Police encouraged to call for medical help when arresting the mentally distressed
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY: Saturate the Senate with Secret Trials Speaking Requests
Be one of 500 organizations, individuals, unions and faith-groups across Canada requesting an appearance before the Senate committee scheduled to discuss new secret trials legislation
WHO: You, an organization or an individual, concerned that there is new “security certificate” legislation that will continue the scheme of secret hearings, two-tier justice, indefinite detention without charge, draconian house arrest, and deportation to torture.
WHAT: Write a letter and email it or fax it as soon as possible to the Clerk of the Committee, requesting to appear and stating why you want to speak to the Senate about the security certificate process. (details below)
WHEN: Right now! Time is short! Apparently Senate plans to hold second reading vote tomorrow (Thursday), and, if it passes, refer it to the committee for hearings on Monday afternoon! So to be heard, you would have to apply immediately. Given the rather tight time-frame, hasty applications should be understood!
WHERE: Hearings take place in Ottawa, but if your application is accepted, the government will cover your travel and accommodation costs. (The hearings are public, so if you are in the Ottawa area, attending them would be another way of showing public interest, even if your application isn’t accepted.)
WHY: A major role of the Senate (on paper, anyway) is to provide “sober, second thought” on the work done by the House of Commons. It was a full eight months after the Supreme Court ruled security certificates unconstitutional that the Harper minority government introduced a new bill that, save for some fancy-sounding window dressing, is the same as the old one. The House committee “examining” the new legislation, called C-3, sent it back to the House of Commons with less than three weeks of study, and almost no understanding of the dire human rights implications of passing this bill. The House of Commons obligingly passed the bill with hardly a debate on February 6.
Now the Senate is being pressured to pass the bill before February 23, when the old law will expire: one week to not only have first, second, and third readings of the bill, but to also hold public hearings on it. Hardly an opportunity for sober second thoughts! There is in fact no legal obligation for a new law to be in place by February 23, and having the law expire would be a good thing. It could actually help to call the government’s bluff: if they really have a case, why don’t they do what the detainees have always
requested, which is charge them and provide them a fair, open, public trial? If the government, with all of its resources and “intelligence” cannot even mount a case under criminal law, as they would have to for everyone else in the country, then it is clear that these men and their families should be allowed the freedom that was taken from them so many years ago.
Although it is very unlikely that everyone who applies will be asked to speak, all letters received by the Clerk are translated and given to all Committee members, so it will be an important opportunity for them to see the breadth of popular concern. In addition, if this final push can delay the bill, the old law will run out, hopefully forcing the government to charge the detainees or free them. And if the applications are not accepted, this will only serve to publicly expose the manner in which democratic debate and true discussion about serious issues is undermined by so-called
“national security” paranoia, fear-mongering and racist attitudes.
–This public service announcement comes to you courtesy of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, Justice for Adil, and the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee.
DETAILS FOR APPLYING
–> Your letter of application can include:
* the reasons that you should be heard (what “stakes” you have in the issue, as a member of Canadian society, as a member of a community that is racialized and targetted, or other);
* your thoughts on why this process is against principles of justice, is dangerous, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, etc;
* your personal experience of the detainees and their families;
* concern over some of the xenophobic and racist statements that were made by MPs during the debates in Parliament and in the committee hearings;
* your understanding that the Supreme Court upheld the right of everyone in Canada to a fair trial, your thoughts about why the security certificate process is unnecessary, questions about why two-tier justice is being continued and about why the government is passing a law that all legal experts are saying is unconstitutional.
Please be polite in your tone (letters comparing Harper to Hitler are not terribly helpful), and factually accurate (feel free to run your drafts by us first). Resources on C-3, including backgrounders, testimony by the law societies and briefs from NGOs, can be found at www.adilinfo.org.
If you are having trouble starting a letter, just think about what you as someone who lives here feels about the fact that the government, through C-3, is saying it is okay to detain some groups of people in Canada indefinitely without charge on secret suspicions, provide them the lowest standards of justice available, and then deport them to torture.
–> Your letters should be sent to:
Adam Thompson, Committee Clerk
Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario Canada, K1A 0A4
Please cc your letters to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui
tel. 514 859 9023
To join our newslist: email@example.com
To unsubscribe: firstname.lastname@example.org
As free trade negotiations progress, a leader of the Colombian opposition says a deal would do nothing to improve human rights and would be damaging to the livelihoods of small farmers.
Inter Press Service January 24, 2008
VANCOUVER – Despite the government’s official position abstaining from combat in Iraq, Canada has dispatched yet another top general to the command group overseeing day-to-day operations for the US-led occupation and counterinsurgency war
The Conservative government hasn’t done enough with its revised security certificate legislation to bring the law in line with the Charter of Rights, says Paul Cavalluzzo, a Toronto lawyer and former lead counsel of the Maher Arar inquiry.
