Canada Betrays her Citizens

Racism Canadian Style, Bills C24 and C51 and What it All Means to You!

This Is a Test

In November 1969 I was 6 weeks old and had just arrived, bundled in my father’s arms, in Canada.  I remember my Mum talking about all the snow and how she begged my Dad to bring us all back to Northern Ireland.  The “troubles” didn’t seem to be as bad as the cold and snow up to her “arse”.  My parents came to Canada to escape the “troubles” and for the hope of prosperity in this new frigid land.  They came with hope, hardly any money, but the ability to work hard toward their dreams.

My parents, along with millions of other immigrants to Canada succeeded in fulfilling their dreams.  They worked hard and helped to build this country.  When I was 7 years old I remember the pride of getting my citizenship.  It was a special day.  I was elated, even though I really didn’t understand why we were becoming citizens when I had assumed that we already where.  I didn’t remember anything else.  I was, for all intents and purposes, Canadian.  I knew we were from Northern Ireland, and I loved to go back and visit family. We brought some of our traditions and customs with us,  but we were just like all my friends families.

When I was 14 years old, my parents divorced and my Mum took me back to live in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  This was when I realized what being Canadian really meant.  Northern Ireland is a very segregated population.  I am protestant, I lived in a protestant area, I went to a protestant school, and all but one of my friends was protestant.  The one friend I had that was catholic was pretending to be protestant so she could go to my school.  She swore me to secrecy, but it wasn’t necessary. I am Canadian.  I don’t care whether you’re white, black, red, yellow or purple.  I don’t care if you’re Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or atheist.  I don’t care if you’re gay or straight.  I care if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.  That’s what being Canadian is, and I am Canadian, at least I thought I was.

Tiers of a Citizen

As of Thursday, June 11th, 2015, the fact that I was born in another country makes me a 4th class citizen in Canada.  It doesn’t matter that I have been a Canadian citizen for nearly 40 years.  The fact that I was born somewhere else reduces my value as a citizen.  My 23 year old son who was born here became a 3rd class citizen and feels completely betrayed by his country.  The clearest way of showing our new status as Canadians comes from the Canadian Bar Association who defines it as follows:

  1. Canadian born who do not have another nationality. These “true” citizens would be most secure in their status. There is no mechanism proposed for revoking their citizenship, even if they commit the most egregious crimes against Canada or its people.
  2. Naturalized citizens without another nationality. These would be the equivalent of all naturalized citizens under the current legislation. The only way they could risk losing their citizenship is if it was originally obtained by misrepresentation.
  3. Canadian born citizens with another nationality. Apart from misrepresentation (that would rarely apply to this group), the full range of revocation provisions would apply, including those that might be proposed in the future.
  4. Naturalized citizens with another nationality. These truly “third class” citizens would face the full range of retrospective revocation provisions being proposed, including those that might be proposed in the future

For the full PDF from the Canadian Bar Association click the following link: http://www.cba.org/cba/submissions/pdf/14-22-eng.pdf

Right now the only way for me to lose my citizenship is to commit treason or be charged for terrorism in Canada or another country where a sentence of five or more years is applied.  I can assure you, dear reader, that I have no intention of committing any such acts, but then again I am a writer who sometimes writes controversial material which could endanger me, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Bill C 24 makes some important improvements to the citizenship act, at least when it comes to becoming a citizen of Canada is concerned.  The problem is the victimization of current citizens.  Because my citizenship is dual with the UK, my son automatically can claim citizenship, and so can his children; Therefore, only his grandchildren will be first class citizens in Canada and only if the mother of his children is at least a 3rd class citizen and all the children are born in Canada and so long as they all marry 3rd class or better citizens.  Do you get where I’m going here?  In our globalized world it will be very hard to maintain your citizenship “class” or “tier” in this country.  According to the numbers I could find at Stats Canada, nearly 40% of Canadians would likely fall into the 3rd or 4th tier.  Nearly half the country is affected by this law!

