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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Always a threat: Forest Fires

For the urban dweller who sees the lakes and forests of Ontario as a weekend diversion it is thrilling when the weather is hot and dry, the longer the better. For those of us who live close by or in the midst of the forests, long periods of hot and dry weather, leaves us threatened and vulnerable to forest fires.

While I enjoy sitting on the veranda swing these days with the warm weather, blue sky with puffy white clouds, watching the hummingbirds darting back and forth and feeding, to the smell of lilacs, I am filled with unease. The weather has been too warm and dry this Spring after a rather warm Winter of drought conditions so that we now have notices going up to tell us that there can be no burning outside. The forests are tinder dry.

There are also limitations on working in the forest. Logger may be barred from working or have their day shortened to from 5:00 AM to 11:00 AM. each day. Sparks from tire chains on machines could start a fire. Similarly a chainsaw chain accidentally hitting a rock could leave a spark which could eventually burst into flame. Needless to say, smokers must be very careful when in the forest. and, campers must cook on stove and not over an open fire.

I knew these restrictions were coming. A good sign was the low level of water in my river. The land has been drying out and our ponds and steams have low levels of water.

It has been several years since we have had a bad forest fire season in Northeastern Ontario. We quite often have seen our forest fire fighters and their equipment going to Western Canada or the United States to help our in those regions.

It seems history has caught up with us. We are at the beginning of an active forest fire season here. There or at least 40 active fires at the moment. This past week the worst of these have been threatening the small city of Timmins (45,000) and the town of Kirkland Lake. (8500). These are major communities north of where I live. They are largely mining communities where gold has been mined for 100 years. There is also some forestry and small marginal farms.

Water bombers scooping up water to fight the Timmins # 5 fire.

Luckily we have countless numbers of lakes everywhere so water is plentiful.. When the wind is low and visibility is good these remarkable planes can help to slow and control forest fires.

No one can fight a forest fire head on. They are terrifying events. They can be controlled around the edges until mother Nature begins to bring the fires under control. Then and only then can water bombers and men and women on the ground put out small fires and hot spots until the threat of the fire growing again is overcome. With some fires, only the coming of the snows of Winter can this be achieved.

This is the town of Kirkland Lake. I have friends who live here and in nearby Swastika, who I am a little concerned for. With the fire within 3 km of the town, there is a real threat. High heat and winds could bring the fire into town. Some people have been evacuated and the rest of the town this week is waiting to possibly evacuate on short notice.

This is a close up view of the Kirkland Lake fire.

The other large fire in this region is near Timmins. About 1000 people have been evacuated, mostly people outside the city in their camps. The fire is 30 km from the city, but even that gap could be traversed by the fire. There is lots of smoke in the city. This alone might require an evacuation. Nearby the community of the Mattagami First Nation has been evacuated because of the smoke.. This community is about the size of my local community. Timmins is still on alert and under threat.

People in the North are very aware of the threats of forest fires. Three of the worst forest fires in Canada have
occurred in this region. The Porcupine Fire of 1911, which saw the town of Porcupine burned to the ground, The Matheson fire of 1916, which destroyed several small communities of settlers trying to become established along the Ontario Northland Railroad, along a 40 mile front. and the Great Fire of 1922, which destroyed a lot of the towns in the Tri-town area of Haileybury, Dymond Twp, andNew Liskeard. It is all know as Temiskaming Shores these days. Everyone in this part of Ontario knows of these great tragedies and the threat of forest fire. There are lots of stories that have been told about these fires. Here is one example of the events of the Matheson fire and the Boucher Family.

Just a year after the forest fire engulfing the town of Slave Lake , Alberta we are reminded that the days of massive tragedies from Forest Fires is not over. We wait and pray for rain, low wind and lower temperatures.


Since I first wrote this blog entry our prayers have been answered. We have had rain, low wind and lower temperatures. The Timmins #9 fire is under control although a 100,000 acres was burned over. Also, the Kirkland Lake fire is under control. It burned, I believe, about 8,000 acres. They continue to work on these fire sites, dousing hot spots and preventing any kind of flair up. It is hard, hot, dirty work. Those who evacuated have returned home. No lives were lost and human structure were largely spared.

