By NEIL HORNER
Parksville Qualicum Beach News
If Canadians don't want to extradite Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery to the United States, they should make the selling of cannabis seeds legal, says Conservative justice critic Vic Toews.
And, he adds, the issue has nothing to do with Canadian sovereignty.
Speaking at a special justice forum in front of a partisan crowd at the Parksville Community Centre Tuesday night, Toews says the issue is simply about one nation honouring an extradition treaty with another.
Emery was arrested recently on the request of the American government for selling marijuana seeds across the border and for money laundering.
He is subject to an extradition hearing which, if granted, could see him facing as much as life in prison in the United States
"The Marc Emery case is not a sovereignty issue," he says. "We have a treaty between Canada and the United States where, if a crime is committed in the U.S. by a Canadian in Canada and that act is also a criminal act in Canada, then the Americans can request the federal government to request a Canadian judge to extradite him to the United States.
"That's something we agreed to between the two countries.
Toews used the issue of boiler-room operations in Montreal and Toronto, where phone scams target American citizens as an example
"They bilk American citizens with fraudulent schemes, stealing their life savings," he says. "The U.S. says we can identify these people and they make a request for extradition. These people have chosen to break the law in the United States and they want to use the cover of our border as protection. Why should we grant these people protection?
If Canada doesn't want to extradite Emery, the answer is simple.
"The government can say selling marijuana seeds is no longer a crime in Canada, then the extradition law would not apply," he says.