Yes, you ladies on the back of the $50 bill are now honorary senators!
And a big shout-out to Emily Murphy!
No honor was too great for Ms. Murphy during her long and, I'm afraid, rather unproductive life. Ms. Murphy, who had no education worth mentioning, but did come from a well-connected Ontario Orange family, wrangled herself an appointment as a police court magistrate (thereby demanding she be addressed as "judge" for the rest of her life.) She was not one of those mushy, feminist lady law prof-type judges. Ms Murphy, er, Judge Murphy, was what we'd call a hangin' judge, dishing out evenhanded injustice to all, especially if they were yellow, black, red or non-white.
Once in a while, the good judge got to sink her teeth into a drug case. Quite frequently, the culprits were itinerant Chinese laborers packing opium. In her book, The Black Candle, Ms., er, Judge Murphy lets us know what the buggers were up to:
The drug traffic is chiefly in the hands of Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Negros, Russians and Italians, although the Assyrians and Greeks are running closely in the race… It is claimed also, but with what truth we cannot say, that there is a well-defined propaganda among the aliens of color to bring about the degeneration of the white race.
Well, there ya go. And Murphy published some pictures of (fully clothed) fallen white women posed in bed with dudes o' color to drive the point home. While feminist historians like Catherine Carstairs have bent over backwards to try to rehabilitate the good judge from the fact that she is responsible for Canada's pot ban, the fact is Murphy's "journalism" in Maclean's and the best-selling The Black Candle were the impetus for cannabis being placed on the schedule of banned drugs under the Opium Act. (Carstairs says it was done by the head of the federal anti-drug agency, but he didn't join the organization until five years after the cannabis ban.)
Specifically, about marijuana, Murphy wrote in The Black Candle:
THIS drug is not really new but, as yet, is completely unknown in the United States and Canada, although three of the American States – California, Missouri, and Wyoming – have legislated against its use, the authorities and police officers being woefully ignorant of its nature or extraordinary menace…
Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility…
“When coming under the influence of this narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will power and their mentality is that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict…
Murphy thought very highly of her work. She was appointed a delegate to the League of Nations conference on drugs, where she arrived with several crates of her masterpiece for free distribution to her colleagues. She nominated herself for the Nobel Peace Prize, but, alas, didn't win.
Having little regard for the unwashed and the idea of democracy, the learned judge set her eye on a Senate appointment. Mackenzie King didn't want to appoint her. She launched the Famous Five appeal to the Judicial Council of the (UK) Privy Council. Needing five names for this petition, she approached some of the country's more vocal feminists. Today, all are enshrined in over-size bronze on Parliament Hill. Ironically, once the Privy Council affirmed their right to be considered for appointment, none of them were offered a seat.
Well, now they're honorary senators, but Murphy's ghost actually haunts the courtrooms and jails where people are still punished under drug laws that are built on the Nativist idea that foreign people and their recreations are anathema, on the Victorian notion that addictions can be stopped by treating the addict as sinners, and on the absurd idea that Emily Murphy, not you, had the right to decide what was legal and proper for you to put in your body.