I received a note on my Facebook wall from Mark Radford in Ontario, alerting me to the fact that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, the man who will decide if Marc can serve his sentence in Canada, was having a meet-and-greet in Toronto on Tuesday, July 27th. It was the perfect opportunity to ask Vic Toews about Marc!
The event was hosted by the St. Paul’s Conservatives at “The Twisted Kilt” pub, where Conservative Party supporters (and the public) could pay $10 to get in and listen to Vic Toews speak, and then grab a beer or two and mingle amongst the people and influential individuals attending.
I shared the link to the “Evening with Vic Toews” event on Facebook and asked people in the area to please attend to ask Vic Toews to bring Marc home. That evening I got pictures from the event and sure enough, Mark Radford attended, and so did three members of the Toronto “Hash Mob” who were there wearing FREE MARC shirts and carrying a stack of FREE MARC information handouts (the files for printing your own are available here).
Jeff H, Caroline, and Rev. Daniel arrived first. Jeff reported that Vic Toews and all of the much-older Conservatives were surprised to see them there, but they got to walk up to Toews and talk to him. Jeff wrote, “They were all formally dressed Conservatives who were ready to die when they saw us. Vic Toews chugged his beer during the event and just watched us. They all seemed to know about your [Jodie’s] role in the Green Party, which is weird.”
Caroline handed Toews one of the information sheets about Marc, which includes (on the back) the contact information for people to get in touch with him to ask for Marc’s return home. Jeff wrote that “he said he had no comment and no interest in speaking about Marc Emery. Caroline said on behalf of his wife and friends and all Canadians bring him home. He said to discuss that would be highly illegal. They just drank their alcohol and ignored us mostly.”
So, after they left, Mark Radford arrived, having been busy at work until then. Mark’s report is especially interesting, so I want to share it here in full:
I went to the Twisted Kilt on a mission to speak with Vic Toews. I was an hour late because of work but determined; with my luck I didn’t miss a thing.
There was a small chalk board outside read “St Pauls Conservatives 2nd Floor”. I ascended the stairs to be immediately greeted by the eyes of older folks, mostly members of the St. Paul’s Conservatives. Politely I was asked if I had my $10 dollars. I had just run there to ensure I was in the right place, so immediately ran to the closest ATM.
That being said, I got there at the nick of time, about quarter to 7. Being late I was positioned just at front where I was in perfect position to listen to Vic talk on a number of topics and then listen to his few answering of questions. One point of highlight was that he made donations to a number of a religious groups recently attacked in the Toronto. He made strong points about giving back to the areas affected by the G20 “riots”, and compensation associated with business owners. After talking about a number of things he concluded by answering a few questions. He offered his availability to chat and answer questions one-on-one. I took this as my opportunity to quickly grab a beer, as Vic had one himself, and moved in to ask the points I wanted to quickly discuss.
I opened my conversation acknowledging his efforts on ensuring public safety. He made some interesting points in his speech I did not know prior to the evening. We had a quick chuckle about the G20 definitely keeping himself busy, and than I got to business.
The first question I posed to Vic was “How could I get more involved in politics at a regional level?” Immediately he introduced me to a few people who were standing by. He introduced me to Kevin Moore, who is Conservative Party of Canada candidate for Toronto Center, and a gentleman working within the Toronto District School Board. After some interesting advice we moved back to our beer, and I got to the questions I had wanted to ask all evening.
I opened with my next question, “Did you ever have a particular thing that inspired you to get involved in politics, a topic or issue?” He than stated, “I didn’t get into politics until later in my life. I am from a small town outside of Winnipeg, and was concerned about Manitoba’s debt. It was then that I spoke up, and got involved in politics.” I complimented him saying that was interesting and that I can relate, I positioned myself, “we may eternally disagree on something, but that difference is what drives me feel impelled to get involved.”
I then went on, “I disagree with Canadian Drug Policy, because of the laws that in place criminalizing drugs. We are fueling violence by creating a market for organized crime.” Talking in his terms with some literal sense I continued: “We are putting money and power into the hands of sometimes violent criminals.” I concluded, “The victims are not those themselves taking the drugs, but the innocent people who are victims of drug related crime.”