Fire is a nature part of forest ecology. We work so hard to suppress it in order to save the lives, homes and work of people. Eventually, the forest will return. In a year or so the burned over area will be rich in blueberries. In a five years of so new trees will start growing. Species like the Jack Pine will not release its seeds from its cone unless there is the heat of a fire. The young forest will have lots of browse for moose and deer. The bears will have lots of roots and berries.
The beavers will continue to build their dams and keep water on the land. They will thrive with all the new sapling to feed on. For the forest to fully recover it may take 70 or 100 years. Mother Nature has all the time in the World. Only, we humans will be inconvenienced although those with cottages and camps will still be able to enjoy the lovely lakes even if their forests surrounding are immature. Life goes on.

Postscript to a Protest

Since I wrote my previous blog entry the student protests in Quebec have expanded and changed their focus. The draconian laws of the Jean Charest government which are seen as a threat to people's fundamental rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has seen support for the student lead protests broaden. It has brought a widely representative group to the streets. On the anniversary of the 100th day of street demonstrations there were thousands and not tens of thousands of citizens filling the streets of Montreal and other cities in the province. The nightly protests and arrests continue.

It has become clear that Bill 78 has not achieved it's goal of ending the protests through threats. Court challenges of these ill conceived laws, which the police are wisely not enforcing, have begun. This process will take a long time. It is a political solution that will solve the "problem".

Below is an interesting video which can help explain what is going on. Those in the video are not wild eyed radicals seeking violent confrontation with the police. The demonstrations have been overwhelming peaceful. You might not believe this if you just listened to the nightly news with it's fascination for the antics of the Black Bloc, an anarchist group that seeks out violent confrontation. They show up at every demonstration. They are a sideshow, a minority whose methods feed the media's focus on the sensational.

Those who speak on this video are calm, thoughtful citizens, who feel disenfranchised and now threatened by their government. They deserve to be listen to.

The nightly pots and pans student protests continue. They are no all students.

Here is the interesting text that goes with the video.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Another Québec Crisis

Once again in Qu
ébec we see frightened politicians resorting to the use of draconian laws to curtail citizens' rights. The Québec government has just passed a law after a 24 hour debate that will for all intent and purpose is against the guarantees of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I am sure they know this but they are counting on the slowness of any challenge as their opportunity to quash the protest of Québec students which have been going on for 15 weeks. The last time we saw this kind of panicked action was Québec politicians convincing the Federal government (or was it the other way around) to invoke the War Measures Act suspending our rights and turning the military loose on citizens.

What started out as students protesting the rise in University tuition has become a crisis in our democracy.

Early days to optimistic demonstration that Education was a Right in Québec and should not be made a privilege with higher tuition fees.

The protests have now begun a period of civil disobedience over a law that denies students rights, of freedom of speech and assembly.

Fifteen weeks ago the Québec government decided that there should be a dramatic increase in the level of tuition for University students. The initial response to the 80% increase in tuition was; No! this is too much and unfair. But from the beginning it was more than just the money.

It was an attempt at a cultural change for Québec. Those of us in the rest of Canada do not appreciate the culture of Québec that involved a greater involvement of government in the lives of people. Québec has a difference ethos that the rest of Canada. It has won this battle. Even the Conservatives recognized Québec as a Nation within our Nation. Québec has it own pension plan, more Unions than other parts of Canada, restrictions on workers coming from other provinces, extensive support of the arts, protections of the French language, etc. With regard to education , education is seen as a right and not a privilege. These means that education is free, or at least that was the ideal. Education is paid for by the government through taxes (Quebec willingly pays the highest taxes in Canada to support their cultural goals, particularly free public education.) It is free through the community college level and it has the lowest tuition for University in Canada (there are those who believe that even University education should be free) For Québecois education is a social and not just a personal good. Society as a collective benefits greatly by making it available to all. In the rest of Canada, higher education is seen as more of an individual good, a privilege for those who can afford it (or go in debt for it) so that they may attain a better job and a higher standard of living, economically and socially.

So with the dramatic increase in University tuition proposed, it was seen as an assault on the very nature of Québec's social project. The ideal of free ( or very low cost) University education was being abandoned. Increasing tuition would make Quebec University funding just like the rest of Canada. The 80% increase over 5 to 7 years would still leave Quebec tuition below the rest of Canada, and in contrast to the cost of American Universities it would be only about 10 to 20 percent less.

