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The Adventures of Marc Emery
a new play

chris doty & marc emery

A London Chronology
compiled by Christopher Doty
(All images taken from the 1992 documentary
Marc Emery: Messing up the System)

February 13, 1958
Marc Emery born in London, Ontario the second child of Alfred and Eileen Emery.

Delivers newspapers, earns money to set up a mail-order business for used comic books which earns about $120 a week.

April 1975
Leaves school while in Grade 12 to purchase The London Used Book Mart (later City Lights Book Shop).

October 1975
Emery is
buying about 2,000 books a week and selling 1,000.

May 1979
Works for NDP party during the federal election.

December 1979
Criticized London police for slow response times to break-ins and robberies in the core area. Argues that downtown merchants should hire private security officers to do what the police can't.

Begins smoking marijuana recreationally because "it provides a certain enlightenment alcohol and drugs don't."

Rather than pay an annual levy of $35 a year for downtown business improvements, he mounts an expensive legal campaign to have the tax eliminated, arguing it favours a handful of the elite.

January 1980
Future documentary producer Christopher Doty makes first purchase at City Lights.

February 1980
Runs in federal election for London East riding as a Libertarian candidate, places a distant fourth, later rejects party as "too philisophical."

September 1980
Founds a weekly newspaper, the London Tribune because he is not happy with the way he has been depicted in the local media.

June 1981
London Tribune closes its doors when Revenue Canada steps in and seizes the accounts for back taxes.
Emery loses $40,000 on the venture but soon launches another publicaction, The MetroBulletin which is condemned for "vitriolic, personal attacks on individuals and their character." One article prompts a police officer to sue Emery for libel.

November 1982
Runs for Alderman in Ward 3. He promises to cut taxes and pay for park improvements by raising the money himself. He places fourth.

September 1983
The London Status of Women League, a local feminist group, asks city hall to pass a bylaw restricting the sale of pornography in London. The group cites the results of a recent survey that show the majority of Londoners wanted their youth protected from skin magazines. Emery argues skin magazines are necessary to help variety store owners turn a profit.

October 1983
olice raid local variety stores and sex shops for porn magazines and assorted erotic articles. Emery encourages store owners to band together and resist.

January 1984
Helps form the Freedom party (formerly the Unparty). The party promotes free enterprise and opposes the involvement of government in Canadians' lives. The new party starts off with 12 members. Its president is Robert Metz, self-employed accountant and, like Emery, a former Libertarian.

July 1984
Emery launches assault on London's bid for the 1991 Pan Am games which he slags as senseless waste of taxpayer's dollars for the enjoyment of a priviledged few. Londoners are urged to mail protest postcards to Otto Jelinek, federal sports minister. Emery spends $10,000 to stop the Pan Am games, plus another $3,000 in contributions

June 1985
London's Pan Am games bid dies when the federal government puts a five-year freeze on international sport spending. Game organizers later blame Emery for the loss.

Fall 1985
Runs for Alderman seat in Ward 3 again. He loses again.

December 1986
Emery is charged under the Retail Business Holidays Act for opening his store on a Sunday. Emery sells books on the first Sunday, gives them away on the second. Emery argues the law impedes his right to conduct business.

May 1987
During a strike by city outside workers, Emery pays for a truck rental and volunteers for garbage pickup in certain areas of the city. Strikers threaten to dump trash on Emery's front lawn while Mayor Tom Gosnell sits on the fence.

July 1987
Changes in provincial law allow bookstores to open if the business is staffed by no more than three employees. Emery breaks the law by staffing his store with more than three employees. He vows to go to jail rather than pay a fine.

September 1987
Emery runs for the Freedom party during the provincial election. He loses.

February 1988
Emery is ordered to pay a $500 fine for a 1987 Sunday opening charge

April 1988
Emery cleared of opening in
December 1986 because a provincial judge rules the prosecution failed to prove Emery was the owner of the bookstore. Emery, armed with a neat parcel of legal and constitutional arguments, never gets a chance to open his mouth in court.

