Canadian Immigration Hotline
Septermber 2006, Number 187

Way To Party!

To celebrate the UN-sponsored World Refugee Year in 1960, then Conservative immigration minister “Ellen Fairclough opened Canada’s doors to 325 tubercular refugees and 501 members of their families.” (Forging Our Legacy, CIC) Gosh, it makes you wonder what Ottawa has in store for us in 2008, the UN’s Year of the Potato. Blight?

Flag Of Convenience

“How did ‘50,000 Canadians‘ come to be in Lebanon? Is it one of our major trading partners? Has Bombardier opened up a Ski-Doo plant there? Is Beirut where the Quebec Nordiques wound up? 50,000 Canucks out of a total Lebanese population of 3.8 million works out to about 1.3 per cent of the population. Hezbollah [only] claims 400,000 supporters in Lebanon. … France is the former colonial power in Lebanon and the Western country with which it maintains the closest ties; yet, even the French can muster only 30,000 citizens in the country.” (Maclean’s, August 1, 2006) To put those numbers in context, 1.3 per cent represents the proportion of aboriginals within Canada’s population. As Ottawa scrambled to rescue “our citizens” from Lebanon, citizens here were treated to the usual outpourings of gratitude. Like Goldilocks, these Canadians of convenience complained of hard beds, cold porridge, small chairs, long waits, stale sandwiches and unreliable air conditioning. Ninety countries allow dual citizenship (there are 200,000 “Canadian citizens” living in Hong Kong alone) but some, the US for instance, impose dual taxation. We would suggest that Canada adopt that strategy and go further: When these spray-on citizens fail to file taxes for any two years, it should be taken as de facto forfeiture of status. Winning back a place at the world’s longest undefended trough would entail a lengthy tussle with Revenue Canada (which you remember, already has an immigration component at border points), dependent on full disclosure of financial records for the 7 previous years and an audit (for which the complainant should pay). In his 1970 Nobel lecture, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said: “A man with two hearts is not for this world, neither shall we be able to live side by side on one Earth.” During the last census, 560,000 of the 5.5 million Canadians born abroad declared that they hold passports from another country.


“More than 50,000 immigrants from the State of Israel currently reside in the Greater Toronto Area, comprising some 25 per cent of the GTA’s Jewish population. … Altogether, 64,859 Israelis immigrated to Canada from 1946 to 2004, with the vast majority settling in the GTA. That figure does not include children born in Canada. … The largest concentration of Israeli immigrants in the GTA is in Vaughan (2,840), a city immediately north of Toronto. Second is the area around Finch (1,150) and third the area around Lawrence (670). Two-thirds of the Israeli community earn less than $40,000 per year … 14.5 per cent live in poverty. … Canadian Jews’ connection to the community and to their Jewishness is often through synagogue affiliation. Most Israelis, however, are secular. ‘They look at Jewishness first from the point of nationalism and ethnic identity and less from the point of view of religion,’ [says David Gidron for the Israeli House, a component of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto. According to Gidron,] Israeli parents are confiding in him that their children are ‘marrying out and they are not sure what they did wrong.’ … While ‘we’d be happy if the Israeli community packed up tomorrow and went back home,’ he said out-migration is now seen as a normal development in a mature country.” (Canadian Jewish News, April 6, 2006) But Israel is not and never was meant to be a quote, normal, country.