Criticisms from outside of Quebec focused on the money amount and saw the pampered Québec students as being unreasonable. If the protests has last only a week or so, I might have agreed but for daily demonstrations over 15 weeks with 10's of thousands of students in the streets daily, it is obvious that this is not just over money.

I am not sure the Liberal government has appreciated this; trying to limit the negotiations to being over money. I would suggest the Liberal government in Québec is in fact a conservative government with the values of federal politics, not fully in line with the ethos of Quebec. It has been lead for years by Jean Charest who was a Federal Progressive Conservative politician before he moved to provincial politics leading the Provincial Liberals when he failed to become the leader of the federal Conservatives. In the years he has lead the Liberal party, the party has been the defender of federalism in Québec. Québec has now moved beyond this. The youth are no longer angry at the rest of Canada as their parents were. They are comfortable with the relationship with the rest of Canada. We saw with the defeat of the separatist party, the Bloc Québécois and the support of the New Democrats in the last federal election. Similarly, the rest of Canada has become comfortable with Québec's special political and social status in Canada. (at least of the time being).

Québec University students have risen up to defend the uniqueness of Québec in the face of the rise in tuition which treats education just like in the rest of Canada. Their protest is: we are not just like the rest of Canada and will not be treated as such. In fact, some of the Québec students, don't understand why more students in the rest of Canada do not support them and try to be more like them and fight tuition increases and struggle for the day when University education will be easily available to all those who qualify academically alone.

There has been a year long student struggle for equality in education and lower tuition in Chile. The comparisons are interesting for they are both a struggle for the culture of the respective societies.

To understand Québec one must learn it's history. Until the Quiet Revolution in the 1960's Quebec was dominated by the English and a small group of the French elite. The vast majority of French speaking
Québécois were, loggers, minors, farmers, labourer etc. They were a large underclass who were dominated by the English and in most businesses and institutions seldom could rise to the managerial level. One author referred to French Canadians as "white niggers". The Catholic Church as part of the French elite dominated the lives of "les habitants ". It kept the mass of French Canadians in their place.

The last Québec government to maintain this system was that of the Union Nationale of Duplessis. It was defeated by the Liberal government of Jean Lesage. In a few short years, great changes came to Quebec. As a result of the Parent Commission five volume Report Québec's education system was radically changed. A Province wide system was set up with control being taken away from many small local boards (no doubt dominated by the clergy). The classical colleges were closed. Community Colleges were developed and education was free up to this level with an expectation that eventually it would be free to university as well. Education was to be the institution to transform Québec; and it did. Quebec is in many was the most progressive region of Canada. Once it has the highest birthrate and now it has the lowest. It has the most common law "marriage" arrangement in Canada, it has very inexpensive, $7 a day, public child care. Montreal is the most accepting of the homosexual community in Canada. The language law has protected the French language and made French the language of business in Quebec. The Arts in Québec flourish is spite of the relative small population, isolated by language and culture, (more likely because of it. Education was the key to the transformation of Québec.

I am not sure what will be the result of the Québec governments draconian legislation. In the end, they may suppress dissent by students, and be able to impose tuition increases. I do know that there will be court cases testing aspects of this law and they will be found unconstitutional.

In the meantime, students seem determined to resist this law. The numbers of protesters may actually increase as even students who did not protest the tuition increases will protest the loss of their rights. Other social and labour groups will recognize the threat and join the protests.

I would like to think that Canadians, all over Canada would travel to Québec and join the student challenges to this law. Tuesday there is to be a large protest in the streets. I can only dream that millions of Canadians from all across the country will be there the stand up for the rights of Québec students at the same time standing up for the rights of us all under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Teaching We Can Do Without

The RCMP Musical Ride

This past week I read an article in the Toronto papers the Canada's spy agency, Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the national police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have asked for access to the Toronto schools to "teach" the students. They seem to want to carry on some kind of public relations campaign on the students. They were particularly interested in addressing immigrant students, which they claimed had some kind of negative view of the police having come from countries where the police were not well respected. It has been suggested they are really wanting to spy on minority communities by convincing students to report suspicious activities within their homes and community to the police.

I am no admirer of the police and find giving the police such access to students very threatening.
I hope the school board turn them down, if not I hope they will insist that civil libertarian groups also have a chance to speak to students about their rights and responsibilities and the appropriate limits on police power and authority.

