What the heck is going on in Kenya?


Another twist in the bizarre tale of Suaad Hagi Mohamud. Gar Pardy would like to know where the ministers are.

“You would think they would bloody well have made sure their judgment was based on something more than thick lips,” he said. “The ministers should be insisting on a proper investigation. Ministers have been getting a free ride. They are more and more sliding away from direct responsibilities when things go wrong. If ministers aren’t responsible, then nobody is responsible.”

When Mohamud’s lawyer pleaded her case to federal court, the Tories refused to comment because the case of mistaken identity was now a legal matter. One of the few remarks came from Cannon, who said she would have to try harder to prove that she was the person pictured in the passport.


What the heck is going on in Kenya?

  1. Like the case of the gentleman stuck in Sudan, this one smacks of blatant racism.

    • Beg to differ; the Harper government's indifference – indeed hostility – to individuals, organisations, and all and sundry that are not clearly supportive of the Harper government and its pinched ideology is, in my view, informed by political motives only. There may be secondary and subconscious motivations rooted in various forms of unsavoury discrimination but I suspect the bottom line for action from Harper and his government is merely whether there is an immediate political benefit to themselves to be gained.

      Perhaps someone can produce a f'rinstance otherwise? I would be, believe it or not, pleased to be proven wrong here.

      • I wasn't referring to the PMO. When an official points to the thickness of someone's lips, I don't hear politics, I hear racism.

        • The reason that she was rejected in the first place was because the Kenyan official thought her lips did not match her passport photo. That is why there was a reference to lips here.

        • Are you nuts? Of course they are talking about facial features, that's what the whole issue is about, whether she has the same lips as the person in the photo. Is everything about racism in your world? Do you see racism in your breakfast cereal?

  2. Sounds like bureaucracy doing what it does best: sticking to the rules and regs and consequences be damned. Public servants do not care about circumstances or common sense, they only care that forms are filled out correctly and in the proper order.

  3. This isn't about bureaucracy. I'm told that the reason given for refusing to acknowledge her true identity is that our officials felt that the woman's lips were thicker than her picture.

    How anyone can utter these words with a straight face is beyond me. If that's not racism, I don't know what is.

    • You're misinformed. Our officials didn't think that the woman's lips were thicker than her picture. It was the Kenyan officials who thought this and locked her up for that reason. Our officials having been trying to get her back in Canada.

    • You're misinformed. Our officials didn't think that the woman's lips were thicker than her picture. It was the Kenyan officials who thought this, and they locked her up for that reason. Our officials having been trying to get her back in Canada.

      • You are the one who is misinformed. Our officials AGREED with that argument.

        • How can Crit R say what was just said? when the letter the Canadian official wrote condemning the Canadian citizen to oblivion has been made public? She said, in effect, you're right, she's not a Canadian.

          • Yes, it seems like sheer incompetence at the Canada High Commission in Kenya.

    • From Woods/Taylor article Aaron linked to:

      "Mohamud's ordeal started in May when airline KLM and Kenyan authorities flagged her as suspicious, saying her lips and eyeglasses didn't look like her Canadian passport photo.

      Then the staff at the Canadian High Commission in Kenya not only failed to help her as a citizen but also sent her passport to Kenyan immigration authorities for criminal prosecution."

      So you are arguing Kenyan authorities are racist towards black people? That's an interesting theory. Once Mohamud was flagged as being 'suspicious' by Kenyans, I am willing to bet our public servants followed rules and regs to the t and now here we are three months later.

      • "Then the staff at the Canadian High Commission in Kenya not only failed to help her as a citizen but also sent her passport to Kenyan immigration authorities for criminal prosecution."

        I'm surprised you even put that in your quote as part of your argument.

      • Eyeglasses were different? Wow, that's about the lamest excuse ever. Guess I should always be sure to wear the same shirt that appears (ever so slightly) in my passport photo.

  4. We are long overdue for another post on Omar Khadr. What about Omar?

    • Oh, c'mon. I'm sure you can impugn the reputation of this woman effortlessly.

      • Why would I do that?

        • Because that's what you do.

    • Yeah, I'm sure you can come up with some arbitrary reason to justify denying her rights.

      • Why do you want do that?

        • Above, Exhibit one of why this government has no moral compass, just deflective anger with a hint of receding values.

          • What the heck are you talking about?

  5. What is wrong with this government? This case is just appalling…either the government is completely incompetent or willfully malicious. It's obvious now that they made a mistake. If they have any human decency they will get this woman back home to her family.

    • What you are not hearing in the report are the hundreds of people who are correctly turned away when attempting to enter Canada on a fake passport.

      What seems strange about this case is the fact that it was not a simple matter of going to the embassy to get proper verification of her identity. Why were the police involved? If she does not look like the person in the passport, it seems to me that it should be generally easy to rectify the situation.

      • Spokespeople for the foreign affairs (ie. Lawrence Cannon's) department and Canada Border Services Agency refused to say if the government would accept DNA tests as proof of identity.

        And you ask why it wasn't a simple matter to verify her identity? Sheesh, this government thinks that DNA isn't an absolute proof of your identity (if you commit a crime then DNA is certainly enough to put you in jail but to confirm that you are truly who you are, well… the science on DNA isn't really settled, you know…). Either that or Cannon and Peter Van Loan fear that fake DNA, clone and/or an identical twin may be involved in a plot to set foot in Canada.

  6. When you can't criminalize abortion, when you can't repeal the metric system, you appeal to your political base in small ways. For example, you hassle brown-skinned Canadians overseas.

    • Absolutely. This sends a clear message to the base…Theyre are different classes of Canadian citizens, some more committed or "real" than most.

