Just Like His Ministers, Stephen Harper Fails Brenda Martin
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper must demonstrate that he is willing to fight for Canadian citizens by demanding action on the Brenda Martin case, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and Liberal Consular Affairs Critic Dan McTeague said today.
"The Harper government has been far too passive in handling this case," said Mr. Dion. "It is my hope that the visit by Conservative MPs Jason Kenney and Rick Norlock was not simply a photo-op to limit the political damage to Conservatives from public outrage over Brenda Martin's predicament. It's time for this government to show some leadership and demand action on this file," he said.
Mr. McTeague pointed out that the Mexican Embassy's press release on Monday's phone call says it was President Calderon who called Prime Minister Harper, not the other way around, as Mr. Harper has suggested. In fact, the call had been previously scheduled.
"The embassy states the call's main purpose was to exchange points of view and coordinate strategies for the upcoming North American Leader's Summit. The press release included a vague reference to a discussion on progress in the treatment of consular affairs that has taken place in the bilateral relationship, given the substantial increase in the number of visitors traveling between the two countries. It acknowledges the work carried out through the Early Alert Group in some highly visible consular cases to improve the quality of attention provided. There is no mention at all of them discussing Brenda Martin," said Mr. McTeague.
The Prime Minister's Office has declined to confirm if Mr. Harper did indeed raise Ms. Martin's case. This leaves Canadians questioning the true level of Mr. Harper's personal involvement in this matter and in bringing Ms. Martin's case front and centre to the Mexican president. (LOL caught again Stevie)
Mr. McTeague described the entire affair as a travesty of justice that has led to a Canadian citizen being imprisoned for two years without being afforded fundamental and internationally-recognized legal rights.
"Mr. Kenny has joined the growing list of Conservatives who have repeatedly dashed the hopes Ms. Martin had about being released. If there was no public outrage over this case, the Conservatives wouldn't even be trying to cover up their inaction and incompetence - they would merely continue to ignore her as they have for almost two years," he said.
Mr. Dion said that the Prime Minister's excuse that he can not intervene on her behalf is ridiculous.
"How, then, can he say that Canada will intervene with Saudi Arabia to spare the life of Mr. Kohail? How is it also possible for Canada to have legal assistance treaties with other countries - including Mexico?" he said.
"There are many examples where states can and do stand up for their citizens. When will Mr. Harper finally stand up for Brenda Martin?"
For More Information:
Glenn D. Bradbury
Office of the Honourable Dan McTeague, P.C., M.P.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Posted by Fillibluster at 4:16 PM