Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More Harper government foreign affairs incompetence

More bad news for the Harper government on the Brenda Martin case. Their incompetence in Foreign Affairs matters continues to be exposed:
"Martin's supporters and the Liberal opposition have sharply criticized the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not doing enough to ensure Martin's legal and human rights were respected. They point to the court record which showed consular officials never checked Martin's legal status until more than 18 months after she was imprisoned. A former senior Mexican justice official familiar with Martin's case said she was illegally arrested and detained and could have been released within 72 hours had consular officials done their jobs."
Well, f*%# me. That's quite the revelation to be hearing after Ms. Martin's been sitting in her Mexican jail for two years.

Further, there's another option for the Harper government to pursue and it's unclear why they're not:
The Mexican president could legally expel jailed Canadian Brenda Martin tomorrow if he wished, but he is unlikely to do that unless Canada makes it a major political issue, a top Mexican legal expert says.

Celia Blanco Escandon, a law professor at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City, said president Felipe Calderon has the authority under Article 33 of the Mexican constitution to expel any foreigner for any reason. Contrary to statements made by the Mexican embassy in Ottawa, Blanco Escandon said it does not matter that Martin, imprisoned in Guadalajara without trial for more than two years, is still facing a criminal charge. In fact, she said it gives the president a reason to expel Martin.

But she said Calderon likely has not had that option brought to his attention.
It has been reported that Harper raised Martin's case with Calderon last month, but his office refuses to confirm or deny whether this happened. Harper's office also refuses to explain why he has not asked for Martin's expulsion.
When you come across such information, I have no idea why anyone would have any degree of confidence that the Harper foreign affairs team knows in the slightest what they are doing.