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Category Archives: 6Days

The ‘thought police’ have appeared to tell me to stop putting my story out there.

I’ve since had my Internet and phone cut, but I won’t recant a single word.

It’s hard to question the system when you rely on it for your basic truths. It’s easier to do so when you’ve got little left to lose.

I’ll try to find a new way to keep up the writing, but it will be difficult for a while.

I won’t be able to update Twitter, the GoFundMe account, the blog or the petition in the near future.

I also can’t contact my lawyer or even get online to pay my bills.

Hopefully I’ll get something worked out, but if you don’t hear from me for a while I may be in a little trouble.

No longer have a way to let people know if the RNC try to drag me off unlawfully again.

When I first filed the charges against our sitting Prime Minister and then Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, I realized I would come across as being a little naïve. However, I wanted to stick a pin into that moment of time so it would be recorded and remembered. What I didn’t expect was the extents to which I would have to go to raise public awareness of the issue. I’ll summarize this briefly and to the best of my ability as this is the last piece to contextualize the tweet and the day I was pulled in.

Charges were filed with the RNC on the 21st of July. At the time, open war was being waged by the Ukrainian military and mercenaries from the West against the separatists in the East. The media was filling airtime with speculations of Russian weaponry being used to down MH17. Meanwhile, Gaza was being brutally assaulted by Israel. The story received minor coverage compared to the events in Eastern Europe.

Social media outlets like Twitter were a different story altogether. Videos, pictures and horrifying cries of damned souls being bombarded and executed were a near constant barrage, interspersed with periods of relative quiet. Even those periods of quiet were filled with prayers for salvation from those the rest of the world had abandoned to their fate.

I started the Change.org petition the weekend prior to filing the charges to advise others to step forward and file similar charges within their own jurisdiction. I did this in the hopes of speeding up the process, but local police they contacted refused to acknowledge the issue as presented.

Thursday the week after I filed the charges, I finally received a call from a RCMP officer in St. John’s, NL. He informed me he would be driving out the next day, August 1st, and wanted to bring me down to the station to discuss the charges. I met him at Tim Horton’s and we drove to the station where he brought me into the conference room instead of a standard interview room. I know the difference in this particular station as I’ve been inside their interview rooms four times since and am quite familiar with their standard layout and practices. This first encounter was quite unusual. You should also note that prior to these events, I have had no real professional contact with the RCMP or RNC. I didn’t even have any traffic fines on record, my last ticket for missing a stop sign being back in 2003 or 2004.

The officer informed me that the video was being considered a policy direction and that my only option to see foreign policy change was to vote. Charges were being dismissed and there would be no follow up investigation. When I asked how genocide could be considered a foreign policy directive and whether or not anyone properly investigated the Israel-Palestine situation, he suggested I file a complaint if I didn’t believe they’d done their job properly. At that point I left before my growing outrage made me say something insulting or unprofessional, then walked home.

My first response was to update people who were following through the petition and on Twitter. I was pretty upset at the way the entire issue had been handled. I wondered how anyone could think that these kinds of immoral actions in inciting war and genocide could be justified in the eyes of God and the law. Section 27 of the Rome Statute, to which Canada is a signed and ratified party, denies the use of governing policy in crimes pertaining to genocide, yet this was the excuse offered by the RCMP.

I began to wonder what kind of system could have arisen to allow these kinds of abuses to go unchecked. How could a nation traditionally known for peacekeeping suddenly become such an overt warmonger yet not be called to account for its actions? I resolved that as someone who had borne witness to the problem, I was duty bound to see it through to the end. To simply ignore it was to forsake my soul to apathy and fear of an unlawful authority.

Most of the information regarding that time is stored within this blog and the Change.org petition. There’s a blog post titled ‘The Problem with Canadian Federal Politics’ that examines a lot of what I was seeing on the world stage back in November.

Here are some of the highlights:

I took the advice of the RCMP officer who’d brought me in to dismiss the case and filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP on the 5th of August, once their offices were open after the long weekend. They received and accepted the complaint that the officer “Failed to conduct a thorough and complete investigation into allegations, of criminal misconduct, including, but not limited to, advocating genocide (sec. 318 CCC).”

The Commission for Public Complaints mailed out their formal complaint notification on the 6th of August of 2014. I received my copy late the following week, but not before an interesting action was taken by the government. The Monday after the complaint had been filed, at 6:30am in the morning, Global News released the news that the Commission replacing the one I’d just filed a complaint with was now being required to take a lifetime gag order. Anyone working for the new commission would now be required to take a lifetime oath of secrecy, the violation of which could get them 14 years in prison.

For example, if someone working for this new commission were to provide information to the media regarding a complaint that was being investigated, despite that information being in the public interest, that informant could be dragged off to 14 years of prison.

This made me a little worried. I entertained the thought that perhaps the formal complaint appearing on a certain Minister’s desk on Friday afternoon was sufficient to provoke such a response early Monday morning, but kept biding my time. I did email the Public Safety Critic for the Liberal Party, Wayne Easter, as he’d voiced his opinion on the matter, but he never responded.

I wrote letters to all the Premiers and Regional Chiefs prior to the Premiers Conference in the summer. The full text is available at this link (https://www.change.org/p/intlcrimcourt-arrest-harper-for-inciting-genocide/u/7943135). Not one of them responded either.

I received my first documented response from the RCMP at the end of August to inform me they didn’t even review the video as their letter says no evidence was provided to support the basis of the charges, despite the YouTube link being included in the charges I filed.

On September 22nd 2014, I contacted the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP to ask about the status of my complaint. As it stood, I hadn’t been contacted by a single police officer.

During the wait for the RCMP to acknowledge the complaint, following the dismissal, non-response of Premiers, Aboriginal Chiefs and a horde of other MPs I emailed directly, I decide I would have to hatch a new plan to try and see justice upheld. One of the issues I’d flagged with the letter I’d written prior to the Premier’s conference was that the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in June of 2013 was exacerbating both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the wake of the Israel-Gaza war. Section 13 prohibited hate speech online. Unlike alcohol prohibition, this one was actually good for society. As Premiers, they had the power to use the notwithstanding clause of the Charter to restore the repealed section. When I realized I’d been completely ignored, with not so much as a follow up email, I decided I’d have to use the tools that had been provided as best I could.

I began trying to get myself flagged on Twitter to have to speak with the RCMP. Unable to just walk into an RCMP office and request charges be re-filed, I had to come up with a new way into the system. A backdoor, if you will. I would have to walk a fine line between establishing a psychological profile through Twitter that might get me pulled in as a possible criminal with showing that no mens rea existed to carry out these idle threats beyond raising RCMP awareness of needed action.

Newfoundlanders might recognize the situation as something that might arise on a long boat voyage in days gone past. Working closely with people on long sea voyages requires strict social discipline. It wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to blow their top and utter threats in the heat of a moment. Everyone on the boat might hear the argument between two people and this would bring the social order established on the boat into disarray. To remedy the situation, both parties would be brought before the Captain in the standing room of the boat. He would act as the judge of the issue. If the offending party was unable to control themselves enough to speak their mind at this point, they were likely tossed into the brig for a portion of the voyage. Being able to speak calmly, eloquently and displaying appropriate restraint while before the Captain was as much as psychological examination as a legal one. The Captain was required to assess the possibility of a danger to the wellbeing of his crew. Simply uttering idle threats without a connection to violence would likely have been a common occurrence on longer voyages, especially with newer crews. After all, the phrase ‘swear like a sailor’ didn’t exist just because seafarers have developed an unusual way of affirming oaths on a Bible.

In short, I was going to attempt something that could end with me thrown in jail. As I was up against a government that was openly advocating for genocide and war, I thought it worth the risk.

To establish that the threats were idle and spoken out of anger, I limited myself to tweeting them while watching CPAC and listening to the speeches of MPs. The first one that got me pulled in was in regards to comments I made directed at Greg Rickford as he explained to Parliament how they wanted to reform Canada’s nuclear energy policies. Reading over his Bill, the implication arose that this would open the door for the proliferation of nuclear material in Canada and reclassified facilities as operators. After seeing how close this government’s ties were with the growing Ukrainian crisis and their requests for nuclear armaments, I uttered an idle threat out of anger, desperation, bitterness and frustration. I still managed to make it a joke about his greasy Hitler hairstyle.

