September 16, 2009

ACT TO BRING HOME STRANDED CANADIANS ! September 16-30, 2009, issue of People's Voice

(The following article is from the September 16-30, 2009, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

Resolution adopted by the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Aug. 22-23, 2009

Nearly every day brings news of yet another Canadian citizen trapped outside this country, not allowed to return home because of vague and unsubstantiated allegations of "being imposters" or "links to terrorism." In many of these cases, high level diplomats, bureaucrats and even federal cabinet ministers have been aware for some time of these tragedies, without doing anything to assist these "stranded Canadians," or even collaborating in their persecution. The Communist Party of Canada condemns this scandalous betrayal of the rights of citizens and demands that every official involved in this despicable activity be fired immediately.

Canadian citizen Suaad Hagi Mohamud was left stranded and sick in Kenya for three months. Her passport was voided by Canadian officials following a bizarre decision by airline staff in Nairobi to prevent her from boarding a flight home. It took enormous public pressure to compel the government to allow her to return to Canada, even after a DNA test confirmed her identity.

Despite having a plane ticket to fly home to Montreal, Abousfian Abdelrazik was trapped for over a year at Canada's embassy in Sudan by the government's refusal to issue him a passport. International police agencies agreed that Abdelrazik was not a security threat, and the courts ordered his return, but the Tories stubbornly hinted at unexplained "reasons" to deny his rights as a citizen. Even after his return, Abdelrazik is denied his basic constitutional rights, prevented from working or even opening a bank account.

Omar Khadr is the last remaining citizen of a western "democracy" still jailed without cause at the US torture camp in Guanatanamo Bay, in gross violation of international law. The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling ordering Khadr's repatriation, but PM Harper has appealed this decision.

Most of these and other cases involve Canadians from racialized communities, and in particular those of Muslim or Arab origins. The Harper Tories appear to believe that treating the passports of such Canadians as irrelevant scraps of paper will bolster their electoral support among ultra-right forces. This strategy is further apparent in other aspects of the Tory campaign, such as the racist slanders by PM Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney against members of the oppressed Roma community from the Czech Republic, and against other refugee claimants from Mexico and elsewhere.

The push to deprive racialized communities of their citizenship rights is a frightening step towards more far-ranging attacks on all civil liberties. We must not allow this fascist-minded minority government to succeed in their deadly game. The Communist Party of Canada urges the entire labour and democratic movement to extend solidarity to the targets of Tory policies, and to support a full inquiry into the failure of the Harper government to assist Canadians who are stranded outside this country.

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