So why on earth would our government allow a law to be passed that would essentially denigrate nearly half of its citizens?  The big “T”, terrorism has played a major part.  We are very lucky in Canada.  The few “terrorist” events that have played out here might not have even been terrorist plots.  On October 20th, 2014 Martin Couture-Rouleau, a convert to Islam, killed Patrice Vincent in “an act of terrorism”. Or so we were told.  In fact, Couture-Rouleau had recently separated from his partner and had suffered the failure of his business.  He converted to Islam and became obsessed by terror propaganda.  This was an unhappy man who was going through a difficult period in his life.  He used terrorist propaganda to justify murder.  Two days later on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Nathan Cirillo to death.  This “terrorist” was a habitual offender, drug addict with mental issues.  He was also a recent convert to Islam.  So, here are two troubled men who have been accused of terrorism.  But are they really terrorists?  Or is the problem that they were Muslim?

Today we know that ISIS is an American invention and that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida were funded and supported by the Americans during the cold war.  They were instruments used by the Americans to destabilize the Middle East.   There is mounting evidence that proves these indiscretions by the U.S. have been increasingly used to justify American foreign policy.  It’s also been used to control citizens of multiple countries around the world and hold us all in fear.  We have passed laws allowing governments to strip us of our rights and freedoms, all in the name of protecting ourselves from these terrorists.  When you think about it, since the cold war ended in 1989, terrorism has taken over for the “Commy threat”.  We replaced the fear of nuclear war with the fear of terrorism.

So why did I bring up racism regarding Bill C 24?  Well, that would bring us to Skyler Murphy, Omar Khadr, and Maher Arar.

Maher Arar is a Canadian citizen, now 4th class as he was born in Syria and immigrated to Canada in 1987.  In 2002 Arar was detained by the U.S. on his way home to Canada after a vacation with his family.  He was then sent to Syria where he was tortured for a full year just to prove he was innocent of any terrorist association.  If this isn’t the most obvious case of racial profiling, I don’t know what is!  As far as I know, Arar and his family are still on the American no-fly list even though it has been proven that he has never associated with terrorists or been affiliated with any terrorist organization or even entertained radical Islam propaganda.

Omar Khadr is a different story.  Omar was born in Canada but raised primarily in Pakistan.  At 15 years old he was arrested for war crimes in Afghanistan by American forces.  Badly injured, He took a plea bargain at Guantanamo Bay serving 8 years there and 1 year in Canada.  Now released in Edmonton, Bill C 24 could see him stripped of his Canadian citizenship and sent back to the place where he was, essentially a child soldier as defined by the United Nations.

This brings us to Skyler Murphy.  Skyler was an 18 year old young man when he brought a pipe bomb into Edmonton International Airport.  Not only did security mistake it for some kind of cannabis paraphernalia, but they tried to give it back to him as he boarded his flight to Mexico.  Four days later another security officer saw the bomb in a bin and called the RCMP.  An additional three days went by as security waited for Skyler to get back from his vacation.  There is no denying that Skyler Murphy made a mistake.  But was his transgression dismissed with a slap on the wrist because he is a white, middle-class man?  Had his name been more “ethnic” or if he couldn’t speak English well would he have been given a slap on the wrist and a $600 fine?  When answering these questions it begs a second look at the stories above, especially to the Arar case.

Bill C 51 and the Broadening of the Term “Terrorism”

Bill C 51 is the New Anti-Terrorism legislation that has been pushed through by the Conservatives and Liberals despite protests and expert testimony against it.  It is currently, as of June 9th, 2015, awaiting royal ascent.  Part of the Bill does make a great deal of sense but it is then countered with aspects that are downright scary.  The part that makes sense to me is the sharing of information.  I have worked in government and can attest that the lack of sharing wastes time and leaves citizens and personnel frustrated.

So here’s the scary part.  The wording of the Bill could lead to writer’s like me, be charged with terrorism for protesting against this very Bill and others like it.  Here’s how it works.  The Bill prohibits speech that “promotes” or glorifies terrorism.  Any activities that could “undermine the security of Canada or are detrimental to Canada’s interests or that are detrimental to the environmental and economic stability of Canada.”

