The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap: Rothman | Commentary

While Noah Rothman mischaracterizes intersectionality – it can be used in an ideological or non-ideological manner – there is some merit is his critique of how the left, just as the right, overlooks the ‘sins’ of some of their supporters or advocates:

Republicans didn’t always scoff dismissively at the self-destructive, reactionary, fractious collection of malcontents who call themselves The Resistance. The hundreds of thousands who marched in the streets following Donald Trump’s election once honestly unnerved the GOP. This grassroots energy culminated in January’s Women’s March, a multi-day event in which nearly two million people mobilized peacefully and, most importantly, sympathetically in opposition to the president. It was the perfect antidote to the violent anti-Trump demonstrations that typified Inauguration Day, and it might have formed the nucleus of a politically potent movement. The fall of the Women’s March exposes the blight weakening the left and crippling the Democratic Party.

The fever sapping Trump’s opposition was evident in microcosm on Monday in the meltdown of the Women’s March’s social-media presence on Twitter. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur,” the organization wrote, dedicating the day’s resistance-related activities in her “honor.” Shakur is perhaps better known as Joanne Chesimard, the name that appeared on the court documents in connection with her being tried and convicted of eight felonies, including the execution-style murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. She currently resides in communist Cuba, a fugitive from American justice.

The outrage that followed the Women’s March’s endorsement of a cop-killer, exile, and unrepentant black nationalist was such that the organization was compelled to explain itself. “[T]his is not to say that #AssataShakur has never committed a crime, and not to endorse all of her actions,” the group flailed. “We say this to demonstrate the ongoing history of government [and] right-wing attempts to criminalize and discredit political activists.” This fanatical display of befuddlement perfectly encapsulates the logic of “intersectionality.” It demonstrates why this vogue ideology shackles its devotees to doomed causes and sinking ships.

“Intersectionality,” the beast born in liberal hothouses on college campuses, slouches now toward the halls of power. It is a Marxist notion that all discrimination is linked because it is rooted in the unjust power structures that facilitate inequality. Therefore, there are no distinct struggles against prejudice. Class, race, gender, sexual identity; these and other signifiers are bound together by the fact that oppression is institutional and systemic. The problem with this ideology is it compels its adherents to abandon discretion. To sacrifice anyone with a claim to oppression is to forsake every victim of prejudice. So, sure, Assata Shakur robbed, assaulted, incited violence, and killed a cop. But she also hates capitalism and white supremacy. Therefore, she’s one of us.

It is this logic that has rendered the “Sister Souljah moment” a relic of the past, and The Resistance is drowning in Sister Souljahs.

One of the March organizers, Linda Sarsour, has enjoyed newfound popularity and legitimacy in the age of Trump. She is a self-styled organizer for civil rights and the Muslim-American community of which she is a part, and she’s been acclaimed by organizations like the ACLU and Demos. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand described Sarsour and her colleagues as “the suffragists of our time.” In return for this lavish praise, Sarsour has only forced her defenders into awkward positions.

Sarsour has praised Saudi Arabia’s social welfare state as appropriate compensation for stripping women of privileges such as driving a car. “I wish I could take their vaginas away,” she wroteof women like the Somali-born Dutch-American activist and genital-mutilation victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali. “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans [and] credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” she asked. While delivering the keynote address to a Muslim-American conference, Sarsour advocated “jihad” against Donald Trump, defining the term to mean only speaking truth to power. Rather than admonish their political ally for this obvious indiscretion, the American left went to the mattresses to explain that only they understand the true meaning of the word “jihad.”

For some on the left, advocating violence is not only justified but fashionable. Misanthropic so-called “anti-Fascist” activists like Shanta Driver and Yvette Felarca have become a ubiquitous presence in pro-Resistance mythology. People like Driver advocate for “militant actions” while Felarca appears at the head of armed mobs “resisting” the white supremacist alt-right “by any means necessary” (which happens to be the name of the organization to which she belongs). For this “activism,” these and other “anti-fa” organizers are feted by left-wing magazines like Mother Jones and The Huffington Post.

Amid the celebration of left-wing political violence, a man who had been radicalized by liberal politics attempted the mass assassination of Republican members of Congress. Far from dwelling on this potentially generation-defining attack, the event passed through the national consciousness like an apparition. We don’t talk about that now. Perhaps we don’t want to think about what it might portend.