It didn’t take long for that to gain the attention of the local RCMP, but that first meeting was a little more nerve wracking than the last as I didn’t know what to expect at all. They called me up out of the blue and requested a meeting. I offered to meet them at Tim Horton’s and we arranged it for the following day. They met me in and unmarked vehicle in the parking lot and gave me a pat down to make sure I wasn’t armed.  Then we drove to the RCMP station for an interview. Unlike the last time I was there, this time I was brought into the Interview room with a camera instead of the back conference room.

Once the tweet at issue was presented, it was easy to recall the circumstances under which I’d ‘uttered’ it, in a moment of anger in response to a perceived threat by someone advocating for a return to the Cold War logic of the build up of nuclear armaments. I perceived this to be an indirect threat against my friends and family. After that issue had been cleared up, while still on camera for the interview, I presented the interviewing officer with a copy of the charges as originally filed. I explained to him that I was trying to get their attention to get the information into the system and that no follow up had been made on my formal complaint months after it was filed. Not even a letter had been issued at this point acknowledging the complaint. They informed me that they had no knowledge of the complaint and that as no charges were being pressed, they couldn’t conduct any follow up information on the information I was providing. They released me with a warning to stay off CPAC.

Shortly after this first meeting, I was called in again by the RCMP. Different officers were interviewing me this time. Again for uttering threats, but this time still stemming from tweets made when I was initially trying to get their attention. I knew I had to walk a fine line to establish the right psychological profile, so I’d since kept my tweets to a certain level of vulgar response without making direct threats. But this one had come from when I was initially trying to get their attention, so they had to follow up on it anyways. I walked to the RCMP station this time, taking with me a copy of the formal complaint. I don’t remember this specific tweet, but I remember it being easy to contextualize. All my specific tweets at politicians were made while they were speaking live on CPAC, in response to their actions. I wasn’t planning any attacks and they had no reason to believe that attacks were pending. I had some good discussions with the officers and once again was informed that they could take a copy to add to the file but not follow up on it as no charges were being pressed. Without charges pressed, they couldn’t investigate the issue. They also informed me that I should avoid angry live commenting about CPAC on Twitter in the future as if they had to talk to me a third time they might have to press charges. They did inform me that while my methods were unusual, they appreciated the respect and candor I was offering in coming in of my own free will and speaking without a lawyer present. The usual reaction they received when contacting the public regarding comments made towards politicians on Twitter were insults towards themselves and more threats. They told me there was usually no real follow up possible to place in their reports beyond that they’d tried to contact the person involved who usually denies everything or refuses to discuss the issue. I thanked them for listening to me, promised to avoid further idle comments on CPAC Parliamentary coverage, and went on my way back home.

On the 18th of October, after these two meetings with the RCMP had been completed, I finally received a follow up call from a further RCMP officer about my formal complaint. We scheduled a meeting for the following week on the 22nd of October at 9:30AM.

When I walked to the RCMP station that morning I had no awareness of how much was going to happen that day. I went in with my BlackBerry Playbook, my Z10 and some papers. I spoke with the officer again in the interview room regarding the complaint, showed him the video and walked him through the transcript. I also discussed the context of the Israel-Palestine and Ukraine situation and showed him some of the other propaganda material being distributed by the government that seemed to contain strange subliminal elements. We ended our discussion; he informed me that he’d continue his follow up investigation and file a report in the near future. I walked home.

On the way home, I learned of the situation emerging in Ottawa with the shootings through Twitter. I witnessed the fear coming out of people on Twitter as reports came in of multiple gunmen across the Ottawa area around Parliament Hill. A friend would later tell me of a commercial he saw on CNN while following their live coverage. The ad was a UPS commercial for a fictional company named the ‘Gunderman Group.’ The name of the company features prominently on the screen several times in the video, but what jumped out at him was how much of a coincidence to see a commercial featuring ‘Gun man group’ in a commercial as CNN was doing its best to terrify its American audience into believing that an entire squad of terrorists had attacked Ottawa.

As the situation cleared and the facts about the single shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, were released to the public, I was completely blown away by the situation. I couldn’t even bring myself to update the petition with information regarding the latest meeting with the RCMP. As with Mr. Don Dunphy, at the time I felt as though I was being presented with a version of me that could have been, had I made different choices in my life. Where I was advocating lawful submission to the process I was undertaking, Michael had chosen to take the law into his own hands in opposition to everything I stood for. Even his long hair looked similar to mine. Pull a bandana up over my nose and I’d probably look just like him from the famous picture with the shotgun. The timing of the event was what truly shocked me though. As I was sitting down with the RCMP for my interview, he was recording his final words onto his cell phone. As I was walking home from my meeting, he had killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo and stormed to his death in Parliament, frightening the bejesus out of everyone there.

When I finally did speak on the matter on my petition, I made sure to make it known that I have always advocated for lawful action. The Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths all advocate following the law of the land within whose borders you reside. That even if religious interpretations of all Abrahamic faiths pointed to our current government being The True Enemy of all truly living humans and the planet we live on, they also say they will not meet their ends by human hands, but through legal action in a court of law. Anyone curious as to what I’m referring to can check ‘Daniel 7:26’ for the specific reference. You’ll also find his dreams of the unholy 10 province nation under a Crown (Canada) that would arise in the Last Days. You can find a cross reference in the second chapter of the Qu’ran, or any part of the book of Revelations that refers to ‘seals’. Seals aren’t just a sea mammal or the wax impression of a ring; they’re also legally binding documents.

While I stayed active on Twitter to try to keep interest in the petition alive, I was also developing a side project. For the most part, the majority of the volume of my tweets was simply the petition link cut and pasted over and over again. I’d just find an active hashtag that was throwing out lots of unique names and cut and paste the petition to plant a seed in as many new people as possible to try to spread the word as far and wide as I could. This was the most frustrating process in the entire experience. I wasn’t glued to Twitter, but the Z10 wasn’t designed for cut and pasting. Some days I’d just sit in front of my PC and do the cut and paste routine enough to get temporary locked, then switch to my phone for regular twitter discussions for the rest of the day. Occasionally my Twitter seeding would bring in a troll, and I’d exercise my new right to online hate speech without uttering threats, just hateful vulgar insults. All of them unfortunately no longer prohibited by Section 13 in Canada.

All of this occurred while I was waiting for the RCMP to file a report and deliver their letter of disposition towards the issue. As of the writing of this post, I still haven’t received any further updates on the complaint.

In the meantime, I kept working on my business and my research and my experiments with my miniature pot plants. I could think of no other legal option other than simply waiting until I was visiting a friend one evening in December. I’d been listening to someone discuss how he would have to appear on marijuana possession and possible trafficking charges in court the following day. He asked for advice, I told him he’d be better off asking a lawyer, but if he was providing to a medical user with a registered condition who was unable to get a prescription he could try saying he was facilitating. This backwards Newfoundland medical and legal system creates criminals for fear of either Doctor or Patient being stigmatized for prescribing or using marijuana medicinally. A charter challenge in favor of medical marijuana user’s right to access might actually help remedy the situation.

While I was thinking about Charter Challenges, I started wondering if there might be a way to challenge the process that was established by reporting an act of inciting genocide. After a few discussions with local lawyers and a more established constitutional law advisor, I made a decision. I drafted up a rough, and flawed, originating application for my Charter Challenge and went down to the Supreme Court house and tried to file it. I ended up missing a section and had to walk home, called for advice, updated and then filed again. The originating application was created on December 19th, 2014. I mailed it out to the Attorney Generals of Newfoundland and Canada the same day. The one that went to Ottawa arrived just before New Year’s, the one destined for St. John’s disappeared without a trace.

