Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Letter to Campbell and Oda

Here is a copy of a letter I 1. emailed, 2. faxed, and 3. mailed, to Bev Oda, my Member of Parliament. A similarly-worded, but personalized, letter was also sent to Larry Campbell, former mayor of Vancouver and newly-minted Senator who had this to say about Drug Czars. Do send a letter to your member and, in particular, lets send Larry Campbell a mountain of letters to urge him to support the effort to keep Marc in Canada.

Dear Ms. Oda -

I write to you to express my concern about the possible extradition of marijuana activist Marc Emery to face an outrageous criminal penalty in the United States.

As I'm sure you are aware, Mr. Emery was detained at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and is facing a sentence of ten years to life for selling viable marijuana seeds into the United States. He does not deny that he mailed seeds to the U.S., having recently reported that he paid in excess of $600,000 in taxes since 1999, expressly marking down the reason for the income as coming from the sale of seeds.

I am deeply angered by the antics of Carolyn Parrish and other members of Canada's government that have seen fit to mock Americans over the last few years. It is because of actions like these that opposing the extradition of Emery may be difficult. It may be seen as yet another instance of anti-Americanism.

It should not, however, be seen in this light. The Marc Emery issue highlights a salient and genuine difference between the approaches of our two nations to the prohibition of marijuana. In Canada, we have seen fit to look the other way, and to begin to tolerate recreational marijuana use not just culturally, but also legally. Marc has not received anything more than two fines ($2,000 each) for selling seeds. That's a big difference to the approach Americans might take in this case, which includes the possibility of life in prison for Marc.

That possibility is shocking to me. And it offends my conscience to hear that something like that might happen.

Especially considering the public policy debate in this country which appears geared towards the imminent legalization of marijuana. Consider that a Fraser Institute report argued for marijuana legalization, as did the 2002 Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs which unanimously urged the government to pursue a legalization strategy. Meanwhile, op-ed pages across this country show pronounced support for the effort to end the prohibition of marijuana. Even the National Post's editorial board saw fit to qualify their lack of support for Emery's plight with an explanation of their support for marijuana legalization.

The support for tolerance with respect to marijuana is so widespread, that it is now hard to find reputable sources of public policy discussion that do not favour either the decriminalization or the legalization of marijuana in this country.

Other than this, it is my understanding of the Extradition Act that a Canadian cannot be extradited if the penalty to be faced by a Canadian citizen is, in our view, egregious, or if the motivation for extradition is political. I should preface this by making plain that I am not a student of the law, and that my opinion on this matter is not grounded in a robust legal education. Nevertheless, I remain certain that Emery's potential punishment is beyond the pale, and, however the Justices have seen fit to define "egregious" in the case law, this must, surely, fit the bill.

I hope that you share my concern about this issue, and that you will consider publicly voicing this concern. I urge you to encourage our Minister of Justice to interject in this case, and to block the extradition of Emery. I also urge you to speak to fellow members of the Tory caucus, and to encourage them to take a stand in opposition to the extradition request.

I would appreciate hearing a response, whether one of agreement or disagreement, and look forward to speaking with you in the future.

Thank you very much for your time.


Peter Jaworski,
MSc (Can.) Philosophy & Public Policy, London School of Economics
MA Philosophy, University of Waterloo
BA(H) Philosophy, Queen's University


Blogger 100%-american-redbone hound-dog said...

flash back, and not having smoked any pot for near 20 years...was about to post a piece I wrote in 97 and click on next blog...dar dey are...john lennon and john sinclair...last I heard john sinclair was doing time as a dj on WWOZ in new orleans....we know of lennon...being south of two borders, the medicine line and the mason line...puts the mind to wanderings...we have terrorists to deal with, and our government(sic) is wrapped up in a wrap of marry wanna seeds...and george will not even stop his bi-cycle to visit with "that woman" camped near his "ranch"...there is an old saying that you can judge a mans ranch by the size of his buckle...see that you did time at mr big lips...school...mick jaggar...keep fightin for justice, economic justice and a rational life...we south of the medicine line have to deal with the intellect of people such as mr fartwell and associates...his friend from the 700 club...who mouth flaps like a barn door in a hurrican.....dont get me started on polly ticks....I would rather pull dog ticks...oh maple leaf fly across the medicine line, fly maple leaf, fly for ration, fly for sanity.

7:44 PM  

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