Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Canada's Back - In the Dark Ages

From the CBC:

* Canadian citizen travels to the Sudan in 2003.

* Is arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of terrorist ties but eventually released as no evidence of any guilt is found. Passport has expired by the time he is released from prison.

* Is cleared in writing by Canadian security agencies.

* Canadian government says it can not issue necessary travel documents for him to come home because he does not have an air ticket.

* Canadian citizens chip in to buy him a ticket.

* Canadian government now says it can not issue him travel documents until he gets himself off of the no-fly list - even though the No-fly list has a specific exemption allowing people on it to return home.

* Citizen is living on a cot in the Canadian embassy for almost a year, with no money and little prospect of getting himself of a no-fly list.

* Government refuses to answer questions about why it is refusing to allow Canadian citizen to return home, having made up a series of obviously fraudulent excuses, moving on to a new one after each arbitrary hurdle is cleared.

I don't remember them covering this part of our constitution in my civics classes.

Contact info for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon here

And if you feel like making yourself depressed, read the comments on the CBC site as a steady stream of right wing folks argue that a Canadian citizen who has been convicted of nothing should be refused entry to the country and forced to live indefinitely in the Canadian embassy in Sudan, never returning to his home country.

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  • It's getting more risky to leave the country. Every time I cross the border to the states, I am semi-expecting to have some border guard tear up my vehicle for no good reason at all.

    By Blogger Sacha, at 9:56 PM  

  • Any change in tone from the U.S. border folks now that they've had a change in government?

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:44 PM  

  • I haven't seen any although in all fairness, I think Obama has many other issues to tackle other than how friendly the US Customs and Border Patrol appears to people.

    In stark contrast, I've never felt "threatened" by Canada Customs even when they searched my vehicle a couple times when bringing stuff up I bought from Ebay in Point Roberts. Even though they all seem quite young, they're quite professional and manage to not give you the impression that they will pull out their guns and taser you if you say the wrong thing.

    By Blogger Sacha, at 10:49 PM  

  • Sometimes when things seem patently stupid it's because they're patently stupid and sometimes it's because we don't have the whole picture yet. The optimist in me really wants it to be the later but the realist is calling it 80:20 for the former.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 7:18 AM  

  • I guess it's possible that there's a whole picture in which it makes sense to suspend the rule of law and violate the constitution because this man is really that dangerous, and that the danger he poses is such that the government can't say what it is and is required to provide an ever shifting series of dishonest rationales prior to declaring him a security risk, and the nature of the danger is such that the Sudanese government is happy to have him wandering around fee in their country, and the Canadian security/intelligence agencies have stated in writing that he is innocent and we are OK with him living in our embassy for a year despite being so dangerous that we have to violate the constitution to keep him out of the country without charging him with anything, but I'd put this possiblity down as more of a 99.9999% unlikely / .0001% likely scenario, not a 1 in 5 or 20% chance.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:08 PM  

  • I picked 80:20 because I just don't want to believe that any government of Canada could allow this to happen. It's wasn't meant to be an objective assessment of the real likelihood.

    Then again, after the first media reports scripted by the RCMP I wanted to believe they'd tasered a dangerous lunatic in the airport.

    Maybe it will be worse than it is now and the only reason he isn't back in Canada yet is because the US has asked that it be that way.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 9:49 AM  

  • Fair enough - I'm just annoyed with the situation, not with your comment. You're probably right that it is just keeping the U.S. happy behind the scenes here...

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:15 AM  

  • I think the only reason for this nonsense is they're afraid he'll sue the pants off them when he gets home. So they're knocking themselves out organizing some campaign of defence against that day.

    By Blogger P. Drāno, at 9:20 AM  

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