Monday, July 20, 2015

Remembering Bernice Katz/Deborah Cass, and the Theatre of Resistance


The following story is about my mother, whom many of you met at demonstrations and public events through the years across the U.S. and Canada. Many of you may have seen her perform on stage and TV, or heard her over the radio. A special memorial fund in her name was established by Homes not Bombs to aid the families of Canada's secret trial detainees and, sadly, it is still needed 11 years later. (See bottom for more details).

(NOTE: 11 years later, we are still raising funds for those affected by the secret  trial process)

In Honour of My Mother
Bernice Katz/Deborah Cass Behrens

May 31, 1930 -- July 20, 2004

By Matthew Behrens

On my mother's cause-of-death certificate, the doctor wrote "Failure to Thrive." This medical term took me aback, for anyone who met my mother would find the term inconsistent with the woman who, despite a lifetime of barriers, managed in her own way to flower, to shine, to thrive.

Indeed, anyone who sat in the light of my mother's all-embracing love would find it difficult to believe she combated a lifetime of physical, social and psychological obstacles which could easily have left her to wallow in bitterness and anger.

Those barriers included being run over by a car as a child, fighting bulimia all her life, suffering thousands of debilitating tiny mini-strokes and Parkinson's, encephalitis, coronary heart disease, dementia and a host of other ailments. She also faced the systemic barriers of sexism and anti-Semitism. Yet despite all this, my mother managed to find a way to express herself, her ideas, and her ideals in a manner which was passionate, loving, and kind.

She DID thrive, as a student, as an actor, as a partner, parent and grandparent, as an advocate for social justice, and as a special kind of mentor to young people in the arts and in grass roots politics.

If she knew I were saying this, she would stop me in my tracks and say, "Oh, stop your bullshitting," hoping to shift attention away from herself, preferring to redirect any spotlight to those around her.

Indeed, to her dying breath, my mother was a truly radical democrat. After the doctors and nurses explained the process of dying -- a cold would start from her feet and hands as the warmth and blood centred on essential organs -- my mother continued to defy them. All night long before she passed on, those areas which had once been cold were warm again.

Her heart, always about sharing, insisted that the "non-essential" parts continue to receive their share of her precious blood. This amazing ticker, condemned two years ago after a major coronary attack, was the organ which continued to work right until the last moment, pumping at an almost desperate pace, screaming out that there were still things to do, people to embrace, faces to caress, politicians to scream at, and a genuine kindness to be shared.

To her last conscious moments, she was apologizing to those who were caring for her -- her wonderful personal support workers, nurses, her family. It all seemed so silly to her, this attention, as she lay at home in her bed receiving palliative care, saying she could get her own water although she could not walk, much less hold a glass.

The years leading to my mother's passing were not pretty ones. They were stressful for her, for my father, for our family. We were grateful as always for her laughter, her outrage, her hugs and kisses. But as time wore on, something was missing. Her quality of life had reached an all-time low, and the pain which she only rarely complained about clearly consumed her.

Going through such a process with a loved one cannot help but force us to examine the way in which we treat the elderly and those who have no quality of life. When I think of my mother's pain, and the fact that her life literally became one of lying on a couch or in bed all day, usually lost in a confused sleep and losing interest in food, I think of the practice of putting horses who break a leg out of their misery. That process is legal. Yet people like my mother, or terminal cancer patients, are not given that option of a quick, compassionate way out, even if they and their family have given informed consent.

Indeed, in a culture which rewards people for killing (look at those U.S. generals in Iraq), we prosecute those who, in an act of mercy and compassion, enter into an arrangement with someone who is terminally ill but in full command of their senses, to help ease them out of their suffering.

Euthanasia is a concept which my mother fully supported, and I look forward to the day that the terminally ill, their families, and friends will not be forced to endure weeks, months, and years of watching a loved one slowly, painfully waste away.

My wonderful Aunt Jean (known to her nephews as Auntie "Shtink") spoke to me a few moments after my mother passed away. "Now is a time to celebrate her life," she said. And while words are almost impossible to describe the magical person who was my mother, I hope what's written below can give a small sense of the passionate, loving soul who inhabited that frail, pixie-like body.

 Lil Abner

Deborah Cass Behrens (nee Bernice Katz) was born on the street. Literally. On May 31, 1930, her mother, Helena Katz, squeezed out her first daughter on the poverty-stricken streets of Transcona, Manitoba. The street remained a place for which my mother would have an affinity the rest of her life, whether engaging the homeless on the streets of Toronto, marching for someone else's rights, or travelling the length of North America to "bring theatre to the people."

