” go, marijuana legalization might be a pretty strong one. Support for legalized recreational pot is above 50 per cent in Alberta, the bosom of the Conservative party, according to longitudinal polling by Lethbridge College political scientist Faron Ellis.

The National Post’s Chris Selley mocked Jodie Emery for having appeared in a bikini on a poster for U.S. libertarian idol Ron Paul. Selley didn’t seem to be objecting to her looks and, as far as sexual mores go, it is 2014 and there wasn’t a horse anywhere in the photo. So it is the Ron Paul part that’s the problem? This calls awkward attention to the fact that we do not have anything like a Ron Paul in this country.

The consciously libertarian vote in this country is not large, but there is a larger, less intellectually coherent “leave me alone” vote—a fraction of the public that is equally tired of drug laws, overpriced cheese, green boondoggles, housing-market fiddling and all the other familiar species of unkillable state intervention. Feeding and watering the Ron Paul-ish voters would be light work for Conservatives if they weren’t so strategically devoted to exploiting soccer-mom fear of drug dealers and other baddies. Paul himself spent 30 years as a tolerated totem, almost a sort of licensed royal jester, within the Republican party.

When Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced his party’s backing for marijuana legalization, we were told by newspapermen, almost with one voice, that he would rue his radicalism. The pundits all know he is in the right on pot, but they do not trust him to articulate the right position. This might be fair, but his espousal of legalization doesn’t seem to have hurt him in the polls yet. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that is taking an awfully long while to fulfill itself.


Jodie Emery creates a problem for the Conservatives

  1. Well I’m neither Con nor Libertarian, but anyone can see that our society has given up the old rigid faith-based rules and wants far more choice.

    I remember when divorce was owned by the govt. Today we’d think forcing people to stay together was insane.

    Gambling was once the work of the devil too. Also IVF, cloning, stem cells

    We’ve finally broken free on SSM and Choice.

    Currently the fight is over PAD, prostitution and legalizing drugs

    If Cons don’t recognize this movement….too bad, so sad.

    • The Conservatives could change their tune on MJ and do as Washington and Colorado have done, the increased tax revenues and reduced amount of court time wasted on pot consumers would be well worth it.

      And no, the Conservative base wouldn’t be all that upset, not enough to vote NDP or “da turd pardi”.

  2. Arrested in 2005? That’s odd, wasn’t Paul Martin prime minister in 2005? I mean, the US-Canada extradition treaty explicitly only applies to crimes punishable, under Canadian law, with at least a year in prison. So, if Canadian law had, at any point, been amended by a Liberal government to reduce the punishment for the sale of pot seeds to less than a year in prison, the US could not have requested his extradition.

    And, interestingly enough, neither the 39th or 40th Parliaments had a Conservative majority at any time, either. So at any time between Emery’s initial arrest and his actual extradition in 2010, the non-Conservatives could have exercised their joint power as a majority in a sovereign Parliament and amended Canadian law to actually reduce the sentence for selling pot seeds to less than a year, and immediately and permanently blocked all efforts to extradite Mr. Emery. Justin Trudeau became an MP in 2008; how many private member’s bills did he submit to try to save Mr. Emery?

    Certainly, Mr. Emery’s treatment was grotesque. But it was all-parties grotesquerie.

    • Google is your friend!

      “…Emery was taken into custody on September 28, 2009, and held at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, BC, to await extradition to the USA. On November 18, 2009, Emery was released on bail, pending the Canadian Minister of Justice signing the extradition order; and on May 10, 2010, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signed the order and ordered Emery to surrender to authorities, which he did that same day…”

      So no, it wasn’t the Liberals. It was the Conservatives.

      Thanks for playing. Better luck next time!



      • You should learn to read the whole thing from where you cheery picked your quote Phil;

        2005 arrest and extradition proceedings

        On July 29, 2005, Canadian police, acting on a request from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),[124] simultaneously raided the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and Headquarters in Vancouver and arrested Emery for extradition to the United States outside a local storefront in the community of Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia where he was attending a HempFest.[125][126][127]

        American authorities charged Emery and co-defendants Gregory Keith Williams, 50, of Vancouver, BC and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek, 34, of Vancouver, BC with “‘Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana”, “Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana Seeds” and “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering”. Even though all the alleged offenses occurred in Canada, Canadian police did not lay any charges.[128]

        The day of Emery’s arrest, American DEA Administrator Karen Tandy released the following statement:

        Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.

        His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.

        Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.

        Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.[129]

        Emery was freed on a $50,000 bail and prepared to fight extradition in the courts.

      • Yes, Google’s my friend. Though not yours, apparently, as Billy Bob has already pointed out. But, notice Colby Cosh mentioned the 2005 date of the initial arrest right above. You didn’t even have to Google to get this one right, and that you Googled without managing to get it right is just humiliating. Well, assuming you’re capable of shame.

        But even if I’d had the date of the initial arrest wrong (and again, I didn’t, you did), the rest of my point stands, and you didn’t even try to address it.

        “Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds” opened in 1995. Marc Emery was deported in 2010. Every single one of those 15 years, non-Conservative parties had a combined majority in Parliament. Every single one of those 15 years, Marc Emery’s activities were punishable by more than a year in prison in Canadian law. Every single one of those years, the law could have been altered without a single Conservative vote in Parliament, making Marc Emery non-extraditable. Every single one of those years, the non-Conservative majority in Parliament made the choice to leave him extraditable.

  3. The Emerys are just not that likeable. Its too bad because I am one of the many who wish to overhaul our ancient draconian drug laws. Marc and Jodie are two of the most narcissistic, ego-maniacal people I’ve ever encountered. The Liberals would be wise to steer clear of these two.

    • I totally agree. She is extremely arrogant and above reproach. So is he.

  4. Today our youth has seen the hypocrisy of our government and their hero’s our Marc and Jodie the Demographics have changed and Harper should get back to his Napoleon complex.

  5. Way to go Mr. Cash. Once again you and the Trudeau Official Press Action Team (to pat) have demonstrated the media’s bias for all things Trudeau. Keep it up – and then think about the declining revenue, job losses etc. that’s brought about by ticking off 30 – 40% of your readership every time you folks go into battle for the Dauphin. Works for me – the more jobs you put at risk, the less of a biased press we have to deal with in the future.

    • Hmm, and here I was thinking Macleans was pro-Con.

      ‘Eye of the beholder’, George….that’s all.

  6. Jodie should run, if for no other reason that to tick off the Cons!

    • And she will lose, as she did the last time.

  7. I’m pretty certain that selling marijuana seeds was (and is) still illegal in Canada. CCRA also doesn’t really have a mandate to screen the legality of businesses paying their taxes, so I wouldn’t take that as any particular endorsement of Emery’s operations. Finally, let’s flip the debate the other way: if an American were exporting explosive bullets to Canadians via mail order, do we really think that the Canadian government might not take umbrage?

  8. Jodie Emery creates a problem for the Conservatives, but also for the Liberals too.
    Justin Trudeau’s team will NOT endorse her and has made that perfectly clear.
    I’m sorry Mrs Emery, but taking a selfie with Trudeau does not count as true support.

    She is not only narcissistic, and in this for her own glory and not because she cares about people, she is also inexperienced and ill-equipped for the job at hand. A poor choice.

    No wonder Trudeau doesn’t endorse her.

Sign in to comment.