None of these individuals have roots in Democratic politics so deep that they cannot be deracinated relatively painlessly. Indeed, their counterproductive behavior would compel any competent political operation to make an example or two—particularly an operation struggling to demonstrate that it can be trusted again to govern seriously and effectively. Yet the Democratic Party and the liberals who animate it have come under the spell of a philosophy that explicitly forbids the exorcism of its demons.

Republicans have their devils, too. The excision of which may not seem a terribly urgent project today, given the GOP’s political dominance. They will confront that crisis soon enough. In the interim, Democrats should be remaking themselves to appeal to the existing electorate; the one that delivered to the GOP near total control of state and federal government over just six years. Instead, Democrats are voluntarily yoking themselves to their most radical elements even as the number of Americans who describe the party as “too extreme” continues to climb.

Republicans may have their troubles, but a competent opposition is not among them. 

Source: The ‘Intersectionality’ Trap | commentary

Shared Services Canada to begin talks on allowing federal departments to ‘opt out’ from centralized IT service

Recognition of reality. Will be interesting to see how departments respond over time:

Shared Services Canada is exploring transferring some responsibilities for federal information technology systems back to individual departments and agencies, in the wake of legislative changes weakening the agency’s monopoly on digital services.

Pat Breton, director general of procurement and vendor relations with SSC, said the agency has started reaching out to the 43 federal departments and agencies it counts as clients to discuss potential service improvements, including bringing certain IT operations back in-house, and plans to hold formal talks with departmental chief information officers in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been proactive in telling them that this is a new tool that we’ve got and we’ll be working with them to put it in place, where appropriate,” he told The Hill Times.

“We’re starting from the holistic needs assessment, gap analysis: What is the specific problem and what’s the best way to address it, and reach solutions together?”

The 2017 budget implementation bill, passed in June, made significant changes to the mandate of SSC, which was launched by the former Conservative government in 2011 with the responsibility of delivering email, data centre, and network services in a “consolidated and standardized manner,” and to offer optional technology-related services to government organizations on a cost-recovery basis.

First, it watered down SSC’s authority to consolidate IT systems across the public services by permitting organizations to opt out of using the agency in “exceptional circumstances.” It also restored the ability of individual departments to purchase software and digital hardware themselves, instead of conducting all business through the agency.

The bill, though, doesn’t allow for blanket exemptions from using SSC, with departments only permitted to opt out of using some services, according to Mr. Breton. Parts of departments can be granted complete exemptions from all SSC services.

The decision to grant the authorization is left to the minister responsible for SSC, Procurement and Public Services Minister Judy Foote (Bonavista–Burin–Trinity, N.L.).

When asked, Mr. Breton didn’t disclose if any departments had asked to opt out since the bill passed, noting that the SSC was only at the “starting point” of defining the exceptional circumstances process. However, departments like Global Affairs that work in remote and international locations would be “obvious areas for consideration,” he said, citing stringent restrictions on who can provide SSC services.

Under its mandate, only SSC employees can deliver its services, meaning the agency has to dispatch an SSC employee in every “point of [reference] around the globe,” according to Mr. Breton, who described it as “not efficient” and “not effective.”

He singled out departments providing services in other countries and working in remote and overseas locations as “consistent themes” where operating from a central location “may not be the most beneficial.”

The Hill Times reached out to several departments and agencies that would appear to fit the criteria or have been identified in media reports as encountering challenges with SSC to ask if they planned to seek an exemption from using its services, though none publicly confirmed they would.

Global Affairs Canada will “continue to work together and maintain our existing partnership,” according to a statement from spokesperson Jocelyn Sweet.

Annie Delisle, a spokesperson for the RCMP, said the national police force is “working closely” with SSC to try and find solutions to “fully meet the RCMP’s policing IT requirements, without compromising operations.”

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency simply said it “supports” the government’s goals and priorities, and will continue to contribute to areas related to its mandate of defending the country’s borders.

Statistics Canada said it values SSC as a “reliable service provider,” but clarified that while the budget implementation bill provides “more flexibility,” it doesn’t allow departments or agencies to opt out.

