Thursday, April 16, 2009

Enemy of the People: Jason Kenney

by Hassan Reyes
(Basics Issue #13, Apr/May)

Indeed, it’s been a while since we at BASICS declared someone an ‘Enemy of the People’. We’ve wanted to focus our limited space on the good work being done by various people's organizations. However, the actions of one individual in the Federal government has prompted us to bring back this section to highlight the racist, reactionary tendencies that exist in Canadian politics today.

The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Member of Parliament for Calgary South-East Jason Kenney has been on a tear, looking to earn the crown of most right-wing politician in Canada, if not North America. In the first three months of 2009, Kenney has been making continuous headlines for his unrelenting support for apartheid Israel and the imperialist wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

As Minister of Immigration, Kenney has overseen a massive increase in raids on locations where undocumented workers are looking to build a life. Near the beginning of April, over 100 workers were swept up in raids in the GTA alone. Instead of regularizing these people who have come here to work in order to have their rights protected and their taxes collected, Kenney and Co. would rather split up families and detain workers in inhumane conditions.

Calling them “bogus refugee claimants”, Kenney has made it a personal mission to see that principled war resisters from the United States are denied refugee status in Canada, even though many of them face lengthy jail sentences if they return to Obama’s U.S. for refusing to participate in the murderous campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

More recently, Kenney weighed in to denounce Israeli Apartheid Week, a grassroots educational and cultural series of events organized on campuses in over 40 cities worldwide. Kenney was of course responding to the calls of Zionist organizations that are realizing that the tide of public opinion in North America is shifting away from supporting Israel as it continues its construction of permanent ghettos, indiscriminate bombing and a range of other war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Just weeks after condemning university activists for showing movies and holding talks exposing Israel, Kenney responded to a call by the Jewish Defence League (JDL) asking the Canadian government not to allow British Member of Parliament George Galloway to enter the country. Galloway, an outspoken critic of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and long time supporter of Palestinian people, was considered by Kenney to be a 'threat to national security' for handing over donated items and civilian vehicles to the elected representatives of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The JDL, on the other hand, is actually classified as a terrorist organization even by the U.S. government’s standards, even though the U.S. is itself apartheid Israel’s strongest supporter in the world.

Kenney and company did, however, let their fellow Enemy of the People, George W. Bush, into the country just weeks prior to Galloway's scheduled talks in a number of Canadian cities.

Kenney appears to have no problem supporting actual terrorist groups such as the JDL or the People's Mujahedin of Iran, a right-wing neo-conservative CIA-backed outfit that advocates the violent overthrow of the Iranian government. Kenney spoke at a rally organized by the group on Parliament Hill, though he later said he didn’t remember going to it.

And then in early April, in a public address Kenney made to a group of Croatian supporters, he told the crowd that he keeps a prayer card on his desk of the fascist Croatian Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac – one of his ”heroes of the 20th century”. Cardinal Stepinac was a rabid anti-communist and a Nazi supporter who was in 1946 convicted and imprisoned for his crimes in collaborating with fascism and overseeing the forced conversion of Orthodox Christian Serbs to Catholicism during the fascist reign of the Second World War.

Kenney has been working overtime in 2009 to offend and attack the people and anyone fighting for a more just and peaceful world. So for your attacks against immigrants, peace organizations and your active involvement in the oppression of Palestinians, you, Jason Kenney, are an Enemy of the People.