You’ll Have To Pry My Patronage Plum From My Cold, Dead Fingers

On May 16, Gwyn Morgan, a retired Alberta energy executive, endured 90 minutes of character assassination before an all-party parliamentary panel chased him off with a stick. The man with the Midas track record had been willing to “give back” by accepting a newly-created, dollar-a-year position as oversight commissioner charged with eliminating patronage and partisanship from government appointments. So frightening was the concept that some opposition back benchers reacted like a troop of enraged chimps: “Morgan’s 4,000-employee company, one of the brightest stars of Alberta’s oil patch constellation, with $14-billion in sales, was derided for its environmental behaviour in Ecuador based on a one-sided smear documentary. He was called a racist by a Bloc Quebecois MP. He was branded a partisan toady for daring to raise funds for a party, which, in the Conservative fortress of Calgary, is almost a cost of doing business. A Liberal MP justified his position by arguing it was payback time after a defeated Liberal seeking a paid gig was rejected by the same committee last year. NDP MP Peggy Nash was his most biased tormentor. It was her motion, filed in advance, that sought to kill Morgan’s appointment based on improper qualifications and inadequate competence. She laced into Morgan using out-of-context comments about his views on Jamaican and Asian gang violence in Toronto and Calgary, even though his comments can be validated by crime statistics and police observations. [What he said was: ‘The vast majority of violent, lawless immigrants come from countries where the culture is dominated by violence and lawlessness … why do we expect different behaviour in Toronto? … It’s fair to say that most immigrants who abuse our society have come in as refugee claimants rather than ‘economic immigrants.’ This not only means they are more likely to have violent tendencies, but also much less likely to have the skills, training and attitude necessary to contribute to our society. So, we need to remember this when we consider admitting refugee claimants and we need to be much more effective at exporting those who abuse our society.’ Well don’t just stand there, get the smelling salts. Since common sense and dangerous sedition are indistinguishable in some circles, NDPer Nash (who has not commented on the ethnic warfare in her Toronto riding other than to blame the Ancien Rйgime of Mike Harris) sniffed in conclusion] Morgan ‘doesn’t reflect Canadian values.'” (National Post, May 18, 2006) Morgan has drawn a bead on other holy shibboleths — scoffing at Ottawa’s fallback position on gun control (blame America); the addiction to federal subsidization dollars in the Maritimes and a province otherwise committed to breaking the country apart; the malign influence of high earning union officials on Canada’s competitiveness and a public sector that consistently delivers inefficient and low quality services at highest possible cost.

Emboldened by the parliamentary mugging, everyone and his immigrant lobby group realized that they could gain some traction on the most outlandish patronage and partisanship appointments imaginable. Two weeks after Morgan’s ordeal, Liberal leadership hopeful Gerard Kennedy made an announcement: To “Close The Immigrant Success Gap,” Canada must create a new parliamentary position — Immigrant Success Advocate — to ensure that newcomers earn precisely what the native-born earn within ten years of arrival (whether or not newcomers can function in English by then is apparently irrelevant). Sadly, when 50% of Canadians have not seen any real income increase over the last quarter century, Kennedy’s goal may just be achievable. Then, on July 13, Ontario’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, (Liberal) Mike Colle, launched his own bid to “Close The Immigrant Success Gap,” with Bill 124, The Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act. Colle endorsed legislation that proposes establishment of a Fairness Commissioner. “Under the benevolent rule of the FC’s office, professional associations for doctors, chartered accountants, engineers and others with illusions of self-regulatory grandeur would rapidly learn who has the whip hand in our society. It’s a fair guess it wouldn’t be doctors, accountants or engineers. … The problem with Bill 124’s proposed solution is that it a) whittles away the autonomy of private association; b) replaces self-regulation with state regulation; c) adds another layer of bureaucracy; and d) instead of reducing obtuse uptightness, it only stirs it up, spreads it around, and gives it more room to manoeuvre. [And you can bet that the chief concern of the Fairness Commissioner’s] office won’t be either fairness or openness or expediency. It will be political correctness. … If professional associations were inclined to expedite matters for exceptional practitioners, the Ombuds Fairies of Ontario would either stop them or make sure that matters were also expedited for unexceptional ones. If an association decided to view diplomas from first-rate institutions in the developed parts of the world at par with Canadian diplomas, the FC’s office would make every effort to stop it from ‘discriminating’ against diplomas issued by second-rate institutions in undeveloped regions.” (National Post, July 15, 2006) As Gwyn Morgan might have asked before he was kneecapped: “By what process will the directors of these spurious agencies be selected? What ‘qualifications’ would make Applicant A better suited to “Close The Immigrant Success Gap” than Applicant B? How many candidates will volunteer their services for a dollar a year?” Before we dismantle what remains of Canadian credibility, we ought to at least ask why purportedly well educated immigrants (and their government subsidized settlement agencies) are so hopelessly stymied on this point? “Formal credential-assessment services … are offered in virtually all high-immigration areas in Canada. For a fee (approximately $100), they offer immigrants an authoritative assessment of the Canadian equivalence of their foreign educational credentials. … Although immigrants have so far made limited use of these services, credential assessment is making inroads and could play an important role in breaking down barriers to immigrant skill utilization.” (Jeffrey Reitz, Tapping Immigrant’s Skills, IRPP Choices, February 2005) Right. But if you can’t negotiate your way through a kindly disposed Canadian licensing body and won’t spring for the piffling hundred bucks for an assessment, what makes you think you’re qualified to practise as “a professional” in Canada?

