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.
Links to news articles written by or about Libby Davies.
(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)
The NDP is filibustering the Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement legislation and obstructing the work of the House, says Government House Leader Jay Hill, but NDP MPs say it's their right to oppose "bad" legislation. The debate could go on indefinitely unless there is a motion to limit the time for debate on the amendment. The motion would have to be supported by a majority of MPs, however, and Mr. Hill (Prince George-Peace River, B.C.)said he could not get support from any of the opposition parties to do this. ...NDP House Leader Libby Davies (Vancouver East, B.C.) said, however, that her party has always opposed the bill and will continue to do so. The NDP is not making Parliament dysfunctional, she said, they're simply doing their jobs. "The record will show that from day one, the NDP was always clear that we opposed that bill and that's our right to do so. It's not like all of a sudden we said, we're not going to support this bill and this is about making Parliament dysfunctional," she said. "We oppose that bill because we think it's bad legislation and that's legitimate. It's part of our democratic process in Parliament, representing Canadian people."
Keeping George W. Bush safe on the Canadian speaking circuit is on track to cost the RCMP more than half-a-million dollars this year, as taxpayers foot the bill regardless of whether they buy a ticket to any of the former U.S. president's exclusive events. Mr. Bush is following the lucrative path of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, making big money as a speaker-for-hire with regular stops in Canada. But as Mr. Bush prepares for three Canadian speeches next month, new figures show there's a big difference between a Bush speech and a Clinton speech when it comes to the public purse.
With no fanfare or cheering followers, the Dalai Lama stepped off a plane at Vancouver International Airport Saturday to begin a four-day visit to B.C. While his arrival was low key, his public events will likely be another story. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's previous visits to Vancouver have had more of a rock-star feel, drawing sell-out crowds.
With the perennial push to boost the number of women in politics, it’s worth asking whether the world would be a more peaceful place with a bigger proportion of females at the helm. The only way to go beyond the theoretical in responding to such a question is to scrutinize the records of those women who’ve ruled. Women leaders, of course, are in the minority. But experience suggests a world of women presidents and prime ministers, queens and empresses would yield a world order not dissimilar to the one we have now.
Postsecondary students with disabilities are getting shortchanged with the new income-reporting procedure in applications for federal grants, according to NDP Vancouver East MP Libby Davies. In a letter to the Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley (http://www.libbydavies.ca/parliament/openletter/2009/09/02/fairness-students-disabilities), Davies noted that in the past these students were required to state only their projected income and expenses. However, they are now being asked to cite their gross income as reported in their previous year’s tax return, and that includes grants received from the federal government.
It is tragic to hear of the death of Marilyn Holsten and I can believe her life was a "living hell." Her death is tragic because she was a real fighter and displayed incredible strength as she took on the eviction, and the federal medical marijuana program. MLA Jenny Kwan and I visited Marilyn and tried to get the provincial and federal governments to get better home support for her and approval for medical marijuana. Ironically, we just got a copy of the letter from the federal health minister today, saying she had been approved for the medical marijuana program, in late June. It is a telling story of our health-care system that Marilyn had to contend with so many obstacles when she was so debilitated and just needed security and medical support. I'm very sad that her life ended this way. Libby Davies, MP, Vancouver East
In good economic times or bad, basically at any time other than election time, child care seems not to be a government priority. And true to form last week we saw the BC Liberal government again knocked child care to the bottom of the list with their withdrawal of Minor Capital Grants to child care centres.
Vancouver -- At four in the afternoon on Wednesday, August 19, a crowd of 160 people gathered to pay their respects to Curtis Brick -- a well-known and popular homeless aboriginal man. Flowers were placed at the spot where he was found. His friend, Dwayne Koe, pulled out a guitar and sang a song called, "We are one." Curtis Brick, 46, died on July 29 on one of the hottest days of year, mere meters away from a water fountain and children's water park.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission can launch its own complaints for violations of the Human Rights Act. But the agency rarely does so, unlike a U.S. counterpart that deals with employment discrimination. Vancouver's port is poisoned by sexual harassment, according to a report by veteran labour arbitrator Vince Ready. The human rights commission is hearing a complaint of discrimination by one female worker and an arbitrator is hearing another case.
he RCMP-led security force for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games won't rule out the use of agents provocateurs to incite protesters to commit illegal acts. Speaking on behalf of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, Cpl. Jen Allan said the ISU is charged with ensuring people's safety. “We are not in a position to detail a specific operational plan as to how we are going to fulfill that obligation,” Allan explained to the Georgia Straight in a telephone interview.
OTTAWA -- Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy has been stripped of responsibility for administering a major tourism funding program after she signed off on a grant for Toronto's gay pride week.
Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told about 3,000 people at a candlelight vigil in Vancouver Thursday he's proud of Canadians who are fighting for democratic rights in Iran. "The Iranian regime did not anticipate you," he told the last of a series of 10 nightly vigils at the Vancouver Art Gallery aimed at raising awareness of the violence in Iran and calling for a return to a fair and democratic electoral process in that country.
OTTAWA - One leading critic calls it a law that would have put a young Barack Obama in prison, but Liberal justice critic Dominic LeBlanc defends the official Opposition's support of a Conservative bill to fight drug crime. MPs were set to pass Bill C-15 Monday, which relies heavily on mandatory minimum sentences to deter drug dealers.
A federal bill to impose automatic jail terms for drug crimes, for the first time in Canada, is headed for passage in the House of Commons in a final vote that could happen as early as Thursday. If the proposed legislation succeeds as anticipated, judges will be stripped of their discretion on whether or not to incarcerate drug traffickers, including offenders who grow and then sell as few as five marijuana plants.
As the June 8th deadline for comments on the proposed distribution of Al Jazeera English on cable approaches, NDP leader Jack Layton, MPs Paul Dewar and Libby Davies, senators Hugh Segal and Marcel Prud’homme have lent their support for the 24-hour news channel but Conservative and Liberal politicians, with the exception of Segal, were conspicuously absent from the list.
Three Vancouver MPs and 20 others across the country sent a letter yesterday to two federal ministers urging them to halt the deportation of a former KGB agent living in Burnaby. As of press time, the Vancouver Sun reported that Lennikov had sought sanctuary in the First Lutheran Church on the East Side. Vancouver-South Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, Vancouver-East NDP MP Libby Davies and Vancouver-Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies signed the letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is threatening to introduce a motion of non-confidence in the Conservative government as early as next week. Lashing out at the minority Conservatives over employment insurance, isotopes and the deficit, Ignatieff said his party "will make a serene and clear decision" by midweek about whether it wants to topple the Tories. The government's second "report card" on the federal budget's economic stimulus package is due sometime in June. That could be the catalyst for a non-confidence vote.