'Having engaged in acts of torture' - Macleans.ca

‘Having engaged in acts of torture’


NDP immigration critic Don Davies has written to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asking that Mr. Kenney deny Mr. Cheney entry to the country (the former vice president is scheduled to visit Vancouver on Monday as part of his book tour).

Minister, may I remind you of your own government’s initiatives this summer in which you called on the public to assist your government in removing from Canada those individuals who had engaged in serious criminality, war crimes or crimes against humanity. May I also remind you of your own government’s actions in denying entry to British MP George Galloway. At that time you stated that: “It’s not about words. It’s about deeds.”

… Minister, the essence of just application of the law is that it is applied evenly and consistently. I would therefore respectfully request that you deny entry to Mr. Cheney on grounds of inadmissibility under IRPA for having engaged in acts of torture. In the event that you do not do so, I would respectfully request that a report be prepared setting out the relevant facts, and that you refer same to the Immigration Division for an admissibility hearing with a view to issuing a removal order against Mr. Cheney, all pursuant to section 44 of IRPA.


‘Having engaged in acts of torture’

  1. speak out against the war crimes committed by Israel and you are barred….. admit to actual war crimes, you will be greeted warmly…… by a harper regime

    • Don’t blame Harper.  We’re just that owned.

  2. It will be interesting to see how the NDP evolve as a government in waiting.  In particular, are they going to embrace this sort of useless, symbolic protestation or are they going to sell out and become just another mainstream party.

    • I’m guessing that it’s the former.  The federal NDP have shown time and time again that they’re not willing to be a serious party–hence their incoherent and logically contradictory positions on things like rep by pop, Keystone XL, HST, home heating credits, etc.

      This foolish Cheney stuff is just another example of how the NDP doesn’t have the competence or credibility to govern a country like Canada.

      • I’d be interested to know just what you consider serious with regards to Cheney. He’s at least as worthy of denial of entery to this country as Galloway; although i don’t think it’s particularly useful to bar either man in the interests of free speech; nonetheless the double standard is telling. And it is a double standard.

        • I don’t think Canada should have barred Galloway either, but it has nothing to do with “free speech”.  Galloway was eventually allowed to enter Canada in 2010, which is proper.  He’s an odious character, but I don’t think his ties to dictators and banned groups were sufficient to bar him in the first place.

          Canada has no reason to bar Cheney, because he’s not guilty of anything. If he had been convicted of violating human rights by an established court of law, then Canada might have reason to exclude him.

          The idea that Canada might bar Cheney is a foolish notion espoused by people who are living in some sort of Michael Moore-esque fantasyland, rather than the real world.

          • He has admitted to authorizing torture.  Full stop.  While it is ultimately the responsibility of the US to arrest and try him for his crimes, if the US shows no interest in doing so, it’s up to international court system to pick up the slack.  The fact that no such action is occuring (or will occur) is, of course, expected.  Which is why the symbolic actions are important.  There will never be official actions taken.

            Unless you are claiming that Cheney had nothing to do with authorizing torture.

            That said, there really isn’t anything the Department of Immigration should do until he is charged with the crimes he admits to in his memoir. Of course, the same could be said of Galloway, if they thought he was a criminal and their decision wasn’t a purely political attempt to keep him from speaking at a specific event.

          • If we exclude Cheney on the grounds that he or someone further down the chain of command may have “authorized torture”, we would also have to exclude the political leaders of half the countries in the world.

          • (responding to Crit)

            He has admitted to personally authorizing torture.  This has nothing to do with the chain of command (not that that’s a great excuse, but at least it would provide plausible deniability cover).