Laibar Singh is a paralyzed refugee claimant facing deportation to India. He is currently in sanctuary inside the Guru Nanak Gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Surrey, British Columbia. Between January 25-29, 2008, eleven cities and towns across Canada participated in support actions, delegations and awareness-raising events in solidarity with Laibar Singh. Activities were held in Halifax, Fredericton, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Guelph, London and Vancouver/Surrey. Together, from Halifax to Vancouver, Laibar’s supporters were demanding that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Minister Stockwell Day respect Laibar Singh’s sanctuary, and that Laibar be granted permanent residency. Across the Canadian state, protesters were showing their solidarity with the inspiring mobilizations, led by the South Asian community, in support of Laibar. The national actions also aimed to counter the racist backlash against Laibar Singh and the South Asian community, due to deliberate misinformation by the CBSA and some media outlets.
A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country’s rulers. This is Afghanistan — not in Taliban times but six years after “liberation” and under the democratic rule of the West’s ally, Hamid Karzai.
NATO forces in Afghanistan are in a “strategic stalemate,” as Taliban insurgents expand their control of sparsely populated areas and as the central government fails to carry out vital reforms and reconstruction, according to an independent assessment released yesterday by NATO’s former commander.
Despite the government’s official position abstaining from combat in Iraq, Canada has dispatched yet another top general to the command group overseeing day-to-day operations for the U.S.-led occupation and counterinsurgency war.
Meanwhile, 42 Canadian tanks and armoured personnel carriers left Edmonton last week destined for Fort Bliss, Texas to participate in pre-deployment training exercises with the U.S. Army before a summer rotation in Afghanistan. A Department of National Defence press release characterised the training as “massive”, with more than 3,000 Canadian soldiers taking part in Exercise Southern Bear.
There are also economic interests in Iraq itself. The April 2007 Iraq Reconstruction Report lists Canada as the fourth largest importer of Iraqi oil. Industry Canada records that total Canadian imports from Iraq have risen from 1.06 billion dollars in 2002 to 1.61 billion dollars in 2006, making Iraq second only to Saudi Arabia as a Middle Eastern source for Canadian imports.
Bellow is an open letter delivered to Dr. John McLaughlin, President of the University of New Brunswick on April 6, 2007. Dr. McLaughlin has failed to respond to this letter despite it being published in the Daily Gleaner.
Our concerns about UNB/Military collaboration have not waned. Since the Advanced Learning Technologies Symposium in March 2007 UNB has continued to collaborate with the Canadian Military, most notably through the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society. It is difficult to determine in what other ways UNB is working with the military given its silence on this issue.
Open Letter to Dr. John McLaughlin, President of the University of New Brunswick
April 6, 2007
Dear Dr. McLaughlin
On March 28, 2007, UNB faculty and staff were invited to the Advanced Learning Technologies Symposium to hear about “potential areas for UNB/Military collaboration” with a special emphasis on encouraging closer ties between CFB Gagetown and university
departments and faculties. Notably, students were not invited to this briefing and local citizens who tried to register were informed they were not eligible to attend. What happened during the briefing and why were doors closed to all but faculty and staff? Are students and the wider community not affected by the nature of academic work undertaken at UNB?
Department of National Defense (DND) funding, like all funding, comes with strings attached. The majority of academics who receive DND funding are supportive of the Canadian military’s current operations while several Peace Studies programs suffer
under funding. Peter Langille, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, in a briefing to the federal government Standing Committee on National Defense and Veterans Affairs, described those who receive DND funding as “embedded academics.” UNB already receives DND funding for the Gregg Centre. With greater prospect of “UNB/Military collaboration”, can we honestly expect to have objective academic work concerning military issues conducted at UNB? Given the closed nature of the briefing on March
28th, the student population and general public are being left in the dark as to what this collaboration may look like and are not being given an opportunity to voice their views on such a controversial collaboration.
It is perfectly appropriate for military issues to be the subject of academic enquiry. However, when the major partner in this research is the subject, in this case the military, there is little room for objectivity. Robert Baldwin, one of the founders of
the Canadian democratic ideal, envisioned universities as institutions where academics could freely explore truth without interference from various special interest groups. He saw this freedom as the cornerstone of our democracy. Collaborating with the
military removes this freedom.
Furthermore, given the current nature of the Canadian military, we denounce any ties between the Canadian military and the university. Canada’s military is no longer a peacekeeping force. Missions in Haiti and Afghanistan, where evidence exists of the
Canadian military bringing hardship to local populations show clearly the new face of Canada’s Armed Forces. The Counter-Insurgency Manual, currently in development by DND, shows clearly that DND is seeking new tactics such as deception and fear mongering in protecting its image as well as combating its enemies. By working with the military, UNB would be supporting an institution, which endeavors to cover up the truth to achieve its ends. UNB must continue in the academic tradition of Robert Baldwin by ensuring that academic work not be tainted, and rendered unsound, by “collaboration” with the military-industrial complex.
We, students, faculty and members of the wider community, request that UNB take several measures to ensure the academic integrity of the university. Firstly, any discussions regarding collaboration with the military must be open to the wider UNB community as this collaboration has profound implications for the university. Secondly, the university, as a public institution, must take a more active role in demanding more government spending for education.
Dr. McLaughlin, we look forward to your prompt attention to these issues of serious concern.
Matthew Abbott (UNB Student), Tracy Glynn, Gloria Paul, Jordan House (UNB student), members of the Fredericton Peace Coalition