Her parents were Russian immigrants from a generation which firmly believed, inspired by the events of 1917, that a revolution might sweep the world, eliminating poverty, hatred, discrimination, and the gross inequities which force so many to live in misery for the benefit of a smug few.

Her father, Abe Katz, was forced to go underground following the Winnipeg General Strike. Her mother, Helena Katz, joined Abe in supporting the Communist cause of the 1930s, about the only place you could go if you wanted to agitate for peace, civil rights, equality, and the social programs we take for granted today: unemployment insurance, health care, workplace safety, and so many others.

Though never party members, they did take a quirky assignment from a CP overwhelmed with people wanting to help and not sure what to do with all these newcomers. Hence, my grandparents took on the serious task of infiltrating the Shriners. A picture of these two proud Yiddish immigrants in Shriner outfits is a testament to their delicate work for the cause! The slight grins on both of their faces informs us that this was one of the more entertaining of their many tasks.

When my mother told us such stories while I was growing up, it seemed still possible to believe in the purity of social struggle, in the ideals of universal equality and solidarity, in the idea that you could fight for these things all the while there was laughter, joy, dancing, and singing, for if the revolution were to create paradise on earth, it had to be the kind fought with love in our hearts, not the kind that would replace one kind of hatred and oppression with another.

It was a passion my mother carried to her final breath, despite her disappointments at the silliness which often divides us on the left of the political spectrum. "Why can't we all just get together?" she would plead. She rejected labels, refusing to identify as a Jew or a communist, insisting that she was first and foremost a Human Being.

At the height of the Depression, her parents established an institution which stands to this day in downtown Windsor: the Canada Salvage store, a place where you can buy almost anything at a decent price, started originally as a place to reclaim the castoffs and remnants of an economic system which produces far too much "crap," as my mother would proclaim.

My mother grew up in a thriving, progressive community along with her older brother Buddy and younger sister Jean. These past few weeks, as Jean sat by her sister's bedside, she would ask my mother to recall the events of the 30s and 40s, when members of the community (Chaverim, or comrades) would join May Day Parades, raise funds for Spanish and later Russian War relief, and gather in a women's reading circle who would meet at their house, arguing politics and screaming in laughter.
Wedding Day, 1961, with Bunny and a drunken justice of the peace

It was a time where good and evil were pretty clearly defined, and it was clear to a Canada suffering through Depression that capitalism was an evil (recognized as such even by the CCF, the forerunner to an NDP that avoids using the C word these days). Songs like the "Internationale" and "Which Side Are You On?" weren't lefty nostalgia pieces, but raw, edgy evocations of the struggle necessary to birth a new world.

The raised fist which was one of my mother's personal trademarks was a real, heart-felt symbol of international class solidarity, not an empty display of machismo. It was to the 30s and 40s what the peace sign was to the 60s and 70s--a meaningful symbol not yet bought off to advertise sneakers or sports cars.

Terms like "the people," "the workers," and " the revolution" had not yet been debased by endless debates in the academy, and to the end words like these always brought a gasp of delight and an "Achhhh!" from my mother. Anyone doubting the extent to which such terms were a part of the atmosphere should view Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times," one of my mom's favourite flicks.

And while some members of her generation no doubt looked back with ambivalence surrounding a lot of issues, rhetoric, and actions, no one could doubt their sincerity.

And sincere they were in this wonderfully anarchistic, Yiddish milieu, where so many wore their hearts on their sleeves and their hopes on their brows. After all, they had nothing to lose and a world to win! So committed to the cause were my grandparents that Abe placed red dye, the colour representing communism, into the still-wet concrete when a sidewalk was poured in front of their Windsor house on Lewis Avenue. To this day, a red walkway leads to that house as if it were a welcome to all who shared those ideals of global solidarity.

In the progressive movement of Windsor, ideals were not simply the focus of Saturday evening debates, they were things which needed to be tested, challenged, and put into practice. Among the "Chaverim" in Windsor was a factory owner who, when his workers went on strike, was told by Abe Katz to settle the dispute with dignity and justice, else he would never talk to him again. Such was the power of that circle that those words had their effect, and the strike was won.

