Jailed activist is a fan of Ayn Rand and rational capitalism
By Jon Ferry, The Province April 29, 2012
APRIL 20, 2009 – Marc Emery lights up at the annual "4-20" pot rally held at the Vancouver Art Gallery and attended by thousands of marijuana advocates and aficinados.
Photograph by: Jack Simpson , For The Province
Jailed marijuana activist Marc Emery is all over the map politically. A founding member of the Marijuana Party of Canada, he’s moved his support between the B.C. and federal NDP, the federal and provincial Greens and federal Liberals over the years.
But Emery says that’s because so few of our leaders, including Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader Adrian Dix or Green Party Leader Jane Sterk, are inspirational in any way.
"B.C. has got such an uninspiring lot of leaders who stand for nothing, are willing to stand for nothing," he told me from the Mississippi jail where he’s serving out his five-year term for selling marijuana seeds. All play the waiting game, he says, waiting for the other to collapse.
"I’m well plugged in, but I cannot think of anything bold or exciting about Adrian Dix. And where did Jane Sterk of the B.C. Greens go? If she can’t exploit the weakness in the B.C. Liberals and lack of enthusiasm for the NDP in these times, that’s a failed franchise opportunity for sure."
However, Emery absolutely loves libertarian U.S. Republican candidate Ron Paul, who also calls the so-called war on drugs a total failure.
"What a great man! I’ve known of him since 1980 when I read about him in Reason magazine a year after I read Ayn Rand and became a convert to rational capitalism," he noted. "But I’ve been promoting him for president since 2006."
Emery says he doesn’t tend to get into political discussions with his fellow inmates, most of who are from a completely different culture than that in British Columbia.
But he does tell them to have their families vote for Paul because part of his platform is to pardon all nonviolent drug offenders in federal prison.
"So that’s the only way many of these inmates will ever get out," Emery told me in a prison email. "That would even get me out a year earlier, but to the guys who have served 10, 15, 20 years of a life sentence, it would be far more important."
Emery adds that it’s weird that, while so many leading British Columbians are coming out in favour of marijuana decriminalization, Premier Christy Clark still seems to be wavering on the issue.
"When I was a guest on her show on CKNW, she said on the air, ‘I don’t really think anyone’s against marijuana decriminalization anymore, it’s not really an issue for most people nowadays.’ But with the B.C. Conservatives at 20 per cent, she’s running scared."
Besides, Emery says, women leaders generally don’t do well in Canadian politics: "I think of Grace McCarthy, Alexa McDonough, Audrey McLaughlin, Kim Campbell and now, I’m certain, Christy Clark may well be the face of the disappearance of the B.C. Liberals."
However, he noted that the B.C. Social Credit legacy keeps being reincarnated, under different banners. "Each transition gives the NDP a chance at power, which they manage to fail at," he notes.
When he returns to B.C., he says, he’s hoping wife Jodie can secure the Liberal Party of Canada nomination for Vancouver Centre in the fall of 2014.
But Jodie Emery says she has not joined the federal Liberals, and doesn’t think it’s realistic that she would win such a nomination when she hasn’t been a Liberal Party member or done the necessary backroom work.
Besides, she’s not sure how she feels about politics right now.
"I’m kind of enjoying not being beholden to any party and being able to speak in my mind," she said. "The problem with running any party is that you kind of need to be a cheerleader for that party’s policies. And I like being able to speak my mind."