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Right Honourable David Johnston Governor General of Canada Rideau Hall 1 Sussex Drive Ottawa ON K1A 0A1 Your Excellency, I’m writing to demand that you use the reserve powers invested in your esteemed of fice by the Crown to either withhold or reserve Royal Assent to the omnibus crim e Bill C-10. Indeed, in the democratic age, the Crown’s reserve powers should rare ly, if ever, be used. But Canada today faces a situation that constitutionally c alls on the Governor General to reign in an authoritarian petro-prime minister w ho has become a serious threat to both our parliamentary democracy and to Canadi ans. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives came to power in 2006, Canadian parliamentary democracy has been hurtling toward the Intensive Care Un it. The omnibus crime Bill C-10 is the lord of the Conservatives draconian bil ls, policies, measures, official rhetoric and attitudes through which Mr. Harper seeks to impose an insidious right-wing worldview that will cannibalize Canada’s future, institutions and values. The Safe Streets and Communities Act will expan d state power, weaken the judiciary, divide society, take away Canadians’ rights a nd freedoms, create resentment of the “other”, and punish the weak and marginalized. It will transform Canada into a Zimbabwe in democratic disguise. Your Excellency, both crime Bill C-10 and the Safe Streets and Communities Act a re the epitome of state abuse of power, the law and resources. My conscience and lived experience dictate that I resist our over-compensated elected dictator. D emocracy should never yield to tyranny. Indeed, it never has, never will. At 12:01am on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, I’ll embark on an indefinite hunger strik e to demand that the Monarchy side with and defend Canadians against Stephen Har per. I humbly submit the following demands, and assure you that, should Your Exc ellency abandon Canadians and yield to Harper’s tyranny as the House of Commons an d Senate shamefully did and sign the bill into law, I’ll continue the hunger strik e until the Act is repealed in its entirety. My demands are: • The Governor General of Canada should use the reserve powers invested in his est eemed office by the Crown to either withhold or reserve Royal Assent to the omni bus crime Bill C-10 • Former Ottawa Police chief and newly-appointed Conservative Senator, Vernon Whi te, should immediately resign • The federal government should make a commitment to invest 100 times the cost of monitoring and dismantling Occupy encampments across Canada last fall to institu te a national inquiry into the case of 600 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls • The House of Commons must immediately institute measures to improve accountabili ty and transparency. The measures should include limitations on the governing pa rty’s power to a) manipulate parliamentary Standing Orders b) evade opposition scr utiny c) shut down debate d) impose gag orders to silence critics and e) lock up committees behind steel doors to muzzle committee members and prevent the media from informing us on the proceedings.
• The Conservative government must immediately stop its covert war on Canadians an d Canadian democracy, which currently manifests through a) the criminalization o f dissent b) promotion of divisive legislation, measures, rhetoric and attitudes c) whipping up of unnecessary moral panic and d) blackmailing of citizens by pa sting “Canadians” or “victims” or “children” or “mandate” labels to its draconian laws, meas s and official rhetoric Your Excellency, the Safe Streets and Communities Act will carry the preamble: N OW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows. In essence Her Majesty’s esteemed name and the Great Seal of Canada will be appended to a law that will inflict a great injustice on Canadians. I sincerely believe that Her Majesty would agree w ith the following minimum arguments against the Act. 1. The making of the Act, from the first reading of Bill C-10 in the House of Commons, through to the final vote in both houses, was a one-party-state tyra nnical abuse of Canadian parliamentary process and democratic practice. It was a triumph of spin over substance and deliberative democracy. At every turn, oppo sition MPs, elected by 60% of Canadians, and opposing expert witnesses who attem pted to input into the bills’ 208 clauses and hundreds of amendments, were shown t he political middle finger. 2. Through the Act, Harper seeks to radically engineer Canadian society - s ocially and politically – and impose an insidious right-wing worldview which is wa r-loving, pro-punishment, anti-science, poverty-ignoring and anti-minority. The Act will expand state power, yoke the judiciary, divide Canadians, take away rig hts and freedoms, and punish the weak and marginalized 3. One key test of any society is how it treats the marginalized and most v ulnerable. The Act will hurt the marginalized, weak and racialized minorities th e most. On First Nations Communities, it will perpetuate conditions of coloniali sm and the legacy of residential schools 4. The Act will cost Canadian taxpayers an estimated $15 billion. Surely, h ow can we agree to partake in the daylight robbery our seniors, education, healt hcare and other social services to finance a law that will oppress us and turn o ur jails into training schools for hardcore criminals? 5. The Act was birthed in an environment of tyranny were all Canadians were treated as potential enemies of the state. Dissenters, activists and civil soci ety organizations opposed to official policy or dedicated to issues are targeted , demonized, dehumanized and labeled “enemies of the state”. In the House of Commons , Her Majesty’s Official Opposition is accused of being “anti-Canada”. Gun-control adv ocates are compared to Nazis; opponents of the long gun registry to Adolf Hitler . MPs opposed to the Conservatives new online surveillance bill are “with the chi ld pornographers”. To cap the Conservatives’ attitude against Canadians, now Her Maj esty’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment officers on Parliament Hill will start carrying the rapid, accurate-fire Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns as "secondary weapons" to their standard-issue semi-automatic 9mm pistols. Your Excellency, I’m demanding only the minimum of what Canadians should rightly b e demanding of their leaders right now. I’m demanding that your esteemed office us e the Crown’s discretionary and constitutional powers to counsel and warn. Now is the hour to force Parliament return to sanity and respect our democratic and leg islative processes. It’s the hour to encourage our elected representatives to list en to and value the concerns of all Canadians. Now is the moment for the Governor General to bring Canadian citizens, permanent residents and others together, and encourage us to create strong and generous c ommunities. It’s the moment to encourage us to set aside differences, dialogue and continue to build a national identity based on the Canadian values of multicult uralism, inclusion, diversity and compassion. Our collective security lies in a united and caring Canada whose justice and legislative processes are predicated on compassion, fairness and inclusion.