Source: Shared Services Canada to begin talks on allowing federal departments to ‘opt out’ from centralized IT service – The Hill Times – The Hill Times

Presidential Election Integrity Commission in Voting History |

Nice history lesson:

After months of President Donald Trump alleging that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election because millions of people — including undocumented immigrants — voted illegally, his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will meet for the first time on Wednesday with the mission of investigating “improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”

While there is no data to back up Trump’s claim, and in fact studies have found few documented cases of voter impersonation fraud in recent years, the president’s argument about immigrants is an old one.

In fact, it’s “eerily reminiscent” of voter-fraud claims made during the periods of heavy immigration to the U.S. more than a century ago, says Ron Hayduk, a political scientist at San Francisco State University.

In the early United States, the immigrant vote had not been such a concern. Though American fear of foreign enemies is as old as the nation, as demonstrated by examples like the anti-French Alien and Sedition Acts of the late 18th century, enthusiasm for the country’s brand-new democratic principles was given even greater weight in those early decades. Hayduk’s research found that at various points between 1776 and 1926, “40 states and federal territories permitted non-citizens to vote in local, state and even federal elections,” and that non-citizens were able to hold public office at various points. After all, in the mid-19th century, one just had to be a white, male property-owner to vote, and so-called “alien suffrage” (granting the right to vote to non-citizens) was seen as a way to lure foreign laborers — white, male ones — to help settle the frontier.

Before the Civil War, Southern states were initially resistant to alien suffrage, given that many immigrants were abolitionists; the 1861 Confederate Constitution mandated a prohibition on voting by persons of “foreign birth.” But the region eventually relented after slavery was abolished, as the South needed as much cheap labor as it could get.

In 1880s and 1890s, however, the state of immigration began to change.

American cities experienced an influx of new immigrants in the period that followed: people from Southern and Eastern Europe who were not considered white enough at the time, people from Asia who were drawn across the Pacific by the Gold Rush, and people who were Jewish (a population that jumped from 80,000 in 1880 to 1.75 million in total by 1925 in New York City). And the numbers were huge: One U.S. Census report states that 23.5 million persons immigrated legally to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. Many of these new residents became members of political machines like New York City’s Tammany Hall, which retained loyalty by providing services like job placement and clothing but were associated with corruption. “If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘vote early and often,’ it’s a reference to multiple voting, and there are stories in the newspapers in the 19th century of partisans gathering a group of men, bringing them to a polling station, having them vote, buying them a whiskey, and then bringing them to another polling station,” says Margaret Groarke, associate professor of Government at Manhattan College and co-author of Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of the American Voter.

Because of the popular association between these new and different immigrants, who were already subject to discrimination, and organizations that were responsible for a lack of trust in the vote, many people changed their minds about whether alien suffrage was such a good idea.

A 1902 editorial in the Washington Post argued that a “marked and increasing deterioration in the quality of immigration” was leading to a need to keep those immigrants from voting (and to make it harder for them to become citizens). “Men who are no more fit to be trusted with the ballot than babies are to be furnished with friction matches for playthings are coming in by the hundred thousand,” the article asserted.

By 1900, only 11 states allowed non-citizen immigrants to vote, according to Hayduk.

And, as laws about alien suffrage changed, the narrative of the illegal immigrant vote emerged — as did steps meant to prevent that problem. It was not unusual for even immigrants who had already become citizens to be asked to unexpectedly show their naturalization papers, documents that many of them weren’t carrying around, before they could vote. (More infamously, similar methods, like literacy tests, were also used to disenfranchise black voters.) Some were told they could only register to vote at the county office. Most of those offices were only open during the day, effectively making it impossible for many poorer immigrants to do so, as a working-class day could easily be 12 hours long at that point. Some areas instituted residency requirements, requiring a voter to have resided in the same place for three to six months.

Measures designed to curb immigrant voting were one of several factors that marked the beginning of a decline in voter participation during the early 20th century, as the added difficulties of voting — both legally and illegally — kept voters away, as Hayduk explains in his book Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the U.S.

Then, as now, Groarke says, there was “real debate about how much truth there was to the allegations of fraud” and whether the safeguards worked or did more harm. “We don’t have adequate evidence to understand what the extent of fraud then was,” she says, “and there was a realization by some people that those changes would lead to some legitimate voters not being able to vote.”

Source: Presidential Election Integrity Commission in Voting History |

À la vie, à la mort [Saint-Apollinaire cemetery] : François Cardinal

François Cardinal correctly calls out Quebec’s political class:

Où était Régis Labeaume ces dernières semaines ? Où était Philippe Couillard ? Où étaient ces élus qui promettaient aux musulmans de tout faire pour favoriser le vivre-ensemble il y a quelques mois à peine ?