You Tell Us

“According to BC Stats, the number of Hong Kong and Taiwanese immigrants coming to B.C. has dwindled in the years after the [anticlimactic] 1997 handover of Hong Kong. Last year, mainland China was the source of more than 13,300 immigrants. That compares with just over 660 immigrants who landed in the province from Hong Kong, and 2,200 who came from Taiwan. … The majority of immigrants in these earlier waves tended to come from relatively wealthy backgrounds. Many were civil servants or professionals, while others were entrepreneurs and investors. Coming from a former commonwealth country, Hong Kong immigrants also tended to have more advanced English skills than the current influx of immigrants from mainland China. [Not surprisingly, fewer than ever arrive in good working order.] Sherman Chan, director of settlement services at the immigrant service organization Mosaic, said he has noticed that many new immigrants from mainland China are able to read and write in English, but don’t speak the language well enough to work here. Others struggle because their professional credentials aren’t recognized in Canada. … At the same time, now that China is opening up to the rest of the world, people from the communist country are looking for opportunities here for their children, said Baldwin Wong, social planner for the City of Vancouver. ‘I think they do perceive Canada has a very good quality of life,’ Wong said. ‘They perceive the education system is superior here than in China.'” (Vancouver Sun, July 24, 2006) Since it’s so important, let’s try to get this just right: A foreign education must trade at par when Canadian companies hire engineers or doctors (or else), but foreign educated engineers and doctors immigrate here with the express purpose of providing their offspring with the superior education system available in Canada. Duh?

Lax Populi

Apart from the lethal identity crisis afflicting 2nd and 3rd generation Moslems throughout the West, a key point rarely mentioned, is that “in Islamist mythology, migration is archetypically linked to conquest. Facing persecution in idolatrous Mecca, in AD 622 the Prophet Muhammad pronounced an anathema on the city’s leaders and took his followers to Medina. From there, he built an army that conquered Mecca in AD 630, establishing Muslim rule. Today, in the minds of mujahideen in Europe, it is the Middle East at large that figures as an idolatrous Mecca because several governments in the region suppressed Islamist take-overs in the 1990s. Europe could even be viewed as a kind of Medina, where troops are recruited for the reconquest of the holy land, starting with Iraq. [Thus,] downwardly mobile slum dwellers and upwardly mobile achievers replicate in western Europe the two social types that formed the base of Islamist movements in developing countries such as Algeria, Egypt, and Malaysia: the residents of shantytowns and the devout bourgeoisie. As in the September 11 attacks, the educated tend to form the leadership cadre, with the plebeians providing the muscle. … A Nixon Centre study of 373 mujahideen in Western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were Western European nationals. [their citizenship opening vistas of unlimited travel. In the case of Canada, citizenship is conferred after just 3 years, regardless how monumentally unassimilated the candidate.] To make matters worse, the very isolation of these Diaspora communities obscures their inner workings, allowing mujahideen to fundraise, prepare, and recruit for jihad with a freedom available in few Muslim countries.” (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005) But we need more immigration! Right?

The One That Got Away

Sogi Bachan Singh (a.k.a. Piare Singh, a.k.a. Gurcharan Singh, likely real name Gurnam Singh, operative of Babbar Khalsa terror group), landed in Toronto on May 8, 2001, launched a refugee claim and settled amid the olde worlde charm of Montreal. Whatever his first name(s), by August 2002, Singh had been detained under section 86 provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (similar to the national security certificate) and declared inadmissible as a security risk. Ever since, he has argued piteously that he will be tortured or worse if repatriated — views that carried the day at his 2003 immigration department assessment. CSIS, however, identified in ‘Sogi’ Singh, an assassin trained in the use of explosives and sophisticated weapons who’d conspired to kill Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, and former Punjab Chief of Police K.P.S. Gill. (Anything — notably the Air India disaster — goes in Babbar Khalsa’s fanatical errand to overwrite the existing Indian state of Punjab with “Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland). By the time his case had made the long and costly climb to the Federal Court, ‘Sogi’ Singh was in for a disappointment. Justice Pierre Blais turned him down flat: “In May, a delegate for the Immigration minister said that after considering all facets of the case, Sogi ‘constitutes a danger to the security of Canada’ and does not face a risk of torture. The assessment noted Babbar Khalsa militants had been arrested in the last year or so. ‘I have seen nothing persuasive in the evidence that even those active militants who have been arrested have been subjected to harsh treatment,’ says the assessment, quoted in Blais’ ruling. ‘There is nothing convincing in the evidence that would lead me to conclude that Mr. Sogi would be subjected to torture or a risk to his life or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment if he were to be arrested because of his membership (in the Babbar Khalsa).’ Sogi asked the Federal Court to review the department’s decision. Blais rejected the application.” (Canadian Press, June 28, 2006) In a last-ditch effort, Singh lawyer Mai Nguyen urged immigration minister Monte Solberg to delay the deportation for the umpteenth time so that the United Nations Committee Against Torture could parse the file. Surprisingly, Singh was deported. Border services refused to disclose when or where he was sent, but the Press Trust of India reported July 3 that he had been removed from Canada. Now that both Tamil and Sikh criminals and/or militants have been deprived of that old standby, the “torture” exemption, one nagging question remains: How many have managed to exploit the now discredited dodge and remain “ours?”