Now, most judges aren’t going to take some low-brow author like myself and hold them up as an example, but they could.  The interpretation of the law is open to debate.  There is growing fear that the government can take on environmental activists and anyone who sympathizes with the plight of the people of the Middle-East.  My blog posts and the articles that I write can be monitored by CSIS and they can detain me and question me in secret.  I would not be allowed to see the evidence against me, nor would my lawyer.

Now I ask you, is this justice?  Is this even legal? Free speech is dead and if you get really angry about your lack of rights, too bad!  In fact, if you cause too much trouble or embarrassment to the government, you or I could even be stripped of our citizenship and shipped out of the country.

Is this a free society?

It seems to me that we are entering 1984 as George Orwell saw it.  It took a couple of extra decades, but here we are.

So this is a test.  Will my blog post be here tomorrow?  Will I?

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FIFA Arrests, Corruption, and the American Interest

The History of Football and the Advent of FIFA

Football, or soccer as North Americans call it, evolved from various ball sports played throughout the U.K.  The first football association was formed in 1863 when a group of interested parties got together and decided on the rules and regulations of a game that until this point was a bit of a “wild west” of sport.  Football took off in popularity and spread throughout Europe and pretty much anywhere British colonists went.  There was still much confusion over the rules and style of play that was allowed in the “Beautiful Game” and so a group of Europeans got together in France on May 21, 1904 and formed the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA.

So that is how this mess all began, everybody loved football and wanted to play with each other, so rules had to be established so everyone was playing the same game.  These rules made the game fair to everyone and lots of fun, not only for the players, but for the fans.  Football has evolved over the years, the only ones who don’t seem to get it are North Americans, but it has become a religion as much as a sport.  It has formed the identity of many a young boy or girl right down to what colour they wear when a game’s on.  I think John Oliver explained it best when he appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, “FIFA is the Walter White (of sport), if you get hooked on their magnificent blue meth of a sport, then you want nothing else”. I also appreciate this video from his show, Last Week Tonight, view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I

FIFA’s Corruption

FIFA has been inundated with complaints about biases, bigotry and corruption for many, many years.  Almost as long as the institution has been around there have been claims of favouritism toward European teams and rumours of bribery and corruption.  I am not going to get into  all the various scandals  and rumours that have inundated the organization, you can look them up for yourself, but suffice to say the latest arrests have not come as any surprise to anyone.  The surprise for me and I think many others is the fact that it is the Americans that have brought these charges against an organization that they have only a tertiary relationship with. Why have no charges been brought by one of the European or South American countries that have more of a vested interested in the sport and how it is run?  In Switzerland, the allegations against the organization aren’t considered illegal, perhaps immoral but not actually illegal so why did the Swiss agree to make the arrests? The fact is that in many countries the cost of doing business is to bring a “gift” or “tribute” to a meeting or you wouldn’t even get in the room with the person or persons you want to deal with.  If the Americans think that their own CEO’s aren’t doing the same thing when they do business abroad then they need to give their collective heads a shake.  I am not defending FIFA here, what they do and have others do to garner their favour is reprehensible, but it does beg the question, why the Americans? I like Jon Stewarts take on the whole thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2KmwpYZfRY

Why the Americans?

The first thing that comes to my attention when I ask this question is “what’s in it for them?”  The Americans aren’t big soccer fans.  It is at best a cursory sport, something the kids play.  So why are the American’s so bent out of shape to the point where they go and arrest a bunch of executives that have not done the same kind of devastating economic destruction that America’s own bankers have done to the entire world? Why attack an organization that until now was barely a blip on the American psyche? And why are American bank executives not being held to account the way these foreign nationals are?

Could it be that in 2018 the Russians have won hosting of the world cup and in 2022 Qatar beat out the Americans to host it?  We all know that right now Russia and America are not on the best of terms and the Russians are up in arms over the American interference in something that is clearly none of their business. The fact that America lost their bid to Qatar can’t help their ego either.  Qatar isn’t exactly the most reputable country and they may have used some hijinks to obtain their win.  It seems to me that America is having a temper tantrum because they lost and now want to take the ball and, well, the whole sport and go home.