Après l’attentat de janvier dernier, maires, députés et ministres étaient en effet sur toutes les tribunes, la main sur le cœur, pour assurer la communauté musulmane de leur appui le plus sincère. Mais quand cet appui est justement devenu nécessaire, silence radio…

Pas l’ombre d’une déclaration du premier ministre ni du maire de Québec en faveur du cimetière musulman de Saint-Apollinaire.

Pas de signe de vie du député local, Laurent Lessard, qui n’a pas même pas daigné prendre position. Pas d’appui non plus du ministre responsable de la région de Québec, François Blais, ou de la ministre responsable de la Rive-Sud de Québec, Dominique Vien.

La communauté musulmane a beau avoir envoyé des lettres à tout ce beau monde pour demander leur appui au projet, elle n’a reçu aucune réponse. Elle a été laissée à elle-même. Seule… avec le maire du petit village de Saint-Apollinaire, Bernard Ouellet, qui a quasiment incarné en solo le camp du Oui.

Plutôt que de protéger la minorité musulmane de la majorité, on l’a ainsi laissé se défendre par ses propres moyens. On a abandonné la communauté et les promesses d’un coup. On a dissocié le « vivre-ensemble » du « mourir-ensemble », comme si l’un pouvait venir sans l’autre.

« On s’aperçoit après quelques mois de fraternité, de bisous à droite et à gauche, qu’on ne reçoit pas de soutien », a lâché à une journaliste le porte-parole du Centre culturel islamique de Québec, Mohamed Kesri.

Bien sûr, les représentants du gouvernement se cachent derrière la juridiction municipale du changement de zonage qui a déclenché le malheureux référendum pour justifier leur silence. Ils n’ont pas voulu, disent-ils, s’ingérer dans la démocratie locale.

Or, Québec s’est toujours montré respectueux de l’autonomie municipale… quand ça l’arrange.

Il a déjà retenu les paiements de transfert aux villes pour leur montrer qu’elles ne sont que des « créatures » du gouvernement, mais il se cache derrière la distance à respecter quand il est dans son intérêt de ne pas s’impliquer.

Dans le cas qui nous occupe, il est évident que l’enjeu dépasse le simple changement de zonage no 590-2007. Le maire Labeaume, qui avait promis d’« accompagner » la communauté musulmane en vue de la « création d’un cimetière », a d’ailleurs dénoncé le fait qu’à peine 19 personnes (contre 16) ont pu bloquer un projet « qui a un impact sociologique important au Québec ».

Et pourtant, malgré un tel « impact », les élus municipaux et provinciaux ont laissé le maire d’un village de 5000 âmes se battre seul pour le projet, sachant que son influence n’était pas à la hauteur de l’enjeu en cause. Sachant, aussi, que le refus d’une poignée de résidants enverrait un message xénophobe à une communauté qu’on a collectivement promis de soutenir.

Dépité, le maire Bernard Ouellet a dit que c’était « la peur et la désinformation » qui avaient fait échouer le projet. Une peur qui aurait pu être surmontée par toutes ces voix qui avaient promis de se faire entendre il y a à peine six mois.

Source: À la vie, à la mort – La Presse+

Dutch nationals taking UK citizenship ‘will lose Netherlands passports’| The Guardian

Will be interesting to see how this issue continues to play out during Brexit negotiations and in domestic political debates. EU divorce is messy.

Dual nationality generally reflects a more pragmatic view of citizenship, recognizing the mobility and economic benefits, but risks maintaining substantive connections:

Dutch nationals who take British citizenship to avoid having to leave the UK after Brexit will be stripped of their Netherlands passports due to existing limits on dual nationality, the Dutch prime minister has said.

About 100,000 Dutch nationals living in Britain face an uncertain future after March 2019. The UK and EU are yet to reconcile their differences on the citizens’ rights issue, with Brussels describing the British government’s initial offer as vague and inadequate.

Mark Rutte told Dutch citizens in the UK who have considered becoming British to avoid residency problems once Britain leaves the EU that applying for dual nationality was not an option.

“Countering dual nationality remains one of this cabinet’s policies,” the prime minister said on Monday, in response to a petition with 22,000 signatures calling for a government rethink.