Ca-Na-Da: There, A Collection Of Huts

As accusations of bias and preference escalate with every passing decade, it should be noted that Canada dropped the last policy favouring European immigrants forty years ago. (Europeans were able to sponsor a wider range of family members until 1967, but Ottawa dispensed with country of origin quotas five years before that). Admissions have indeed become badly skewed over the last four decades, but it’s no good blaming the usual suspects; European immigration today is a statistical irrelevance. In the case of B.C., immigrants in 1969 were more diverse than you might expect — 36.5% European, 23.6% Asian, 26.2% North and Central American, and 13.7% “others.” Representative of the larger world perhaps, but already far from faithful to Canada’s existing ethnic makeup (as late as 1981, nearly 70% of Canadians reported unmixed French or English ancestry). By 2004, immigration to B.C. was becoming a monopoly enterprise as Asians more than tripled their 1969 share to 74% of all admissions: At 12.3%, European entries were a third their former portion; at 5.5%, North and Central American entries were less than a fifth their former share, while “others” shrank from nearly 14% to 8.2% in 2004. ( European Immigrants to British Columbia, BC stats, March 2005) B.C. is admittedly something of a special case, but the trend is a national one: According to StatsCan, Asian admissions (accounting for just 3% of total immigration before 1961) averaged 12% through the 1960s, 33% in the 70s, 47% in the 80s and 58% in the 90s. The Asia Pacific Foundation notes that 128,537 of (262,236) immigrants entering in 2005 were of Asian origin. However, those numbers must be viewed in context. Canada’s total immigration cohort in 1984 was just 88,239 — as all through the 70s and 80s Canada admitted a bare third of the numbers today. Moreover, 20 years ago about half of all immigrants settled in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal; today, 80% do so. StatsCan notes: “In 2001, 94% of immigrants who arrived during the 1990s were living in Canada’s census metropolitan areas.” The cost to Toronto and Vancouver particularly, has been dire: gridlock, skyrocketing energy consumption, deteriorating air and water quality, lethal radiating heat, mouldering infrastructure, frayed tempers and relentless pressure on, and competition for, land and resources. As immigrants abandon the dense urban core for unlimited suburban sprawl, Canada’s most productive (B.C’s Lower Fraser Valley, Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe) farmland is paved and mini-malled to death. Voltaire said a state of doubt may be unpleasant, but a state of certainty is ridiculous. Rather than being cowed into silence, Canadians are entitled to say whether Toronto and Vancouver deserve to become even larger reservoirs of homeless, drug addled and/or psychiatric cases. The only city like Vancouver in the world is gone: It is our right to say whether our “World Class Cities” slip into pot-holed, shantytown irrelevance or preserve their distinct historic character. However, thanks to Ottawa’s spectacularly successful campaign of censorship through intimidation, the crusading guardians of green spaces simply will not raise their heads above the parapet on the question of go-for-broke immigration v. conservation and quality of life. According to Yun Qian, of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, the amount of sunlight in China has declined over the past five consecutive decades. In other words, however unliveable Vancouver and Toronto may become, they will still strike newcomers arriving from the world’s fever swamps and teeming outposts of industrial pollution as immaculately underpopulated wilderness. But where does that leave us? Oh, don’t ask.

