I can hear the Harperites screaming "Activist Judges!" now. A Canadian Federal Court judge has just identified the United States as a dangerous place to be sent back to and both the Canadian and US governments can give Maher Arar credit for bringing it to everyone's attention.
Canada's treaty with the U.S. on the treatment of refugees is illegal because the U.S. doesn't comply with conventions protecting asylum seekers and sometimes sends people to countries where they may be tortured, a Canadian judge said.Which, as we all know, creates something of a problem. The US sends Canadian citizens to 3rd countries for "special treatment".
Canada entered into an agreement on the treatment of refugees with the U.S. in 2004, as part of the two countries' ``Smart Borders Declaration.'' The accord bars Canada from considering refugee applications from people who arrive in the country from the U.S. by land. Canada is required to send those asylum seekers back to the U.S.
Canada's Parliament approved the law, subject to some conditions, including that the U.S. comply with international conventions designed to prevent asylum seekers from being sent back to countries where they may be persecuted, or to countries that engage in torture.
"The United States' policies do not meet the conditions,'' Judge Michael Phelan said in a 126-page ruling released today in Ottawa by the Federal Court of Canada. The judge cited the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who in 2002 was mistakenly identified as a terror suspect during a stop in New York. U.S. officials sent him to his native Syria where he was jailed and tortured, according to a Canadian inquiry that found Arar was not linked to terrorism.Can hear them at the PMO? They're running around with their hair on fire. A federal judge in Canada has just labeled the United States a country which does not observe the rule of law. Chile under Pinochet. There will be heads exploding in the government benches.
This is where Bush's War On Terra™ has taken the United States.
The Canada-U.S. asylum treaty also is unconstitutional, Phelan said, because it treats people in identical refugee situations differently by applying only to land crossings.Finally! Someone actually recognized that argument.
"One transiting the U.S. from their home country makes the last part of the journey by land to Canada, is immediately returned to the U.S.,'' Phelan said. "The other transits the U.S. and makes the last part of the journey on a non-stop flight originating in the U.S. and receives the full panoply of Canadian protection.''
I do believe there will be a segment of the blogosphere out there which will erupt in such a way that it will make the shit-flinging of the Orangutans at the San Diego Zoo look like a kindergarten finger-painting session.
And I almost missed Alison's post on it.