Photo by Paul Darrow of Reuters.
This isn't the best shot, but it's close. There's a state of emergency in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island after they had almost a half-metre of snow dumped on them in the past 48 hours. Both provinces are basically shut down. This is the second major weather event to hit this area this year, the first being Hurricane Juan.
Southern Ontario had its own storm warning to contend with: 20 centimetres of snow followed by rain and freezing rain put areas in Waterloo Region under a flood alert. Fortunately, the bad weather passed to the south of us, and all we are left with is a mauzy, grey day.
An Open Letter to the Minister of Immigration
Dear Ms. Sgro
I call upon you to personally intervene in the matter of Song Dae Ri and grant this individual asylum in Canada. It strikes me as inconsistent, not to mention inhumane, that we should have a reputation for lax border controls and immigration laws, and yet send this individual back to certain death in North Korea.
I am particularly confused that your department would rule Mr. Ri to be a war criminal, simply for being a trade official in North Korea's dictatorship. I remind you that no specific allegations have been made against him and that Canada's War Crimes Unit have found no evidence of wrongdoing. This perplexing stance, that simply being a part of North Korea's dictatorship prevents you from defecting from it, prevents North Koreans from speaking out against their country's dictatorship and saving themselves and their families. In your own small way, by using Mr. Ri's alleged and unsubstantiated complicity in North Korea's human rights abuses, you have bolstered North Korea's dictatorship, allowed it to act with impunity against its citizens, and have made it harder for average North Koreans to bring about democratic change.
Over and above that, your own department acknowledges that Mr. Ri will face execution upon his return to North Korea. For this reason you have allowed his six-year-old son to stay (which, on its own, is reason enough to allow the father to stay). Every measure of humanity and standard of compassion requires that Mr. Ri be allowed to remain in Canada. This country has balked at allowing the extradition of citizens and landed immigrants to countries where they might face execution for legitimate crimes; what does it say about Canada that we make North Korea an exception?
I understand the reasons for having a bureaucratic process, but bureaucracy should never be allowed to get in the way of the most basic human rights. As the minister of immigration, you have the power to intervene. Do so, now, and allow Mr. Song Dae Ri to remain in Canada with his son.
Please note, the "Contact Us" link on Judy Sgro's website does not work. To e-mail the Minister of Immigration, write to Sgro.J@parl.gc.ca. You might also reach her at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another Blog on the Roll
Kevin is a displaced Prince Edward Islander blogging from Toronto. He's pretty technically savvy if his website is anything to go by. Check out his blog; it's a great design and some interesting posts.