Free Pass For Gaysians

“Two guys approach the Canadian High Commission in Delhi with applications for immigration visas. They claim to be partners and against the legal backdrop of India banning homosexuality, they are unable to lead a peaceful life together. Canada, it seems, is the only country they can live a life as a homosexual couple. They get their visa based on the claim but shortly after landing in Canada, it was soon revealed that they aren’t really gays, much less a couple. [Needless to say, nothing then happens!] Indian media reported last month that it has come to the attention of officials that many youths are using the ban on homosexuality to get an immigration visa to certain western countries where same-sex-marriage is legal. Canada is the most attractive destination for such prospective immigrants. Sources associated with the Canadian embassy in India told Daily News Analysis (DNA) the diplomatic mission was seeing an increase in the number of ‘gay applications.’ … ‘It was further learnt that over the last one year, around 15 percent of Canada’s immigration visa applications had cited the issue — that India does not accept them as legally married — as the reason for seeking immigration. The maximum number of applications came from Punjab, followed by West Bengal and Delhi,’ DNA reported. … It is not only Indian gays [or frauds posing as gays] that are blazing a trail to Canada. Since Canada’s immigration law was changed in 2002 to recognize same-sex partners for immigration purposes, an ever-growing number of American gay and lesbian couples have uprooted and migrated. [Unhelpfully,] Canadian immigration officials do not track the number of gay couples applying for permanent residency but officials admit that they are fielding significantly more inquiries from gay couples in the last couple of years.” (Asian Pacific Post, June 27, 2006)

World’s Most Diverse City Defies Trend

“The number of men and women killing their spouses across Canada has dropped dramatically over the last 30 years, even though the number of domestic homicides in Toronto this year has already surpassed last year’s total. [According to Statistics Canada, nationwide there has been a long term] downward trend that has seen spousal homicide rates drop 57 per cent for female victims and 68 per cent for male victims from 1974 to 2004. That despite the fact there have already been eight domestic homicide charges in Toronto so far this year — the same number as occurred in all of 2005.” (Toronto Star, July 14, 2006) Could “diversity” promote crime?


And So Closes Another Entrepreneurial Chapter

On June 28, former IRB appellate judge Yves Bourbonnais pleaded guilty to 15 counts each obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. For this, a badly outclassed Crown would drop 68 charges — 36 fraud upon the government, 18 breach of trust by public officer, one forgery of a Canadian passport, one fraud under $5,000, four unsafe storage of firearms, one conspiracy to commit forgery, one conspiracy to commit fraud and a handful of other obstruction of justice charges. The manoeuvre would also spare the judge anything like a tiresome accounting of his misdeeds at his scheduled September court date. Under Section 119 (1) of the Criminal Code, judicial officers accepting bribes face prison terms of up to 14 years, but Bourbonnais’ deal for 6 years means, in reality, day parole in a year, full parole in two. Lucky for the influence peddling judge that he was a swindler, not a critic of Canada’s immigration system: Of course, he would have been the first to protest any reforms that might have made the system in some way “difficult” to defraud. Charged in 2001 and suspended with pay for the next two years, Bourbonnais would fight ferociously (and unsuccessfully) to offload his legal fees onto taxpayers: According to entitlement logic, since his crimes stemmed from his work at the IRB, it was “an attack on judicial impartiality” to make the fellow reach into his own pocket. In the sworn RCMP affidavit used to obtain the search warrant, “Mr. Bourbonnais, described as a ‘willing and active participant’ in the alleged bribery scheme, was also seen and heard by RCMP officers working with one member of the criminal organization to ‘orchestrate the theft of his car,’ [to perpetrate an insurance fraud.] People associated with the organization are also involved in smuggling illegal immigrants to Canada and counterfeiting travel documents, the affidavit adds. The search warrant was sealed for 18 months, but was partially unsealed by Justice Colin McKinnon of the Ontario Superior Court following an application by the National Post, the Montreal Gazette and Radio-Canada.” (Ottawa Citizen, June 7, 2003) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here: Given the entrepreneurial judge’s family/Liberal Party connections, a second pardon could drop into his lap in time for the next patronage plum. Known primarily as the Quebec provincial attorney convicted of selling off government antiques, Bourbonnais went from disbarred, disgraced jailbird to IRB appellate judge in 1996 with a timely pardon and a never-questioned appointment from his local MP, then-Immigration Minister Lucienne Robillard. With the investigation well underway, Bourbonnais’ term in office was actually renewed in October 2000. But there was a determined reluctance to inconvenience the bent appointee: “Marc Bellemarre, the Quebec Justice Minister [who would undoubtedly remember Bourbonnais as his department’s most ambitious freelance antiques broker], has repeatedly ordered his province’s head of criminal prosecutions to proceed with charges of judicial bribery against a federal Immigration and Refugee Board judge, but the senior official will not follow instructions. … Sources said Mr. Bellemarre has told Mario Bilodeau, his associate deputy minister and head of criminal prosecutions in Quebec City, five times since June to seek the consent of Martin Cauchon, the Attorney-General of Canada, to lay criminal charges of judicial bribery against IRB judge Yves Bourbonnais of Montreal.” (National Post, October 4, 2003)

