But now there is a fresh wrinkle in the proceedings, one that even those most hostile to Emery’s cause should be able to see the absurdity of. Earlier this year Emery was able to arrange a plea bargain with U.S. prosecutors that would see him accept a 10-year sentence on their charges, of which he would serve half. Under the deal his co-accused colleagues would go free and Emery would serve the first 45 days of his sentence in the U.S., after which he would be returned to Canada to finish his stretch in a more comfortable Canadian prison.
All that was needed was the agreement of Canada’s department of justice. But last week, after a month of pessimistic media reports, they gave a final “No.” The Americans insisted on guarantees against Emery being released before his five years was up, and such arrangements are forbidden in Canadian law, so no Canadian judge can order the application of such a sentence. That means Emery will have to go ahead with the extradition proceedings that were held over in the face of the plea-bargain, and face a possible life sentence down south. Catch-22: because Canada is too humane and liberal to apply the punishment that the Americans would like — a punishment Emery has voluntarily agreed to — there appears to be no option but to hand him over to the Americans without protection against much worse treatment!
Now it looks like the April 9 extradition case will happen as planned. Emery thinks the Canadian government could do more to protect him from America’s justice system, where he could spend his entire life behind bars for running a business that the Canadian government collected taxes on for years. If Marc Emery and his co-defendants end up on trial here, I think all of Canada should go on strike.