I didn’t really know what to expect when the day arrived to appear in Court. I put on a good suit, packed up a couple of notepads with some notes and a Bible I’d found left behind in an abandoned camp outside Pasadena. I appeared at the Court with the attorneys representing the Attorney Generals appearing by phone. I remember forgetting to say ‘M’lord or Justice’ when asked my name. The attorneys for the other side suggested that service hadn’t been completed properly. The judge offered that if they attorneys both had copies, they could consider themselves served. As they’d been declaring themselves to have been unprepared to argue the case, they requested a day to prepare arguments. The Justice told me to have my arguments submitted to the Court by March 2nd, with the responding attorneys having until the 9th.

I spent the next few weeks trying to figure out how to write my arguments and properly file the documentation. Then I wrote three drafts and submitted them to people on the petition, this blog and on Twitter. I accepted all intelligent feedback from interested individuals and finalized the initial document. I went ahead and submitted it a week early. The attorneys responded on the 9th.

Their response? The Court wasn’t even allowed to hear my argument. I had no standing. I hadn’t been charged with a crime, so I couldn’t say my rights had been violated to contest that crime. I wasn’t an elected official, so I had no defined public interest standing that the court should accept. Based on a system of common law precedence, the Charter Challenge should be simply dismissed and I should pay the lawyers for the government for their time.

The unfortunate problem with their argument is that they were largely correct. I hadn’t filed affidavits pertaining to the nature of the offense I’d mentioned. I could discuss the nature of the offense if the judge was allowed to hear the case, but based on the system of precedence it was likely I wouldn’t even be allowed to speak on the matter.

At this point I had to enact Plan B.

This would lead me up to the events of March 18th, the day I uttered the tweet that resulted in my house being searched by the RCMP, my devices being seized and my small supply of unlicensed, medical-grade, research marijuana being destroyed. This occurred while I was being unlawfully detained and missing the court appearance for my Charter Challenge. It wasn’t the same tweet that got me unlawfully detained on April 7th.

Interesting times we live in, eh? A few words on the Internet can turn your whole life upside down and inside out.

The next post in this series will be ‘My Life of Certified Insanity (Day 1).’

My life as a political and human rights activist began as a transition from my life as a social entrepreneur which began as a tangent from my life as a pet owner. I broke this section into two parts to give it a full airing of the details. It might be a little much for some people, but I wanted to make sure I’m offering a complete version of what happened that lead me to my current place in life.

In the Summer of 2011, I was recovering from a workers injury that ended my electronics technologist career less than a year after landing the job. I had torn my right rotator cuff while trying to move a several hundred pound battery stack across a tile floor. Both shoulders were damaged, but my right arm was basically hanging off my body. I filed a workers comp form and received authorization for exceptionally strong pain killing medication. I chose to stick to just the anti-inflammatory medication and use pot for the pain as I healed. I was seen by a physiotherapist once and given Doctor’s orders not to do any heavy lifting.

This effectively ended my career with the tech company I was working with. Unable to risk having their project manager further injured, I was placed into a windowless cubicle and given a desk phone. All my work from then on would be tech support and paperwork. As someone who has always enjoyed hands on work, be it computer repair or planting trees, I was unable to adapt to life indoors behind a desk. I had to leave the company as the position I’d been placed in wasn’t what they’d hired me to do. I was left managing groups of repair teams who each earned more money than me and constantly called for advice. Unwilling to be forever squeezed into a windowless box, I left the company and spent the next few months fighting to obtain EI so I could finish recovering from my injury.

In October of 2011, I decided to get a pet dragon. I’d been introduced to Bearded Dragons from Australia through a friend who’d owned one. I’d been researching Australia independently because I’d heard that didgerdoo usage helps alleviate sleep apnea. That same week I saw a 75 gallon aquarium show up on Kijiji along with an ad from a local breeder who had a clutch of month old dragons he was selling. It felt like I was being guided towards having a pet dragon at that point, so I dove into the idea and went up to meet the breeder.

When he showed me a plastic tray with the few remaining dragons he hadn’t already sold, I was struck by how much they looked like tiny dinosaurs. Such tiny little perfect scales, intricate patterns and elegant feet. I put my hand in the bin to reach for one and they all scattered except for one. This little guy showed no fear of me whatsoever despite him being no bigger than my pinky finger. He just stood there with his head back and looked at my hand. This was Merlin and he became one of my most steadfast companions during the next two and a half years of my life. I didn’t realize it, but his influence would transform my life completely.

I drove out to Trout River the following day and bought the aquarium. Then I went to the local pet store picked up some lights and heaters and dry food. Next I brought everything home and set it up, leaving all the lights and heaters running through a full day/night cycle so I could check the temperatures. A little bit of research was required at this point to ensure I’d be able to create a good environment for little guy. If he didn’t have a warm enough place to sit during the day, he wouldn’t be able to digest his food. Once I was certain that the temperature and humidity ranges were suitable for a baby dragon, I drove up to the breeder and picked him up in a shoe box lined with my t-shirts for warmth.

I’d be sharing some pictures of his size for reference at this point, but even my family photos were seized by the RCMP when they took my devices. It’s funny how much value can be stored on one device, which can be unlawfully taken away and peered through by unknown people. They’ll be looking through photos of my nephew dying at 11 days old in a hospital shortly if they haven’t already. Sorry if it got a little dark there, but thinking about Merlin in a shoebox lined with a t-shirt reminded me of burying him the same way last year because I didn’t have the money to take him to a vet. All my pictures of him were taken when the RCMP seized my electronics to try to uncover a terrorist plot. I have a few on Facebook, but I took hundreds if not thousands of them. They’re being used right now to try to compile a psychological profile for someone who doesn’t exist.

Shortly after I got Merlin home and he was settling into his new surroundings, I was confronted by something I hadn’t fully prepared myself for when buying a bearded dragon. While adult bearded dragons eat mostly vegetables and a few bugs, baby Bearded Dragons eat mostly bugs. Tiny, wriggling, squirming, crawling, creeping bugs. Mostly beetle larva, crickets and another high protein species. Considering how far I’ve come and how much interesting research they inspired, I’m surprised at how revolted I was by them at the time. In retrospect, I’m not a big fan of most snakes or lizards either. I only jumped at the idea of a bearded dragon because… hey… I had a pet DRAGON.

This idea was later overturned when I realized that instead of me having a pet dragon, Merlin was being granted a human slave. To keep a bearded dragon healthy, you have to have a rigorous feeding schedule. You should keep their tanks clean of their poops, but make sure to check them occasionally to monitor their health. You have to be able to offer quality greens and discern the high nutritional value ones like collards from the low nutritional value ones like lettuce. Not all greens are created equal. You also have to pick through your feeder insects to make sure you’re not feeding them insects that are too big and may cause impaction. This caused me more grief than anything else. I have no problems baiting a hook with half an earthworm, but darkling beetle larva looked so much like maggots I had an deep aversion to touching them. They seemed so unclean and unnatural, despite the fact that they are eaten as a staple food in a good portion of the world.

As Merlin grew into his full size over the next two years his appetite increased along with him. Live insects are surprisingly expensive and it got to the point where the cost of Merlin’s groceries was a approaching a fraction of my own. To offset this, I decided to try my hand at insect breeding on a small scale. I wasn’t completely comfortable with having insects in my home, but the ones I was working with couldn’t climb smooth plastic, so I comforted myself with the knowledge they couldn’t escape.

They say necessity and politics makes strange bedfellows, but never in my life prior to these events had I imagined sharing a home with a family of bugs. Mice, carpenter bugs, and the occasional earwig are expected when living in an older home, but I never thought I would willingly allow in a family of beetles.

I bought mealworms from the local pet store, gave them a quick rinse to wash the ever-present mites off, then let them pupate into beetles. I set the beetles in a new bin and gave them bran and carrots as a food source. Within a few months, I had a new population of feeder insects for Merlin at a fraction of the cost. I began to think of them as my indoor compost bin for the vegetables that we had left over from our meals.

After about a year of trial and error, I settled into a much cheaper daily routine of taking care of my dragon and enjoyed the presence of such an odd creature from the other side of the world. It was like have a little alien dinosaur in my home that followed my movements like a sunflower follows the Sun. Taking care of such a small and unique creature added a depth to my life that didn’t exist prior to the fall of 2011.