“This is because having a nationality is always associated with an actual link to a certain country. If at some point there is a question of a connection to the Netherlands or if the link to another country has become stronger than that with the Netherlands, Dutch nationality will end.”

Rutte made his intervention after the launch of an information campaign to advise citizens that they would be required to renounce their original nationality should they seek to become British.

The Dutch government has told its citizens that if they “have more than one nationality, it is not always clear what your rights are”.

The Dutch security and justice ministry website says: “For instance, your country of origin may require you to do compulsory military service. The Dutch government wants to limit dual nationality as much as possible.

“If you have only one nationality, it will be clear what your rights are. That is why people who want to acquire Dutch nationality through naturalisation are, as a rule, required to give up their other nationality if possible. This is called the renunciation requirement.”

Negotiating teams led by the Brexit secretary, David Davis, and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, are meeting in Brussels this week to try to come to an agreement on the rights of citizens, along with issues relating to the UK’s divorce bill and the Irish border.

Source: Dutch nationals taking UK citizenship ‘will lose Netherlands passports’ | World news | The Guardian

NZ Auditor-General won’t investigate Thiel citizenship | Otago Daily Times

While appears to be the correct decision given the broad authority granted to the minister, the bad smell will not go away:

The Auditor-General will not be conducting an inquiry into the decision to grant citizenship to San Francisco-based billionaire investor Peter Thiel, said deputy controller and Auditor-General Greg Schollum in response to a request from Green Party MP Denise Roche.

Ms Roche called on the Auditor-General to look into the decision after it came to light that in June 2011 then Minister of Internal Affairs Nathan Guy, approved Mr Thiel’s application for citizenship under the “exceptional circumstances” provisions of the Citizenship Act.

According to Mr Schollum, the provisions allow the minister to grant citizenship to someone who may not satisfy the normal criteria for citizenship, but where granting citizenship “would be in the public interest because of exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian or other nature relating to the applicant”.

He noted act gives the minister “broad discretion” and the section does not specify what these terms mean or how the minister’s discretion should be exercised. “This means the legislation allows for considerable flexibility on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

He said the issues largely come down to policy questions – for example, whether the legislation strikes the right balance for citizen decisions – or legal questions such as whether the provisions were applied correctly. “These are not questions that the Auditor-General generally has authority to answer,” Mr Schollum said.

Mr Thiel is a member of US President Donald Trump’s transition team, having donated to his campaign, and is a long-time libertarian who has in the past invested in the exploration of seasteading, the development of a floating city in international waters which could serve as a politically autonomous settlement.

Source: Auditor-General won’t investigate Thiel citizenship | Otago Daily Times Online News

Australian senator steps down because of dual Canadian citizenship

While a rule against dual citizenship for elected officials can be justified, this case highlights the absurdity of its formal application given that she left Canada when she was less than a year old and was caught by a Canadian rule change.

She does, of course, have the option of renouncing her Canadian citizenship but the process takes some time (don’t know how long but, if the example of Texas senator Ted Cruz is any indication, more than a few months).

Surprising, however, that she did not indicate her intent to renounce:

An Australian senator has been forced to step down because she is a dual citizen of Australia and Canada.

The Australian constitution disqualifies potential candidates from seeking election if they hold dual or plural citizenship.

Larissa Waters, who was also the deputy leader of the Green party, told a news conference Monday that was only found out about her status on Monday with “great shock and sadness.”

Waters was born to Australian parents in 1977 while they were studying and working in Winnipeg.

She left Canada as an 11-month-old baby and said she always believed she was just Australian.

Water said she also didn’t know she had to renounce the Canadian citizenship that was bestowed upon her at birth.

“I had not renounced since I was unaware that I was a dual citizen. Obviously this is something that I should have sought advice on when I first nominated for the Senate in 2007,” said Waters in a statement.

“I take full responsibility for this grave mistake and oversight. I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have.”

Waters said she only discovered her status on Monday after seeking legal advice in the wake of fellow Green party member Scott Ludlam having to step down because he holds dual citizenship with New Zealand.

Waters said she was “devastated” to learn she was a Canadian citizen and has resigned from office “with a heavy heart.”

“I have lived my life thinking that as a baby I was naturalized to be Australian and only Australian, and my parents told me that I had until age 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship,” said Waters.

