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Crime Bill C10 Hunger Strike - Follow Up Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Crime Bill C10 Hunger Strike - Follow Up Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Published by Obert Madondo
This is my May 29, 2012, letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding my ongoing hunger strike against Canada’s new draconian crime law, the deceptively christened "Safe Streets and Communities Act", formerly, crime Bill C-10. The letter is a follow up to the one I delivered to Parliament on March 27, which was addressed to the prime minister, the Parliament of Canada, the leaders of all elected parties, and all MPs and senators. Delivered through Ottawa Centre NDP MP, Paul Dewar, that letter explained my hunger protest. It appealed to the prime minister and Parliament to repeal Bill C-10 and fulfill four other demands. But as of today May 30, 2012, the 78th day of my hunger protest, the prime minister is yet to respond.

I’m profoundly hurt and disappointed. I feel oppressed, abandoned and devalued. As a result, I informed the prime minister that I’d no choice but to engage in a “final push” for his response. Every day, from 12pm to 5pm, I will carry out my peaceful protest by the steps to Parliament. I started the final push last Monday. I’ve informed the prime minister that, if necessary, on Monday, June 4th, I'll escalate the protest by switching to a water-only hunger protest.
This is my May 29, 2012, letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding my ongoing hunger strike against Canada’s new draconian crime law, the deceptively christened "Safe Streets and Communities Act", formerly, crime Bill C-10. The letter is a follow up to the one I delivered to Parliament on March 27, which was addressed to the prime minister, the Parliament of Canada, the leaders of all elected parties, and all MPs and senators. Delivered through Ottawa Centre NDP MP, Paul Dewar, that letter explained my hunger protest. It appealed to the prime minister and Parliament to repeal Bill C-10 and fulfill four other demands. But as of today May 30, 2012, the 78th day of my hunger protest, the prime minister is yet to respond.

I’m profoundly hurt and disappointed. I feel oppressed, abandoned and devalued. As a result, I informed the prime minister that I’d no choice but to engage in a “final push” for his response. Every day, from 12pm to 5pm, I will carry out my peaceful protest by the steps to Parliament. I started the final push last Monday. I’ve informed the prime minister that, if necessary, on Monday, June 4th, I'll escalate the protest by switching to a water-only hunger protest.

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Published by: Obert Madondo on May 31, 2012
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 Obert Madondo312 Cumberland Street, Apt 610Ottawa, ON K1N 1B3May 29, 2012The Right Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper, P.C., M.P.Prime Minister of CanadaLangevin Building80 Wellington StreetOttawa ON K1A 0A6Dear Prime Minister,
Re: My Demand Your Response To My Indefinite Crime Bill C-10 Hunger Strike
My name is Obert Madondo, an Ottawa-based activist and progressive political blogger.
I’m writing to f
ollowup on my earlier letter regarding
my indefinite hunger strike against Canada’s new draconian crime law, the
deceptively christened "Safe Streets and Communities Act", formerly omnibus crime Bill C10. The letter,addressed to your office, the Parliament of Canada, the leaders of all elected parties, all MPs and senators, wasdelivered through Ottawa Centre NDP MP, Paul Dewar, on March 27. It explained my hunger protest and askedParliament to repeal of Bill C-10, and fulfill four other demands. As of today May 29, 2012, the 77
th
day of myhunger protest, only Liberal senator Joan Fraser has responded.
I’ve no choice but to engage in a
 
