Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Wafa Sahnine (left) and her 15 year-old step-sister

Wafa Sahnine is not likely to consort with Conservatives. She was also never likely to vote for them either. Wafa, you see, is an Islamic Sudanese woman of 25 who is raising her 15 year old step sister in Montreal in a small apartment in very humble circumstances. Wafa is just not a Conservative type regardless of what Jason Kenney may hope and pray for. This is particularly so given the ordeal to which she and other members of her family are being subjected courtesy of the Harper government. See:

Wafa’s father is a 47 year-old Canadian citizen by the name of Abousfian Abdelrazik. Six years ago Abousfian, who had been born and raised in Sudan before coming to Canada, returned to his homeland to visit his sick mother. After he arrived in Sudan the authorities accused him of being a terrorist and carted him off to jail, where he was tortured, as only authorities can torture in some of those lawless and dictatorial emerging nations. The RCMP and CSIS ultimately cleared Abousfian of the terrorist allegations or indeed any wrong doing. Almost one year ago, the Sudanese authorities also cleared him and released him from jail whereupon he sought and received refuge at the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum.

Understandably, upon his release from prison after years of incarceration and torture, Abousfian was both sick and broke. He certainly did not have the financial means of getting home. In the inimitable humanitarian style of the Harper crowd, the Canadian authorities quickly told Abousfian that it was no dice if he wanted his government to pay his way home. However, they assured him that if he could raise the dough for the ticket, they would issue him a passport so that he could re-enter Canada. As a result of the generous efforts of some big-hearted Canadians back home, he was able to raise the money for the ticket and it was purchased.

One week before he was to board his flight out of Sudan, Harper toady and foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon changed the rules. Abousfian was told by Canadian authorities that it was no longer good enough that he had been cleared by the RCMP and CSIS and that he arranged for his own ticket. Instead, they presented him with a new hurdle to jump. They told the poor devil that he had to get his name off the UN no-fly list before he could board the plane to get home. Cannon’s request was specious to say the least – the UN has always allowed nations to repatriate their citizens.

As though poor Abousfian has not had enough misery, his lawyers must now go to Federal Court on his behalf to argue that Section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms - the right of a citizen to enter Canada - has been breached and that he should be flown home by whatever means are necessary.

About Abousfian’s plight, his patient and faithful daughter Wafa back in Montreal said, “I would really like them to put themselves in our place. That they reflect for a moment. That they stop playing with our lives. It’s not a game.” She added that her advice to Harper and Cannon was to “Accept that you’ve made a mistake. Accept it and bring him home.” She asked them to “Stop playing with the life of my stepfather and stop playing with our lives.”

Wafa’s heartfelt pleas are bound to fall on deaf ears. This decision to screw around with the life of a Sudanese-Canadian, in the minds of the Harper, Cannon and Stockwell Day ilk, was not a mistake. In their minds this was good Conservative politics made on the run to satisfy the party’s base of neanderthal xenophobes scattered throughout the country. The Conservative base remember are pissed with the heresy of the stimulus package and bailing out the car companies.

The impressive rise of Michael Ignatieff and the ravages of the economy are taking their toll on the Harper government. A poll released today says the Conservatives are now in second place in the country and dropping support precipitously everywhere – most importantly in Ontario. In the twisted minds of the right wing of the Conservative party, somebody has to do something. And this is that ‘something.’ Screwing the new Canadian. Screwing the Islamic immigrant who by Conservative standards is not the ‘right’ kind of immigrant that Canada needs. Just like Jason Kenney wishes to screw over new Canadians who can’t speak either of the official languages when they get off the boat. In the twisted minds of these Conservatives, this is not a mistake. It is about survival - even if it is only as a small-minded opposition party.


John Prince said...

Hi Darryl,

This post of yours and the one on Jason Kenney's new immigration policy below, and your comments therein, makes me feel 'proud' to be a Canadian. Thank you! I am so glad people like yourself speak out and remind us of our proud past and promising future... which as you pointed out so well, is due in large part because of immigrants.

The conservatives seem to forget that at some point, we were all immigrants at one time.

The small mindedness and bigotry of the Harper conservatives (Reform/Alliance) reminds me of what we all have to fear with their type of mindset and governance:

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death."

Darryl Raymaker said...

Thanks for that John. Its too bad not enough Canadians grew up or lived in God's country - where you now live and where I grew up. When I lived in the Pass, almost everyone had an accent and a surprising number of people could not speak English. Those same people held jobs and made sure their kids grew up to do something important and take their rightful place in society. Conservatives have never accepted that basic fact because so many of them are uncomfortable being among - to them - an alien culture or people who in their minds are 'different.' That is why the Liberals maintain and will continue to maintain their advantage with new Canadians. Liberals welcome and respect them. Conservatives like Harper and his pals are always looking for ways to screw them for political advantage.

Skinny Dipper said...

Why does Mr. Abdelrazik need to take a plane home? He can always take a boar. It might be a long, expensive, and uncomfortable trip. He just needs to step on Canadian soil--passport or no passport.

Skinny Dipper said...

Oops! I think he should get on a boat. Although a boar might be more fun. I'm not sure if boars can swim the Atlantic.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Hey Skinny Dip

How does he take a boar when they are all on the government benches.

But if you mean 'boat' who is going to pay for all of that high living on a trip from say Mombassa to Montreal. Or do you expect him to suffer through steerage accomodations. Stockwell Day would probably say, "let him have steerage - if he hasn't suffered enough, its his God given right to suffer some more."

Dr.Dawg said...

A good post, to which I linked.

Is it possible to take a boat from Sudan's border with the Red Sea all the way home, staying entirely in international waters?

I don't think cost is an issue at this point. Enough of us would certainly chip in for a boat ticket. I'm not sure the route is theoretically possible, though--but I could be wrong.

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