The man largely responsible for leading the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history against a small group of Shuswap traditionalists has made a habit lately of showing up at various gatherings talking about native rights. Ujjal Dosanjh, BC's Attorney General and Human Rights Minister, led the intense government and media demonization of the Ts'Peten Defenders, later revealed in police disclosures to have been a "smear and disinformation campaign" by the police. In addition, Dosanjh, through his effective control of human rights monitoring agencies in BC over which he is Minister, also ensured the silence and complicity of most domestic critics of the summer 1995 assault against the Ts'peten Sundance camp.
The BC NDP Government is steadfastly refusing to entertain a public inquiry into the Gustafsen matter. This is despite calls from the Green Group of the European Parliament, Ex-US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, Student organizations, Labor Unions, and native organizations like the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples (CASNP) and the Assembly of First Nations, which have all passed resolutions demanding a public inquiry.
EDMONTON (CP) - As famous activists from around the world gather for an international human rights conference, Canadas own record is under a spotlight. Shrouded in the grey slush of a Canadian November, Edmonton will spend the next two days playing host to South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, exiled Nigerian Owens Wiwa and others.
The conference is tied to the 50th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.
But while Canada puts on its Sunday best for the movers and shakers of the human rights movement, it is attracting criticism from home-grown delegates.
"On one level you could say we have an admirable track record," says Mary Jo Leddy, director of Toronto's Romero House for Refugees.
"And yet if you look at the history of this country, whenever there has been a time of social or economic stress, we have been terrifyingly comfortable with suspending the human rights of whole groups of people."
Examples include the treatment of Japanese Canadians in the Second World War and the use of the War Measures Act in 1970, says Leddy.
More recently, police used pepper spray on a group of student demonstrators at an economic summit in Vancouver last year.
British Columbias Attorney General, Ujjal Dosanjh, is the only provincial minister invited to the conference.
"I think its appropriate for students and others to be able to stand up and say what they want their political leaders...to keep human rights in the forefront," said Dosanjh, who wouldn't comment specifically on the Asia Pacific Economic Conference incident.
Dosanjh, an Indian immigrant, said rights of Canadian minorities and aboriginal groups have often been taken away.
"Here we have a country that's been judged to be the best country to live in by the UN, and we have aboriginal people living in Third World conditions and worse - in the midst of affluence."
"I hereby request the following additional resources from the Canadian
Armed Forces, to be assigned immediately to the Provincial Police Service:
Five Canadian Forces armoured personnel carriers with military drivers and
"The state retains the inherent right to use force."
"...there shall be no alien intervention in the affairs of the state."
"Finally, the buck stops here, Dosanjh said, taking ultimate responsibility
for what happens at Gustafsen Lake."
"they wanted an independent forum for the determination of rights. He's
the Attorney General. Doesn't he believe in rights?...he wanted to punish
"The current actions of the BC government and the RCMP toward the Ts'peten
Defenders, as well as the negligence of the Canadian national government
to intervene and put a halt to these actions, unambiguously qualify as
"The NDP tried to kill Indians to win votes."
"surrender of rebels at Gustafsen Lake could propel BC into a fall
election, political analysts said Sunday...NDP support has strengthened
over the summer, a phenomenon analysts say shows voters approve of the way
the government of Premier Mike Harcourt has handled Native Indian
militants...One high placed government source predicted Harcourt will call
an election before next week."
"Ujjal Dosanjh may well become the first non-white Premier of BC."
Prime Minister Jean Chretien: firstname.lastname@example.org
BC NDP Premier Glen Clark: email@example.com