As part of the social movements of the 1930s, progressive summer camps were established throughout North America. Among them was one that my mother's parents had a hand in starting: Camp Naivelt (Camp New World), nestled on the banks of the Credit River just west of Brampton. There the children, getting a real break from the sweltering urban environment, spent the summer learning radical songs, swimming, performing dramatic skits, attending endless meetings about everything under the sun.

They carried the flags left over from May Day parades throughout the summer, and were indoctrinated into the CP dogma of the day. My mother thrived here (I have a picture of her dancing under a huge banner which reads in Yiddish, "Tribute to Heroes and Martyrs.") She eventually became drama director for the camp, also attended by her older brother Buddy and younger sister Jean, whom she lovingly called Shtink ("little stinker").

The land for the Camp was bought by a holding company that did not have a Jewish-sounding name, as this was an era in which signs which read "No Jews or Dogs Allowed" were commonplace. It was not the last time my mother would face the systemic anti-Semitism which was so finely woven into the Maple Leaf.

The songs of Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger and the Almanac Singers, among others, she heard at home and at Camp Naivelt. She sat on Robeson's knee when he stayed at their Windsor house. She sang along with Pete Seeger during his many trips to Naivelt.

Not everyone maintained this passion. Some would remain proud of their association with the camp while others, embittered, would likely prefer to hide their past in the red-baiting 50s and 60s. Following WWII, the RCMP often parked cars outside the entrance to Naivelt, photographing people and taking down license plate numbers of people who went in.

For my mother, politics was not the only the engine which ignited her passions; rather, it was something she had absorbed by osmosis, which informed her every breath, and opened her mind to the many wonders she would discover in theatre school. Indeed, much as the term "the workers" brought her to a reverent, sincere sigh, so too would names like Garcia Lorca, Bertolt Brecht, Jean Anouilh, and William Shakespeare, all of whom produced works which my mother would call "extremely relevant!"

My mother's interest in the theatre developed early. Run over by a car at an early age -- her rib cage was crushed when her distraught father picked her up following the accident -- my mom took dance lessons as part of her physical rehabilitation, through which she developed a passion for the theatre. It was a time of great flowering in the theatre, long before megamusical shlock dominated the stages. Serious drama that could inspire people to change the world was on many people's minds, and organizations such as the left-wing Group Theatre in New York were an inspiration to her.

It was in this milieu that my mother went to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where she was exposed to much of the then underground flowering cultural scene, discussions about sexuality, poetry, and radical critiques of the massive glob of conformity being imposed on 1950s America.

Ever the rebel, my mother posted on the Goodman call board a protest against the strait-laced approach of some of the older teachers to the development of stage characterization. Insisting that certain characters should be fully rounded, her message read: "Kings and Queens are People Too. They eat, sleep, and go to the toilet."

1980s head shot

My mother worked a lot after she graduated from Goodman, sparking controversy in early 1950s Toronto when she was picked to play the lead role in Eugene O'Neil's Anna Christie. It was unheard of for a Jew to play such a role. Eventually, my mother had to change her name from Bernice Katz to the more "acceptable" Deborah Cass.

She went on to do much early CBC television and radio drama, and played everywhere from the Crest and Jupiter Theatres in Toronto to the Stratford Festival and, for five years, toured North America with the Canadian Players, a group of classically trained actors who, during the off season at Stratford, took their shows to communities large and small across the continent.

When the tour bus lurched into the American South, members of the tour kept out a special watch for my mother, the tiniest of the crew yet the one most likely to raise a stink over the racist segregation then being fought by the early Civil Rights Movement.

Despite being cooped up on an old bus with baggage, props and costumes, she loved those years on the road, greeting people after the shows, and entertaining audiences with a variety of roles that almost 50 years on are still remembered by those who saw her, perhaps as Ariel, flying about the stage in "The Tempest," whose enchanting singing of the "Jewish Shepherd's Song" brought an exotic sound to some very WASP communities, or as Aase in "Peer Gynt," or the Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet."

To read the reviews in those days is to learn about someone who, no matter how insignificant the role, made a huge impression on the stage, not for the sake of her ego, but for the sake of the play, to bring to full fruition the humanity of a character. A petite woman, she was often described as pixie-like, with an infectious laugh and a commanding dramatic and comic presence. In many respects, she was both the loopy sister Martha Brewster in "Arsenic and Old Lace" and the Greek tragedian "Antigone," roles she truly cherished.