          • I’m opposed to the idea of banning anyone, however odious on the grounds of free speech. Doesn’t matter if it’s Galloway, Coulter [ whom i find odious] or Bush/Cheney – people should just register their disapproval at the door – with Coulter that tactic was pretty effective; it’ was not right to threaten her with violence or even intimidation, but her overreaction to that affair didn’t look good on her at all. That said Cheney is a whole different scenario. If he has admitted in print he finds torture acceptable, the least out govt can do is to register its disapproval – as it did with Galloway – hence the double standard. At the very least we can divine from this just where our govt stands. Clearly this govt stands somewhere out in rightfield or at the very least is hypocritcal and dishonest about who it intends to favour in idealogical terms. I want a govt that  as much as possible resists the temptation to conduct an idealogical litmus test before deciding who it is going to speak freely in this country. If people of good faith find either Galloway or Cheney objectionable let them get out there and voice their disapproval. The govt, other then registering its opinion, and upholding international law ought to butt out.

          • (responding to kcm2)

            I agree 100%.  The “arrest warrant” stunt really is just another exercise of free speech.  I’m just trying to point out the double standard in barring entry to Galloway but not Cheney (or members of the EDL, for that matter).

            BTW, there was no threat of violence during Coulter’s episode.  There were vociferous protests against her particular brand, but the threat of violence existed only in her imagination.  My reading is that the event was poorly planned (i.e. the venue was too small to hold both her supporters and her detractors).  Don’t forget that the extreme right have an overactive victim complex, and are apt to transform a self-inflicted wound (poor planning) into a act of violence against them, amid cries of victimhood.

  3. It’s how they got Pinochet…and he needed getting.

  4. Heh.

    NDP, keep pulling these college-Marxist stunts and we’ll have Tories in for twenty years.

    • Heh…yes, letting war criminals run loose is a Con thing to do, because Harper is much more concerned about pot smokers.

    • Sorry,  but I fail to see the difference between the NDP demanding that Cheney  be denied entry to Canada and Kenney’s refusal of Galloway.

      • And you never will. Which is why you think this a clever riposte, and not sophomoric goofiness that most of the country will roll their eyes at, despite not actually liking Cheney very much.

        • AVR can’t actually explain,M why certain torturers should be allowed to visit Canada unimpeded, it’s just something that serious people understand.

      • I should also point out that Galloway, reprehensible as he is, was nonetheless eventually allowed into the country in 2010.

        • After being prevented from speaking at the event he was scheduled for, which really was the point of the denial.

          • He still spoke at the scheduled event, using video conference technology.  Not that it’s relevant… noncitizens don’t have some sort of “free speech” right to enter our country. 

          • So what’s the criteria for banning then? 

          • OK, prevented from attending.  Cheney presumably has access to video conferencing equipment as well, so the same standard applies (or could apply, were consistant standards a concern).

          • @briguyhfx:disqus 

            There’s no lack of consistency.  Cheney is not at all comparable to Galloway.  Galloway was originally deemed inadmissible under section 34(1) of the Immigration Act, which clearly doesn’t apply to Cheney.

          • @JanBC

            Section 34 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines criteria for inadmissibility.  If you look it up, you’ll see that none of these criteria apply to Cheney.

          • That’s fair.  Galloway has tried to organize humanitarian convoys into Gaza.  Although he has only been charged with an offence in Egypt, and he’s never actually been convicted of any crimes.

  5. I too, have written to the Minister opposing a war criminal being given entry into Canada.

    • A war criminal according to who? What court or jurisdiction has ruled that Cheney is a war criminal?

      • According to me Sir, as I feel a court should rule on the matter based upon the usual criminal informational standard of both reasonable belief and probable cause; especially as both our Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada have found that there was an official US policy of torture under the Bush/Cheney administration and the US Justice department has refused to open any investigation giving both Mr. Bush and Mr, Cheney a safe haven within the US. 

        A personal aside Sir, that would be “…[a]ccording to whom?  

        And please, don’t play the political partisan name calling game with me as I support community violence as a social control device and and I objectively feel there are only two worthwhile targets in any war, the entire leadership of the other side and the entire group of stupid basta*ds leading my side who got me into it.

        • Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada have found that there was an official US policy of torture under the Bush/Cheney administration

          Would you be so kind as to provide a link?