“At 21, I chose not to seek dual citizenship, and I have never even visited Canada since leaving at 11 months old.”

Waters made international headlines earlier this year when she became the first woman to breastfeed her daughter, Alia, on the floor of the Australian Parliament.

Australian media reports say Waters was seen by some as a future leader of the Green party.

Source: Australian senator steps down because of dual Canadian citizenship – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa says female genital mutilation is ‘abhorrent,’ but offers no commitment on tracking cases

The Star continues its series on FGM, highlighting comparative Canadian inaction:

Canada has done little to understand the scope of the problem and is lagging far behind other developed countries in efforts to prevent it.

For example, earlier this summer, U.S. Homeland Security launched a pilot program to help prevent vacation cutting. The program is based on an initiative at London’s Heathrow airport, where security agents are trained to identify girls at risk.

The U.S., Britain and Australia have all undertaken research to determine the number of girls at risk: 507,000 in the U.S., 197,000 in the U.K. and 83,000 in Australia, according to an internal report from the Canada Border Services Agency.

The CBSA report, initially reported on by Global News, deals primarily with what is strongly suspected by Canadian officials but, as yet, unknown: whether FGM is happening on Canadian soil.

In the U.S., a doctor in Michigan was recently charged with carrying out the practice on up to 100 young girls, according to federal prosecutors, who say that no Canadian victims have so far been identified. There have also been cases in the U.K., France and Australia.

Those who perform female genital mutilation, called FGM practitioners, are “almost certainly entering Canada” to engage in the practice, according to the five-page report, which was prepared by Canadian border intelligence for employees.

“According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian health-care providers, it is almost certain that FGM is also happening in Canada,” despite it being illegal, the report says.

A spokesperson for CBSA did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Source: Ottawa says female genital mutilation is ‘abhorrent,’ but offers no commitment on tracking cases | Toronto Star

Synod slams high cost of British Citizenship – Migrants’ Rights Network

Could not agree more. Same issue (but to lesser extent) in Canada given five-fold increase in adult processing fee from $100 to $530 2014-15:

The cost of applying for citizenship in the UK is too high, unfair, and risks undoing the work of integration, General Synod was told at the annual gathering of the Church of England’s top decision-making body.

The Synod debate highlighted the issues faced by those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK who face a prohibitive cost – currently £1,282 for each adult – to apply for citizenship. Those who do not apply for citizenship but have indefinite leave to remain cannot vote in elections, have more limited travel options and cannot take up their full civic responsibilities, despite paying tax.

A motion, passed unanimously by Synod, asks the Archbishops’ Council to make recommendations to the Government on the issue, and encourages bishops in the House of Lords to address the issue in debates.

Ben Franks, the member of the House of Laity who initiated the debate, sad “Many of those who are eligible to apply for citizenship are working in the low-pay sectors of our economy due to their uncertain status making well paid employment more difficult. Many people save over years to pay for their applications, there are also those whose difficult situation leads them to go into long-term, high-interest debt from unscrupulous lenders to do so.”

Source: Synod slams high cost of British Citizenship – Migrants’ Rights Network

Turkish asylum claims up 5-fold in Canada amid Erdogan’s ‘witch hunt’


One year after a dramatic military coup unfolded and ultimately failed live on Turkish state television — with defiant soldiers commandeering warplanes and facing off against government supporters on a bridge over the Bosphorous Sea — the government crackdowns that ensued continue to be felt as far away as Canada.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada says asylum claims from Turkey shot up to more than 1,300 during 2016 — close to five times as many as the year before — with about 398 claims accepted, about four times as many in 2015. This year, the agency says, there have already been 590 claims, 248 of which have been accepted so far.

Toronto-based lawyer Britt Gunn says many of those claims are from those afraid of being classified as terrorists under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdowns. So far, tens of thousands of people with real or perceived links to polarizing cleric Fethullah Gulen — once a close ally of Erdogan’s and now the leader of the Gulen movement living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999 — have been arrested, detained or expelled.

“People are afraid they’re going to go back, be arrested, languish in prison for who knows how long, not have access to a lawyer, not really know what the charges are against them and essentially become the victim of this witch hunt that’s being carried out,” said Gunn, who says she has about 25 clients from Turkey at the moment.

Source: Turkish asylum claims up 5-fold in Canada amid Erdogan’s ‘witch hunt’ – Toronto – CBC News