I have not always had a very negative view of the police. It has taken a lifetime to have early childhood positive views changed to a very negative view. I was raised on the PR campaigns of "our friend the policeman" and the slogan on all police cars that they are here to "serve and protect". I have learned that there are far to many times when these notions are untrue.

I can remember in grade school the police coming into the class to tell us how friendly and approachable they were. I am sure I sopped this up although my only clear memory is that the policeman carried a gun, which he would not show us and which was well hidden in a holster entirely enclosing it. ( I was always unnerved when I moved to the US and the police had open holsters that made them look like gunslingers).

It was during my years in the United States that I learned that the police were not always very friendly and that their main job was not to serve and protect me but to serve and protect the established order and private property. Being part of the generation which protested against the war in Vietnam and marched in favour of civil rights I came see the police up much closer than I did as a child. I saw police out of control beating protesters. I also was present when some thuggish looking police from the Police Benevolent Association (union) came to speak to a colleague of mine in Boston, who had the audacity to officially complain about police rough handling a citizen. In short, they threatened my friend and got what they wanted a withdrawal of the complaint.

My most shocking experience I witnessed with the Boston Police took place in the middle of the night. I lived in the heart of the Black community of Roxbury in those days. We were one of only a handful of white residents. I woke up in the middle of the night to flashing lights. There was some incident on the street near my place. I got dressed and joined my neighbours as the only white person on the street other than the police. There were as many as 10 police vehicles there which had at least two officers per vehicle. It turned out there was a woman in an upstairs apartment who had a medical emergency. They brought the woman down sitting on a chair. As they passed me I heard an officer say, "Where do we take this fucking one." It shocked me then and it shocks me now that this public servant who was one of our "friendly" policeman who lived to "serve and protect" was so hostel and disrespectful about a woman in distress. Of course, the whole scene was disrespectful. There was no ambulance (perhaps, that service would not come into a black neighbourhood) so a paddy wagon was used to transport the lady. It appeared that the police were afraid to come into our neighbourhood. They would always show up in force to intimidate the local people even over such a minor medical emergency. In those days in Boston, and I believe it is true today, the police were racist, dominated by the Irish and Italian officers, many of whom no longer lived within the city. This institution was hostile to the Black Community just as the school were. (This was the time that the book on the Boston School system was written, "Death at an Early Age". The police were little more than thugs in dealing with people they did not understand and cared not to know or understand, whether they be black or protesters , or drunks, or drug addicts or liberal white folk who thought there were better ways to serve the public.

When I lived in New Haven, Connecticut, I was one of many who had their phones illegally tapped by the New Haven police, which in those days was lead by a police chief who had been acclaimed as on of the countries "top cops" He went on to service with the FBI in Boston at the time that the Irish Mafia under "White Bulger" were being used as informants against the Italian mafia. Years after I left New Haven, I was part of a class action suit against the Chief Ahearn and the city of New Haven for the illegal wire tapping. My phone conversations with members of the Black Panther Party). We won and I received some money from the city and the former chief.

In spite of my growing negative view of the American police I can remember telling an American female friend on our way to Canada that the police in Canada were so much better than the American police. This is still probably true but they seem to be learning more and behaving more like their American cousins. Just as we crossed over into Canada in the middle of the night I was pulled over by the police on a supposed traffic violation. To the credit of the police officer he pulled me over a second time to just tell it was all a ruse. They were looking for a person wanted by INTERPOL. I have since wondered who the person was and how I could have looked like him, driving a Volkswagen with a red canoe on top with a woman and two children travelling with me.
Not exactly what you would think of as an international fugitive. Could there have been two of us in the middle of the night with hardly any traffic on the road.

Since returning to Canada I have become well aware of our own police shortcomings that I previously overlooked. Our much revered the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has a long history of abusing their power. I remember when they were found out to carrying out dirty tricks to make the FLQ appear more threatening than they were. As a result of the McDonald Commission they had the national security function taken away from them and CSIS came into existence. We have had the recent case of the police behaving badly with the outrageous actions of the police in Toronto during the G20 summit. The legal actions against the police are still unfolding. This was not the first such occasion but the worst of a long line of similar occasions when citizens exercised their rights to protest. It seems the police see their function is to harass protesters, frustrate them exercising their legal rights and to protect private property at all cost, with little regard for the peoples rights.Where are the police who are being friendly and serving and protecting the protesting citizens exercising their rights. It seems they cannot count on having police serving them.

