The plight of Suaad Hagi Mohamud

August 12, 2009

The Toronto Star is full of the story of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, a Toronto woman who went to visit her mother in Kenya and was detained by Kenyan authorites upon her attempt to return to Canada because her face didn’t match the passport photograph well enough.  Twelve weeks it took to get someone in the Canadian government to act on her case.  During this time she sat in detention, charged with attempting to use a false document.  The DNA test matched her young son in Toronto.  She is who she claims she is, driver’s license, OHIP card, library card, employer, the whole nine yards.  And yet Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan wouldn’t allow the consulate to help her.

This is ugly.  It looks very much as if the cabinet has decided to let the Somali woman stew a bit just to give the redneck voters something to feel mean about.  This divisive, mean-spirited attitude, separating Canadian citizens according to skin colour, harkens to the very worst traditions of Republican bigotry in the United States.  We don’t want the ghost of American racist Westwood Pegler here.  We don’t want our conservative-minded voters to be invited to “get their bigot on” as Pegler famously suggested.  That’s not what Canada is about, and if this sort of garbage produces political gains for Stephen Harper and the CPC, then Canada has already become a colony of the United States.

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