“final push” for your response.
Starting today, from 12pm to 5pm, I will carryout my peaceful protest by the steps to Parliament. If necessary, on Monday, June 4th, I'll escalate the protestby switching to a water-only hunger protest.My health has deteriorated significantly since I started the protest on March 14. Tests done just over twoweeks ago revealed that my Vitamin D level has deteriorated to a critical level. My doctor recently
recommended that I take 5000 units of Vitamin D a day for the next three months. I’ve lost more than 35lb.
Every time I look into the mirror, I do not r
ecognize the person I see there. For the past two weeks, I’ve been
experiencing severe chest pains. But this emotional and physical pain is nothing compared to the pain resultingfrom cruel silence.
Mr. Harper, I’m profoundly hurt and disappointed. I fee
l oppressed, abandoned and devalued.
I’m searching for
the meaning your cruel silent treatment.I
n my protest narrative, I’m not re
-inventing the wheel.
I’m merely echoing
the progressive voice of ordinaryCanadians, elected representatives and expert witnesses, which was suppressed during the Bill C10 hearings.
I’m mer
ely continuing the conversation.Please help me understand the meaning of your oppressive silence. If I was a distressed dog lying by the sideof the highway and you were driving to the cottage, would you still ignore me? If I was a Canadian soliderwounded while fighting another costly and ill-defined war overseas, a war that kills thousands of innocent local
unarmed men, women and children, wouldn’t
you pay attention? Is my peaceful sacrifice too radical a form ofprotest for Canada that you would rather let me starve to death? Are you deliberately ignoring me todiscourage Canadians from considering a hunger strike as a viable and peaceful form of protest?I fear that this
“tyranny of
 
silence”
, even as your government prepares to repeal the Kyoto ProtocolImplementation Act and other progressive legislations
, is replacing Canada’s fine art of democratic
 
conversation. It’s becoming the new normal in Canada. The repressive silence wears
down progressiveopponents of ideology-based official policy. It discourages Canadians from engaging and questioning.I fear that your silence betrays a culture of denial; it seeks to propagate the popular fiction that hungerprotests are alien to Canada. Twenty-six years ago, social activist, author and former senator Jacques Hébertcompleted a 21-
day hunger strike to protest the Brian Mulroney government’s decision to nuke the Katimavikproject. He saved Katimavik, one of Canada’s oldest and largest y
outh volunteer programs. Unfortunately, theproject did not survive the 2012 federal budget cuts.I fear that your silence betrays a culture of denial of the realities of politics in the age of growing social, politicaland economic inequalities. In the past, hunger protests occurred mostly in repressive countries, such as Cuba.But now they are happening in repressive regimes, democratizing countries and fully-fledged liberaldemocracies. In the last few weeks, more than 2000 people have recently starved themselves for change inmore than a dozen countries around the world, including India, Turkey, Russia, Bolivia, US and Ukraine.Hundreds of Palestinians recently engaged in hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Recently, Anna Hazare,completed a 12-day hunger strike to protest political corruption in India.The bottom line is: a hunger strike in a democracy is a sign of imperfect democracy. It betrays an invisiblepolice-state lite. My hunger protest started as expression of democratic outrage against Bill C-10. But your tyrannical silence has
transformed it into a protest against your government’s continuing Orwellian assault on our democratic
institutions, parliamentary process and legitimate dissent. Since assuming power in 2006, you have turnedCanada into a "suicidal state" relentlessly sniping at its own democratic institutions. For example, youprorogued parliament twice, in 2008 and 2009. Y
ou’re
unashamedly dismantling the progressive stateCanadians built since World War II, mostly through Liberal Party leadership, and the contributions of individualCanadian leaders such as Tommy Douglas and John Diefenbaker.The Conservative majorities in the House of Commons and Senate continue to pass bills, some of themcomplex omnibus pieces of legislation, without the comprehensive debate and oversight our parliamentarydemocracy demands. Your government continues to shut out the voices of ordinary Canadians, electedrepresentatives and expert witnesses who offer progressive options to the harsh provisions of thesebackward-looking bills. Outside parliament, your government continues to oppress vulnerable groups,disenfranchise Canadians and stifle civic dissent.Recently, your government introduced budget Bill C-
38, the most sweeping omnibus bill in Canada’s history.
The legislation seeks to amend or eliminate over 60 existing federal statutes, most of which are progressive.Immigration minister Jason Kenney recently introduced Bill C-3
1, the “Refugee Exclusion Act”, which will
politicize our immigration system, and discriminate against and jail vulnerable asylum seekers. Yourgovernment has reiterated its determination to revive the disgraced Internet surveillance Bill C-30. Thegovernm
ent supports Conservative backbencher Blake Richards’s private member’s Bill C
-309, which proposestough jail sentences for activists who wear masks to protect themselves from police surveillance and profilingduring legitimate protests.These laws are the epitome of state abuse of power, the law and resources. Consequently, my protest hasnow morphed into an interrogation of the larger question of democracy and accountability. My reviseddemands are:
 
Repeal the Safe Streets and Communities Act.
 