June 1988
Emery goes to jail at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre for the 1987 Sunday opening charge. Friends and patrons of his bookstore pay for his fine and he is release three days later.

June 1989
Closes his store for one day out of respect for those who died protesting for democracy at the Tianemen Square Massacre in China.

November 1989
City Lights Bookstore is damaged in a fire that guts the building next door. Emery offers to help the striken business owner rebuild.

Summer 1990
Emery begins Radiofreespeech on CHRW. Originally an afternoon disc jockey program, it soon becomes a two-hour editorial soapbox for Emery.

September 1990
The Freedom party attracts 6039 voters in 10 ridings in a provincial election that sweeps the NDP party to power in Ontario.

October 1990
A Fort Lauderdale Record Store owner is convicted of selling 2 Live Crew album, Nasty as They Wanna Be. Emery contributes $200 for the defence. Emery announces he will sell the record to people aged 18 and over, even though the OPP's pornography, hate literature and anti-rackets branch has deemed the recording to be obscene and pornographic.

Emery sells approximately 40 copies of the cassette, one of the first 20 customers is an undercover police officer. Emery is served with a summons and the store is searched.

December 1990
Emery decides to invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to fight the charge. He says enforcement is arbitary because the law, as written, is needlessly vague.

Christmas 1990
Emery abandons the Freedom party because his principles no longer allow him to be a member of a political party. He says he doesn't believe in the democratic practice anymore.

April 1991
During Emery's 2 Live Crew the trial judge declares he will not allow any evidence pertaining to a constitutional challenge.

May 1991
Emery's program axed from CHRW for advocating drug use and the use of profanity on the air.

July 1991
Emery found guilty of selling obscene material. The judge rejects his argument that rap music is a unique reflection of black culture on the grounds it reflects American Afro-American culture, not Canadian.

July 1991
Debbie Newman, Emery's second common law wife, is fined $50 for refusing to allow a school board superintendent to examine her at-home teaching methods for her sons.

September 1991
Emery annouces he will start selling smuggled publications endorsing and praising the use of marijuana, in violation of the Criminal code. Emery says the law is unconstitutional because it's too vague. London police say they'll monitor the situation.
Emery sells $700 work of pot books in less than an hour. No charges laid.

November 1991
Emery enourages London voters to burn their ballots in protest during the municiple election since "democracy can't change anything". Emery wants to eliminate democracy and return the social structure to the people. No one takes Emery up on his offer.

December 1991
Marches into the London police station and charges himself for selling drug literature, authorities decline his offer. Emery declares he'll be charged for the offence, even if he has to get his staff or customers to charge him.

February 1992
Announces he is moving to Panjm, India with his family. He praises India for its robust economy, lack of welfare, strong work ethic and lack of political and religious enroachment on its citizen's lives.

March 1992
Emery urges people to plant pot in the gardens of judges, lawyers, police and politicians. Distributes a banned pro-pot magazine in front of the London Police station and tries to swear a charge against himself for doing so. Police decline his offer but warn him he could be charged for not having a vendor's permit if he tries to sell the publication on the street.

April 1992
Emery loses his 2 Live Crew appeal. Emery is put on 12 months probation.

July 9, 1992
Emery leaves London for India.

September 1992
Christopher Doty's documentary Marc Emery: Messing Up the System is released.

September 1993
Returns to London briefly to announce plans to open a guest home in Sumatra. The venture financially ruins Emery and he winds up broke in Vancouver within months - where he begins his pot empire.

June 1996
Attends Cannibas Conference at London Convention Centre.

April 2000
Return to London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of City Lights bookshop.

August 2003
Lights up a joint outside London Police headquarters as part of a nation-wide protest.

February 2005
Producer Christopher Doty and author Jason Rip begin work on an original play, Citizen Marc: The Adventures of Marc Emery

Click here for information on Citizen Marc
Click here for the Citizen Marc poster