I then questioned: “That being said, why not regulate drugs, and take the money out of organize crimes and put it towards funding of public safety initiatives?” Vic responded. “You aren’t far off. I actually agree with some of your points. I have had people within my party who grill me on this subject. Friends who are Libertarians, who especially grill me on the subject.” He concluded by saying, “The concept is growing in popularity the votes just aren’t in that favor.” Vic then with sincerity said “I don’t disagree with everything your saying, stay involved do what it takes to get your message across. Talk with Conservative MP’s, and get people on board. You don’t have to get involved with the Marijuana Party to disagree with drug laws. You can still be a conservative but disagree on Canadian Drug Policy.”
After his previous comments, I had the last question I had been itching to ask. “Obviously you have received the documents associated with Marc Emery coming home to Canada. Are you able to talk about his possible return?” He opened, “the one thing about Marc Emery is that he does it to himself.” As soon as he said that, I focused everything I had at communicating my attention; I was listening carefully and let him know that I cared about every detail of his words.
He continued, “I have heard the many letters of support, and will take a strong consideration.” He concluded, “If Marc Emery can promise to not sell drugs to the United States or within Canada,” I politely interrupted “marijuana seeds”, he said “thank you, if he promises to not sell marijuana seeds after serving his sentence within the United States or within Canada, I would be willing to bring him home.” I said “thank you. His friends, and thousands of supporters, including his wife, appreciate the strong consideration.” He sincerely looked at me saying, “Thank you for coming out tonight.” He answered the questions of one other person, and quickly left with his assistant.
I did miss the earlier supporters, but I saw the many “Free Marc Emery” handouts that had been dropped off by Rev. Dan Oral Walker, Jeff H, and Caroline Ruibal. It is great they had the opportunity to talk with him as well. After the speech, while people were mingling, I saw a lot of people pick up the pamphlet and ask who he was, and what it was about. It was a great conversation starter. I definitely did not come as prepared with materials as they did, I only had my questions and my word. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet them, I am sure the opportunity will arise soon.
That was an amazing report! This is great news because Marc will not sell marijuana seeds again, he has never wanted to sell marijuana seeds again, and he didn’t sell seeds for the entire 5 years he was on bail before being imprisoned in the USA. So we can now work on asking Vic Toews to please keep his word and bring Marc home as soon as possible.
Marc is due to be sentenced on September 10th, and soon after that he will submit his “International Transfer of Offenders Act” (or, the Transfer Treaty) application. The USA and Canada have a Treaty Transfer agreement that requires each country to return citizens of the other country home to serve their sentences. The US Government rarely rejects applications by Canadians to leave the USA and serve time in Canada, but under the Conservative Government of Canada, the Public Safety Ministers (currently Vic Toews) have been delaying for years, or outright rejecting, transfer applications.
Canadians have the right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 6: Mobility, the right to enter, leave, and remain in Canada) to come back home, and the Transfer Treaty Agreement stipulates that citizens are allowed to serve their time in their home country.
So now we just need to ensure that Vic Teows approves Marc’s application as quickly as possible, once he receives it. We’re asking supporters to please write to Vic Toews and ask him to bring Marc home!
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!
Public Safety Minister and Conservative MP Vic Toews:
Suite 306, Justice Building House of Commons
Ph: (613) 992-3128
Fx: (613) 995-1049
E-mail: [email protected]
8-227 Main Street
Ph: (204) 326-9889
Fx: (204) 346-9874
E-mail: [email protected]
Lac du Bonnet Office
Lac du Bonnet, MB
Ph: (204) 345-9762
Fx: (204) 345-9768
E-mail: [email protected]
Here is a sample letter you can use, but you’re encouraged to add your own short thoughts and opinions to make it unique and more effective.
“Dear Honourable Vic Toews,
I would like to say Thank You, Mr. Toews, after reading an item posted on the internet about your St. Paul’s Conservatives meeting and the comments about your intention to repatriate Canadian citizen Marc Emery once his treaty transfer application is on your desk.
I regard Marc Emery as an upstanding role-model Canadian who has made over three decades of contributions to making Canada, and the world, a better place. He has never hurt anyone, and he won’t ever sell marijuana seeds again.
I salute your intention to bring Marc Emery into the Canadian correction system as soon as is possible, with no delay. He should be brought home to be closer to his wife and family as he serves the remainder of his sentence. Thank you for your consideration and I hope to see Marc Emery home soon with your approval.
(your name here)”