Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Kenney amateurism"

So editorializes Embassy Magazine:
Five down, 25 to go. But five what?

The Conservative government, lead by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, would have every Canadian believe that the 30 men whose names and pictures have been plastered on the Canadian Border Services Agency website over the past couple weeks—five of whom have now been captured—are war criminals.

And if that were the real purpose—to apprehend war criminals who are hiding in Canada—it would be difficult to argue with the effort. After all, a key element of ending impunity is bringing perpetrators to justice and the last thing war criminals and those who commit mass atrocities should be allowed to do is enjoy the comforts of living free and unmolested in a country like Canada.

Except that's not what the government and Mr. Kenney are doing. Instead, they have twisted facts to embark on what is essentially a public relations campaign designed to bolster the Conservatives' tough-on-crime credentials.

The fact is that the 30 men so far named in the infamous, US-style most-wanted list are being sought by Canadian authorities not because they definitely committed war crimes, but because they didn't leave Canada after they were found to be inadmissible into this country.

Of course, Mr. Kenney, in his patented, stomach-churning habit of never letting facts stand in the way of a good bit of PR for himself or his party, has already convicted these men in the public sphere. In an interview with the National Post last week, the minister essentially said all 30 men had "been found by our legal system to be involved in the worst kinds of crimes possible, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity." Despite the fact this statement is categorically false, he has repeated it several others times.

Now the family of one of those listed on the most-wanted list, a 76-year-old Afghan named Khalil Abdul Khalil, has threatened to sue the government for defamation. As a result, taxpayers will be stuck footing the legal bills associated with a heavy-handed Conservative public relations exercise—a cost that will climb fast if the government loses and other lawsuits are launched.
More on that possible lawsuit.