Saturday, March 22, 2008

This Is Not Conservatism

Like it or not, federal inaction on Brenda Martin is inexcusable

The case of Brenda Martin -- the 51-year-old Canadian woman currently being held in Mexico without charge or trial -- has raised a significant question of how Canada addresses situations in which its citizens are held in foreign countries.

Some argue that Canadians who travel or live abroad must agree to live under the legal systems of those countries, regardless of how corrupt they are. Others argue that Martin must be brought home now, that Canadians must not be subjected to the corrupt standard of justice that is passed off as such in countries like Mexico.

Of course, various internet douchebags have done everything they can to politicize the situation -- transforming Martin into a point of contention between Canada and Mexico into the political pawn she's so worried about becoming.

Unfortuantely all too many douchebags from the other side are much too eager to join them.

The arguments seem to come down to two equally contemptible extremes: from the left-wing blogosphere, that the government has been sitting on its hands and doing nothing despite the fact that there have been approximately 100 visits between Martin and the Canadian Consulate in Mexico city; from the right-wing blogosphere, Martin never should have gone to live in Mexico in the first place.

The left-wing's politicization of the Martin affair is purely contemptible.

But the right-wing's assertion that Canadians who go abroad can essentially go fuck themselves if they ever run into any kind of trouble is equally contemptible.

Even more alarming is the fact that these people claim to be conservatives. But there's nothing conservative in the argument that we should abandon our citizens to the tender mercies of an authoritarian state in their time of need.

Conservatives everywhere should be the first to demand that we maintain the sanctity of Canadian citizenship by standing up for our citizens when they're locked away in some foreign gulag -- particularly one with the track record of Mexico.

Apparently, the vision for the future shared by many Canada's right-wing bloggers (alleged conservatives) is a world in which Canadians cannot safely travel abroad for fear of being thrown in a foreign prison indefinitely without charge or trial. (Frankly, one hopes they aren't planning any Mexican or Brazilian vacations in their near future.)

And when they suggest that Martin should be allowed to rot in Mexican prison, they are indisputably wrong.

Frankly, Stephen Harper and the Canadian government need to perform a gut-check on this issue, and bring Brenda Martin home. They should consider any means to do this, up to and including recalling Canada's ambassador to Mexico and expelling their Mexican counterpart from Ottawa -- or even use of covert ops to bring Martin home by force if necessary.

(And if Mexico doesn't like it, they can remember this: we have better guns than they do, and they don't want to be paid that particular visit.)

The Canadian government simply cannot be in the business of abandoning Canadians to the "justice" systems of countries like Mexico -- corrupt to the rotten core -- where justice takes on a perverse meaning that defies the definition of the word.

True Conservatives recognize that. Unfortunately, all too many bloggers who consider themselves conservative -- much like many bloggers who consider themselves liberal -- simply cannot pass that particular test.

They can feel free to check their phony political stripes at the door -- regardless of what they claim, they aren't conservatives.


  1. Like it or not, federal ACTION on Brenda Martin costs money and time.

    I do not know if your blanket impositions upon domestic Canadians constitute being conservative or not but they are certainly impractical. Should Canadians save ALL of their fellow Canadians? Is that what you are saying??

    Do you have any idea how many Canadians are wrongfully imprisoned abroad? Do you have any idea how much it would cost to save them all?

  2. If you want your citizenship to mean something in a foreign country -- particularly countries such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia or Iran -- then, yes, absolutely.

    This is a responsibility that our government cannot afford to compromise on. No amount of money could ever compensate for the damage done to the credibility of Canadian citizenship abroad.

    Do you really want people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to think he can do whatever he likes to Canadians within his borders with impunity?


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