So What’s Next?

The Americans say that these arrests are just the beginning.  The Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the American Justice Department are all involved in these charges.  There is no international body involved at all and the American agencies are supposed to be internal, American soil type agencies.  The Americans are grasping at straws, weedy laws that they have brought about so that they can reach their hand into international matters and bring foreign nationals and organizations to task.  So what is the end game?  Is this a show of American power? Are they really trying to do some good for the sake of the game that most of the world loves so much? Or are they trying to take control of a powerful organization that they don’t currently have any sway over?  I know, as a Canadian,  that the National Hockey League, what was once primarily a Canadian sport has been so overwhelmed by the Americans that Canada hardly ever seems to win any more.  Will the same be true of soccer/football?  Will we lose our beautiful game to American corruption instead of International corruption? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  As for me, I’ll be watching carefully to see what’s next.

My apologies but lets talk about Alice

Down the Rabbit Hole

I have to apologize, I haven’t written in weeks, OK, months and this post is not about what I was going to write about.  I started researching free trade and all the controversy surrounding the TPP and TTIP negotiations and quite frankly I became overwhelmed.  There is so much information and misinformation I am still sorting through and trying to find all the facts, so in the future I will write about the subject but for now I would rather write about something fun!

Luther

Luther is a British TV series staring #IdrisElba and #WarrenBrown.  It is a great series, all psychological crime stuff, which is great for an itchy brain.  I loved it!!!  Idris Elba is wonderful playing John Luther, a savy copper who seems almost more psychologist than detective.  Idris Elba is also very easy on the eyes and seems like a giant among all these little guys.  I figured Idris must be at least 6’6″ but he’s only 6’2″ so one would think his sweet, eager and cute partner, DS Ripley is only 5’4″ but the actor, Warren Brown is a respectable 5’9″.  I figure it must be part of the story, Luther being bigger than life, not easily intimidated and the camera angles that make him look like a giant add to that presence.   Warren Brown is also someone I would like to see again.  He is a marvellous actor who played such a multi-faceted part I couldn’t help but be impressed.  He has an innocence about him that is both endearing and disarming, not bad for a guy who used to be a champion Thai kick-boxer.

Alice

Now, the best part of the show is #RuthWilson’s portrayal of #AliceMorgan, a psychopath with personality.  #Alice is wonderful, in a sick and twisted kind of way.  She becomes attached to Luther, protective of him and those he cares about.  Ruth Wilson is wickedly brilliant in her portrayal, I could watch her play Alice for days.  She has a cat-like elegance when she moves, a permanent sneer and brows to die for.  She is so casual and flip when she delivers her lines that you can’t help but like her, despite the terrible things she does.  It all begins when Alice murders her parents.  I won’t spoil it but, where she hides the gun is nothing short of genius.  Equally genius is how Luther figures out that it was her who did the crime.  Alice disappears shortly into season 2 and we don’t see her again until the end of season 3.  I kept hoping she would show up and do some of her fiendish damage but I was made wait.  At the end Luther and Alice are together again and I would love to see them clean up the streets of London like the dynamic duo that they are.  Unfortunately, Alice doesn’t save people, unless she finds them “interesting” or unless Luther cares about them.  His deep and irresistible pull of his emotions are, I think, what Alice finds so compelling.  She doesn’t have emotions, he has too many powerful ones, together they make one whole, balanced person.  Magic!!

Neil Cross

#Neil Cross is the mastermind writer behind the TV show.  He has created such gripping characters in such a tumultuous storyline that you become hooked instantly.  I have heard that there are going to be two more episodes in mini-series fashion coming this fall, sadly, there will be no Alice.   Maybe, Mr. Cross will do us a solid and write a movie or two all about Alice,that would be a real treat.  In the meantime, I guess we will just have to satisfy ourselves with the two new episodes of Luther.  It’s not all bad, after all Idris Elba isn’t getting any less appealing!

