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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?