Supporters of a Canadian marijuana activist being held in a U.S. prison are being called on to pressure the government to bring him home, with the wife of “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery urging supporters to inundate the Ministry of Public Safety with phone calls asking for the government to approve an idle transfer request.
Jodie Emery will stand in the heart of enemy territory on Tuesday and politely ask that the Canadian government sign the paperwork that will allow her husband to serve the remainder of his sentence on Canadian soil. She will be backed by NDP MP Libby Davis, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal Public Safety Critic Wayne Easter.
Jodie Emery has been campaigning for his return to Canada since he was first extradited to the U.S. in 2010 after receiving a five-year sentence for selling marijuana seeds through the mail. It has been three years without movement, but hopes were raised earlier this year when the U.S. government approved the transfer request, leaving it to its Canadian counterparts to finalize the paperwork.
Yet no word from Public Safety Minister Steve Blaney and no indication that such a request will be approved, despite previous rebuke for ignoring transfer requests.
“There are hundreds of Canadians in prison in the U.S. who have applied for transfer, received approval in the U.S. and are just sitting and waiting with no word from the Canadian government,” Jodie Emery told Yahoo Canada News in an interview. “And there is no requirement to respond to those.”
Here are more excerpts from that interview, edited for length and clarity:
Yahoo Canada News: What kind of communication have you had with the Canadian government, and specifically the Ministry of Public Safety?
Jodie Emery: Nothing at all. I have been tweeting at the minister. There have been polite phone calls, but what I am getting is nothing. And apparently reporters are calling and getting nothing. But for the Canadian government that is nothing unusual. If anybody got an answer, that would be the news story.
Yahoo: Do you believe Marc’s role as a marijuana activist is the cause of delay?
Emery: I would say that Marc and I certainly are not friends of the government. It is fair to say that with all the (marijuana) reform going on, even right up against our border in Washington State and Marc’s own prosecutor working to legalize it, there is a lot of conversation worldwide and a lot of pressure on governments to look at softening the drug laws. But the Conservatives, that goes against everything they want to do.
I think they know that if Marc were home right now he would be endorsing the Sensible BC decriminalization referendum in British Columbia, he would be touring across the country calling on people to get active and get involved. I think the government might be more inclined to bring home a nobody than somebody who is very high profile like Marc.
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Yahoo: What will you say at your appearing in Ottawa on Tuesday?
Emery: I will politely ask Minister Steven Blaney to approve Marc’s transfer request. Not because he likes Marc Emery or likes marijuana, simply because the U.S. government has already approved it, and the treaty agreement with the United States … requires that Canadians be brought home when approved for transfer. There really is no reason for Marc to continue his sentence in the United States.
Yahoo: You also ask that those who participate in the phone drive remain polite on the phone. Why is it an underlying theme for you that this be kept polite and respectful?
Emery: When Marc was first extradited in 2010 there was a lot of outrage and a lot of angry people. There are a lot of people who are still really upset about it. When we first protested Marc’s extradition, we literally took it to the streets. We held a Conservative Member of Parliament office occupation campaign … it was a much more confrontational approach.
I just know that diplomacy works a lot better, and I’d like to remind our supporters. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say. I just don’t want the government to be able to say they have encountered any extreme-type people. I am not some hippy activist saying, ‘get the anarchists out on the street.’ I am just a Canadian wife looking for her Canadian husband to be brought home under the Canadian agreement with the U.S.
Photo via Cannabis Culture
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