This is the Canada I experienced the day I washed up on Canada’s shores as a polit ical refugee from Zimbabwe in the summer of 2003. The violence I’d experienced and witnessed had mutilated me. But Canada embraced, nursed and healed me. Canada r estored that which Zimbabwe - and the US denied me – dignity. Canada believed in m e as an equal member of the human race, and encouraged me to unleash my passions in the service of my adopted country. In 2004, I briefly volunteered for the la te NDP leader Jack Layton’s successful run for Parliamentary office. Over the year s, I’ve carved a unique Canadian identity as a globally-conscious activism-oriente d progressive political blogger, with a passion for Canadian federal politics, d iversity, social issues and movements, progressive politics and Canadian foreign policy. But I’ve tasted the wrath of a Canada hostile to both accountability and the “other”. In December, 2003, I signed up to volunteer for CAP AIDS Network Inc., a registe red Canadian charity that supports HIV/AIDS work in Africa. By April 2008, I’d bec ome the charity’s executive director. In May, 2010, I attempted to pursue account ability for part of the more than $130 000 in Canadians’ donations the charity mis used. The board of the charity harassed me and tossed me under the bus. It bloc ked my access to employment insurance and torpedoed my support systems as a new immigrant. I lost most of what I’d worked for all these years and ended up on the streets of Toronto. From June 15 to June 23, I walked almost 400 km from Toronto to Ottawa in protes t. But I learned that when those of us on the margins of society challenge the w rongdoings of the privileged, it takes more than a 400km solitary walk to be hea rd. In Ottawa, I ended up on the streets. From June 23 to October 14, 2011, I sl ept in a crevice at Laurier and Bank Street. I ate from soup kitchens. I bathed and did my laundry on Ottawa River. On October 15, 2011, Occupy Ottawa showed up in town and rescued me from the streets. The movement gave me a tent, a family and a platform to discuss, in the spirit of equality and deliberative democracy, the issues of our time. On November 23, 2011, I tasted the wrath of the Canada the Safe Streets and Comm unities Act proposes. I was part of the eight unarmed and peaceful Occupy Ottawa protesters resisting the movement’s politically-motivated eviction from Confedera tion Park. Just after 2am, between 150 and 200 Ottawa Police officers descended on us. During the eviction, the police applied disproportionate and unnecessary force. I was subjected to cruel and unusual treatment. The police hurt my back, legs and left arm. I ended up in hospital. Today, I live with excruciating pain every second of my waking hour. I experience recurring headaches that usually wa ke me up in the middle of the night. Since mid-January, I’ve been experiencing mem ory loss or forgetfulness. No other Canadian citizen or resident should have to go through what I went thro ugh on the morning of November 23, and the pain I live with now. Why did the four police officers who carried me to the makeshift detention centr e drop me three times during the trip? Why was I treated differently than my two white colleagues? One was also carried by police officers but was not hurt. The other was driven to the centre in a police cruiser. At the centre why did the o fficers drop me onto the floor and leave me lying my stomach, a position that fu rther acerbated my injured back and arm? Why did they ignore my plea for immedia te medical attention? Your Excellency, Senate Vernon White was in charge of the Ottawa Police that mor ning and that’s why I’m demanding his resignation. I ve nothing personal against the senator as a fellow human being. But that morning, a failure of judgment and Ca nadian leadership occurred. I strongly question the senator’s judgment in a situat ion that demanded the utmost in sobriety and a quick glance at the Charter of Ri
ghts and Freedoms. Furthermore, I object to his contributions to Bill C-10 in th e Senate on or before March 2, after assuming his duties as senator only on Febr uary 23. I don’t doubt his intelligence, but I doubt that he had the time to adequ ately examine Bill C-10’s 208 clauses and hundreds of amendments and vote with a s ober second thought. Your Excellency, I arrived at the decision to protest after months of agonizing soul-searching. I do not underestimate the odds I face. I m a self-identified an ti-capitalism activist in a moment the distinction between terrorist and legitim ate protester is more than more than ever before blurred in Canada. Nevertheless, I’ll fight for a Canada I believe in. Your Excellency, I leave you with the words of Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, whose voice, like oing to be a compassionate Canada and look out to criminalize one another and send each other stion that has to be answered.” We must love and look after each other. Respectfully, Obert Madondo Permanent Resident/Progressive Blogger/Activist/ Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the many others, was ignored: “Are we g for one another, or are we going to jail? That’s the fundamental que
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