I spent the winter doing point of sale repairs and installations for a temp agency operating out of Ontario. They made a habit out of billing their customers much more than their employees were getting, but that’s the nature of these kinds of shyster agencies and their contracts and I still needed to earn enough to live on. I went back to physical labour the following Spring doing landscaping in Pasadena. My old Boss called me up and offered me the kind of work I enjoy out in the sun, so I couldn’t refuse. I spent a whole summer tearing down a forest of trees on his land, as well as replacing old wooden fences with new metal ones. Having spent the winter trying to bring my shoulders back into working order, this was exactly what I needed to do to be healthy, spending a lot of time working in under the Sun.

By the time the fall of 2012 rolled around, I’d done a decent job of transforming the landscape I’d been working on.  I was still getting the occasional jobs working for the temp agency and my finances were in good order. I had stocks that were doing well and money saved in my TFSA. I had excellent credit and no outstanding bills. I was able to reapply for EI, although at this point I was basically getting less than a $1000 a month to live on.

As the winter settled in, I began to consider my options for work. I wasn’t interested in working for temp agencies for the rest of my life, and didn’t want to end up stuck behind a desk answering the phone. I started looking at the bugs I was raising and began to wonder if they might not give a clue to a direction forwards for my life. I knew that local stores were ordering them from outside Newfoundland, so I began to examine what would be needed to offer a local supply.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, my family was getting ready to experience a period of joy and tragedy. My nephew was born on November 10th, 2012 and it was a moment of exceptional happiness for the whole family. My parents came in and we were all so excited to see him and welcome him into our lives. We didn’t realize at the time how deeply his birth would shake our foundations.

The first moment I held him, shortly after he was born, I had a very mixed experience. As my brother passed him to me from his arms, joy and pride welling up in his eyes, I felt a sense of elation to see my little brother so happy at being a father. When I took his son into my hands though, the first thing I remember feeling was a stabbing pain in my left palm where I was holding him and then breaking out into a cold sweat. I still felt a feeling of joy at holding my new nephew in my hands, but it was tempered by a feeling of unease. At the time, I chalked the stabbing pain in my hand up to being unfamiliar with how to properly hold a baby and the cold sweat to anxiety at holding this fragile new bundle of joy in my hands.

I spent some time with the new Mommy and Daddy and my new nephew, then left them alone to get some rest, knowing I’d see more of them when they were released. They came home a few days later to a welcoming party that brought together both sets of grandparents to marvel at newest addition to their next generation.

Our joy was cut short when my nephew’s health took a turn for the worse. Despite repeat visits to a public health nurse regarding a jaundiced look he was presenting, they assured my brother and his wife that everything was fine. The last moment of peace we would have for a long time happened as they took him to the hospital to treat his jaundice with light therapy. By the time they’d arrived, his hold on life was beginning to fail due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

Affecting one in every thousand babies, my nephew had a condition known as a coarctation of the aorta. The blood flow to the lower portion of his body was suppressed by a tiny pinch in the lower half of his aorta that runs to his liver and kidneys. As those organs struggled to deal with the reduced blood pressure and building levels of toxins, his heart rate and blood pressure were increasing to try to raise the lowered blood pressure below the pinch in his aorta. This caused the blood pressure in the upper half of his body to increase and put too much stress on his heart. It could have easily been remedied in the womb through simple surgery, or with an injection that relaxes the smooth muscle walls followed by a minimally invasive procedure that opens up the pinch.

I know now that these symptoms are easily diagnosed from birth without any special medical equipment. Simply feeling the difference between the strength of the distal pulse at the wrists and the femoral pulse at the groin will identify the condition. It’s a simple test that takes moments and could easily save lives, but it’s not one of the current protocols for dealing with newborn babies in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Unfortunately, the doctor in the pediatrics ward where he was brought for treatment didn’t do this check either. He saw a baby experiencing a rapid decline in health and jumped to the conclusion that he was suffering from an infection instead of a heart condition. Despite being born in that wing days earlier, he couldn’t get immediate access to my nephew’s file which would have shown other symptoms of his heart condition, like his high heart rate at birth, and he might have reacted more appropriately. However, this information wasn’t readily available electronically and he treated him for infection instead, relying only on his initial assessment.

The first course of treatment when dealing with someone presenting with symptoms of an infection is to rehydrate them. Unfortunately for my nephew who was experiencing a cardiac crisis due to the inability of his kidneys to properly cleanse his blood and regulate blood pressure, this mistake would cost him his life. Increasing his blood volume without allowing his kidneys to restore the proper balance deepened his cardiac crisis, spiked his blood pressure further and ended up causing brain damage.

I won’t go into further detail on this matter, but in the week that followed my extended family travelled back and forth across Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to try to get my nephew some treatment. The hospitals we dealt with did a good job trying to come up with a million reasons why he’d suddenly taken ill. Genetic issues, infection, abnormal metabolism… they threw reason after reason at us until finally revealing they’d found the root of his heart condition. At that point the damage had already been done and he was barely clinging to life. He was removed from life support and passed on November 21st 2012 in the arms of his loving parents.  I can’t remember crying that hard at any other point in my life. To see someone so innocent, so free of any of the sins of this world, snuffed out after momentarily bringing such joy into our lives… it struck me as a crime against God.

I wasn’t until after we arrived back home, the house still covered in welcome posters and banners from the week before, that I began to think over what had happened. At this point we knew he had a coarctation, which was treatable, but didn’t realize the magnitude of mistake which had been made that first night. I contacted some nursing friends of mine and explained what had happened. They confirmed that the last thing a baby experiencing a cardiac crisis should be treated with is saline. A baby’s blood pressure is a very delicate thing. They’re so very, very fragile. Once they’d injected him with the saline, that very first treatment offered to a baby they thought to be experiencing infection, he was done for.

I spent some time trying to explain it to my family members individually, but they were still largely in a state of shock. That all came to a head one night when my brother’s wife logged into her work email account and found a letter from an anonymous source at the hospital. They’d been trying to contact her for the past week. The letter explained that the cardiologist had made a mistake and that my nephew would have been perfectly fine and healthy had it not been for that error they were now trying to cover up.

After a period of confusion, I had to be the bearer of bad news and tell them what I’d learned. Imparting to them such a shocking truth after going through such a twisted experience was hard on the whole family. We were all still in a state of disbelief, but I couldn’t leave this letter from an anonymous person hanging in the air. The family was so upset that more questions immediately began to emerge about what happened. It needed context. My background in biology is more extensive than my family’s, so what came as a natural understanding to me was foreign to them.

We agreed not to discuss it further. This may be the only time I speak this openly on the subject matter. I just want to further clear the air and illustrate that doctors are just as fallible as the rest of us. They’re prone to the same errors of judgment when presented with incomplete information. And just as prone to denying making mistakes to save themselves and prevent their authority from ever being questioned.

In the months that followed, I withdrew from my previous activities. I had a period of introspection and spent my last Christmas home in Labrador. We setup a special Christmas tree in our backyard for the nephew that was no longer with us. From then on, Christmas trees will always remind me of him.

After a few months of withdrawn grieving I decided to get my life back on track. I was still working with the temp agency, but also interested in starting my own business. I approached the local community development corporation with my idea surrounding insect production several times during this period and was rejected or ignored each time. I kept working on the idea and early in the Spring a friend asked me for a ride up to Canadian Tire to buy some fertilizer for his plants. I offered him a sample of what my mealworms were producing and the rapid results amazed us. I went back to the drawing board and began thinking up a plan to pair this fertilizer source with organic agriculture. It offered a means of establishing a business that created value-added products with no wasted byproduct. Everything that went into the business came back out as a higher value product, I just needed to formalize the idea.

In the summer of 2013, following a few weeks of meetings with the Navigate Entrepreneurship Center, I had the business concept fleshed out. I submitted it for review by Service Canada and the local community development corporation. It took 3 months for them to finally approve the idea. Total time trying to get into the process to be able to work on my business plan? 10 months.

