CANNABIS CULTURE – Members of Parliament from the Liberal, New Democratic, and Conservative Parties of Canada presented petitions today to the House of Commons with over 12,000 signatures asking the Minister of Justice to stop the extradition of marijuana activist Marc Emery.
In a show of cross-party MP support rarely seen in the House, Scott Reid (Conservative), Libby Davies (NDP), and Ujjal Dosanjh (Liberal) stood in succession and asked Conservative Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson to refuse to sign extradition orders sending Emery, a Vancouver entrepreneur and well-known activist, to the United States for a 5-year prison term.
Conservative MP Scott Reid: "I’m presenting a petition today, quite a large petition as you can see from the pile on the table beside me, regarding Marc Emery, the leader of the British Columbia Marijuana Party, who is facing deportation to the United States. The petitioners draw the attention of Parliament to a number of pertinent facts, I won’t go through all of them but I think some are relevant here. Marc Emery’s activities, the ones for which he is being extradited involve selling viable seeds, viable marijuana seeds, over the Internet. It’s worth noting that these activities were approved by Health Canada’s referral of medical marijuana patients to his seed bank. It is worth noting as well that courts in ruling on this subject, Canadian courts have ruled that a $200 fine is an appropriate punishment for this kind of activity as opposed to extradition to a country where he can face potentially life imprisonment. Finally it is worth noting that, under the Extradition Act, the petitioners point out, the Canadian Minister of Justice shall refuse to surrender a person when that surrender could involve unjust or undue or oppressive actions by the country to which he being extradited."
NDP MP Libby Davies: "I too have a very big stack of petitions to present, about 4000 petitions, along with other colleagues in the House who have received a similar number, and these are petitions from Canadians across the country who draw to our attention a matter of great urgency concerning the US call for extradition of Mr. Marc Emery as we’ve heard just earlier. Many dedicated individuals have collected approximately 12,000 petitions reflecting a strong belief that Mr. Emery or any Canadian should not face harsh punishment in the US for selling cannabis seeds on the Internet when it is not worthy of prosecution in Canada. The petitioners call on Parliament to make it clear to the Minister of Justice that such an extradition should be opposed. I am very pleased to present this; I think it is a very strong reflection of Canadians’ views on this matter and we hope that the Parliament of Canada will act on this, and certainly the Minister of Justice will take this into account."
Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh: "I join my previous two colleagues with respect to this petition regarding Marc Emery. I believe there is a certain degree of unfairness that is inherent in the process that has been used to deal with him, and these petitions urge the Minister, the Attorney General, to not surrender Marc Emery to the United States for extradition. While I come from British Columbia, a former attorney general and former Premier of British Columbia, I have certain sympathies with Mr. Emery, not because of what he did, but because I believe that the process that was used to arrest him and punish him wouldn’t have been done in the case of Canadian authorities wanting to arrest him and punish him, and I believe that because of that unfairness, the Minister of Justice is urged by the petitioner to take another look at it."