Jodie Emery says she remains a supporter of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals after the party dropped her from its nomination race in Vancouver East.
“This doesn’t change anything for me,” the advocate for marijuana reform told the Straight. “There are a lot of people who feel this is backtracking by the party, but most people understand that this is a high-stakes election and any sort of distraction could do a disservice.”
In a telephone interview, Emery said she and her husband, Marc, who recently completed a five-year prison sentence for selling marijuana seeds to customers in the United States, will proceed with plans to campaign against the federal Conservatives. The couple remains committed to a cross-country tour tentatively scheduled to begin in the summer, Emery added.
“I will continue to campaign politically, as always,” she said. “And this year’s focus will be to replace the Harper Conservatives with the Liberal government.”
In June 2014, the Straight reported that the Liberals were floating the idea of Emery, an entrepreneur and former candidate for the B.C. Green Party, as a contender for Vancouver East as a means of proving the party is serious about legalizing marijuana.
At the time, it was assumed the NDP would field Libby Davies, who has held the riding since 1997. With Vancouver East then all but certain to remain with Davies, the Liberals had little to lose by allying with Emery to see her use the election as a podium from which she could talk about marijuana reform.
All of that changed on December 12 when Davies announced she would not be seeking re-election.
“Libby Davies retiring was the number-one game changer,” Emery said. “With the riding going from no-hope to high-stakes…things changed quite a bit.”
And so on January 16, Emery recounted, she received an email carrying a letter from the Liberals' so-called “green-light committee” informing her she would not be competing in the nomination race for Vancouver East.
“Upon careful review, they’ve decided not to recommend me to be a contestant,” Emery said.
The email was, however, more than an informative note letting Emery know she did not have the committee’s support. It also stated her name was removed from the ballot, and that her nomination deposit was already on its way back to her bank account.
“It was a long shot for me to begin with,” Emery said. “Nobody was putting their name forward. And I thought it would be an honour to represent the party and the issues relevant to the riding.”
Pressed on who she felt was responsible, Emery spoke with the sort of diplomatic caution one expects from a federal politician. She said she was disappointed, but quickly added that there was no one to whom she assigns blame.
“A lot of attention and scrutiny was put on my application by the Conservatives and the NDP and the media,” she said. “It was just the pot activist thing.”