Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It is disgusting to admit it, but Manitoba’s Premier, Greg Selinger, is traveling to Israel this month to “sign partnership agreements, help promote the Royal Winnipeg Ballet 70th anniversary tour of Israel and dedicate a park designed to promote peace . . .” He’s taking a couple of cabinet ministers as well as a freshly minted “special representative for Manitoba to Israel for economic and community relations.”

In the wake of Israel’s murders of Gaza Freedom Flotilla crew members, Operation Cast Lead, and the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank, the premier’s decision to deepen ties with Israel is unbelievably stupid and sickening.

Photo: Al Jazeera. See Al Jazeera’s feature entitled Gaza: One Year On

Had any of Selinger’s predecessors opted to visit South Africa during its apartheid era, the outcry would have been deafening.

Do your part to remind Mr. Selinger that it will not be acceptable to do business with Israel until it makes peace with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and dismantles the ugly apartheid system it has set up.

Tell him Manitoba should be a part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions for Palestine movement, rather than a partner in apartheid.

Greg Selinger’s email address is premier@leg.gov.mb.ca.

Thanks to we move to canada for ongoing, persuasive arguments in support of war resisters, including this latest: soldiers have rights too: the human right of conscience applies to everyone.

While you are at it, check out On Harper’s hatred for the troops, and the medicalization of trauma, a timely offering from your heart’s on the left.

I just got an email from Jason Kenney entitled Conservatives and Liberals Help Defeat Military Deserter Law. For the uninitiated, he is referring to a humanitarian bill introduced by Liberal Gerrard Kennedy and seconded by NDPer Bill Siksay to amend the refugee act to enable conscientious objectors to seek refuge in Canada, aka, C-440.

I’m not sure if he is delusional or dishonest? You decide.

Here is his email . . .

On 05/10/2010 1:56 PM, Kenney.J@parl.gc.ca wrote:

You have all emailed or written me at some point to express your views on the issue of US military deserters and recent legislation to give them a special pathway for permanent residency.

As you may know, with bipartisan support from Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal Party caucus, the government succeeded in defeating the Bill. Here is a YouTube video of a question I answered during Question Period on the subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCeUrJHlJps

Yours sincerely,

Jason

And my response

Mr. Minister, are you a congenital liar? “Bipartisan support from Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal Party caucus”? Most members in the Liberal Caucus voted in support of Bill C-440. In fact, in case it didn’t register, you almost lost the vote.

Party Yeas Nays Absent
CONSERVATIVES 0 140 3
BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS 43 0 5
NEW DEMOCRATS 36 0 0
LIBERALS 57 1 18
INDEPENDENT 0 2 0
TOTALS 136 143 26
% 44.5% 46.8% 8.52%
Grand  Total 305

Source: How’d They Vote?

Polling indicates that 64 per cent of Canadians support allowing American war resisters to seek refuge here.

You are on the wrong side of this issue and so many others. You will pay the price at the next election.

That said, thank you for writing and making it absolutely clear how out of touch with reality you and your party have become.

Sincerely,

Paul Graham
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Daniel Ellsberg has been a hero of mine for close to 40 years. He’s the whistle-blower who destroyed the tissue of lies surrounding the U.S. war against the people of Vietnam, and what he uncovered has much to teach us about the origins of today’s wars.

The Academy-Award-nominated documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” will be premiering on PBS on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. Check your local listings for details. If you live in Winnipeg and get KGFE (Prairie Public Television, Grand Forks, ND) the program starts at 8:30 p.m.

PBS Synopsis

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concludes that America’s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s-who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events in POV’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by award-winning filmmakers Judith Ehrlich (The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It) and Rick Goldsmith (Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press). A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV. (90 minutes)

Read the full film description »

Who killed Bill C-440, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to permit war resisters to remain in Canada?  Well the numbers are in and the culprit is Michael Ignatieff and 17 of his colleagues who voted with their feet and left the House prior to the vote.  Here are the numbers.