Racism

Troubling times

I have always been a peace loving optimist, however; I am finding it harder and harder to be peaceful, loving or optimistic in light of current events.   I have read enough commentaries from different historical times that show the bewilderment and concern of the older generation over the state of the world and the actions of the young, but this is different.  It doesn’t matter the age or “generation” that you come from these days, we are all suffering from anger, hate, racism, fear, frustration, and a severe loss of values.

The Latest Issue

Recently, there was an incident where a young African American girl was taunted by a couple of other kids through SnapChat.  Her adoptive father, who happens to be white, was offended by the racial slurs these kids where using against his 14 year old daughter.  He tried to get hold of the parents of these kids but didn’t get any response, so he went to the police.  He was given a cell phone number of the father of these kids, and dear old Dad turned out to be even worse than his kids.  In retaliation, the father of the bullied girl put a video of the incident and the phone messages of the father on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKVQX35yYc8&noredirect=1)

The fall out of this whole episode is that the kids who did the bullying have had to move out of state for their own safety and the father of the kids is in rehab to combat an alcohol and drug problem.  The parents of the girl who was bullied are horrified at the outcome.  Bullying the bullies is still bullying and is not ok.  The kids that were doing the initial bullying were wrong, but they are still kids.  A little education would go a long way with them and put them on the right track.

The real concern to me is the Dad of these bullies.  He has copped out of taking any responsibility for his actions by claiming an addiction problem and no memory of what he did.  Being intoxicated is no excuse for bad behavior.  Regardless of the circumstances we are still responsible for our actions.  Worse yet he is responsible for the actions of his kids, who started this whole thing in the first place.  He needs to acknowledge his wrong doing, take full responsibility for both his actions and the behavior of his children, and make a public apology to the family of the girl and to the other people who have been hurt by this incident.  The family of this man has made a statement, but the man is hiding behind his excuses.  That’s just not good enough, which leads me to my next point.

The Reactionaries

What should have been a simple straight forward matter og correcting bad behavior of a couple of kids, has snowballed into a racial blizzard of attacks.  These two teenagers have been forced to leave the state because of behavior they learned from their father.  I am not saying that they didn’t know any better, they certainly should have considering the awareness in the world today.  However, they are still kids and should be educated and given some menial memory enforcement, i.e. some chores, to help them think twice the next time they want to be “funny” or mean to another person.  To drive them away from their homes is not a just punishment for their behavior.  The people, who are threatening children to the point where they have to leave home, should be ashamed of themselves.  You have become the bullies yourselves.  The affect you will have on these kids is to make them feel like victims, not of the consequences of their own actions, but by virtue of yours.  They learn nothing but more hate.  Not only will this not change their understanding of what they did wrong, but it will deepen the divide between what we all know is right, and their misinterpretation of that truth.  An opportunity has been lost.

Recent Events

We have all watched the news and seen the blowback from racial divides over the last few years.  The tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri in the U.S., the verbal attack of the railway guard in Brisbane, Australia, even the terrorist attacks throughout the world can all be put down to this underlying fear and distrust of “them”.  In a world where interconnections are being built everyday and on every corner of the planet, we are dwelling on our differences and not our similarities.  Instead of embracing our differences in a constructive and loving way, we are discriminating.  Instead of trying to educate and guide, we are wallowing in righteous indignation.  We, as individuals can stop the madness.  We can hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct and seek the best in others instead of the worst.

The Future

I still hope that the kids that started this whole thing can find good people who will set a better example for them than their father has done, and better than the reactionaries that have been so cruel to them.  I hope their father gets the help he needs and begins to set a better example for his kids.  I hope that the people, who have reacted in such a harsh way, see the errors in what they have done and seek to heal their community instead of dividing it further.  I guess I’m still an optimist at heart, I still have hope.  What do you think of racism?  Do you think we can stop it, or will it be here forever?

Next Week

Next week I will be tackling T-TIP, the TPP and the controversies relating to the latest Free trade agreements.