Friday, September 12, 2008

Stephen Harper and our beige exiles

The Globe and Mail carries two stories today that ought to be front and centre in the current election campaign.

Both are about marooned Canadians, left to rot in other countries by the Harper regime. The first concerns Abousfian Abdelrazik, presently holed up in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. Thanks to the assiduous work of journalist Paul Koring, considerable light has been shone on the dubious backroom manoeuvring by Canadian officials to keep this citizen from coming home to his family.

As I've noted before, it's been one lame, lying excuse after another from Foreign Affairs weasels and their political bosses. The latest has been that no airline has been willing to fly him back to Canada. If such an airline could be found, we were assured, the Canadian government would have no problem issuing him the necessary travel documents.

The carrier has at last appeared: Etihad Airlines. Foreign Affairs' bluff has been called. And the munchkins over there folded like a cheap pair of striped trousers. "Nope, no travel documents for you. Surprise!"

David Emerson's office has "declined to explain." A mouthpiece for Foreign Affairs, Marie-Christine Lilkoff, says "We cannot comment on the situation." That's where matters stand now. And unless the other parties are willing to pin Harper to the wall on this, that's where they're likely to remain.

The second story is about another beige Canadian, Omar Khadr. His kangaroo-court trial--replete with prosecutorial suppression of possibly exculpatory evidence and prejudicial rulings by the "judge"--has now been postponed indefinitely.

This gives Harper even more time to do the decent thing and demand his return to Canada. And provides another issue for the other parties, if they want to bring it forward. So far, only Jack Layton has commented during the campaign: "The fact that Mr. Harper will not act is a stain on this country's stand on human rights and it is reprehensible."

Bravo, Jack. Nothing like a little plain speaking amidst the squawking and flying feathers.

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