Green party siren Jodie Emery targets Wally Oppal the prohibitionist
She’s an editor of Cannabis Culture magazine, she’s 24 years old, she supported U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul, and she’s married to pot crusader Marc Emery.
She’s Jodie Emery, and the Georgia Straight has learned that she will run for the B.C. Green party against B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal in Vancouver-Fraserview in May.
“There is a lot that needs to be said that he needs to hear,” Emery told the Straight by phone. “He used to be a bit more progressive, but he’s since turned to become more prohibitionist and [is] supporting the policing, even though he and everyone can see that hasn’t worked thus far. I think I will have a good time discussing some of these issues—gang violence and prohibition and organized crime—with Wally Oppal. I am quite excited about it.”
B.C. Green party deputy leader Damian Kettlewell, who confirmed he is running in his newly created home riding of Vancouver–False Creek, said Emery “has got the full package”.
“In these revenue-challenged times, our province is losing up to $2 billion in tax revenues annually by criminalizing cannabis,” Kettlewell told the Straight in a phone interview. “Jodie is going to be running against Wally. She is quite articulate and she is a thoughtful person. She is very passionate about cost overruns and homelessness. She’s got the full package and we’re excited to be partnering with her.”
Kettlewell was quick to point out that the B.C. Marijuana Party will field its own candidates, so the partnership with Emery is “unofficial”.
For her part, Emery said her platform will focus on one simple message: ending prohibition.
“Nobody is making big money or shooting each other over coffee or alcohol or cigarettes,” she said in relation to the recent spate of gang-related shootings. “It’s just that the illegality sends that whole market into the underground, where there is no legitimate recourse for disputes. Prohibition hasn’t worked at all, and if gang members don’t fear prison, they don’t fear getting shot down in the streets either. So stricter enforcement is not going to deter them. It will only raise the stakes and make them more violent in their efforts to control their territory and their marketing.”
B.C. Green party leader Jane Sterk ran against Emery (then with the B.C. Marijuana Party) in the October 29 provincial by-election in Vancouver-Fairview. Sterk, based in Esquimalt, ultimately approved Emery’s candidacy this time.
“She must have been impressed by what I had to say,” Emery said. “They asked me if I would be all right with them nominating me, and I thought that would be great, because the environment is another passion of mine, along with sustainability. I am very much in line with them on that.”
For his part, Kettlewell will face off against B.C. Liberal candidate, and former federal Conservative nominee, Mary McNeil. In 2005, Kettlewell garnered more than 15 percent of the popular vote in Vancouver–Point Grey running against Premier Gordon Campbell and NDP challenger Mel Lehan, who are both running again in May.
“My chances are improved running in Vancouver–False Creek, and that’s why I decided to run there,” Kettlewell said. “Mary McNeil has been around a lot longer, but she has lost the only political campaign she’s ever been involved with. She lost to Deborah Meredith [for the Conservative Vancouver Quadra by-election nomination], so she’s a real Conservative. She is a federal Conservative, and the federal Conservatives aren’t really popular in the city centre, so I’ll be putting it out that she’s extremely right-wing. The NDP have not found a person yet.”¦We’re running an aggressive campaign and we’re ready to make history and elect some Green MLAs under the first-past-the-post system.”
Kettlewell said his major policy focuses are making the city centre and Vancouver–False Creek areas the “greenest in North America” and pushing for the adoption of the single transferable vote (STV) voting system. Voters can vote for the latter at the ballot box this May.
Other declared Vancouver-based B.C. Green candidates are Vanessa Violini (Vancouver-Fairview), Jamie-Lee Hamilton (Vancouver–Mount Pleasant), Ryan Conroy (Vancouver-Hastings), Drina Read (Vancouver–West End), Rev Warkentin (Vancouver-Kingsway), Doug Warkentin (Vancouver-Kensington), and Laura-Leah Shaw (Vancouver-Quilchena).