A leading Palestinian activist has said that it may be time to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and “dump the occupation back at Israel’s doorstep”. Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian-American Christian and founding member of the International Solidarity Movement. She told the Straight that the disintegration of the Palestinian territories’ governing party could be the best thing for its people. “Creating the Palestinian Authority, in a way, relieved Israel of a lot of the obligations of an occupying power,” she explained in a telephone interview from New York City. “They kind of relieved themselves of the minuscule administrative tasks and, at the same time, can [now] blame the Palestinian Authority for a lot of things that are not even in its control.”
The fallout from the blocking of three gay films at the border has reverberated across Parliament Hill. Queer MPs are universally outraged by what they see as a return to the era of Little Sister's struggles. "How long does this battle have to go on?" asks NDP House Leader Libby Davies. "There's been thousands, maybe millions of dollars spent on litigation [and] court battles by Little Sister's. Why are they holding up material that is totally acceptable?"
A recently released guidebook for new immigrants, Discover Canada, is a mixed bag of trivia and ideology. The handbook has an explicit section on gender equality, where it condemns the "barbaric cultural practices" of spousal abuse, honour killings and female genital mutilation. There is a section on diversity that gives a shout out to atheism but leaves out gays or lesbians. Queer people are relegated to a sidebar next to a photo of Mark Tewksbury, in the section devoted to sports, arts and culture. And that has MPs shaking their heads. "I always worried that it was more of a political, ideological message more than anything else," says lesbian NDP MP Libby Davies of the guide.
Facing a second tour in Iraq, U.S. army corporal Rodney Watson fled to Canada and now lives in the First United Church on East Hastings while his government presses for his return. Watson was eventually ordered to leave the country Sept. 11, 2009, after two deportation stays during the summer.....On Aug. 12, seven B.C. NDP members of Parliament wrote the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, asking him to intervene in Watson's case. Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East, was one of the signatories and says she will continue to support Watson in his fight to stay. "I believe he has a legal reason to seek refugee status in Canada," says Davies, noting that Watson's situation is more difficult than it appears. "He's taking on this whole system. It's obviously a very hard decision to make." Many people support his decision, Davies says. She points to an Angus Reid poll conducted in June 2008 with 64 per cent of Canadians supporting permanent residence for fugitive soldiers. "Canada has a history of welcoming war resisters," Davies says. A fugitive in Canada and the U.S., Watson sought refuge at the First United Church on East Hastings after meeting Rev. Ric Matthews at a press conference. Matthews says taking Watson in is part of church tradition.
Related ArticlesForcing homeless into shelters for Olympics Mayor promises to protect free speech during Olympics Vancouver Pride House planned for 2010 Games Queers should be concerned about Olympic censorship More National Headlines Toronto woman becomes first trans Body Worlds donor Xtra shuffles editorial deck Ontario MPP reintroduces trans rights bill Precious opens Fri, Nov 20 in Toronto East Vancouver's queer member of Parliament, Libby Davies, is calling for a code of conduct for security forces during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. A spokesperson for the Games' Integrated Security Unit (ISU) says Davies will need to provide a letter detailing what form of code she would like to see. "We would provide a response," promises ISU spokesperson Cpl Jen Allan. Davies says such a code should be printed and circulated. She says it could be a popular tool for holding the more than 14,000 police, military and private security officers accountable for their behaviour during the Games.
OTTAWA — Members of Parliament are scrambling to climb aboard the Twitter bandwagon - and getting elbowed by controversial, satirical and even phoney postings. Victims of fake Twitter accounts now include Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Mike Duffy, the former CTV journalist. And satirical accounts currently make fun of NDP Leader Jack Layton's moustache and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's cat. As for controversy, Liberal MP Michelle Simson recently had to apologize to Tory MP Dean Del Mastro after tweeting the following during a committee meeting: "In committee this morning. M.P. Del Mastro should grow up (not out)." That was followed by: "Gosh, I hate to see a grown M.P. pout. Smile, Dean." The incident prompted New Democrat MP Charlie Angus to complain Twitter has been turning MPs into Grade 9 cheerleaders and jocks in the school cafeteria. Despite the pitfalls and embarrassments, politicians say social networking is an effective way to connect with constituents and others.
OTTAWA — Conservatives received a slap on the wrist Thursday for misrepresenting an opponent in one of many ultra-partisan flyers the party’s MPs have been mailing — at taxpayers’ expense — across the country. The rebuke from Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, is not the first Conservatives have received over their use of MPs’ free mailing privileges. Nor, if Liberals have their way, will it be the last. They lodged another complaint Thursday with the Speaker, alleging their privileges were breached by a Tory flyer that links the Liberals to anti-Semitism.
(For the complete story please click on the headline) ...as the Conservative government continues this fall to roll out its long series of tough-on-crime initiatives built around mandatory minimum penalties for a raft of offences—from gun crime to big-time fraud—it would be reasonable to expect a thick stack of Justice studies explaining why dictating longer prison terms is the way to go. But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson doesn’t offer up any departmental research at all to support the Tories’ major law-and-order thrust. Instead, in response to requests from Maclean’s for any analysis or data justifying the new minimum sentences, his office produced a 1,000-word memo explaining the policy. It candidly admits that research doesn’t offer persuasive evidence that mandatory minimum penalties, called MMPs for short, reduce crime...Some NDP MPs, including Libby Davies and Megan Leslie, have been more willing to challenge Nicholson. When he appeared before the House justice committee last spring, Davies repeatedly pressed him for evidence that MMPs work. He didn’t offer any. “We have the mandate of the Canadian people,” Nicholson answered, “and they have told us that this is what they want to see us move on.”
The NDP wants the federal government to be able to recoup the security costs when ex-presidents visit Canada for private business. NDP MP Libby Davies introduced a motion into the House of Commons calling for the measure after a series of high-profile private visits to Canada by former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (To read Libby's Motion please follow this link: http://www.libbydavies.ca/parliament/statement/2009/10/27/libbys-motion-security-costs-visiting-dignitaries)