Thursday, July 16, 2009

MP Mike Wallace Does a Poor Job Looking After His Constituents

After deciding to investigate Mike Wallace, the Conservative MP for Burlington, Ontario, I never really thought I'd find much. In fact I never would have looked into his record at all, except that he came to where I live distributing attack ads, so I thought I'd return the favour.

However, after reading some of his speeches and watching a few videos, I've decided that the man is not only an idiot, but may be completely devoid of human emotion.

This next story helps to show, that rather than offering any compassion for a family in his riding, he started nattering about photo ops and then passed the buck. A true Conservative.

Celil writes home
May 29, 2008
Canadian man’s letter from Chinese prison coincides with failed visit by relatives last March
By Jason Misner

Imprisoned Burlington resident Huseyin Celil is desperate to know why Canada hasn’t freed him from his Chinese jail, according to a March letter the religious leader reportedly wrote to his family, who then released its contents to the media.

Celil’s pleas for help sadden his wife, Kamila, who continues to urge the Canadian government to send a special envoy to the country to at least confirm the well being of her husband.

Celil has been jailed since 2006 on terrorism-related charges that his family says aren’t true.

“I feel really sad because we don’t have communication with him
,” Kamila told the Post. “I can’t write a letter. I will do anything I can to get him back.”

For the first time, the public has access to what Celil has to say about his two-year Chinese ordeal, through a letter he reportedly sent to relatives in China. The correspondence was subsequently mailed to the Burlington home of the imprisoned man’s wife. In the three-page correspondence, dated March 10, 2008 and translated by the past president of the Uyghur Canadian Association, Celil professes his innocence and wants Canada’s help.

“Dear Kamila, if possible please contact with the Embassy personal in Beijing and let them know my situation. So far nearly two years I have not seen any one from Canada. I am citizen of Canada and I belong to this great country.

“If I am in jail know it is just because I got a bad luck. Otherwise I have not done any thing wrong in my whole life. I really want to talk with some one from our Embassy in Beijing, I would like to tell them that I am absolutely innocent person. I want them to know my story. Why they are not coming to see me? I want them to ask for me why I am in jail for so long? What went wrong? What is the reason?

“I want to know all of these. I could not find any one here to listen me.”

Celil writes about the anguish he feels for not being able to see his family. He has six children, including one with disabilities and an 18-month-old he has never seen. Also, Celil discusses how much he misses his aging mother and apologizes “if I have done any thing wrong to you in my life.”

“I would like to put each and every name of my relatives on this paper and send my greetings from my heart,” he wrote. “Worst thing is I can not do any thing for my mother, children, wife and relatives except pray in my heart.”

Inexplicably, the front of the envelope containing the letter was postmarked 2007.

Despite the inconsistency, Kamila says she recognizes her husband’s handwriting and the way he communicates in the letter.

According to Mehmet Tohti, past president and current human rights contact for the Uyghur Canadian Association, “it is quite common” for Chinese authorities to use the wrong dates on mailing envelopes on purpose.

“It is the game,” he said, adding a letter his brother mailed to him from East Turkistan in 2000 had a 1996 stamp date. “They have a political agenda.”

Celil was found guilty of plotting to split the country, but his family says he was advocating for the religious and political rights of the Uyghur people.

He had fled China in the mid-’90s after being detained in connection with his human rights work. He eventually went to Turkey where he sought asylum through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

He was recognized as a refugee and settled in Canada in 2001.

He was arrested in Uzbekistan on March 27, 2006 when he was visiting relatives there. He was trying to renew his travel visa at the time of his arrest. Celil’s Canadian citizenship is not recognized by China. Last summer, a Chinese high court upheld a lower court’s decision to imprison him for life.

Earlier this year, Chinese authorities refused to disclose the whereabouts of Celil after family members tried to visit him in jail. They were told to come back in three months.

Celil family lawyer Chris MacLeod told the Post last Friday that the letter is “good news” but there is so much more to do to get the father of six freed.

He said Amnesty International is spearheading a letter-writing campaign to keep Celil’s plight in the public spotlight. It has used Celil’s case as an example of China’s poor humans rights record.

Cheryl Hotchkiss, campaigner with Amnesty’s Asia region, said a copy of the letter would be sent to Amnesty researchers in London, U.K. to help map the group’s next steps to get Celil released.

Burlington Conservative MP Mike Wallace said he hasn’t seen the letter, but insisted his party’s government is working to free Celil. (Interesting that he uses the term 'his party's government' and not the Canadian government. Says a lot, doesn't it? He's not in it for Canada, he's just in it for himself. Kind of reminds me of Jim Prentice's Freudian slip.)

Last week, Wallace said although he wouldn’t fly to China to try to secure the man’s release he has spoken to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and top Conservative ministers to keep the case active.

“It would be a waste of taxpayers’ money for me to go as the Member of Parliament when we have the minister of state involved, Jason Kenney. I have had a discussion with Mr. (Maxime) Bernier, the foreign minister, and I know he is aware of the issue,” Wallace said, noting he has been in contact with the Celil family.

“Having a Member of Parliament from Burlington go might be a good photo-op but would not be effective. (The Celil case) is way up the ladder, in terms of people with greater authority than me, from a government point of view, looking into the item. (He's from your riding. It's your responsibility to help him)

“I don’t even know where he is. It would be inappropriate. There would be no production from it whatsoever.”

Late Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Bernier resigned his position, admitting he had mishandled classified government documents. He has been temporarily replaced by Trade Minister David Emerson, who heads cabinet’s Afghanistan committee.

The Department of Foreign Affairs International Trade Canada says it can’t say much about the Celil case, citing privacy laws, but noted the case is being taken very seriously.

“Ministers and officials have made repeated requests to Chinese authorities to obtain access to Celil and we will continue to raise his case at every opportunity,” stated department spokesperson Shaun Tinkler in an e-mail.

More Postings on Mike Wallace:

1. To Conservative MP Mike Wallace ... What are You Talking About?

2. Conservative MP Mike Wallace Caught Cheating with Lisa Raitt

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