Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline

The moment core disgust for Stephen Harper simmered to a dull roar, the Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline ambushed one of my last nerves.

On November 5, 2014 Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the tabling of legislation aimed at strengthening Canadian law to ” prevent barbaric cultural practices from happening on Canadian soil.”

The Act would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code. It would provide more protection and support for vulnerable immigrantsprimarily women and girlsincluding:

  • Creating a new inadmissibility under IRPA that would render permanent residents and temporary residents inadmissible if they practise polygamy in Canada;
  • Strengthening Canadian marriage laws by amending the Civil Marriage Act to codify the existing legal requirements, at the national level, for “free and enlightened consent” and establishing a new national minimum age for marriage of 16;
  • Helping to protect potential victims of early or forced marriages by creating a new specific court-ordered peace bond to be used where there are grounds to fear that a person would commit a forced or early marriage offence, including the mandatory surrendering of a passport to prevent a child from being taken out of the country to facilitate a forced marriage;
  • Criminalizing certain conduct related to early and forced marriage ceremonies in the Criminal Code, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriage;
  • Limiting the defence of provocation so that it would not apply in so-called “honour” killings and many spousal homicides; and
  • Including consequential amendments to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act to include the aforementioned peace bond.

These changes build upon existing federal initiatives that are providing vital support, protection and services for newcomers to Canada, specifically women and girls.

Fast forward 11 months to Harper’s election strategy. It seems “old stock Canadians” (term used by Harper when asked about his plan to reduce health benefits for immigrants) overwhelmingly support the Conservative ban on niqab at citizenship ceremonies. Be that fact or fiction, a perfect storm of anti-Islamic sentiment was brewing. On October 2, 2015, Harper seized Islamophobia by the horns – an RCMP tip line to report “Barbaric Cultural Practices Against Women and Girls” was official.From the official Conservative website –

  • We will establish a new targeted program to prevent child and forced marriage in the world’s conflict zones, particularly among refugee girls who have been displaced by war and who are at risk of forced marriage. The program will cost $12 million over 4 years and the first year of funding will be targeted at preventing child and forced marriage among girls impacted by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
  • An RCMP tip line will be established that citizens and victims can call with information about incidents of barbaric cultural practices in Canada or to notify authorities that a child or woman is at risk of being victimized.
  • RCMP integrated units will also be created in Canada’s major cities – including Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver – to enforce the changes made to Canadian laws under the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and to support victims. This is addition to a new $8 million commitment to establish integrated RCMP anti-human trafficking teams in those same cities[1].
  • We will invest $20 million to renew the Human Trafficking Action Plan for an additional 5 years.

“The Conservative Government has been an international leader in bringing attention to the issues of child and forced marriage, and in combating barbaric cultural practices that violate the rights, health and security of girls and women.

Every year, 15 million girls are forced into marriage worldwide. Complications from childbirth are the leading cause of death among these child brides[2]. Physical abuse, sexual slavery, and so-called ‘honour’ killings are also carried out daily against girls and women around the world. A brutal practice carried out in some African and Middle Eastern countries is female genital mutilation, which has impacted more than 125 million girls and women alive today[3].

In the last year, the atrocities committed by ISIS against girls and women have also horrified the world. Girls who fall into the hands of ISIS are regularly raped and sold into sexual slavery.  Media have recounted the harrowing stories of girls who have escaped from ISIS having been ‘sold’ in slave markets.”

The above website pushed my crock of shit meter into vomit inducing overdrive. Harper doesn’t loose a wink of sleep over the rights of women and children.  Propaganda of fear seals votes, “barbaric culture” is another name for Islam. Remember Jamila Bibi Mr. Harper? The 63 year old Saskatoon woman you deported to Pakistan last year? You rejected her refugee claim, ignored her lawyer and thumbed your nose at an investigation by the UN Committee Against Torture. Bibi had ties to the community and followed the rules – you arrested and deported her five days later to face trumped up adultery charges. Her story linked below –

Where is Harper’s concern for aboriginal women, or women and children of the Bountiful polygamist colony in British Columbia? Exactly what does Immigration Minister Chris Alexander mean by “we need to stand up for our values”? Conservatives don’t value marginalized women in Canada, they don’t value the plight of desperate women and children in Syrian families risking lives to escape tyranny in the Middle East.

The only thing Harper values is steely cold manipulative fear. Securing another term by any means necessary is not a Canadian value. Snap out of it Canada! We aren’t afraid of police officers in turbans, why the niqab? Don’t let Stephen Harper decimate true Canadian values. Remember Canada before Harper, have faith in a nation liberated from Stephen Harper’s racism and fear.



Shame On You Canada

Pakistan 2007, Jamila Bibi was accused of adultery. Accusations stemmed from a land dispute – land awarded to Bibi – property her husband’s family wanted. Outraged family members accused Bibi of adultery – in Pakistan, morality under Sharia Law trumps all else. Ponder hard line Islamic fundamentalists as extreme right wing Christians on steroids – self proclaimed keepers of the faith oblivious to proof, reason, fact or human rights – the punishment for adultery is “stoning”.

Based solely on the word of disgruntled relatives, authorities in Pakistan arrested Bibi. Released from jail in 2007 pending judgement – Bibi fled to Canada, claiming refugee status. In 2011 a deportation order followed denial of her refugee claim – the order placed in temporary limbo by the United Nations when her Lawyer asked the UN to intervene. The UN said it needed time to review the case.

For the next 22 months, Bibi went to work at a restaurant in Saskatoon, reported dutifully to authorities and waited for a UN ruling. Apparently Canada had little interest in reviews by the UN Committee Against Torture – by the time her Lawyer received a copy of the judgement enforcing immediate deportation, Bibi had been arrested by Canadian authorities – 5 days later Canada put her on a plane to Pakistan with $183 dollars in her pocket.

“Stonings” are legal in 14 Islamic countries. According to a Washington Post article published in May of this year (linked below) – 943 women in 2011, 869 in 2013 – were killed to restore “honor” to their families. Courts rarely bother with the minor details of murder for honor, preferring to look away as families dispatch horrific ends to innocent lives.

Jamila Bibi doesn’t know her date of birth, the assumption being her early 60’s. Her brave decision to flea Pakistan, escape death in the name of “honor” for greedy people capable of getting away with murder, and hopes of politely living out the rest of her days – callously shredded by a Canada  oblivious to human rights.

Shame on you Canada. This Canadian is appalled by your lack of regard for the United Nations, ludicrous justification, and embarrassing demonstration of absurdity. The country I’m proud of wouldn’t hesitate in protecting a terrified sixty something woman from sanctioned torture. What happened to common sense? On what planet did she threaten the fabric of our nation?

I hope you’re proud of yourself Canada. Take a long hard look at the face of the “adulterous prostitute” you sent to meet “justice”.  Pat yourself on the back – your asinine decision solidified this Canadian”s resolve to campaign for a country without Harper at the helm. Any decent Canadian would have done the right thing – shame on you Canada.

Canadian Border Services refused comment on details of individual cases – the court “removal order” stated in part….

“The applicant has not presented evidence before this court that could support a finding that she will face risks if she is removed to Pakistan that have not been already assessed on two occasions (by immigration officials),” Justice Marie-Josee Bedard wrote.

“Therefore, and considering that the applicant’s allegation of irreparable harm is based on risks, she has not met her evidentiary burden.”