Friday, April 22, 2011

Eeyore on Acid

Canada's 2011 Federal Election

Apology to E.H. Shepard

This election is about the abuse of power. That's it. Do Canadians want criminals in charge of the country, or not? If yes, then one should definitely vote for the Conservative Party of Canada, a totalitarian government of one that has just been called out on contempt of Parliament, but really, it’s contempt for everything and everybody that doesn’t agree with Stephen Harper’s fantasy about the world, a blatant contempt for the rule of law, for history, for the Magna Carta, for science, for anything other than itself and its anal preoccupations like building prisons.

If not – and I have great faith in Canadian common sense that we do not – we should vote for the opposition in its most effective available form. As my mother told her Conservative Member of Parliament, Greg Rickford, she had visited East Germany when it still existed, she didn’t like the culture of a police state, and she does ...not like the similar direction the Conservatives are taking us here. Parliamentary grinches like Andrew Coyne complain about the travesty of the Bloc Québecois being a party in Canada’s parliament, a party dedicated to the country’s dismemberment, but the alternative is a Conservative Party that doesn’t give a damn about the country at all and in fact is willing to sell it out in secret to the Republican Party, without consultation, and really, without basic human decency. The Bloc does its homework and plays by the rules; the Conservatives do not.

Take for example the case of Khadr vs. United States of America, which took place in Ontario Superior Court regarding an American extradition request for Omar Khadr’s brother, a Canadian citizen jailed in Pakistan. The following paragraphs of Justice Speyer’s decision in 2010 contain the stark essence of the only issue worth talking about in the current election:

“IV. The Clearest of Cases

“[150] I recognize that the collection of reliable intelligence is of the highest importance in protecting and securing a nation from the dangers of terrorism. It must also be recognized that there will always be a tension, especially in troubled times, in the balancing of intelligence and security issues with cherished democratic values, such as the rule of law and protection from human rights violations. In civilized democracies, the rule of law must prevail over intelligence objectives. In this case, the sum of the human rights violations suffered by Khadr is both shocking and unjustifiable. Although Khadr may have possessed information of intelligence value, he is still entitled to the safeguards and benefit of the law, and not to arbitrary and illegal detention in a secret detention centre where he was subjected to physical abuse. The United States was the driving force behind Khadr’s fourteen month detention in Pakistan, paying a $500,000 bounty for his apprehension. The United States intelligence agency acted in concert with the ISI to delay consular access by DFAIT to Khadr for three months, contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Convention. The United States, contrary to Canada’s wishes, pressured the ISI to delay Khadr’s repatriation because of its dissatisfaction with Khadr being released without charge, even though there was no admissible evidence upon which to base charges at that time. In my view, given this gross misconduct, there cannot be a clearer case that warrants a stay. [It is no small irony that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice thus found the American government complicit in the gross violation of the Vienna Convention – in Pakistan – after which the same American government tried to use the same Vienna Convention – in Pakistan – to spring Raymond Davis.]

"[151] In issuing a stay of proceedings, it is not, in the words of Tobiass, a form of punishment to the requesting state, but rather a specific deterrent; that is, a remedy aimed at preventing similar abuse in the future. It is also aimed at this court dissociating itself with the conduct of the requesting state." [emphasis added]

The fact that the Canadian government, in the person of the Attorney General of Canada, was willing to pimp for such a case in the face of “gross misconduct” by the United States of America, described by Justice Speyer as “abuse”, sets such a low bar for the standard of governmental conduct that only a weasel could get underneath it.

There are many other examples of Conservative government abuse that form an unequivocal pattern: the obstruction of justice before the Military Police Complaints Commission (page 242-243 of Chairman’s statement at adjournment), the improper manipulation of, and subsequent buying out of, a civil servant charged with protecting whistleblowers (the fabulously Owellian “Office of Public Integrity”) in order to impugn the process; the improper political interference with George Galloway’s perfectly legal entry into Canada; the abuse of power and attempt to intimidate a witness appearing before a House of Commons Committee in response to a summons; the flagrant refusal to provide an honest accounting of its various policies, both military and civilian; the blatant machinations with regard to a federal agency and its funding, and another federal agency and its funding; the abject and richly deserved failure to convince the United Nations General Assembly that Canada deserved a seat on the Security Council; the knee-jerk dismissal of the Goldstone Report without having actually read it; the lack of an honest environment policy, the lack of any science policy except as directed by a chiropractor, the hiring of a disbarred lawyer and convicted fraud artist to advise the Prime Minister on public release of documents on the Afghan prisoner file - documents so sensitive they can’t be released to guys on the Military Police Complaints Commission who have the required security clearances – but can be seen and administered by a guy who lobbies for the employer of his ex-hooker girlfriend. As they say in theatre, you can’t make this shit up.

What we have here is a failure to distinguish fantasy from reality. If the Conservative Party of Canada built airplanes, they’d be selling us an F-35 made of asphalt. It wouldn't fly but it would be good for Alberta.