          I’ll ignore the tedious grammar pedantry.  Your “name calling game” remark seems bizarre, since you were called no names.  As for your self-professed “support of community violence as a social control device”, I find that despicable.

          • If you are capable of “reasoning”, perhaps you should acquire a curious mind and an ability to pay attention to what is or has happened around you.   Please do your own research as willful ignorance is hardly a recommendation for much of anything and I do not do briefs of law or other gratuitous research upon mere request.

            There are many definitions of “community” and state approved “violence” is well defined within Canadian case law and within our Criminal Code and such violence is used many times every day by properly authorized peace officers and, when ordered, by members of our armed services.  We currently have a promise by the Harper government to amend the laws of Canada in such a way as to “raise the bar against criminal culpability” so that a person using some force to protect him/herself from property thieves does not have to, as a lawful consequence, face criminal sanctions.

            Where I draw the line is when torture is used to extract “information” or as “punishment” or to “soften up” a prisoner prior to interrogation.  There is a great amount of material available offering proof that torture was approved and used by the Bush/Cheney government and that information is readily available from many sources including, in fact, directly from both Misters Bush and Cheney within their books and in recorded interviews.  

          • So other than that, how have you been enjoying freshman year so far? 

  6. Why don’t left wing types consider Chretien a war criminal?

    Canada participated in rendition of Arar to Syria where he wasn’t treated very nicely. 

    Instead of worrying about supposed war criminals from other countries, why don’t we start with Canada’s own war criminals and then worry about others. 

    TorStar – Oct 2009:

    Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has told a British newspaper that Canada dispatched Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured.

    • Mr. Adams …. there is a strongly suspected reason Mr. Ignatieff’s leadership destroyed the Liberal Party of Canada … that very likely occurred because Canadians understood that Mr. Ignatieff could not be trusted with the truth.

      Does it not occur to you that the prosecution of a foreign war criminal may assist us in the future prosecution of one of our own?

      The facts in the Maher Arar case are well documented in the “Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar”.  The Commission found no evidence that Canadian officials acquiesced in the U.S. decision to detain and remove Mr. Arar to Syria, but that it is very likely that the U.S. relied on inaccurate and unfair information about Mr. Arar that was provided by Canadian officials.

      On September 28, 2006, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli issued a public apology to Mr. Arar and his family during the House of Commons committee on public safety and national security:
      “Mr. Arar, I wish to take this opportunity to express publicly to you and to your wife and to your children how truly sorry I am for whatever part the actions of the RCMP may have contributed to the terrible injustices that you experienced and the pain that you and your family endured.”Arar thanked Commissioner Zaccardelli for his apology but further complained about the lack of disciplinary action against those individuals whose actions led to his detention by US officials and his subsequent torture in Syria. RCMP Commissioner Zaccardelli later resigned as RCMP commissioner because of this case.

  7. In the serious world only war crimes are only committed by swarthy individuals or those speaking odd, incomprehensible languages. 

    There are different rules for Americans and Europeans(at least those
    from western portion) in the Serious World.


    9/11 attacks  – worst crime ever.

    nuclear bombing of japan – unfortunate but necessary(it was necessary to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in order to save the lives of X number of American soldiers).

    • Not to be a nitpicker, but the fact is, the military planning and calculations that the Americans did prior to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also took into account the number of JAPANESE civilians that would have been killed had the US invaded the Japanese mainland.

      It’s a matter of historical record that the US military estimated that millions of Japanese civilians would have had to have been killed if the US had done a conventional military invasion of the Japanese mainland.  That is, of course, in addition to the many thousands or even hundreds of thousands of US soldiers that would have been killed as well.   I know it seems cold-blooded and decidedly politically incorrect, but when you measure those numbers against the number of casualties in Hiroshima/Nagasaki, clearly the nuclear option seemed preferable in terms of overall casualties — on BOTH sides.

      “A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7-4 million American casualties, including 400,000-800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities.”

      The full entry is here:


      • Oh, that pulls on my heartstrings – they nuked japan for the children!