  7. I'm annoyed that it's left to a former diplomat to make these accusations. Political opposition parties should be making these accusations, not former public servants. Harper and the rest of his government circus act keep exposing their jugular, and the opposition just doesn't pounce.

  8. Look, I don't think this is racism. I think this is just incompetence.

    Of course, if Oliver Stone's on the case, he'd suggest a Stockwell Day-led conspiracy to sandbag Jason Kenney :-)

    • I disagree. Look at the response Brenda somebody got while jailed in Mexico. The woman was charged and found guilty of a crime. She got a govt jet to pick her up and personal visits from govt officials.

      You're going to make me believe that race has nothing to do with the way Mohamud is being treated?

      • There is an element of the Conservative Party that would be — let's say — more comfortable mixing with the Rush Limbaugh fan club than with persons-of-colour.

        However, what we're talking about here is a systemic breakdown in the immigration control process that does not really have political input. Other than trying to make Kenney and Harper look bad, I'm not sure what other deliberate strategy there could have been.

        I"d think that the decision to bar this lady was with the CBSA which is in Peter Van Loan's department and Foreign Affairs which is Cannon's dept. So, I'd go with incompetence more so than racism.

        Harper didn't intervene because — well, this lady doesn't fit his Tim Horton's Joe-and-Jane profile. Again, incompetence and indifference, not racism.

        • "Harper didn't intervene because — well, this lady doesn't fit his Tim Horton's Joe-and-Jane profile."

          I don't really know how you could more appropriately exemplify racism.

          • Yeah, I heard Harper goes to KKK meetings on weekends. Check his backyard for nooses.

        • I ahve to agree (I don't know how to do the thinbs up ranking thingy) It's too bad that everytjhing has to be viewed through the 'vote getting' political prism with this pseudo-government, and not based on rule of law, precendence, citizenship rights, justice, etc……..

          • Do you remember that in the Brenda/ Mexico case and the private jet to bring her home etc, that soon to be Senator Mike Duffy was going overboard with the one on one interviews from Mexico, with Mom etc, stirring the sympathy pot. He never had any doubt where to put his influence.

      • If I remember correctly, Brenda Martin was stuck in a Mexican prison for over a year (and was presumably an innocent victim). How about Bil Sampson and his torture?

        So PolJunkie, if she is tossed in a dungeon and tortured for a year, then at that time, feel free to pull out the race card.

        • scf, the woman we are talking about right now was arrested by the Kenyan authorities because somebody at the Canadian Consulate in Kenya didn't think she looked like her four-year-old passport photo. The DNA test Ms. Mahumod paid for pretty much proves her innocence, doesn't it? Or what more do you want–for her to go back in time four years and have a passport picture taken of how she looks NOW? But for some reason, it is only racism after the one year point? Please explain how racism has a time element attached to it.

          • You don't seem to understand what I said. My point is, there is absolutely no racism involved. And I have provided examples of white people treated much worse than this lady and not helped whatsoever by the Canadian government. Those other people were innocent too.

            Where on earth you get the idea that this is racism, that is beyond me. Are you saying that any negative experience for a black person is caused by racism? You don't even know of the officials involved at the embassy were white or black or whatever!

            You just see a black person have a bad experience, and you immediately conclude it is racism. Get a grip.

          • See, I would say that this is evidence of racism, but not the "I'm going to purposely keep you back and make your life difficult" sort. Instead, it's the subtle racism that infects everyone and everything in society – the sort of racism that makes you cross the street when you see a group of young black men walking toward you or makes you clench up when you see a Muslim get onto your flight. It's the sort of thing that most of us realize is silly and we usually correct ourselves immediately, but sometimes you just don't notice it. Like, it's so much easier to believe that a middle class white woman is unfairly accused of something than a poor black Muslim woman. It isn't so much that anyone is intentionally doing something wrong or trying to treat people differently, it's just that's how people end up acting.

  9. I love the Protection of Canadians Abroad Act idea.

    It should invoke the right of entry in s.6 of the Charter, and contain a provision mandating appeals for clemency in death penalty cases. It will also need to provide for cases, such as Suaad Hagi Mohamud's, where the government claims the person is not a citizen (and could therefore claim the Act doesn't apply).

    I'm putting this in my "there oughtta be a law" file.

  10. OK, look, this is just wrong. This is beyond incompetence. You have to TRY to be this unbelievably bad. Incompetence means an inability to do a job. They could have done the job. They just didn't.

    I mean, after her passport was taken away, she tried to prove who she is by producing: her Ontario driver's licence, OHIP card, social insurance card, Canadian citizenship certificate, her credit card, two bank cards, Shoppers Drug Mart "Optimum" card, Humber River Regional Hospital Card , a recent dry-cleaning ticket from a Toronto dry-cleaner and a letter from her Toronto employer about a recent promotion. And what does the esteemed Minister of Foreign Affairs have to say?

    "The individual has to be straightforward, has to let us know whether or not she is a Canadian citizen."

    She got a DNA test that showed with 99.99 certainty that she is who she says she is. What then? The government says "Huh. Our bad. Well, I guess we'll get you a new passport. So you can come on home just as soon as you get the charges dropped and the bond removed. Good luck with that! C-Ya!"

    No, this is well beyond incompetence.

    I miss the days when you could count on the government helping Canadian citizens abroad. Now you have to wait until your story percolates up from the inter-blags to the MSM, then finally to the minister's office, where it will sit for a while until the courts have to spell out (again) that they MUST help you out.

  11. Just about all of citizens that have received this kind of treatment from our govt have one thing in common. They are all non-white muslims.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the problem is here.