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Keeping them away from home.

Government Of Canada Ignoring Prison Transfer Requests

by Daniel Johnson

Before Harper became Prime Minister, most transfer requests for Canadians serving sentences in the US to finish their sentence in Canada were approved almost immediately once they were approved on the US side, but under Harper's regime, most transfer requests are ignored. 

This fact, not often discussed in the midst of Harper's other major changes to Canada's basic moral charactar, has come to light through the case of political prisoner, 'prince of pot' activist and seed-dealer Marc Emery. 

On Tuesday, October 29th Jodie Emery, Marc Emery's wife, spoke alongside 3 Members of Parliament at a press conference asking Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney to approve her husband's treaty transfer application made under the bilateral US-Canada treaty called the International Transfer of Offenders Act (ITOA). 

Marc Emery's transfer has already been approved on the US side on February 2013. The Corrections Department investigated as usual and recommend recommended the Minister's approval. On June 30th, the US Department of Justice issued a Removal Order, and now, according to Marc Emery's prison blog 'all that has been required is the signature of the Canadian Public Safety Minister on one piece of paper, and I would be transferred to a prison in Abbotsford, BC, then likely to Ferndale minimum security federal prison nearby.'.

Jodie Emery Press Conference photo by Erin Goodwin

The response to the press conference from the Conservative side of the house has been the usual condescending rhetoric. 

Ms. Wai Young (Vancouver South, CPC): "Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal member for Malpeque and the NDP member for Vancouver East met to support convicted drug dealer Marc Emery. This individual is serving a serious sentence in the United States for selling drugs online where anyone can access them. Criminal acts like these put our children at risk, yet the opposition members cannot stop their support for the drug trade. Can the government tell this House what has been done to keep Canada safe from criminals?"

Hon. Tim Uppal (Minister of State (Multiculturalism), CPC): "Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for that question and her work to make our communities safer. Our Conservative government has increased sentences for serious drug crimes, such as selling drugs near schools. We have been clear that drug dealers will face the full force of the law. We are unlike the leader of the Liberal Party, whose only policy is supporting the drug trade. We will focus our efforts on standing up for victims and keeping our streets and communities safe." 

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