During the approval process I met Misha and we’ve been almost inseparable ever since. It’s been a difficult road for us as so much of my money has been invested in an idea. The lack of local development opportunities has been stifling progress and leaving us struggling to make ends meet, even without exceptional circumstances arising to cause further conflict.

Shortly after being approved for self-employment assistance in November, my old apartment developed a leak in my roof over my bed due to a failed renovation that left heat pouring into my attic. Experiencing a complete disruption in my home life, my sleep apnea took over as my most pressing health situation. Having an absentee landlord who only bought the place from my previous landlord to earn some cash, he had little interest in spending money to keep the place livable. When I raised the issue as something that couldn’t be waiting on until spring, he served me with an eviction notice. Unwilling to deal with a landlord that would just shirk his responsibilities and wait until I moved out, I took the eviction as offered and moved out, letting him know on Christmas Eve that I had vacated the place. Dick move, I know, but I had just suffered through over 3 weeks of unhealthy sleep and was looking forward to getting some proper rest. I still paid full rent for the month of December.

Moving into the new place was a whole new experience. I had space to start up a lab in the basement, which led to me germinating my first marijuana seeds to experiment with. Prior to this I’d only been working with mint, which was great for tea but not much else. As a plant with a much more rapid growth rate, I’d hope that experimenting with cannabis would teach me how to grow a variety of plants indoors. If my current indoor garden is any indication, it has done that job quite well.

While all of this was new business planning and development was on-going, I had an older project brewing in the background coming to fruition. I’d been researching seaweeds as a source for a mitochondrial enhancer for oxidative stress related illnesses. In May, a quote from a movie inspired a whole new direction into my research that showed the compounds I was researching had played a well-established role in ancient medicines practiced around the world. I used this new knowledge to create a brief YouTube video to complement an earlier one and set up a Thunderclap to try to raise awareness on social media. I spent two weeks campaigning to build up supporters for the campaign and, to be perfectly honest, it came to nothing. Few people cared enough to bother reading the material, so it simply fell by the wayside for most. If you read back far enough in the blog, the information is all still available.

The Thunderclap was my first step at transitioning into from social entrepreneurship into activism. It was also the week that Merlin passed on suddenly. It was a very difficult few weeks. Not as difficult as when my nephew died, but it was still distressing to watch Merlin rapidly get ill and die practically in my hands. I buried him in June and planted some sunflowers over him to keep him company. I planted a little lilac tree over him last fall. I don’t know if the little tree has taken to its new environment, but I’ll be tending it once the snow melts.

The next step in my transition into activism happened a month later, but was shaped by time spent with Misha. She’s spent a portion of her life in Ukraine, so she brought me a unique perspective on the situation that was absent from Canadian news outlets.

While CBC was cheering on the fall of the previous Ukrainian government at the end of February, she was warning me that the people seizing power were those she’d previously identified as far-right extremists. The actions of the new government following the coup illustrated that mentality quite well as they cracked down on dissenters in Eastern Ukraine and tightened their grip on power.

Once Ukraine had conducted their formal elections under the guise of ‘trusted’ Canadian election monitors, the new President quickly legitimized the civil war between West and East Ukraine by declaring the dissidents to be terrorists. He declared a resumption of hostilities against the dissident/terrorists on July 1st, 2014. Canada Day. The Canadian Federal government cheered him on. After studiously ignoring politics for several years, I found myself horrified by the fascist and tyrannical tendencies that were now being displayed by the Canadian government.

As July progressed, other issues began to emerge. In the Middle East, the situation between Israel and Gaza was becoming ugly. Atrocities against children committed by extremist elements from both sides led to the resumption of rocket attacks and an escalation towards war. Like seeing a train wreck in slow motion, I watched both situations in the Middle East and Ukraine with great trepidation. The two situations then converged surrounding a very unlikely series of events that seemed too well-timed to be coincidental.

On the 16th of July of 2014, four children were killed on beach in Gaza. They were killed in full public view of people staying at a nearby hotel and the event drew outrage from media outlets stationed in the area. Israel announced a humanitarian window for the following day to grieve the loss of the children, but kept massing their infantry forces along their border with Gaza. As the humanitarian window was closing on the following day, MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine. While media attention turned to the downed plane and the chaos that was ensuing in Ukraine, Israel launched their all out attack on Gaza.

Some people might not understand the level of brutality used in Israel’s war last summer. They think that all nations have a ‘Right to Defend’, but ignore the fact that the section of the UN Charter they’re using refers to the ‘Right to Defend Responsibly’. This refers to accepting responsibility for civilian deaths in a conflict situation. Accepting responsibility for war crimes committed by overzealous soldiers and for public figures that openly incite discrimination and genocide. Accepting responsibility for training soldiers that no longer see their neighbors as living beings worthy of their respect.

To illustrate the brutality of the conflict, I’m going to discuss some of the munitions used. The rockets launched by Hamas forces are basically homemade. They don’t have a very extensive range and their explosive power is limited. They’re a little scary when they’re aimed at you, but in the last conflict they simply weren’t effective at all. Israel has their ‘Iron Dome’ rocket defense system that lets them shoot down incoming rockets. Gaza has no such defense system.

While Israel has access to some of the most advanced weaponry on the planet, including nuclear weapons, I’m only going to look at a single type of munitions they used for comparison, explosive unguided artillery. Bombs launched like bullets from the ground that have a 300 meter kill radius on open terrain. Used in a city setting, that kill radius becomes much larger as explosive forces bounce off buildings and down city streets. While Hamas launched over 4000 largely unsuccessful rocket attacks against Israel, the IDF launched over 34,000 rounds of explosive artillery alone. This doesn’t count any form of missile or jet attack and also disregards the cluster munitions that were known to have been used in the conflict. It just compares the effectiveness of Hamas’ largely useless rocket brigade against the overwhelming violence of the Israeli response. To call this a case of overkill is to make the understatement of the century.

What came as a greater shock as all this was emerging was Canada’s stance. While we’ve traditionally been seen as Peacekeepers in the region, we abdicated that responsibility publically and sided with Israel. 9/11 was cited at the time as one of the reasons, but the truth is Canadian’s reason for supporting this war is more closely rooted in fear, bigotry and islamophobia.

On the 17th of July, as the world seemed to be descending into chaos with CBC ignoring the deaths and funerals of the four Gazan children from the previous day, I began trying to figure out Canada’s position. I was introduced to a propaganda video released by the Conservative Party to their Israeli supporters on the 16th of July that made me realize how involved Canada had become in instigating this conflict.

In the video, our current Prime Minister and then Foreign Affairs Minister advocate directly for war and genocide. He advises confronting the ‘dark forces’, a dangerous thing to say to an audience of predominantly white people. The quotes used in the propaganda video are taken from his speech before the Knesset earlier in the year. During that same speech our Prime Minister spoke of a ‘sophisticated language of hatred developed in the modern world for use in polite society.’ He used this threatening doublespeak to criticize the Arab delegation present, angering them to the point of leaving. Even back in January of 2014, he was angering and dividing people on racial and religious lines.

Flash forward to July and his same words are again being used to reinforce the idea of settling religious and political differences through force of arms. To me, this was so un-Canadian and wrong I had to speak up. The following weekend I typed up a transcript and analysis of the video, along with a list of charges. I brought it to the local RNC and requested they file charges.

Thus began my life as an activist.

My next post will cover how my forays into political and human rights activism resulted in my detainment on the 4th Floor the Western Memorial Regional Hospital for 6 days.

There is a lot of background information that is needed to fully understand what happened the day I was pulled into detainment by the RNC. A lot of the information is available online, but I’ll try to quickly summarize it for those who haven’t been following along very closely.

My name is Andrew Abbass. I’m a Canadian. I was born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. My parents were teachers on Wing 5, the American-turned-Canadian military base in Labrador. I was born at the Grenfell Hospital on the base. I went to Mother Goose nursery, then St. Michael’s, a grade school under the RC Board across the street where my parents taught. I went to high school at Goose High. All of these buildings were located within a kilometer from each other. They’ve all been torn down. None of them exist at all anymore.