Like another petite figure who was a volcanic source of passion, Judy Garland, my mother was someone who became a character, an emotion, an idea, 150%. To watch her from behind was to read perfectly her emotional state. She was always in the moment. She knew how to embrace an audience or an individual, to listen to anyone's concerns, no matter how petty, and how to make someone feel like a worthwhile person.

Also like Garland, my mother was also forced by an image-conscious society and profession to take diet pills to stay razor-thin, and developed bulimia which would haunt her much of her adult life. In those days eating disorders were not openly discussed, unfortunately, and the toll it took on her frame and long-term health is no doubt incalculable.

On tour she met my father, Bunny Behrens, and spent almost 50 years with him, raising 3 children. My parents helped found the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and my mother played a range of roles in plays such as "The Fantasticks," "Romanoff and Juliet" (where she played the show stopping role of Evdokia), and the title role in "Antigone," the Jean Anouilh adaptation which fed my mother's anti-fascist soul.

But ominous headlines appeared in Canadian newspapers in 1963: a star of Canadian theatre had been struck by a mystery illness which had paralyzed one side, given her double vision, and forced her off the stage for a time. Encephalitis took a bite out of her, from which she never fully recovered.

My mother made a huge sacrifice in giving up her career at that time to raise her three boys. While we were growing up, she wasted no time in ensuring we knew right from wrong, in making sure we knew what Vietnam, Birmingham, and American Indian Movement meant. And to this day, the concept of eating table grapes is still very new, given that we grew up with the decades-long grape boycott called by the United Farm Workers.

Like the late Harold Kendall of Toronto, after whom the Harolds are named, my mother remained a vocal audience member -- there with you when things went well, laughing her huge, body-consuming laugh, inhaling quite audibly without a touch of pretense during a moving moment, cursing at bad performances, walking out on execrable ones.

She eventually returned to acting in the 1980s, appearing on stage, and in numerous CBC TV shows. One of her first roles back on the stage was in "The Trojan Women" at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, which had been founded in the 1950s by blacklisted actors including the theatre's namesake, who would win fame as Grandpa Walton.

You Can't Take it With You, 1984, National Arts Centre, with Bunny Behrens, Shirley Douglas

But the devastating effects of years of mini-strokes which she never felt had eaten away at her balance and her memory, forcing her to retire. It was a painful period for her, as one of her primary passions had been taken away from her by a cruel twist of fate.

Although no longer acting, she spent countless hours marching the streets in the U.S. and in Canada. The chant of "No Pasaran" (They Shall Not Pass!) which had been the slogan of the Spanish Civil War she chanted again as she worked to end the U.S. terrorist war against Nicaragua.

She was always glued to the radio --growing up, you always knew when the news was on, because screams of "Fucker!" "Jesus!" and "Shit! would fill the air as the news of the war in Vietnam, Watergate, and other events were reported on by her beloved National Public Radio and Pacifica Radio.

One of her favourite days was the Gay Pride parade, and she was a fixture at Church/Wellesley, the heart of Toronto's lesbian and gay community, greeted by name by hundreds of people whose names she could never remember. But she was always there with a kiss on the cheek, a loving caress, and a big smile.

Her last demo on her feet was in December, 1998, at the American consulate in Toronto as the U.S. launched deadly cruise missile attacks on Iraq to distract attention from Bill Clinton's enormous libido. Shortly after that, a fall sent her to an extended hospital stay, where we kept her going by playing Pete Seeger songs, reading her the writings of Paul Robeson, and getting food into her otherwise reluctant mouth with each "Achhh!"

By the spring of 1999, about the same time as the U.S./Canadian bombing of the Balkans, my mother began to enter a serious decline. No longer able to stand on her own, we wheeled her to Toronto's St. Paul's Anglican Church, where three individuals were attempting to remove the sword from the cross on a local monument. Surrounded by riot police monitoring this Good Friday demonstration, my mother was in her element, greeting familiar faces and exalting in the presence of resisters to war and injustice.

My mother's final years were spent in Niagara, close to the Shaw Festival where my father continues to work. She kept abreast of current events as much as she could, though her focus was beginning to go. She raised her fist in support of the anti-war demos last year, and she remained concerned about the plight of Canada's secret trial detainees, whose plight has similar overtones to those of the Rosenbergs, for whom my mother marched in the early 1950s.

I told my mom that many Muslims were fervently praying for her from behind the prison walls of Canada's war on democracy. She delighted in this, and asked about the detainees and their children, whose pictures I showed her. While she could barely remember most things on a day-to-day basis, this was one issue which she never forgot.

