Bar Dick Cheney from Canada?
September 27, 2011
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, making his first book-selling foray outside the US, is speaking Monday night at an exclusive, sold-out, $500-a-ticket dinner at the Vancouver Club. But the immigration critic for Canada's opposition New Democratic Party, Vancouver lawmaker Don Davies, is demanding that Cheney -- a self-admitted advocate of torture -- be denied entry to the Great White North.
SEATTLE (September 26, 2011) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney, making his first book-selling foray outside the US, is speaking Monday night at an exclusive, sold-out, $500-a-ticket dinner at the Vancouver Club. But the immigration critic for Canada's opposition New Democratic Party, Vancouver lawmaker Don Davies, is demanding that Cheney be denied entry to the Great White North.
The appearance by Cheney before the Bon Mot Book Club (a previous author guest: Sarah Palin) may serve as a warmup to former President George W. Bush's scheduled appearance next month in Surrey, British Columbia.
Davies is citing Sections 35 and 36 of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (INPA), which declare that any foreign national who has violated human or international rights can be barred from Canada -- or even held for investigation.
"What's special in this case is that Mr. Cheney has admitted to endorsement of programs that I consider torture," Davies said in an interview. "There has been clear admission, from Mr. Cheney's own mouth, that he participated in and authorized programs of waterboarding and sleep deprivation. Waterboarding is simulated drowning. In my mind, and that of most serious people, that is torture . . . It's a no-brainer."
In a letter to Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Davies elaborated:
"Mr. Cheney has publicly, unequivocally and on numerous occasions admitted too authorizing, approving and failing to prevent acts of torture in circumstances that engage each and every provision (of IRPA). These acts include approving the use of water boarding (simulated drowning), sleep deprivation and other treatments prohibited by both Canadian and international law.
"Evidence that is part of the public record far exceeds the 'reasonable grounds' required by the inadmissibility sections of IRPA. Indeed, the acts of which Mr. Cheney was an integral proponent include acts of torture against a Canadian citizen, Mr. Omar Khadr…. Mr. Cheney has publicly admitted to playing an integral part in torture, and IRPA must be engaged accordingly."
The left-of-center New Democrats became Canada's official opposition party after the May election in which they unexpectedly captured 103 seats in the House of Commons.
The party is a trenchant critic of US foreign policy and longtime foe of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has repeatedly called for withdrawal of Canada's troops from Afghanistan.
"This has nothing to do with politics," Davies argued. "It has nothing to do with whether I agree or disagree with Mr. Cheney's politics. It has everything to do with what Canadian law says."
Davies challenged Immigration Minister Kenney to debate points raised in his letter. Kenney has not responded. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that senior civil servants who are experts in Canada's immigration laws make admissibility decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Cheney's new book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" topped Sunday's New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. The book is notably unkind to former Secretaries of State Collin Powell and Condi Rice. The Bon Mot Book Club states as its purpose the exchange of ideas and stimulation of debate.
Several Vancouver-area peace groups have announced plans to protest at the Vancouver Club. Stopwar.ca, a website, calls Cheney an "unrepentant torture and war advocate" and calls on supporters to render "the welcome he deserves."
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