Nobody wants to admit it, but Canada’s being put in the unenviable position of appearing to defend drug dealers if it doesn’t yield to a US extradition request for one of Canada’s leading lobbyists on the issue of relaxing drug laws. The taboo nature of advocating liberal drug policy in both contries bothers me. I mean, who wants to stand up for a guy that allegedly "sells drugs" or the means to produce ’em at any level – even in defence of national soverignty? But in all the debate over the Emery case, it’s this fact perhaps more than any other that bothers me most because I happen to favour a more progressive policy on drug regulation (both recreational and medicinal) in this country and I really don’t like the Yanks pushing their screwed up policy notions on my country.
I can just hear them retort thiis argument too; resorting to the implicit, dogmatic ad-hominem argument that such a claim is clearly made by someone who himself must have fueled crime and participated in the illegal drug trade – indulging himself to one degree of separation from organized crime and terrorism, blah blah blah. Can we let a bunch of potheads guide our decision to extradite a known criminal, regardless of whether that person hides behind the cloak of political activisim to legitimize his activities? Except that whatever drugs I or others who argue this point have indulged in in the past is completely irrelevant to the very real, principle issue here (to say nothing of the fact such assertions are irrational anyway): that issue of national sovereignty. It’s a red herring thrown out by yank politicians bent on the misguided popularity of their own failed social policies around the war on drugs to deflect due consideration of the fact they are desperately trying to adjust policy and the political agenda in Canada to suit their own interests. Not for your welfare nor the welfare of Canada. But their own.
And Emery’s not a criminal in Canada or anywhere else until he’s convicted anyway. And it’s unlikely that would happen given the current political climate here.
Canadians on any side of the drug policy debates we’re having need to be wary of this kind of rhetoric from our American cousins. There are some issues on which we need to have our own debate, and our government is demonstrating a lack of leadership towing the Yank line on this one. If we can stick a flag in Hans Island at the behest of the Danes, surely we can at least put some limit on how far right Washington can push Canadian policy-making.