Bunny and Debbie, June, 1988, at Toronto rally before march to place citizens' arrest on Reagan, Thatcher and other war criminals  

From his solitary confinement cell at Metro West Detention Centre, where he has spent almost three full years, Syrian refugee Hassan Almrei asked me to tell my mom to hold on so that she could see the day Hassan would be free.

But my mother simply could not stand it any longer. The last few weeks, her family gathered around her as she spent her final days here. She had been so desperately tired these past few years, often saying she had had enough, yet that part of her which was the hopeful, nurturing soul kept her going. She wanted to see how things were going to turn out, and hoped perhaps to go out on a high note.

I reported to her when the terrorist and former President Ronald Reagan had finally succumbed, and she raised her fist in the air and exclaimed, "That man was a SHIT!"

As she entered her final stage of palliative care, we lit candles in her room, and played a wide variety of music which she had loved throughout her life. Broadway shows like "The Fantasticks" and "Finian's Rainbow," the Sibelius Symphony #2, a wonderful piece that evokes a revolutionary journey and eventual triumph, and her beloved Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson.

We took calls from loved ones all over, placing the phone to her ear. She was often half-asleep for these calls, but she would smile or weakly say that she loved them.

On July 15, my mother had an incredibly painful day. I tried to console her with the news that my two brothers, Adam and Mark, would be there soon. "They'd better hurry up," she gasped, writhing in pain. We'd been informed by the doctor and nurses that such patients often hold on until the family arrives, and then let go.

As it was, she did hang on until all her sons had arrived, but then continued going on after that, defying each medical prediction about how much longer she had. It was an exhausting, round-the-clock vigil, hoping she would feel no more pain, hoping she would go to sleep peacefully, her family administering her half hour doses of morphine and swabbing her dry mouth.

It was a surreal time, and we spent much of it telling stories, some sad, others hysterically funny, in the presence of my mother, then in a coma. She occasionally made a slight movement in her facial muscles or raised an eyebrow, as if to acknowledge the silliness that was going on, or perhaps to say this whole scene was truly bizarre.

The last night my mother was fully conscious, her sister Jean and I played Pete Seeger's historic 1963 Carnegie Hall concert CD. My mom's eyes, closed for much of the past year, suddenly opened wide, as she stared at the ceiling and breathed in the sounds. She was there, enveloped in the music, celebrating as much as she could in that frail body. Her sister and I sang We Shall Overcome over her bed through a veil of hot tears.

Each day, we were told, should have been her last, given that she'd not eaten in over a month and that someone in her condition could not last more than a day or two without water. But still she kept going, confounding the doctors. Was there a significant date she may have been waiting for? I joked in her ear that she was probably just waiting for July 19, the 25th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in NIcaragua that was so dear to her heart. And so she did wait, and I was able to wish her a happy anniversary that morning.

My mom was still with us, in a coma, on the 19th, passing away on the morning of July 20 at 10:45 am, just aftrer we placed an hysterical Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon on her pillow. We laughed that morning, and we cried too. And we joined hands around her bedside to say goodbye.

As I reflected back on her last days and nights, I recalled a Pete Seeger song that made my mother stir, even in a coma. It is the song of the 15th brigade, a tribute to those who fought against the fascists in Spain. I had spoken to her about the lyrics, and how it was like she was fighting a form of fascism in the ailments which afflicted her.

"Yes," she had said. "There's fascists in my body."

The final verse of the passionate song goes like this:

 "Spain, 1937
Long live the 15th brigade...
We fought against the mercenaries and the fascists;
it was our only desire to defeat fascism.
But on the Jarama Front
we had no tanks, no cannon, no airplanes.
Now we are leaving Spain
but we'll keep on fighting on other fronts."
 It made me think of the battles my mother had been waging and how, at age 74, she had had enough of the fascism ravaging her body. Like those who had to make a strategic retreat in Spain, my mother had to make a similar retreat from this mortal form.

 Niagara, 2004
Long live the loving spirit of my mother
She fought the fascists all her life
She shared her art and her passions and her unconditional love
But she could not conquer the fascist diseases which wracked her tiny frame
She is leaving this mortal world for now
But she'll keep on fighting on other fronts.

And so she will go on.

Although she passed away in Niagara, her body was taken to Milton for cremation. Milton is just a stone's throw from where the still-alive Camp Naivelt carries on. Perhaps a few of her ashes will drift over this place of happy memories and lifelong hopes and dreams.

