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UPDATE: Council supports call to refuse Bush’s entry into Canada, Oct. 20

Stephen Harper and George W. Bush Photo credit: Canwest News Service

Stephen Harper and George W. Bush Photo credit: Canwest News Service

Surrey Now reports, “Gail Davidson, a Vancouver-based lawyer with Lawyers Against the War, is asking (Surrey mayor Dianne) Watts and organizers of the (Surrey Regional) economic summit to cancel (former US president George W.) Bush’s appearance (there on October 20). Davidson said Watts and council are ignoring the law, pointing to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Davidson said Bush has been accused of many crimes that are considered war crimes and crimes against humanity. ‘Also Mr. Bush has been quite forthright in admitting that he authorized torture, and even seeming to be quite proud of having done that,’ Davidson said.”

“Despite increasing pressure from critics who are outraged that George W. Bush is scheduled to speak in Surrey, Mayor Dianne Watts said she will not cancel Bush’s appearance. …Davidson said that Lawyers Against the War doesn’t organize protests, but she is aware that protests are being organized. She said she will be there if Bush does come, but is optimistic the appearance will be cancelled, adding she wants to set up a meeting with Watts. …Surrey RCMP will be present at the summit and an area will be set up for protestors.”

A media release also notes, “The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group sent an open letter (yesterday) to the Minister of Justice, supporting the call made by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Canadian Centre for International Justice and Amnesty International for a criminal investigation against former US president George W. Bush for his role in authorizing and overseeing his administration’s well documented torture program, including the ‘extraordinary rendition’ program under which Canadians were ‘disappeared’ and tortured. …On the basis of the extensive and detailed draft indictment (prepared by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Canadian Centre for International Justice) in the hands of the Minister, and Canada’s obligation to assert the rule of law, both internationally and domestically, the ICLMG calls on Canada to act promptly in launching an investigation against Mr. Bush or, failing such measures, that the Minister take immediate steps to refuse him entry into Canada.”

The Montreal Gazette is now reporting, “Human rights watchdog Amnesty International called on the Conservative government Wednesday to investigate, arrest and prosecute former U.S. president George W. Bush for torture when he visits Canada next week.”

The Council of Canadians has endorsed the Lawyers Against the War call to cancel George W. Bush’s invitation to speak at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. We are also a member of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. On September 25, the Council of Canadians joined with Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Against the War, Stopwar.ca, the Canadian Peace Alliance, the New Democratic Party, and others to demand that the Harper government not allow former US vice-president Dick Cheney into Canada on the basis of its obligations under United Nations Convention Against Torture and Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. More on that at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10726.