Saturday, May 10, 2014

Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee's response to @canadianlabour RE Denis Coderre.

Re: Invitation of Denis Coderre to speak at CLC 2014

Canadian Labour Congress, c/o
2841 Riverside Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1V 8X7

President, Ken Georgetti
Secretary-Treasurer, Hassan Yussuff
Executive Vice-President, Barbara Byers
Executive Vice-President, Marie Clarke Walker 

May 5, 2014

Dear sisters and brothers,

On May 5, 2014, the Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee learned, via social media and the CLC Convention Web Site, that Denis Coderre, former Liberal Member of Parliament and current Mayor of Montreal, was a speaker at your 2014 Convention in Montreal.

We are writing to express our profound disappointment that you would invite and include this notorious attacker of civil liberties to address delegates at your Convention.

As you know, while serving as Minister of Immigration from 2002-2004, Denis Coderre signed the original security certificate against Mohamed Harkat. He did so within a regime that, difficult as it may be to believe, was even worse than today's Security Certificate regime. He signed at least two such certificates: those against Mr. Harkat and against Adil Charkaoui. Those certificates were so flawed that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled them unconstitutional. New certificates were issued, and one of those was subsequently struck down. Mr. Harkat is currently awaiting the result of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada - twelve years after he was first detained at Mr. Coderre's hand.

Denis Coderre has been the architect of misery for at least two Muslim men and their families, collateral damage in the Liberal-initiated "war on terror" which has been eagerly continued by the Conservative governments which followed.

More than that, Mr. Coderre is no friend of progressive labour. Many of today's attacks on public service workers date to his tenure as Privy Council President under that monument of labour rights, Paul Martin.

Finally, Mr. Coderre is no friend to progressive Montreal. Since his mayoralty began, he has done nothing to reverse the attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly begun during the Quebec Students' Strike of 2012. Bylaw P-6, which criminalizes dissent, continues unabated.

The CLC has supported the campaign against Security Certificates since its convention in Montreal in 2005. We were surprised and hurt to see that Denis

Coderre was on your guest list. We hope this action was an anomaly and that action can be taken to rectify the matter - such as by sponsoring a speaking tour by the Harkats to labour councils across the country, or other such tangible amends.

We look forward to your reply.


Jessica Squires
Christian Legeais

Spokespersons, Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee