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September in Review, Part II

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Issue: 63 Section: Month in Review Geography: Canada

October 1, 2009

September in Review, Part II

Federal courts quash Security Certificates, Harper succumbs to donut-induced delirium

by Dominion Staff

Police in Honduras after the arrival of Manuel Zelaya in Tegucigalpa. Photo: Sandra Cuffe

Adil Charkaoui was cleared from the security certificate that had been imposed upon him. Judge Danielle Tremblay-Lamer ruled that the conditions of the security certificate be lifted after the federal government refused to produce wire tap evidence. "You know, security certificate just has no place in a democratic country," Sophie Charkaoui told the CBC. A federal court judge in Ottawa significantly reduced the bail conditions on Mohamad Harkat, who also has a security certificate. Though he will continue to wear a GPS tracking device, he will have much more freedom than previously. "I feel good. This will affect all things. I am always worried about accidentally breaking conditions. There were too many conditions to remember. It was hard to think normal. It was like being on another planet," he told the Ottawa Citizen.

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen who was stranded in Sudan for six years, including a year living inside the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, launched a lawsuit against the federal government for refusing to issue him a passport. The $27 million lawsuit alleges that the Canadian Government "acted in a bad faith and callous manner at every turn, resulting in significant physical and psychological harm."

A Yes-Men spoof of the New York Post takes a hard line on climate change.

President Manuel Zelaya re-entered Honduras and took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy after three months of military dictatorship in the Central American nation. The military government, headed by coup leader Roberto Micheletti, at first claimed that Zelaya was in a hotel in Nicaragua, later admitting that he had entered the country. The military government declared a 26 hour curfew as people began to rally around the Brazilian embassy in support of Zelaya. Zelaya and his entourage remain trapped in the embassy, where it is reported they are living on biscuits. There is little reliable information about the scale of the repression, but estimates are that thousands of Zelaya supporters have been rounded up, beaten and arrested, and an unknown number killed. Peter Kent, Canada's junior foreign minister, refused to support President Zelaya, saying instead "we are calling on all parties to show restraint, to refrain from any actions that could lead to further violence, and to respect the right of Hondurans to peace and security." In the western media, coverage of pro-democracy protests and heavy police repression portrayed supporters of Zelaya as riotous and violent.

The Canadian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly in New York walked out during a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "The principles of communication and diplomacy cannot fall simply because one leader polarizes the North American public more than others," wrote lawyer Emma Ruby Sachs of the decision of the Canadians to walk out.

Though PM Harper skipped the General Assembly to go to Tim Hortons, he did decide to attend the G-20 in Pittsburgh. During a press conference following the G-20, Harper told the press that Canada has "...no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them."

Over one hundred people were arrested for protesting against the G-20 in Pittsburgh, as police used a heavy hand (and tested new weapons) to quash demonstration they deemed "unlawful." "There was really no reason for such extreme action. The guns, the rubber bullets and the dogs probably did more to incite people," Dillon Snyder, a local youth, told the New York Times. "We need good jobs and good health care, and the G-20 isn’t helping that. Their policies are undermining jobs and health care," protestor Nathan Smith told the Times.

Members of Greenpeace blockaded Shell's Albian Sands operation in the Athabasca tar sands. About 25 activists stayed for more than 30 hours, blocking access to the operation using a shovel and two giant trucks.

The Conservatives delayed a parliamentary vote on the ratification of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Some Liberals do not appear to support the deal, which is opposed by the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois.

The US Department of Justice wrote a letter to Congress asking for an extension of provisions in the Patriot Act which "allow authorities to conduct roving electronic eavesdropping, or wiretaps, access business records and track so-called "lone wolf" suspects with no known links to foreign powers or terrorist groups." The controversial provisions were set to expire on December 31.

The family of Private Jonathan Couturier, who was killed in Afghanistan on September 17, denounced the war. "That war over there, he found it a bit useless – that they were wasting their time over there," Couturier's father told Le Soleil.

SNC-Lavalin was awarded a contract worth $85 million to install two gas turbines in power stations in Iraq.

An Africa-Latin America summit was held on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. "We hope Caracas will become an arrival point and a centre of activities and connections between Africa and Central and South America and the Caribbean," said Hugo Chavez before the event. Sixty nations attended the "South-South" summit.

Al Jazeera broke the story about an assassination attempt on the life of Hugo Chavez. The hitman was a Colombian whose paramilitary group was offered $25 million by Manuel Rosales, a Venezuelan politician, to do the deed.

The Yes-Men created a fake version of the New York Post, which focuses on climate change.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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