Monday, April 06, 2009

Lawrence Cannon: Fucked if he does; fucked if he doesn't.

A quick recap, if I might:

For nearly a year - ever since the government granted Mr. Abdelrazik "temporary safe haven" in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum - it has repeatedly changed the requirements he must meet before it would give him an emergency travel document to replace the passport seized while he was imprisoned in Sudan.

At first the government said he needed only a confirmed flight reservation. When one was obtained last September, it refused to issue the travel document. Then, in December, it promised in writing an emergency passport if Mr. Abdelrazik had a fully paid ticket. When one was purchased in defiance of government regulations that make it illegal to provide help to anyone on a UN blacklist, Mr. Cannon said Mr. Abdelrazik must get himself off the list, despite the government's previously failed efforts to have him delisted. Washington apparently vetoed the government's delisting request.

At this point, Abdelrazik's request for an emergency passport was denied by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon because Cannon publicly accuses Abdelrazik of being a threat to national security. Which means that we're fairly safe in suggesting that the Dishonourable Lawrence Cannon is incredibly, hilariously fucked.

As you can see, from the beginning, the Stephen Harper Government's position was that poor Abdelrazik simply had to jump through the right hoops, and he hadn't done the jumping yet. And every time he handled one hoop, another one was stuck in front of him. Until, at the very end, Cannon clearly got tired of having to continually make shit up and move goalposts, and fell back on, "He can't come back cuz I said so!" End of discussion.

Well, actually, not end of discussion because, in denying Abdelrazik's emergency passport based on national security, Cannon has totally painted himself into a corner.

I think it's clear that this story has reached critical mass, and it's not going away. And, regardless of how hard Canada's conservatives keep violating Abdelrazik's rights under the Charter, he's eventually going to be allowed to return to Canada. And that's when the fun will start, because Cannon is then going to have to explain how someone who he so clearly labelled as a danger to national security was finally allowed to come home.

Put another way, Cannon is going to have to explain how someone who was so blatantly a danger to Canadians suddenly stopped being such a blatant danger, when absolutely nothing changed in the meantime. Cannon simply can't keep this up. The outrage is growing, and it's only a matter of time. And when that time comes, it's going to be monumentally entertaining to hear Cannon justify a total about-face from his current position.

Abdelrazik will eventually get his emergency passport. And chances are Cannon is the one who's going to have to authorize it. And when that happens, Minister Cannon is going to have some serious 'splainin' to do.

SCANDAL? WHAT SCANDAL? One Hugh Whiteley makes an interesting suggestion:

What scandal is Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon trying to hide? Based on the apparently unsupported assertion that Abousfian Abdelrazik poses a security threat so severe that he can't return home, Mr. Cannon has created the penalty of perpetual exile and imposed it on Mr. Abdelrazik. Are we expected not to notice due process being thrown out the window? Mr. Cannon's action is so preposterous that it must be a smokescreen. But for what?

I think Whiteley is on to something here. Cannon's actions are so illogical and indefensible, and his behaviour so outrageous and out of proportion in stripping a Canadian citizen of his basic rights under the Charter, that there has to be something going on behind the scenes. This thing just reeks of a cover-up of some kind.

, Canada's free speech warrior and human rights champion Ezra Levant is kind of busy with his book. You know ... the one where he writes about freedom. And democracy. And basic rights under Canadian law. And a bunch of other stuff he knows fuck-all about.


James Bow said...

More than that, CC, if Mr. Abdelrazik is indeed a security risk, despite being cleared by the RCMP and CSIS, what was he doing being given residence in the Canadian consulate in Khartoum this past year?

Mind you, I don't want to say _that_ very loud, lest he be thrown out on his ear.

CC said...


This fiasco is so illogical on so many levels, it's really impossible to describe it.

As in, if Abdelrazik is a security threat, why didn't Cannon say that right up front, rather than coming up with constantly shifting goalposts?

And if Abdelrazik is really a security threat, how would getting himself off of a no-fly list change that?

And why should Abdelrazik put any effort into getting off of the U.N. no-fly list if it wouldn't have any difference, anyway?

Truly, this is douchebaggery on an epic scale. Heads should roll.

Niles said...

I'm a bit surprised no one has touched on the idea that Steve's ego is on the line now in this case.

IE: People forced the Khartoum idiocy into the public eye, defying 'the law' to do so, including prominent citizens. To react to the pressure would seem like Steve was...reacting to the pressure, like a weak-kneed sister.

Ergo, he has no self-affirming choice but to stand unmoved on the matter. But since scads of liberalized people weren't *forcing* him on the matter of the fellow in Ethiopia, he'll move on *that* matter, just to prove he'll move on things when *he* wants to, not when they want him to do so.

In a round-about way, it reads like he's punishing the Khartoum situation because people tried to push him on it. I am of course interpreting freely from psychologies I have known in my own past, but it just seems so reminiscent.

Adam C said...

Niles: someone needs to inform Harper that David Orchard and Naomi Klein are staunch supporters of "Don't Slam Your Wang in a Car Door Day"...