One of the most disturbing things for me in recent years is the use of police
tasers. When they were first proposed they were to be used to replace lethal force, (the use of guns). In effect, they have proved to be another lethal force. Citizens are dying from their use in situations where guns would not be acceptable , including such things as impudent detainees, prisoners in their cells, protesters, the mentally ill, the handicapped who would not move fast enough, etc. It seem the taser often replaces skilled police work whether it be calming distraught people with talk or even the proper use of a night stick.

I am a very law biding person ( in most things). I try to avoid contact with the police. I certain am not one to try to antagonize them. I have had little personal contact with them over the years. I have never been arrested. I have been investigated by the police, which in itself is very disturbing and something I would not write about on my blog. There were years when I did have a lot of contact with the local police. These were the years I had foster children, who always seemed to by teenagers who had had come to the police attention. My only visible hostility to the police is that I will not let them come in my house if they are armed. As a result, I have had many a cold conversation with the police in sub zero weather on my front porch. I let no one in my house with a gun. I don't like them and I don't own one, which makes me an oddity in my rural area where most people have guns and many hunt. One of the few times I ever called the police was when a neighbour theatened me with a gun. The police came and spoke with him and reported back to me that, "You have a really unreasonable neighbour." No action was taken. I certainly did not feel well served or protected. I have known a couple of policeman personally over the years , whose professionalism I admired but could never be friends with them, given my disdain for their profession and its shortcomings.

Finally, the police far too often show a disrespect for people's civil and political rights. Are we getting our views about the police from TV dramas which are little more than propaganda programs. it is the accepted view of the police who play rough, fast and loose with the legal restraints on their behaviour and disrespect of human and civil rights, where they suggest that if the law was not so constraining they would dispatch the bad guys with no regard for rights. Worst still is where police protect their own when they break the law. This blue wall, so often depicted in dramas actually exists and police fail us all by not coming forward and give evidence against fellow officers. Time and time again, we see this. If properly trained the police should understand their first loyalty is to the law and the community and not to their fellows officers. More of them need to step up and give evidence against police behaving badly. A recent example in Canada is the revelations of the culture within the RCMP that allowed the harassment and sexual assault of female officers throughout their years in the force. Even when complaints were made little or nothing was done. Where were the fellow police officers who must have know this macho sexist culture within the force was wrong. They failed to step forward.

I do not want the police in our schools trying to convince impressionable children the Truth" of an idealized view of the police. Our youth deserve to know the whole of the story, warts and all.

CSIS is supposed to be a more secretive organization than community police so I do not understand why they want to talk to children about their organization. I suspect they have motives other than teaching. This might be a subject for the civilian agency that oversees the activities of CISIS. The RCMP has not need to improve its public image, in spite of it's history of misbehaviour it continue to be held in high regard. I am not sure why. It historic origins for the agency that brought respect for law and order to the vast western development of Canada. For most of us our best image of the mounties is seeing them in the red surge dress uniforms on formal occasions, quite willing to have you take your picture with them. And then there is the musical ride in all it's elegance which most recently performed for the Queen. It is a Canadian icon that guarantees glory and respect for the RCMP no matter how often them behave badly on carrying out their policing function.

If CSIS and the RCMP really have no need to teach our young, then, we are left with the suggestion that these two federal policing organizations really want to have access to our children so they may have influence over them and spy on immigrant communities. I find this very distasteful. I can see immigrant communities seeing this not dissimilar from the police states they have left to come to Canada.

The best PR that the police could have if they did their job skillfully, respectful of the law and the public,. . . all of the public. The respect they desire and require must be daily earned by the police in personal and public behaviours. We have a right to demand this of them as public servants.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Not All Felons are Equal

Canadians are watching and waiting for two felons about to return to Canada: Conrad Black and Omar Khadr. There could not be two different people. Also, there treatment by the federal government could not be more different. (I encourage everyone to read the extensive Wikipedia sites on the complicated social and legal situation of these two people)

Conrad Black is a British citizen since he renounced Canadian citizenship in order to accept a British peerage. Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen.