What does still exist are all the connections I’ve made with the family, friends, classmates, teachers, professors, doctors, nurses, optometrists, recycling depot operators, pharmacists, computer technicians, car wash operators, tree planters and community radio aficionados I’ve met during my time walking around on this blue marble floating in space.

These people have watched me grow and develop through school and go off to university. They watched me perform ‘The Cremation of Sam Mcgee’ in a junior high poetry slam while sweating to death inside a full set of winter gear. They’ve seen me sorting their recyclables with a smile, simply enjoying the feeling of turning one man’s trash into another’s treasure. They’ve watched me work like a dog dragging trays of trees off the beaten path of Pynn’s Brook into the woods so others could earn their daily bread one year, then join them in planting trees the next.

Just because my family name is ‘Abbass’ doesn’t mean my family doesn’t have deep roots both in Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada. If you go down to the Newfoundland Emporium on Broadway in Corner Brook and check out the family name register they have on display, you’ll see my family name at the top of the list. Says it means stern. We’ve been here a while.

My father comes from Cape Breton and is the son of a Lebanese barber who fought against Nazism and the Axis Forces in World War 2. His mother was descended from Scottish farmers and sea captains who built their families around Minasville, NS in the Bay of Fundy. She was also ‘stationed overseas’ during WW2, although for her that meant being in PEI.

My mother’s background is even more varied. She brings together a long history of families from Newfoundland and America. Her family tree research shows that we had family on both sides of the American Civil War, the Boston Tea Party, the War of 1812 and a host of other conflicts. She’s also got some native blood on her father’s side as well. With the number of times her family fought amongst themselves during the history of making her, it’s a miracle her ancestors survived long enough to produce her to be my mother, meet my father, and help him raise me to be the man I am today.

I don’t want to dig too much into family details or my own personal history, but I just want it known that I had a wonderful family life and upbringing with an exceptional extended family and some great friends. People who still understand the meaning behind the words ‘Family Values’ that others in the political arena toss around to win elections. Every chance at growth, development and education that could be provided was on offer.

As a result, I always done my best to be a good upstanding citizen and uphold the law, although I may have an overdeveloped sense of justice. I do smoke pot, but have a medical condition that it remedies. Prior to a few consciousness expanding realizations of the last year, I always considered it to be a victimless crime. I buy it, I smoke it, I get restful sleep and I feel better. No harm done to anyone, right?

The problem is that this isn’t necessarily true. The pot had to come from somewhere and the money ends up in someone else’s hands. Not knowing where it originates from leaves the door open for it to be coming from any criminal element interested in supplying it. It could be funding a gang of Hell’s Angels, some white supremacists, a terrorist cell, even human trafficking. You don’t know where that money goes once it’s left your hand other than back up the chain into mystery. The pot you’re buying could be funding the trafficking of more harmful drugs back into your own communities.

This creates a serious problem.

Unlike alcohol, which has no real medicinal value other than as a disinfectant, cannabis has an exceptionally long list of medical conditions that it benefits. Everything from stress, high blood pressure and chronic pain to nausea, glaucoma and cancer sees a benefit. There is a distinct need in society to obtain a source of natural organic relief that produces minimal side effects and has a long history of therapeutic value that spans our shared cultural history. Anyone who denies the therapeutic benefits of cannabis is beginning to sound as ignorant as those people denying global climate change as an actively occurring process. They may, in fact, be the same ignorant people. Time will tell.

Instead, there is an insistence and a belief that the first course of medical treatment in the modern world must be signature magic pills. Magic pills developed through esoteric patented processes that leave a person with a host of side effects that must then be remedied through other magic pills. It is the pipe dream of a madman. Instead of addressing the root causes of health issues in modern society, be they mental or physical, we allow pharmaceutical companies to draw a veil over our eyes. These doctors have been indoctrinated as high priests into the cult of the magic pill since Med school. They are plied with gifts and promises that their patient will be able to switch to a newer better pill with fewer side effects… in the future… once they work out the kinks… and it’s been approved. It is no longer a science at this point, it is now a blasphemous religion designed to imprison people within their own bodies.

They stop treating patients like people with friends and families and lives and start seeing them only as a set of disorders to be remedied with their toolbox of pills. It’s like putting a Band-Aid over the gaping wound after being shot in the stomach. Or having your mechanic fix the brakes of your truck with duct tape, clothespins and spit instead of manufacturer certified parts. It leaves you primed to break down further in the future in a manner which could be life threatening.

However, we blithely continue on down the road towards the pill-shaped prison. We remain unaware that just because someone has been granted the title of ‘Doctor’ by a school of thought doesn’t mean they know how to make you well.

In the case of psychology and psychiatry, we have a group of people that may have an exceptionally keen eye for categorizing symptoms, but when it comes to issues like the ties between mental and social health, they ignore root causes completely.  Instead, they rely on their toolbox of magic pills to mask the symptoms as best as possible to try to fit the person back into the hole they’ve created in their life. They play God with people’s lives in a manner befitting the worst Nazi medical experiments of history, but completely unaware of their actions. To quote a famous Jew from a few thousand years ago, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”

I had a sharp reminder of that this past Fall when I almost lost my favourite Aunt. A change in doctors led to rapid changes in the dosage of her prescribed medication and then her personality. These kinds of things happen all too often in our overworked system. It’s not always the fault of the doctors, it’s just how each doctor’s time with each patient is limited and mishandled by the bureaucracy above them. They may be struggling to do the best in a system that simply overburdens both themselves and the patients. A system which forces them to suffer through inordinate wait times for the most simple of procedures which end up dehumanizing both the doctor and the patient.

Before I get too far off topic, I was talking about marijuana and its benefits. As the readers of this blog may know, I have been charged by the RCMP for the production of a controlled substance. For the last two years I have been conducting research using insects to produce a fertilizer and soil amendment that also acts as an immune stimulant. I’ve grown mint, aloe, snapdragons, dill, cilantro, garlic, vines, collards and sunflowers indoors under lights of my own devising. I also have a grapevine with a 6 foot spread growing in a 2 gallon pot of soil.

I’ve been building my research into a business with the help of people associated with Grenfell University. I’ve also got a number of other research projects on my plate. One is about using dihalogenated acetates in seaweed to restore mitochondrial function in cells. It relieves built up oxidative stress which is the prime trigger of a number of human illnesses, including all aging related illnesses. These compounds even directly address what makes cells become cancerous. But that’s another story for another day. There are a few blog posts about it on this site, you just have to read back a while. I hope to get back to work on it once the RCMP returns the electronic devices they’ve taken from me. I have a meeting with a research associate involved with the project this week and have a sample still sitting in storage waiting for examination. At least we have that much.

Back to the pot.

I suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils so I can’t sleep on my back. I’ve apparently had it most of my life, but wasn’t diagnosed until 4 years ago. I’ve tried CPAP. I could take it for a while, but after about a year I couldn’t ‘stomach’ it any longer. CPAP users will know exactly what I’m talking about. I spoke with a local ENT about it and he wanted to perform a major surgery to correct the issue instead of just removing my tonsils. I considered it at first, but the month long recovery time made me say no. Just as well, a girl in the States ended up brain-dead after that same surgery a year later. That doctor has also unfortunately since died of throat cancer so I can’t even go back to discuss other options.

What does work for me is falling asleep in a particular position and sleeping restfully. If I toss and turn I end up on my back and then I stop breathing. My blood oxygen levels drop dangerously low, my heart rate and blood pressure spikes. I wake up without realizing that I’ve woken up, gasp for air for a while then fall back asleep in the same position. Repeat. I wake up exhausted and in a daze that leaves me mentally and physically drained and unable to focus on simple daily tasks like doing the dishes or laundry. Basically I’m the Elephant Man, but with the elephantiasis only affecting my tonsils. If either of us falls asleep on our backs we’re in trouble.

Pot remedies the issue for me.

