It finally happened. After five years of global activism, protesting, petitioning, and campaigning that most people believed would save Marc Emery from extradition, the Justice Minister of Canada signed the extradition order for my husband.
On Monday, May 10th, Marc’s bail expired – as I wrote about in my last blog entry – so he turned himself in at 9:00am. May 10th was also the deadline for the Justice Minister to make a decision, but he had the ability to seek a time extension. I, and many of us, really believed that Marc would be released on bail again that afternoon after a 2:00pm bail hearing.
At about 9:30am, as I sat with associates/coworkers in the court restaurant, our lawyer Kirk Tousaw received a phone call from the federal prosecutor Kerry Swift. She was giggling as she told him the bail hearing was canceled because the Minister had finally made a decision. Kirk asked what the decision was, but she refused to tell him and made us wait for an email document to arrive. It was torture.
The decision comes crashing down
Finally the document from the Justice Minister was received and Kirk read it aloud. The Minister had ordered Marc extradited on all three counts even though our extradition lawyer, Ian Donaldson, and the US authorities had asked for extradition on only one count, the one he signed a plea deal for in September 2009.
We were stunned. I was absolutely sidelined, sitting in that chair in total shock. Then I sobbed, and a little panic settled in… but I took control. We had seen Marc imprisoned before. We knew it was coming. It was something we had prepared for. But still, I, along with millions of other people, had let a lot of hope influence us and truly believed the Justice Minister would say “No extradition”.
Five years of incredible campaigning, massive support for Marc, opposition to extradition from Members of Parliament and media and the public at large – after all that, the Conservative government decided to do the worst. It wasn’t because of ineffective campaigning; it’s because the Conservative government is evil, and wants to punish and hurt our culture by taking out our most well-known representative and leader.
The time has come
It was time for the battle to really begin. CKNW radio was on hand, and I was interviewed as Jacob Hunter and Jeremiah Vandermeer walked me to CTV headquarters to film an interview. From there we went to CBC and filmed even more. Everyone was on the story: Associated Press, the Metro, the Province, United Press International – all of the media was on it. And they were also shocked. “We didn’t think it would happen!” everyone cried. No – but it did happen, and now we have to take action to punish this government for it, and fight to bring Marc home.
Marc had been out on bail for six months, since November 18th 2009 (after 52 days in North Fraser pretrial awaiting extradition, which was delayed). In that time we cherished every single day, enjoying each hour as though it could be our last – because, with the Minister able to make a decision at any time, any day really could have been the last.
We had the best six months of our lives, falling even more in love and in admiration of each other. We got to spend Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, his birthday, Valentine’s Day, and even the Vancouver Olympics together. That was such a gift, especially since we thought he was going to be gone last fall.
Regrets and reminders
Even though every day was wonderful, I have one regret that weighs heavily on me. On Sunday, May 9th – perhaps due to the stress of not knowing what would happen the next day, and the emotional drain of tension and worry – Marc and I had a fight. A stupid, petty fight that really ended up ruining our entire last day together; we didn’t look at or talk to one another (which is something we’ve never done) even while we spent time with my family in the beautiful sunny outdoor weather.
We were both being pouty and childish, but it was “just another day” at the time. I knew there was a chance that he would be extradited Monday, but I didn’t take it seriously and had already determined that he would be out on bail the next night. Just a short stop in the court jail cell, and then back home with me… that’s what I thought, so I was stubborn as he was and we wasted the whole day. Not until that evening did we make up at home, watching the Canucks game and cuddling together after accepting that it could possibly be our last night together.
But still, I feel so horrible knowing that our last full day was ruined by a silly, meaningless spat. After the previous six months of having such heavenly good times together enjoying every moment, we had thrown away our last day together. It reminded me that every day is precious. You never know when you might be gone, or your loved one might be gone, so don’t forget to cherish every single moment. You don’t want any regrets.
What’s next for Marc?
Marc is currently still being held at North Fraser Pretrial, awaiting transfer to the USA. He will be sent to Seattle to wait for his sentencing hearing, where we expect he will be sentenced to 5 years (please write the judge and ask him to send Marc home with no prison time at all). After that, he will be shipped off to a federal prisoner sorting centre in some state like Georgia or Oklahoma, and from there he’ll get sent to whatever facility he’d been designated for.
Because he’s a non-violent first-time offender in the US system he should qualify for low-security prison. I hope he’s somewhere close to me, but unfortunately Canadian prisoners have no “rights” in the US system, so they don’t get to be imprisoned near family, which is the case with American prisoners. So Marc can end up in Texas, Florida, California, South Carolina, New York, anywhere… and I won’t know where he is until he arrives and gets to a phone to call me. I’ve gone through the trial run last fall, with Marc in jail for 52 days, but that was here in Canada and I went to visit him once a week.
