The Conservative government reversed itself today and denied an emergency passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik, preventing the Canadian citizen - blacklisted as a terrorist - from flying home to Montreal.
In a terse explanation, it said Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon considers Mr. Abdelrazik a national security threat.
In a one-sentence letter, delivered this morning to Mr. Abdelrazik's lawyers, the justice department said “the minister of foreign affairs has decided to refuse your client's request for an emergency passport.” It cited Section 10.1 of the Canada Passport Order which says “the minister may refuse or revoke a passport if the minister is of the option that such action is necessary for the national security of Canada or another country.”
The refusal represents a complete reversal of the government's written promise of three months ago to issue Mr. Abdelrazik an emergency passport if he had a paid-for ticket home. Mr. Abdelrazik remains stranded in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, where he has living for nearly 11 months, granted “temporary safe haven” by former Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier.
As the Globe and Mail points out here, not only is there no case against the man, but the government is simply moving goalposts about in an effort to be obstructive.
Let's consider this for a moment. Mr. Abdelrazik is virtually a prisoner in the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum - he really cannot leave the embassy without risking arrest and further maltreatment at the hands of Sudanese authorities. The Canadian government refuses to issue him the travel documents he needs to return to Canada, and worse, insists that he get himself removed from a "travel ban" list that the UN maintains. Individuals cannot approach the UN to have themselves removed from that list, their government is obliged to do this.
In essence, the Canadian government has imprisoned Mr. Abdelrazik without trial, without charge and without recourse. Think about this. This is yet another in a long, and seemingly growing list of Canadian nationals abroad that the Conservative government has failed. In this case, the Canadian government has done worse than that, it has acted maliciously to obstruct Mr. Abdelrazik.
Canada's Conservative government - standing up for ... well ... repeating George Bush II, actually.