With a properly selected strain, I simply rolled a joint or packed a bowl in my bong, Dr. Frankensuess, before bed. Lying down in the recovery position you’d put someone suffering from alcohol poisoning in, I can sleep peacefully through the night. If I happen to roll over and wake myself up after a short restful period, I simply take another toke from my bong and go back to bed. It provides for relief and a restful night’s sleep that I haven’t been able to obtain through any other offered method.

If I was in BC, I’d be able to get a prescription easily, but in Newfoundland the doctors are very nervous about getting involved in the process. Unlike the pill pushers who work for the pharmaceutical industry as drug dealers, marijuana growers and users have few people able to openly lobby for unshackling this medicinal plant from the criminal element that controls it in this province. This appears to be where I’ve stepped into that picture, although my story is much more complicated.

As I’ve stated previously, my research has been into developing processes built around insects. They’re basically lab workers capable of performing their function every moment of their lives not spent in an egg or pupating. They produce an amendment rich in the plant immune stimulant, chitin, the application of which triggers an infestation response from the plant. This trigger turns on the cellular defense mechanisms of the plant, increasing the rate of water and nutrient uptake and the efficiency of photosynthesis, as well as increasing the blooming and fruiting potential of the plant. This research has long term application in ensuring food sustainability not just for the Island of Newfoundland, but anywhere in the world.

While my initial research involved mostly mint plants, which made some excellent tea, in January of 2014 I decided to investigate its potential use on marijuana plants. I wanted to be able to study how the genetics of a single plant would be affected by the amendment my lab assistants were producing. I sprouted a number of seeds I’d been given of my favorite strain, green crack, and selected the four most vigorous of them for experimentation.

I took the first few months to train and bonsai the plants to keep them small and make them capable of supporting a high number of clones. When I started taking my first few clones to test their rooting potential, I was using a bubbler bin that I’m currently using to produce clones of my grapevines. I sexed the plants and determined I had lucked out and gotten four female plants to work with. I spent months studying the characteristics of the clones, with the ones that successfully rooted in the bubbler making their way into the 16 ounce solo cups that would be their final home. I studied the growth and flowering characteristics of each plant through their clones, how they responded to different environmental stresses, and how they responded to varying levels of application of my fertilizer. After over 6 months in the selection process, I decided on a single plant with the best flowering and rooting abilities. During this time I also developed a very simple small scale drying process using clothespins and paper bags. Up until this point I wasn’t producing enough marijuana to supply a single person with a regular medicinal supply.

I flowered off the remainder of the plants as they lacked the vigor of the plant I’d chosen, dubbed Green Monster or Lillian. I also decided to re-vegetate one of the other mothers, Vanilla to see if I couldn’t increase its rooting potential. It had some of the best flowering characteristics, but had the worst record for clones surviving the cloning process. I don’t even use rooting gel in my methods, relying simply on a clean environment and natural processes. I figured I’d give it another shot to see if I noticed any improvement.

While all of this was going on, I was doing my best to get my research business off the ground. I had contacts within Grenfell University, but they were stuck waiting for their lab to be finished and made available for use. I had financier interest, but no location to start my business. Instead of worrying about what I couldn’t get done at the moment, I kept my mind on what I was able to do.

After 9 months of experimentation, including much trial and error with a variety of light sources and ventilation methods, I settled on a single plant line to experiment, including a redesigned flowering tent that used LEDs for lighting and had a homemade odor reducing ventilation system. Even then I was still only growing tiny plants in cut down 1 gallon water jugs. I let plants vegetate a little larger at this stage, but quickly ran into problems with them not liking their roots being so constrained and crowded, so I had to step up to a larger container size.

I ended up settling on a mix of square and rectangular pots that gave me 1 and 2 gallons of soil to work with and allowed the plants to vegetate a week or two after establishing roots before putting them in to flowering. Green Crack has a short flowering cycle, between 50 and 60 days, depending on the ratio of THC to CDB you’re aiming for at harvest. I used a tie-down method to create a hybrid between a screen of green and a sea of green, but I kept the plants exceptionally small. I wasn’t aiming to traffic in marijuana, just to continue my research and hopefully hit a point where I could stop paying for it from outside sources. They usually don’t have reliable access to a stable strain for consistent delivery of medicinal benefits.

While this was going on, another situation was emerging in my life. The Love of My Life, who I will only refer to as Misha for the remainder of my story, became pregnant around the beginning of November. At first we were nervous about the idea of becoming parents and starting a family. My small business was struggling to find its footing and we weren’t seeing any support for the idea from the local business community or government organizations I’d been working with.

In November, the self-employment assistance I’d receiving to help me get my business started was cut off. I’d been filing requests with them for a whole year trying to have them recognize my sleep apnea as a disability that was having a negative effect on my ability to start a business. Having this acknowledged would have offered me an additional 6 months to get my business off the ground with more assistance during the entire period. Instead, due to ‘budget cuts’ that eliminated the group of people responsible for identifying and resolving issues around worker’s disabilities, no one remaining in the offices was willing to discuss the issue.

I had to borrow extensively from friends and family to keep my own new family afloat during the months of December and January. All of my issues were finally resolved in February after a few calls to the Citizen’s Representative, but not until after months of trying to ask local politicians and bureaucrats for advice on the matter. Threatened with legal action for discriminating against someone with a disability, the local bureaucrats from Service Canada caved and acknowledge that I might have a disability they’d ignored. They requested a note from my doctor that he’d offered to write a year earlier and within a week they’d backpaid me the money that had been withheld.

What went unacknowledged was that my credit cards, rent, student loans and electrical bills went unpaid for a while as I was trying to rectify the situation. I did my best to juggle the money around to keep them all happy while still buying groceries, but having a complete cessation of income while trying to get a business off the ground ended up putting me deep into a financial hole.

Around the middle of January, another worry crept into the situation. Misha, the Love of My Life, has very unique eyes. As the first term of her pregnancy came to a close, she started getting more and more bouts of extreme nausea and had a lot of trouble keeping food and liquids down. Her eye condition added to our worries as the unique shape of her eyes leaves her prone to retinal detachment. This is due to intraocular pressures created by the vomiting. One tough night left her with a temporary gap in her vision that made us both extremely nervous. It’s also an issue for the birth process itself, so it’s never far from our minds.

I started reading into stories of women who used marijuana during pregnancy and still gave birth to perfectly healthy children. I realized that the pot I’d been growing in small quantities for research could help her keep food down and reduce the vomiting. This would help keep both her eyes and the baby healthy. Lacking the ability to secure a simple prescription for such a complicated issue, I made the decision to become ‘a full-blown criminal’. I increased the number of plants I was growing in my bin, attempting to get a much larger harvest to supply our medical needs for at least a month or two until I could make further plans.

I was still 3 weeks away from the first decent harvest when my home was raided by the RCMP for my electronics for uttering threats on Twitter. This unfortunately occurred while I was detained. The RCMP were unable to contact me and took my electronics as they had no other way to determine if I was plotting some sort of secret attack. Instead they’re discovering I’m developing new medicines, technologies and methods to feed people. In the words of Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want.”

In the week since I’ve been released from the hospital, I’ve had to resort to the traditional criminal methods to obtain medicinal relief. These include buying supplies from people who also have police officers in their family and are supplying to other people who have medicinal reasons, like cancer, for using marijuana. But these people are still considered criminals by a system created to benefit legal pill pushers. Dealers who push drugs with side effects like suicidal or homicidal ideation onto unwilling people. There is something very sick and wrong with our current society that needs to be healed sooner rather than later.

I wanted to tell this portion of the story before moving onto the next section about the specific tweet that got me pulled in. I think it helps explain why Don Dunphy’s story, that of a disabled outspoken activist and family man who was growing and using marijuana medicinally, resonated so strongly with me.

Don’s story could easily have been my story.

There but for the grace of God go I.

I’ll begin my story with the day that I was pulled in, but the roots of that day were set down much earlier than that. Back in July of 2014 I filed charges of advocating genocide against our current Prime Minister and then Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird. The charges were summarily dismissed less than two weeks later as a matter of governing policy.