Once Marc is sentenced, he can apply for a transfer to Canadian prison. Unfortunately, the current Canadian government (Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party) has doubled the wait time for application review from 4-8 months (under all previous governments) to an unjust 12-16 months, and they refuse almost every application. Many prisoners are suing the federal government for refusing transfer, as it’s a Canadian right to come home.
The Public Safety Minister, currently Vic Toews (pronounced “Taves”) is the one person who can bring Marc home, once Marc applies. All pressure in Canada must be directed at him, so contact him now (the offices, phone numbers and email addresses are listed below and here).
Alone for now, but not afraid
It’s extremely difficult to be without my life partner. Marc and I worked together and lived together; we were almost never apart. We are so madly in love, as people can tell… so it’s certainly going to be a very painful experience to have him imprisoned so far away in the USA.
Being at home was more difficult than being at work, but even now I’m on my couch getting as much done as possible without any interruptions. But little things make my heart break and I shed a few tears: I would always lay out Marc’s clothes in the morning, so it’s terribly sad to open the drawer and see his socks and boxers folded up, waiting for whenever he comes home.
I always did the laundry for us both, but now I don’t want to wash his clothes that remain in the hamper because I want to breathe in the last essence of him from his shirts, and our bed… I’m sleeping in his spot, to feel as close to him as possible. Marc always made great healthy food for us to eat, so going to the grocery store last night was tough. We would always go together and he would pick out the best fruit and vegetables, planning healthy meals to share. It was hard trying to not cry, standing in the aisles alone. But I must be strong.
Almost every night Marc would rub my feet as we watched TV, and we loved nothing more than being at home together in our bathrobes, or naked and wrapped around each other in a tight embrace. Even now as I write this, I shed a few tears, wishing more than anything that I could touch his skin, and kiss his lips, run my hands through his hair, and hold him tight…
I can’t bear the thought of not having him here (and realizing that a five-year sentence is awaiting him, though we must bring him home in the next year or two at most!), so I keep extremely busy with everything I need to do. I have to make him proud! Everyone is sympathetic and they express condolences, because they miss Marc too. I just need everyone’s sympathies to turn into real action and efforts to change the way things are.
I still have so much to accomplish, and the plans must go on. Marc and I were going to drive to Penticton for the BC Green Party Annual General Meeting this weekend, and planned to make a romantic getaway out of it, but now I’m going alone. Marc encouraged me to get nominated for the executive council, so I expect to be elected this weekend and everyone is surprised I’m able to stay strong through this.
Whenever Marc gets out, I will have my political career well underway – though it will be hard to accomplish without him, because he knows everything about elections and I really depended on his knowledge and experience. But I must go on, and make everyone proud! Please support me by going to www.JodieForMP.ca and www.JodieForMLA.ca and helping my campaign.
Now is the time to rise up!
I will post more blog entries to come, but this is it for now (and it was long; thanks for making it this far if you did). But I must stress that there are certain things you should do.
1) You must relentlessly hound Conservative Party Members of Parliament, especially Justice Minister Rob Nicholson; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Public Safety Minister Vic Toews; and ANY Conservative MP who barely won their riding in the last election. The Conservative Government is not only evil for having extradited Marc; they are evil for wanting to make thousands of Canadians suffer imprisonment and pain for cannabis. They MUST be defeated. Go to www.WhyProhibition.ca and sign up to help!
2) Make a sign that says “America Must FREE MARC EMERY” or “Google Marc Emery” or “FREE MARC EMERY” and stand on a street corner for 2 hours this weekend. Just use a big piece of paper and a felt marker, or print a sign on your computer. If you truly support and want to help Marc, you need to help spread the word about my imprisonment in the USA. Take photos and show others how easy and effective it is! No more internet-only activism; it’s time to take to the streets, show people you are serious! Also check out “75 Things You Can Do to Free Marc Emery”.
3) Contact Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (pronounced “Taves”) and tell him to approve Marc Emery’s application for transfer back to Canada as soon as the submission is made!
8-227 Main Street
Steinbach. Mb. R5G 1Y7
Suite 306, Justice Building House of Commons
Ottawa. Ont. K1A 0A6
Lac du Bonnet Office
Lac du Bonnet. MB R0E 1A0
4) Write letters to your local media. The media pick up on stories that people are contacting them about, so make a fuss and let them know that the Marc Emery story is one they should be paying attention to. Include a link to www.NoExtradition.net so they can see the facts and information.
News coverage of Marc’s extradition