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The blogpost where I defend Stockwell Day.

Yes, the title is correct. And I haven’t been drinking anything.

It would take a lot for me to defend someone like Mr. Day, who I don’t even think should be in Cabinet, but David Wilkins, the Ambassador to Canada for the US, has managed to get me to do so. Even though the Conservative government is about as close to the George Bush Administration on most positions foreign-policy wise and on ideology as is possible, even that doesn’t prevent the US from telling Day to stop being uppity and to shut up over Maher Arar:

U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins on Wednesday criticized Ottawa’s efforts to have Maher Arar removed from a United States security watch list, saying the U.S. alone will decide who to let into the country…Wilkins warned Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to back off, because a U.S. review determined Arar should remain on the watch list. Wilkins called it “a little presumptuous” for Day to comment on “who the United States can and cannot allow into” the country.

So far however, Day to his credit has not backed down:

The ambassador reiterated that the U.S. found its own reasons to keep Arar on the watch list. Day said in a visit last week to Washington that he has seen the information and found nothing new to suggest Arar is a safety risk…Day said Tuesday in Halifax that Canada will continue to let its position be known.

I guess the White House must not have appreciated Senator Leahy’s grilling of Alberto Gonzales over the affair and his references to Canada being rightly upset over it.. so they sent their attack poodle up here to try and intimidate Day and the Conservatives into going mute on this issue.

Aside from the fact I find it totally inappropriate for a US Ambassador to be telling us what to do (Paul Celluci had that problem as well), its a bit presumptuous of him to be suggesting to us its not our problem. Of course it’s our problem – an innocent Canadian citizen was sent off by rendition to a country where he was tortured based on charges that were false. It’s very much our business to be continuing to raise this issue, even though its unlikely the US will ever admit to making a mistake (at least, until the next President is elected, and probably only if its a Democratic one).

So, Mr. Day, I say for once, you’re doing and saying the right things, and I hope you and Harper will not buckle under to this pressure from the US and its meddling ambassador to shut up. (I don’t get what he thinks he gains by airing his complaints public in the press either – does he really think a majority of the Canadian public would be in support of his position?)


13 comments to The blogpost where I defend Stockwell Day.

  • Well, Khadr did kill an American soldier while fighting as an armed irregular (i.e. not in uniform) in Afghanistan, at a time after NATO had invoked Article V to support American operations over there.

    I’d suggest letting the Americans deal with him, given that.

    Alternatively, however, I suppose that we could always bring him up on treason charges, or whatever lesser charge we have for fighting on the other side during wartime, and ask the Americans to extradite him.

  • As for Khadr in Gitmo — not so much. Let him rot.

    Why? Give me one good reason.

  • Ben said:
    [quote comment=”1049″]

    As for Khadr in Gitmo — not so much. Let him rot.[/quote]

    Sorry, I dont agree. Even Khadr deserves due process/habeas corpus/his day in court. I dont care if he’s guilty of everything he’s accused of.. he is  being deprived the right of a fair trial.

  • The Conservatives — back in their Canadian Alliance days — were willing to cut the Americans some slack on this case because they assumed that there was something there.

    But the investigation’s been done, Arar was cleared, and so it’s the duty of the government to stand up for its citizens abroad — even with a close ally. (Once burned, twice shy.)


    As for Khadr in Gitmo — not so much. Let him rot.

  • Defending a Canadian citizen is anti-American Paul? That’s news to me.
    Also pretty strange for you to be attacking liberals who are supporting one of the more conservative members of Harper’s Cabinet for doing the defending.

  • Paul

    If they are anti-American they must be right…

    liberalism does breed idiots

  • ken

    It seems a bit presumptuous of Wilkins to question Day’s remarks that he was still convinced that Arar was not a security risk and also the findings of an exhaustive inquiry lasting over two years that found Arar innocent of terrorist connections. Wilkins provides absolutely no evidence to back up his claims. We have plenty of evidence of Arar’s innocence. I hope the Americans have had enough of GOnzales and CHertoff hiding behind a smokescreen of national security to hide their mistakes while damaging the reputation of an innocent person.
    I hope that Sen. Leahy has his own investigation into the Arar affair in the US.

  • Right on. Arar’s a Canadian citizen and the government of Canada should be doing everything it can to clear his name, especially after what he went through.

  • And when will we hear this government calling for the release of Omar Khadr from Gitmo? I’m still waiting.

    So, while I applaud Day for doing the right thing here by attempting to debunk Wilkin’s claims, I’m still not assured that the tories are being forceful enough with the US government on these issues.

  • You know, I met Stock on the Hill for a rally for Autism back before the election last year (organized by our local NDP candidate, no less). He is a decent guy and I congratulate him on defending Arar. Good on him for doing this.

    I wish he could do more to help him. Perhaps tossing Wilkins out of the country will send the message.

    I may think Day is wrong most of the time, but he’s still decent and in this case he is doing the right thing.

  • Spooky – I just made a blog post giving credit to Day as well (despite generally despising him).

  • While you’re right in that Stockwell Day has an obligation to represent all Canadians, these sorts of public declarations accomplish nothing except show the world how hard he is trying. If he really wants to get Arar cleared, he needs to stop making his objections public and work with the DOJ or Homeland Security to get it done.

  • […] The world is going upside down, I swear. First Scott Tribe posts a defense of Stockwell Day, and now I have decided to back Dick “Buckshot” Cheney on something? Unless CNN had just been talking about the Vice President about his government’s policy toward homosexuals, the question from morally bankrupt hate organization Focus On The Family, was totally out of line. Wolf is clearly an idiot, but at least squirmed when he realized his stupid question bluff had been called. It reminded me of when Bill Clinton made Matthews of Fox News squirm in an equally ridiculous and staged hit-piece interview. […]

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