Bilodeau, Quebec’s recalcitrant head of prosecutions, specialized in the defence of Hells Angels and other high profile organized crime members before joining the Justice Dept. in 1994. As for the enterprising Bourbonnais, his most recent descent into graft turned on the happy coincidence that he was supplied with advance files on pending IRB appeals in the lucrative Ottawa-Montreal market. Particulars were passed on to co-conspirators Woon Lam (Bill) Wong (restaurateur vice-president of Montreal’s Chinatown Chamber of Commerce) and Franco Macaluso (the judge’s tailor), and they, or more ethnically appropriate bag men, solicited the principal: For a consideration of up to $15,000 a pop, a favourable decision was assured.

There are other problems with Bourbonnais’ sweetheart deal: He has not been compelled to disclose, let alone repay, however much he defrauded. His ten accomplices, who all pleaded guilty, admit to earning just $33,600 between them. Bourbonnais pleaded guilty in cases relating to 15 different immigrants/refugees (although the RCMP say somewhere between 50 to 60 were approached), but at that, even if each of the 15 individual shakedowns was only good for say, $10,000, that leaves a lot of money unaccounted for. In addition, there has been no clear indication that Bourbonnais’ decisions will even be revisited, much less overturned. It is especially troubling that he routinely heard cases of persons already declared a danger to Canada who were dodging removal orders. There has been no undertaking from the IRB to stitch up obvious loopholes in agency protocols. And since the media handled Bourbonnais’ plea bargain as a kind of page 22 wonder, it’s unlikely that public outrage will force CIC to re-evaluate any part of the patronage appointment process, although the RCMP investigation did reveal that 32 of 58 refugee board appointees had ties to the federal or Quebec Liberal parties, and were often defeated candidates or relatives of Liberal office holders. Just to complete the ignominious picture, Bourbonnais’ lawyer told the court that his client was essentially coerced into a guilty plea because sundry health problems made it unlikely the poor chap would survive a lengthy trial. Which is presumably why he will also receive the earliest possible reprieve from whatever minimum security penal resort he is (briefly) banished. Bourbonnais’ (convicted) co-accused are: Franco Macaluso, Giuseppina Sardo-Macaluso, Antonina Consiglio, Nirmal Singh, Mohammed Maniruzzaman, Ahmad Manzoor, Yong An Zhang, Wai Keung Liu, Woon Lam (Bill) Wong and Didar Singh Josan.

Four “Canadians” At Guantanamo

In addition to Omar Khadr, three other suspect characters who used Canada as a way station are incarcerated at Guantanamo. “The United States alleges that [Djamel Ameziane] left Montreal for Kabul in 2000, ended up in a guesthouse with Taliban fighters and, after the U.S. attacked Afghanistan in late 2001, travelled with them to Tora Bora, the border area where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped capture. … Ameziane, an Algerian citizen, arrived in Canada in late 1995, using a fake Dutch passport. He applied for refugee status but was rejected. [Canada was not then deporting Algerian nationals — which is why Ahmed Ressam was free to cook up a bomb after his own claim was rejected.] The case against Mr. Ameziane, 38, is outlined in a summary prepared for the Administrative Review Board, the military panel evaluating whether a prisoner is still a threat. … ‘Prior to his departure from Canada, the detainee received 1,200 to 1,500 Canadian dollars from a Tunisian man who had encouraged [him] to travel to Afghanistan,’ the summary says. … The U.S. document does not identify Mr. Ameziane’s alleged Tunisian recruiter. But in past court cases against terror suspects, it has been alleged that a Tunisian-born Montrealer named Raouf Hannachi recruited local Muslims to go to training camps in Afghanistan in the late 1990s. Another Montrealer of Tunisian origin who is alleged to have an al-Qaeda connection is Abderraouf Jdey (his name is also transliterated as al-Jiddi), a fugitive who left a suicide message on videotapes recovered in Afghanistan. Until now, two former Montrealers were known to be in Guantanamo: Algerian-born Ahcиne Zemiri and Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen.” (Globe and Mail, March 10, 2006) Apart from Khadr, the only Canadian citizen, what all these men have in common is Montreal. Post-9/11, it really must be asked: Does Quebec’s unique immigration department screen against terrorists or just for francophones?

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