Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Harper and Kenney to Close the Door to Gay Refugees

The erosion of Canada's reputation as a diverse country, welcoming of immigrants, took another step backward today as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney appointed an anti-gay conservative to the IRB. Doug Cryer, former director of public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, says churches have the right to denounce homosexuality.

I have very dear gay friends who have immigrated to Canada, fleeing discrimination and persecution in other countries. They are part of an (until recently) increasing movement of gays who are coming to Canada in search of a better life, a life without worry and fear. Gays who are applying for immigration now can look forward to an IRB influenced by bigorty, hatred, and a lack of sympathy and understanding of their situation. In examining refugee claims by gays, the IRB should be focused on determining whether persecution is a threat. How can a board member focus on that if he believes homosexuality is a sin in the first place?

This is beyond ludicrous. What's next - a white supremacist IRB member? Let's not laugh - this comes from the same conservative government with a federal Minister of State for Science and Technology who doesn't believe in evolution. Gary Goodyear is a Christian who has made significant cuts to science research funding. Any conservatives out there who want to defend that one?

I am going to start referring to Harpers conservatives as "republicans". I think it's the most concise way to summarize this government's actions. They are doing everything they can to move this country backward and emulate the disastrous Bush administration. Somebody help us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Get on side.

Remind Stephen Harper that we live in a democracy! A decisive majority believes that American Iraq-war resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada. A majority in the House of Commons voted to allow them to stay as well. And Harper said himself (on April 13, 2005), "The Prime Minister has the moral responsibility to respect the will of the House."

So why has Harper not acted on his parliamentary obligations? Why is he allowing war resisters to be deported? Why is he acting in defiance of Canadian democratic policy and tradition?

If you're a fan of Harper, you're probably not reading this anyway. If you're not, you're probably already aware that Harper is a Bush wanna-be (way to pick a role model, Steve!) without a compassionate bone in his body. Either way, if you can answer the above questions, let me know. My guess is that he knows he's already well on his way to becoming the most unpopular PM in Canadian history and that nothing short of a miracle will reverse that, so he might as well be true to his heart - or lack thereof.

If you want to make a difference during his conservative reign, if you want to protest our lack of democracy, even if you just want to call Harper on being an asshole - there's no better time to protest than now. This week is a week of action, in which people will be calling and emailing politicians and making donations to the war resisters campaign (legal fees are mounting). Don't allow Harper to deport any more war resisters. Send an email, donate $10, do something. There's so much bad news these days; this is one way in which you can make a positive difference.

Weekly calendar of events (Thursday's is my own addition):

Monday, March 16
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Copy this text to email different members of Parliament (see Tuesday).

Tuesday, March 17
Call Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to demand he stop the deportation of the Rivera family: 613-954-1064 and 613-992-2235

Don't forget to cc the opposition critics:

Wednesday, March 18
Distribute leaflets (available at resisters.ca).

In Toronto: War resister Matt Lowell's federal court hearing to request leave to appeal the negative decision in his H&C application. Join us for a morning vigil and to observe the hearing if you can. Meet in front of 180 Queen Street West.
8:30 am vigil
9:30 am hearing

In London: protest Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, 4:00 pm.

Thursday, March 19
Donate to the war resisters' legal defense. (This link is good until March 25; after March 25, go to resisters.ca to make a donation.) Donations will be needed at least until Harper does the right thing and allows the resisters to stay.

Friday, March 20
Meet with your local Member of Parliament and ask them what they are doing to defend Canadian democracy and stop the deportation of the Rivera family.

For other local actions, go to resisters.ca.

As always, with the war resisters updates, thanks to WMTC for the event info.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I hate you all.

Yes, that's me at the wheel of a Hummer. And if you look closely, I am showing you some disrespect with a hand gesture. Not that it's needed! By driving one of these things, you are basically saying, "Fuck the environment, and fuck YOU".

Who the hell drives these things? It's 2009. There's talk about whether it might be too late to reverse the damage we've done to the environment. There was a gas-price scare, which got the SUV-driver considering whether maybe it was time to rethink the choice to drive a truck... but then oil prices fell. So we can postpone environmental responsibility once again!

By buying and driving one of these, you can save time being nasty to people. It's a tangible, rolling expression of anti-social irresponsibility. Hi! I waste gas and other resources. I am polluting the air as you watch. I am creating a burden for future generations, and setting a poor precedent for third-world countries; why should they care about cleaning up their countries when we don't? While you're at it, wear ivory, drink while driving, and blow cigarette smoke in babie's faces.

The irony of sitting in one of these things was too much to resist, and we giggled the entire time we were photographing ourselves. I'm looking toward a future when we will be able to look back, and laugh at car manufacturers who built stupidly wasteful vehicles, and people who were ridiculous enough to buy and drive them.