Protesters Evict Justice Minister

ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Mon Dec 10 18:18:16 MST 2001


On Friday, a group of about 25 people occupied the offices of Justice
Minister Anne McLellan here in Edmonton. The ofice was empty, so they
dragged all the furniture out on the front lawn, set up a hot tub (to
symbolize the hot water we'll all be in if the proposed anti-terrorism law
is passed), and repaired some of her furniture.

The bill has implications for anyone wanting to attend the G8 meeting next
summer.
___________

5. DUMP BILL C35/C36/C42: statement from the activists occupying Minister
McLellan's office by Oxygen Smith 6:57pm Sat Dec 8 '01 address:
12304-107ave (Mclellans office) phone: (780) 982-5829
oxygen at powersurfr.com

Information from the activists' handbills addressing
the Anti-Terror Legislation now before the Canadian Senate.

This is a communiqui about Bill C-35, a component of the "anti-terrorism"
legislation now before the Canadian Senate. It's taken from our handbills
which are aimed at the public, so it's in F.A.Q. format. Thanks for
supporting the sit-in.. Drop by to show your support at the address below.

What exactly is Bill C-35? While enormous attention has been focused on
debating and amending Bill C-36, it now has a dangerous partner that will
forcefully assist in an assault on democracy. Bill C-35 grants "immunity
from legal process of every kind to representatives of a foreign state
that forcefully assist in an assault on democracy. Bill C-35 grants
"immunity from legal process of every kind to representatives of a foreign
state that is a member of or participates in an international organization
while exercising their functions and during tile journey to and from the
place of meeting". To put it simply, these two bills in beautiful union
with one another will redefine what constitutes an international
organization. This means that any "foreign national" participating in any
intergovernmental activity of any sort is granted complete and total
immunity from legal process of any kind. What does "protection of foreign
nationals" mean? It means a lot more than you would think. There is
another section of Bill C-35 that states in a little subsection that
"interference" doesn't only apply to demonstrations against persons, but
also includes any PROPERTY used by that person. Anyone who commits an
"interference" on the official premises, private accommodation (yes at
their five star hotel paid for by you) or MEANS OF TRANSPORT of an
internationally protected person that is likely to "endanger" the liberty
of such a person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to
imprisonment for a term of up to fourteen years. But what's a threat to
'liberty'? It's nowhere defined in the Act, and is therefore up to the
judgment of the police at the time of arrest.

Similarly, it is up to the police to decide what constitutes an attack on
the 'means of transport'. But don't worry, it is only an indictable
offence of up to five years if one "threatens" to commit any of the
offences that are stated above. But isn't protection of foreign nationals
a reasonable idea? There is argument for classifying actions that threaten
the person of a head of state as terrorism. But it is both erroneous and
dangerous, given the sweeping powers invoked by this Bill, to include such
undefined phrases as 'means of transport', 'liberty' and 'national
security', or to include as "terrorist activity" mere ;threats' to these
vagaries. It is also likely that this bill is being drafted as a logical
"escape hatch", as the question of "what is terrorism?" makes the rounds
again at the UN.

The UN's joint efforts to halt terrorism have always been stymied by the
lack of an international definition on "terrorism" that every member
nation can agree upon. Countries like Palestine and Ireland want to
exclude "national liberation struggles" from being labelled terrorist;
countries like the United States and Israel want anything carried out in
the name of war or self-defense excluded from the definition of terrorist.
It's clear that if we define the September 11 attacks^Wwhich caused
massive loss of civilian life for larger political goals^Was terrorism, it
may occur to us at some point that we could apply the same definition to
certain acts undertaken by governments of NATO, representatives of foreign
governments like Turkey's could then be arrested here for assisting in the
repression of Turkish Kurds. Or, closer to home, U.S. and U.K.
representatives could be arrested on terrorist charges for the kind of
action we are unleashing on Afghanistan, in which civilians are
predictably killed during the bombing for the "larger political goal" of
capturing bin Laden. A likely candidate for extradition, for instance,
would be longtime US diplomat Henry Kissinger, who engineered the 1970s
secret, illegal chemical bombing of Laos and Cambodia in which 1 million
people were killed. As biographer Christopher Hitchens has noted, "Many if
not most of Kissinger's partners in politics, from Greece to Chile to
Argentina to Indonesia, are now in jail or awaiting trial. His own lonely
impunity... smells to heaven."

How do Bills C-35 and C-36 work together? Naomi Klein, author of No Logo
and Globe and Mail columnist, expresses with amazing clarity how the bills
work 78%do Bills C-35 and C-36 work together? Naomi Klein, author of No
Logo and Globe and Mail columnist, expresses with amazing clarity how the
bills work together:  "These concerns about 'protected persons' only tell
part of the story. The rest is revealed when C-35 is cross-referenced with
several clauses in Bill C-36, which classify many actions taken against
those 'protected persons' as terrorist activities. As Dr. Michael Clinchy
of the University of Western Ontario has argued, taken on their own, both
sections look benign.  But taken together, they form a one-two punch that
will knock out the right to protest outside of international meetings. "it
works like this. First, Bill C-35 defines 'internationally protected
persons' as 'representatives of a foreign state that is a member of or
participates in an international organization.' The idea is taken from the
UN Convention granting diplomatic immunity to politicians attending UN
conferences. But Bill C-35 expands the UN definition to include foreign
visitors attending bilateral or multilateral meetings of any kind. That
means delegates to a trade summit with China, an APEC summit and yes, a G8
meeting, In a pen stroke, these events will be placed behind a shield of
diplomatic immunity. "Next, C-36 steps in, defining interference with
'protected persons', including visiting dictators, as not just criminal
acts but terrorist ones...

"To be clear, the question is not whether activists have the right to
inconvenience conference delegates or push against chain link fences.
Under current laws, many protesters are already facing criminal charges
for precisely these activities. The question is whether these are acts of
terrorism, on legal par with hijacking planes and planting bombs. "If
Minister McLellan is to be believed when she says that her government is
not trying to use the anti-terrorism campaign to outlaw political protest,
she has more amendments to make." DON'T LET TERRORISM DESTROY OUR
FREEDOMS! Email the senate from the canadianliberty.bc.ca page and tell
them to reject Bills C-35, C-36 and C-42.
----------------------------------

Thanks for supporting the sit-in.  Come down and show your support for
your brothers and sisters inside, you can even come in to say "hi" - we
have an open door policy. We're at 12304-107 Ave. in Edmonton. If nothing
else, we are accepting donations to help transport people here from out of
town, and for food. Contact phone number inside the office - (780)
982-5829 www.wage-peace.org



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