Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stephen Harper and the Human Rights of Canadians

There was a political cartoon a while back depicting Stephen Harper with the Chinese leader. Harper claiming to be snubbing China because of their human rights abuses, while the other is asking him about the way we treat our Aboriginals.

Canada has little to be proud of on that count, and when we came close to correcting at least some of the ills under the Kelowna Accord - five years of work - Harper scrapped it as soon as he was elected.

And then there's Afghan Detainee issue.

But this government is also guilty of outrageous human rights abuses, during the G-20 weekend in Toronto. Besides having peaceful demonstrators beaten up and our media targeted, many of those arrested were not even given the right to a phone call. In Canada!

An excellent example of this is the case of Alex Hundert, the political activist arrested and out on bail, only to be re-arrested because he spoke at Ryerson. Part of his bail condition was that he not speak about political issues. A gag order not to discuss politics in a democratic country.

In a letter to the editor in the Toronto Star, Ted Turner asks 'Where is the outcry'?

A good question. We've become so desensitized after months of Afghan detainee issues, false arrests, witch hunts and the bashing of ordinary citizens, that we appear to no longer care. He got what he deserved, right? Wrong.

I remember reading an article after the genocide in Uganda at the hands of Idi Amin. A correspondent who had been there throughout Amin's reign of terror, was asked what he felt was the worst atrocity, the journalist obviously looking for a bit of sensationalism.

The correspondent pointed to trucks filled with bodies passing by. The journalist then asked, "Oh, you mean all the deaths?" But the man said "No, not that. Look at the people. They are not even acknowledging this horrific scene." It had become the new norm.

We had listened to the horrible accounts of what happened to prisoners handed over by Canadian soldiers, and we didn't even blink. We heard of an 82 year old woman being imprisoned for life because she protested in a democratic country formerly known as Canada, and we shrugged.

We saw peaceful protesters being corralled and then beaten, and we went about our daily lives without giving it a second thought.

We need to be outraged because if we continue to allow these abuses, how far will this government go? What countries will refuse to visit us because of our human rights abuses?

A few updates on the G-20 weekend from Hell.

RCMP boss hurt G20 security efforts: letter from senior Mountie

NDP introduces G20 public inquiry bill

Parliamentary probes to tackle controversial summit spending and security

G20 protests: Gag order goes too far

A summit with Seoul: Korea learns from Toronto’s G20 mistakes

Summit costs a bargain at $1.3b: officials

Mad yet?

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