Obert Madondo's Indefinite Canada Crime Bill C10 Hunger Strike
Today is Day 28 of my ongoing indefinite hunger strike against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's universally-condemned and cruel new crime law, deceptively christened “Safe Streets and Communities Act”. I’m an Ottawa-based Occupy activist and progressive blogger. I started the peaceful action on March 14.
My five demands include the immediate repeal of the ideology-drive, backward-looking law, and the resignation of newly appointed Conservative senator, Vernon White. I’ll continue my peaceful act of civil disobedience until all the demands are met.
I've written to every Canadian MP and Senator, and now await the official response from the Prime Minister and Parliament of Canada. I published the letter and my cause on my personal blog, www.canadianprogressiveworld.com, which I also update with journal entries, etc.
I need your support. Let’s unleash the potent power of the social media and tell Harper and the Conservatives that the Safe Streets and Communities Act has no place in Canada. Together, we can do it! Please share the video as widely as possible. Post it to your blog, website, Facebook pages and groups. Share it with your blogging and activist friends. Journalists too. Legislators even. And ask your friends to share it with their contacts.
And yet, this struggle is your struggle too. The Safe Streets and Communities Act will: violate Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms; undermine the judiciary; break up families; divide Canadian society; expand state power; impose huge financial burden on Canadian provinces and future generations; make Canada's streets less safe; and punish mostly the economically weak and marginalized.
There's an implicit yet undeniable racism embedded in the law. The majority of those who will face tougher drug-related sentences, extended periods in custody before trial, and extended ineligibility for parole, are mostly historically disadvantaged racialized groups like blacks and Aboriginals, who are already oversubscribed in Canada’s jail population. Aboriginals constitute 4 per cent of the Canadian population but account for up to 22 per cent of the country’s prison population. Canada experienced a 50 per cent increase of black inmates in the last 10 years. Most of the inmates are incarcerated for crimes rooted in poverty, economic inequality and historical prejudice.
The new law will create a prison industrial complex in Canada. The GEO Group Inc., a major player in the private correctional services in the US, lobbied for the new law. The company has profited from 9/11, the economic meltdown and recent anti-immigrant crackdowns. It has profited from privatized corrections and detention operations in Australia, UK and South Africa, where it is also connected with the African country’s unveiling massive prison privatization efforts. In Glasgow, Scotland, the company is involved in an immigration removal center. In the late 1990s, GEO was involved with Australia’s notorious Woomera Immigration Detention Center, once described by UN officials as a “great human tragedy” and likened to a “Nazi concentration camp”.
The Conservatives' vindictive law will also introduce the so-called “war on drugs”, which has devastated the US, Brazil, Mexico and other countries.
And yet, Safe Streets and Communities Act could never have passed if Canada's democratic and parliamentary institutions and processes had been respected as they should.
Harper used his acquiescing majorities in the House of Commons and Senate to force it through without substantial debate. The process, from the first reading of Bill C-10 in the House of Commons, through to the final vote in both houses, was a one-party-state tyrannical affair. It was an abuse of Canadian parliamentary process and democratic practice. At every turn, opposition MPs, elected by 60% of Canadians, and opposing expert witnesses who attempted to input into the bills’ 208 clauses and hundreds of amendments, were shown the political middle finger. The Conservatives manipulated Standing Orders. They shut down debate. They ran committees behind closed doors. The process was a triumph of spin over substance and deliberative democracy.
The Act was birthed in an environment of tyranny where all Canadians were treated as potential enemies of the state.
Canada is fast becoming an inverted totalitarianism presided over by a tyrannical petro-prime minister. The Safe Streets and Communities Act is the epitome of state abuse of power, the law and resources. We’re living our own Nixonian moment. All kinds of dirty tricks, including Gobbels-style propaganda, McCarthyism and cold-war-style red–baiting, are party of the political game.
I’m demanding only the minimum of what Canadians should rightly be demanding right now. Harper prorogued parliament twice, in 2008 and 2009. Last year, he was found in contempt of parliament. The unveiling Robocalls voter suppression scandal suggests that thousands of Canadian were denied their right to vote. These undemocratic developments are impeachable!
I urge all to defy unjust laws and their corporate sponsored makers by any peaceful and democratic means necessary.
I do not underestimate the odds I face. I’m a self-identified anti-capitalism activist in a moment the distinction between terrorist and legitimate protester is more than more than ever before blurred in Canada. Nevertheless, I’ll fight for a Canada I believe in.