Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Why I read the "EmEssEm"

To get access to the dwinding supply of dogged, professional reporters like the Globe and Mail's Paul Koring. He's been all over the Harper government's shameful treatment of one of our citizens, Abousfian Abdelrazik, for months. He simply won't let go. And, to my knowledge, he's about the only mainstream journalist who has shown the slightest interest in this appalling case.

I've linked to previous articles by Koring, who has exposed, piece by piece, the on-going deliberate, malicious behaviour of Foreign Affairs and Conservative officials. In today's story, he reveals that even the RCMP cleared Abdelrazik of any connection to terrorism or criminality, and this was more than a year ago. Yet Abdelrazik remains marooned in Sudan, as he has been for five years, denied travel documents to go home to his family.

The government and Foreign Affairs have been caught in lie after lie. First, Foreign Affairs officials claimed he had not been mistreated, despite his having shown his scars to Conservative MP Deepak Oprai. Then they assured him they would issue travel documents if Abdelrazik could find an airline willing to fly him back home. He did--and the silky-smooth FA bureaucrats sleazed out of the agreement.

Then the government claimed it was supporting his removal from a UN no-fly blacklist. Koring puts the boots to that one today. It has been doing no such thing.

An internal memo indicated another possible reason for government inaction: the cost of flying him back. But, as Koring notes, cost was no deterrent in the case of the fairer-skinned Brenda Martin, who flew back to Canada in a chartered jet at a cost of $80,000.

Abdelrazik, Omar Khadr, Bashir Makhtal, Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El Maati: a depressing tally. For the Harper government, there are indeed different classes of Canadian citizens.

[H/t Kerry Pither]

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