Split up Budget Bill C-38
 
Scrap “Immigration Exclusion” Bill C
-31
 
Scrap Internet surveillance Bill C-30
 
Former Ottawa Police chief, Senator Vernon White, must resign.
 
 
National inquiry for the 600+ missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.Please help me to understand the meaning of your silence. Maybe
you’re
disconcerted by my demand for the
resignation of newly appointed Conservative senator, Vernon White? I’m demanding his resignation because,
under his leadership as chief of the Ottawa police service, I tasted the wrath of the Bill C10 and other draconianpieces of legislation propose. On the morning of November 23, 2011, Canada became a police state far tooeager to criminalize dissent and abuse power, resources and the law. I was part of eight unarmed Occupied
Ottawa protesters peacefully resisting eviction from Ottawa’s Confederation Park. Between 150 and 200
Ottawa Police officers were dispatched just after 2am to evict us and issue eight $65 tickets. The police applieddisproportionate and unnecessary force. I was subjected to cruel and unusual treatment. I was treateddifferently than my two white colleagues who made the final stand with me. The police hurt my back, legs andleft arm. I ended up in hospital. I was recently certified temporarily medically unemployable.The Ottawa police had no qualms about spending $16 000 on the four-hour operation. Meanwhile, 600aboriginal women and girls are either murdered or mission, and the feds remain unwilling to act. Is this how afair and compassionate society treats the vulnerable?
Vernon White was in charge of the Ottawa Police that morning. I’ve nothing personal against the senator as a
fellow human being, but that morning, a monumental failure of judgment and Canadian leadership occurred. Istrongly
question the senator’s judgment in a situation that demanded the utmost in sobriety and a quick
glance at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I’m demanding senator White’s resignation to protest his role in the passage of Bill C
-10. Experts, MPs andsenators have argued that the omnibus Bill C10, a composite of nine pieces of legislation amounting to 208
clauses and hundreds of amendments is complicated and requires considerable time to study. I don’t doubtSenator White’s intelligence.
But i
sn’
t it a crude political joke then that the senator played a crucial role in thepassage of the bill within a week of his appointment?
I’m demanding senator White’s resignation to spotlight the fact that, at one time during his tenure as police
chief, the O
ttawa police’s clearance rate (the percentage of crimes “solved”) stood at 31 per cent, putting itlast among 17 Ontario forces with populations of 100,000 or more. The Ottawa’s police force ranked dead last
in urban Ontario. The provincial average was 39. Though you currently have the power to appoint senators,Canadians should never relinquish their power to shine a light on, question and provide a sober second opinionon these appointments.Mr. Harper, a hunger strike is obviously a weapon of last resort for the powerless. But my protest is a journeyof hope. In Canada, our collective spirit of hope is enshrined in the values etched in the Charter, particularly:compassion, respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law, multiculturalism, inclusion, diversity, fairness,democratic governance and accommodation of difference. In these values lie our collective security, not invindictive laws such as the Safe Streets and Communities Act.I hope to embolden you and Parliament to give the government
’s disagreeable laws the real sober second
thought they deserve. I hope to remind my fellow Canadians that now is the hour to build a society that
nurtures hope instead of extinguishing it. It’s a moment to remind ourselves that an injustice visited upon a
 
single Canadian or community, is an injustice visited upon all of us. It’s the moment to insist on a more open,
more compassionate, Canada.I look forward to receiving your response soon.Yours sincerely, 

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