While a major violation of international law and treaties, this legal justification unfortunately works fine for the Canadian legal system. Under the Canadian Criminal Code the Attorney General is allowed to shape the prosecution of certain crimes, including by not limited to:

• 7(2.33) – offenses occurring in space
• 7(4.3) – sexual offenses against children
• 7(7) – denying prosecution of criminal foreign nationals
• 54 – assisting a deserter
• 24 – terrorism, hiding terrorist property, banking with terrorists
• 136(3) – providing false evidence
• 141 (2) – bribery
• 164(7) – voyeurism, corruption of morals, child pornography, advertising sexual services
• 283(2) – kidnapping
• 318(3) – advocating genocide
• 319(6) – public incitement of hatred
• 320(7) – denying seizure of hate propaganda
• 347(7) – allowing criminal interest rates
• 385(2) – concealing title documents
• 422(3) – breach of contract, intimidation and discrimination against trade unionists
• 477.2 (1) – offenses committed by a non-citizen on a foreign ship in Canadian waters
• 477.2 (2) – offenses committed in the economic zone of Canada by citizens or in relation to citizens
• 477.2 (3) – offenses committed in non-recognized states (ie: Palestine)
• 477.3 (3) – piracy
• 810.01 (1) – intimidation of the criminal justice system or a journalist
• 810.2 (1) – threatening violence, endanger safety, inflicting psychological damage and various forms of sexual assault

These crimes involve matters than have the potential to shock the conscience of the country. The reason the Attorney General is given so much authority over them is to protect the public from too much media exposure for matters that could damage the public peace. However, the wording of these clauses also allows for bad faith interpretations of laws that give them the ability to simply refuse to prosecute the crime as committed. If a corrupt Attorney General were to be paired with a corrupt Prime Minister or Premier, the results would be disastrous for the effectiveness of the judiciary and faith in law enforcement officials in general. My own incident illustrates how easy it is for a Crown Prosecutor to twist both the word and spirit of the law to suit their own needs. Before I get into that discussion any further, I’m going to talk about why I reacted so strongly to what happened to Mr. Dunphy.

Mr. Dunphy’s situation arose on Easter Sunday, a time traditionally spent with family. For me, it was the first time in several years I could spend the weekend with my entire immediate family. Brothers, sister, their wife, husband, and significant other, parents, nephews and the Love of my Life. Not only that, but we were also enriched by the presence of a new niece not yet a year old and finally able to deliver the Good News that myself and my Love were ourselves expecting a bundle of joy this summer. It was the nicest Easter that I have had yet in my life, but it felt marred when I heard about the shooting of an unnamed man and details began to emerge through Twitter. My gut told me there was something important going on, but I remained calm and waited for the story to be told.

When I finally found out what had brought a gun into Mr. Dunphy’s home and left him dead and his daughter without a father, I was horrified and outraged. Horrified at the inherent stupidity in a system that had not learned enough about social media to click a single button to see the full context of Mr. Dunphy’s words. Outraged at the visible legitimizing by the Premier’s office of a judicial response that created a situation where a gun was brought into a family home where children could be present. All of this due to ignorance and the inability of our current system to fundamentally deal with the complexities of the modern era.

My own understanding of the full context of Mr. Dunphy’s series of tweets is that he expressed his religious beliefs. He hoped that God judges the politicians who look down upon the poor and the unfortunate. His final tweet that was viewed as a threat was taken completely out of the context he’d intended. Read in context, he’s saying that he won’t offend the living by disrespecting the dead. There was nothing hostile or violent in his tweets. Only people with hostile, violent and ignorant minds would interpret them that way.

Mr. Dunphy was completely innocent of any crime. There’s no mens rea (the intending mind) in anything he wrote. Had he been charged with the crime of Uttering Threats, as I have since been, arrested and brought before a judge, he would have been able to provide the judge with the full context of his tweets from that day and been able to satisfy that none of the suggested mens rea that brought the Premier’s private security detail to his door existed in the slightest.

But that is unfortunately not what happened on that fateful day. Instead we hear a story that informs the public that the RNC officer approached Mr. Dunphy shortly after Easter dinner. He introduced himself, entered his home, spoke with him for a while, then Mr. Dunphy’s demeanour changed and he, a man suffering from chronic pain from a debilitating worker’s injury, quickly pulled out a loaded long gun before the officer could react to disarm him, aimed it at the officer, and the officer had to shoot Mr. Dunphy in self-defense.

While my opinion is obviously one of a layperson, I could speculate on what may have happened based on my recent experiences with law enforcement and the mental health system. My first speculation is that the officer could be telling the complete truth, up to the moment where he states Mr. Dunphy aimed a loaded rifle at him. Mr. Dunphy, a man already familiar with the RCMP due to his licensed medical marijuana production, likely felt comfortable allowing a police officer to enter his home. He probably offered him tea and some oatmeal cookies. But at some point during their conversation the officer brought Mr. Dunphy’s tweet into the discussion.

Imagine being confronted with by a single sentence from your life taken so far out of the context it was uttered that it bears no resemblance to the reality of the situation. Mr. Dunphy, having no mens rea, would have been dumbfounded by the accusation. A family man, a man who’s raised a daughter by himself after the passing of his wife at an early age, who kept his spirits up by being a vocal advocate for the poor and the broken, being presented with his own words twisted in such a psychotic fashion as to make him look violently angry and possibly homicidal towards families. Up until this point, Mr. Dunphy has no idea the officer he’s allowed into his home has any hostile intentions towards him, nor that the officer considers him a possible threat.  Mr. Dunphy had done nothing to put himself into a fearful state, unlike the RNC officer, who’s view on reality was becoming psychotic due to flawed and incomplete intelligence.

Likely presented with a printout of his single tweet and bearing witness to the sudden confrontational change in a man he was attempting to be friendly with, a gentle soul like Mr. Dunphy would have tried to immediately placate the officer to restore his peace of mind. Instead of reaching for his rifle to defend himself, it’s much more likely that Mr. Dunphy simply reached for his phone to bring up Twitter. The officer, ignorantly expecting to be in the home of a potentially violent and homicidal man, assumes Mr. Dunphy to be reaching for a concealed weapon and reacts as his training dictates.

What followed in the home after the shooting, only the officer and subsequent investigators know. But as someone who personally fits the psychological profile of Mr. Dunphy more so than that of the Ottawa Shooter as was suggested by the first doctor who assessed me, I can only imagine how the situation was altered before being presented to the public. The initial media slant of the tweet suggested that even those involved in the media release still didn’t realize they hadn’t understood the full context of the tweets. Even the morning after Mr. Dunphy’s death, they were all too happy to pat the officer and themselves on the back over a job well done ‘protecting the public peace.’

Again, this is all speculation on my part, but it seems much more likely to be the case that Mr. Dunphy, an outspoken and intelligent man, suddenly went to pull out his phone and the officer misinterpreted his actions. I see no reason for him to make the conscious decision to threaten a police officer he’d invited into his home with a gun and throw his entire life away.

The way the government of the province and the St. John’s media have treated this incident shows a callous disregard for the value of human life and families that extends downwards from the upper levels of government, but which is thankfully absent in Western Newfoundland. It also exposes a major blindspot in a system unable to cope with the complexities of a rapidly changing world.

My next post will cover the tweet that lead up to my detention on the 4th Floor of the Western Memorial Regional Health for 6 days, including a brief trip before the Supreme Court judge who oversaw the first hearing of my Charter Challenge. I witnessed him having his hands tied by an abuse of the system of common law precedence built on arbitrary schemes. 

I must warn you though, during all of the events that followed, I’m probably the least interesting person in all of them. Despite the system being flawed, there were a number of exceptional people either working or trapped within in it who experience it on a daily basis. I was only a tourist.

I should also note that during my experience every single officer, doctor, nurse and court official I met acted with the grace and patience of a saint… aside from the one lawyer who thought it would be appropriate to create a false pretense before a Supreme Court judge in front of a court full of witnesses.

They are, unfortunately, struggling within a system that favours marginalizing the problems of our society rather than dealing with them head on.

My only hope is that telling their story will help get them the assistance they so desperately need.