Black is from a wealthy family (very wealthy in his own right) he was convicted in a American court of corporate crimes. He has been serving his sentence in a Florida prison. Khadr is a member of Canada's infamous al-Qaeda family. As a child he was captured in a firefight in Afghanistan and eventually charged with murder of an American soldier (among other charges). He is held in Guantanamo Prison after making a plea bargain in order to avoid a 40 year sentence in the American gulag. Part of this deal before the military tribunal (a Kangaroo Court by any other name) was for him to spend one more year in Guantanamo before he would serve the balance of his sentence in a Canadian prison subject to Canadian rules which includes eligibility for parole. This agreement we were told was agreed upon by the Canadian and American governments.

Besides being a well know former Canadian, a business tycoon , journalist and an historian Black through is wealth and connection has been able to keep his name before the public and self promote by regularly writing columns for several newspapers. His wealth has allowed him to continue to challenge his conviction and threaten critics with liable. All of this has been part of a campaign to recover his social standing. He has yet to admit that he has done anything wrong.

Khadr at 15 was among the youngest prisoner at Guantanamo. He was a child and a child soldier and should have been treated as such according to international agreements to which Canada and the United States have agreed . Instead, Khadr was treated a an adult and an enemy combatant, not a soldier, thus having no rights. He has grown up over 10 years in this prison, no longer the child. He has always been referred to as a terrorist or a murderer. The public knows little about him. He hardly qualifies as the "worst of the worst".

He has not had an opportunity to personally make himself known. Those who care to listen to his lawyers, former inmates and even some guards can learn that he is smart, well behaved, holds no resentment, wants to continue his education, wants to return to Canada and move on with is life. He gives no indication that he is a threat to anyone. Unfortunately, the sins of the father are inflicted on him. (His father was an ally of Osama Bin Laden).

This coming weekend Conrad Black is to be freed from prison in Florida. Khadr repatriation to Canada is overdue. Black arranged last month to get a temporary residency in Canada for a year. (He has a family home in Toronto). In order for him to fly to Canada he must be waved through the US Immigration Service, where he would normally be held to be deported to the United Kingdom (a process that takes weeks normally). If his lawyers are successful he will we in Toronto before the weekend is over. Canada's minister of Immigration says he told his department to not involve him in the decision to allow felon Black into Canada. The case of Omar Khadr saw his request to be repatriated to Canada ended up on the desk of the Public Safety Minister who immediately said he did not sign any agreement to repatriate Khadr, a Canadian citizen. He has it under advisement. Khadr and his lawyers are patiently waiting. President Obama has apparently called in a favour from Prime Minister Harper and asked that the agreement to repatriate Khadr be honoured. It is expected this will happen.

Throughout his imprisonment Khadr has had little support from the Federal Government. They should have demanded his return when he was first taken prisoner because he was a child soldier. He was rarely visited by Canadian officials and when he was what he said was passed on the the American officials and used against him. The Canadian government have consistently spoken badly of him and been hostile toward his repatriation. As a Canadian citizen, he has a right to return to Canada. It took the Canadian Supreme court to force the Harper government to do something on behalf of Omar Khadr.

I recently heard Conrad Black interviewed on TV (a privilege Omar Khadr has not enjoyed) He spoke of his desire to return to Canada and that the regular process had been entered into. He then indicated if that was not successful he would try other means (one has to assume he would turn to his powerful friends and politicians to see that he gains admission to Canada.

I have no objection to Black coming to Canada. I will object to him getting a chance to eventually regain Canadian citizenship. He rejected Canada in order to become a British Lord (Canadians cannot have such titles). This act trivialized what it means to be a Canadian, we should not trivialize it again by granting it to him again in order to meet his needs. He is British and should remain British. Hopefully while Black is in Canada he will be stripped of his "Order of Canada" award, which is under review.

I believe that a fair reading of the case of Omar Khadr would lead one to believe he was a victim who was further victimized by a less that fair military judicial process. His victimization was added to by the acts and the neglect of the Canadian government. He plead guilty in order to given himself some hope of a future. On the other hand Conrad Black is guilty of his crimes, which he fails to acknowledge. In fact, he has used his wealth and privilege to minimize them.

I hope soon Omar Khadr will be returned to Canada so he will finally have some hope of getting an education and creating a life for himself in Canada. There is a community of Canadians who are ready to help him in this process.

Note: This morning, 05/05/2012, Conrad Black was released from his Florida prison and immediately spirited onto a charter flight, (apparently without the delay and indignity of the deportation process), arriving this afternoon at his home in Toronto. Such is the privilege of the wealthy. In the meantime, we continue to wait for the return of Omar Khadr.