Sunday, March 23, 2008
EENIE, MEANIE, MINY-MOE...
Many people advised that the Stephen Harper's government's decision not to demand clemency on this case would lead to this.
The decision by Harper, justice minister Rob Nicholson and ufo occupant Stockwell Day may have been to signal that Canada is now 'Tough On Crime!' or to their supporters, that nudge-nudge, the 'so-called' secret agenda is on track. Either way, it said loud and clear that the Christian right were walking in unison, and held a firm grasp on the decision making process in the PMO.
But with Canadians running afoul of the law -- either by their own volition or through accident -- it now puts our government in a position that they may never have wished upon themselves.
You've got Brenda Martin, who has received spotty if even negligent assistance from the Canadian government regarding her two-year imprisonment in a Mexico jail -- Mexico, a tried-and-true example of fishy justice and faux democracy if there's ever been one.
Then there's Mohamed Kohail, tried and convicted for a murder in Saudi Arabia. While it's not even pretending to be a democracy like Mexico, Saudi Arabia has its own sense of justice, and apparently it moves a lot quicker than our southern friends. Kohail, 23, faces a public beheading within 65 days unless an appeal is successful. The government has stated that it will help with his appeal, but has offered none of the strong talk and definite 'Stand Up for Canadians' talk that was so useful on the election campaign.
If you were to ask Saul Itzhayek, sitting in an Indian prison due to the fact he entered their country with no visa, he'd likely question our government's interest in having justice served.
And what of Bashir Makhtal? Most likely, and thanks to our government's indifference, you haven't even heard of him.
For every Huseyin Celil there are many more that the government is trying to hide from the public eye. Apparently there aren't any votes in standing up to the Ethiopian justice system as there is to China's. It's all in the optics, people.
It's easy to walk away from Ronald Smith, who pled guilty of murdering two U.S. citizens, and not ask his sentence be commuted -- despite the fact that an official plea will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.
Now that you've become a government that makes value judgements on the lives of Canadians' in harm's way, it is easy to see how fraught with consequences your own judgement is.
If you were the government of the day, would you have stood up for this man? And how?
Or this one?
We know what you think of this guy, and remain the only U.S. allied country to not request that your citizen be handed over.
One quaint irony is that a few of our 'so-called friends' whom we'd give the benefit of the doubt -- the United States and Israel -- were recently listed by an official federal document as nations that use torture.
It means that once you leave Canadian soil, a Canadian refuses to be considered 'someone of interest' to Harper and his hypocrites. They can't even keep their reasoning straight other than to appeal to the cold satisfaction of the eye-for-an-eye crowd.
You've ceased to exist, especially if you should run into trouble. Just like those Lebanese-Canadians who were killed during the Israeli bombings of 2006, you may have become entangled in a "measured response."
Brenda Martin, for whatever reason, has fallen into the 'undefendable' column for Harper and his cronies. It was apparent after the MP for her own hometown told a local newspaper after studying her case for a few weeks said she deserved to be in jail.
We know what the Mexican judge believes was her crime -- but what does Harper think she did? Does he know how she voted in 2006?