Party Yeas Nays Absent
CONSERVATIVES 0 140 3
BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS 43 0 5
NEW DEMOCRATS 36 0 0
LIBERALS 57 1 18
INDEPENDENT 0 2 0
TOTALS 136 143 26
% 44.5% 46.8% 8.52%
Grand  Total 305

Source: How’d They Vote?

C-440 was sponsored by Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy and supported by the NDP, the Bloc Québécois and a huge majority of Liberals. It should have been a slam-dunk; previously, two Parliamentary resolutions supporting war resisters had been passed by the House of Commons. However, it lost by 7 votes, an avoidable defeat if Ifgnatieff had remained true to the words he had uttered two days before the crucial vote when he said:

“Canada has a tradition that goes back to Mr. Pearson and Mr. Trudeau of accepting people that come to Canada with conscientious objection to military service.”

Ignatieff had to have known that the absence of 18 Liberal MPs would doom the bill. If he didn’t want to support the bill, he could have at least emulated Liberal Alan Tonks (York South-Weston), who had the guts to stay in the House and vote against it.

Once more, Iggy fails to appear even remotely Trudeauesque — incapable of channeling the peace-‘n-love-Pierre or the  more resolute War-Measures-Act-Trudeau.

On a related theme, for those who hope a vote for the Liberals is enough to get us out of Afghanistan next year, think again. In June, Ignatieff announced the Liberals support remaining in Afghanistan until 2014 to train Afghan troops and police, creating a military training institute in Kabul, much like the Royal Military College in Kingston. Dishonestly, in a war where the Taliban have been able to strike in Kabul at will, he says this is not a combat mission.

Michael Ignatieff has betrayed war resisters. More fundamentally, he has betrayed the majority of Canadians who want to end Canada’s military intervention in Afghanistan and to welcome American war resisters into our country.

Bill C-440, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (war resisters) failed to make it through second reading Wednesday evening by a vote of 143-136. The bill would have allowed conscientious objectors to non-UN sanctioned wars to seek refuge in Canada on humanitarian or compassionate grounds. Clearly, a majority of the MPs present lack humanity and compassion.

I was surprised that this bill didn’t pass. On two previous occasions, a majority of MPs voted to support non-binding resolutions in support of allowing war resisters to remain in Canada. With a reported 64 per cent of Canadians supporting war resisters, I thought the bill had a pretty good chance for success. Silly me.

This is not the Canada I grew up in and this is not the Canada I wish for my children and grandchildren. An ugly shadow is creeping across the land; mean-spirited and fearful men and women are undermining our rights and freedoms and transforming our country into a cog in the U.S. imperial machine.

Shame on them!

And shame on us if we allow this set-back to weaken our resolve to work for peace and to support war resisters who seek refuge here.

If you haven’t already done so, go to the War Resisters Support Campaign web site and see what you can do to help out. We must not let this go without a fight.

If it weren’t for blogs like Creekside or Dawg’s Blog (and many others) we would not have heard that the Combating Terrorism Act passed second reading in Parliament and is well on its way to being another nail in the coffin of Canadian democracy.

The mainstream media almost completely ignored this important story. A Google News Search of “Combating Terrorism Act” reveals only one reference to the bill — an annoyingly brainless one at that — in an article by Chris Malette in the Bellville Intelligencer (sic), where he writes:

“Bill C-17: Combating Terrorism. (Oooh. Kickin’ in doors and swingin’ clubs, eh? Not really — it’s all about imposing court provisions to force people to testify if their neighbour who looks suspiciously Arabic buys fertilizer.)”

That’s it.  Our mainstream media is pathetic at best, criminally irresponsible at worst.

Bill C-17 is a victory of sorts for those who want to make the Magna Carta history. Under the banner of “combating terrorism” the act will make warrantless arrests possible and provides for 12-month preventive imprisonment of people suspected of planning terrorist acts.

It is not too late to try and stop this outrage, but it will be difficult to overcome the Tory-Liberal bloc that voted for it.

Contact information for MPs is available here. Go get ‘em!

Might I also suggest that we start writing to our local purveyors of news and tell them to wake up and start covering news that matters. (And send some kudos to the afore-mentioned bloggers — they deserve them.)