Later in the afternoon, a sun shower gently passed over her house. Sensing that she was here as a kindly spirit, we three sons went out looking for a rainbow.


 In honour of my mother, Homes not Bombs set up up a memorial fund named after one of her favourite readings, printed below. The aim of the The Bernice Katz/Deborah Cass Behrens "Esperanza Fund" is to meet the significant needs of the families of Canada's secret trial detainees, who, as a result of Canada's anti-democratic (some may say leaning toward fascist) refugee, immigration, and "security" policies, face poverty and lack access to the kinds of summer camps, educational and cultural programs my mother enjoyed as a result of another generation's struggle. My mother recognized that we are not placed on this earth merely to survive; that life should be a celebration of laughter, of theatre and dance and song, of play, of freedom from fear.

 To contribute, write a cheque to Homes not Bombs and mail it to PO Box 72121, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0. (Note on your cheque in the memo space this is for the Esperanza Fund.) You can also send an email money transfer to

We can issue charitable receipts for donations over $100, but to do so you MUST contact us first for details on how to make those arrangements (at

 "There will come a time, I know
When People will take delight in one another
When each will be a star to the other
And when each will listen to their neighbour as to music.
The free people will walk upon the earth
People great in their freedom.
They will walk with open hearts
And the heart of each will be pure of envy and greed
And therefore all of humanity will be without malice
And there will be nothing to divorce the heart from reason.
Then life will be one great service to humanity!
Our figure will be raised to lofty heights
For to free people all things are attainable.
Then we shall live in truth and freedom and beauty
And those will be accounted the best who will the more widely embrace the world with their hearts
And whose love of it will be the profoundest;
Those will be the best who will be the freest
For in them is the greatest beauty
Then life will be great
And the people will be great who live that life."

 From "Mother," by Maxim Gorky

Celebrating our parents' artistic and social justice legacy, Canadian theatre history exhibit, Perth, Ontario, 2013, with portraits of Debbiu and Bunny as done by Gordon Pinsent overlooking us.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Join Ten Hours Against Terrorism, a Nonviolent Protest at CANSEC15 (aka Torturefest15/Terrorfest15), Canada’s largest weapons fair and host to some of the world’s worst human rights violators and torturers

DETAILS ON HOW TO GET TO THE PROTEST (and how you can support if you are outside of Ottawa) BELOW

"I will kill everything in sight, every single time." CANSEC exhibitor

Join Ten Hours Against Terrorism, a Nonviolent Protest at CANSEC15 (aka Torturefest15/Terrorfest15), Canada’s largest weapons fair and host to some of the world’s worst human rights violators and torturers (Background on visitors and companies below)

Wednesday, May 27, 8 am to 6 pm (come for some or all of the day if you can)

EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr., Ottawa

Suggested times to come for highest impact. (But anytime is great.)

8:00 -9:30 am.  The 11,000 delegates will be arriving, many on foot from the nearby Hilton Garden Inn.  Our sound system will be ready for anyone wishing to speak or perform.

11:30 am-2:00 pm.  Again, delegates will be coming and going. Jason Kenney, Minister of Defence is speaking at a luncheon with a sell-out crowd of 4000.  We are lining up speakers, and performers for this key time.
At 12:00 noon, we will do a die-in accompanied by the sounds of war to symbolize the lives lost through the weapons on sale within.

4:30 to 6:00 pm.  This is another prime time to have people at the microphones and to leaflet delegates.  They will be coming and going. The exhibits close at 5:00 pm and there is a “networking” reception from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Please come when you can.  Here is how to get to the E-Y centre.

Best option is the 97 Bus to the Airport. It goes every 15 minutes. Get on anywhere on the Transitway. Get off at stop AIRPORT / UPLANDS (6144). The bus is free for Seniors on Wednesday!

We will be running a shuttle van.  To reserve a spot call us at 613-267-3998.

Going by car will be iffy for finding places to park. You may be able to find a spot at one of the nearby hotels.

(if you cannot make it to Ottawa, consider organizing a vigil at your local weapons manufacturers—there’s hundreds of them across Canada, and we can help you locate the one nearest you

Above, Kuwaiti military officials attending CANSEC weapons bazaar test out the latest in repression before heading home where, according to Amnesty international, "The authorities increased restrictions on freedoms of assembly and expression, including by prosecuting some social media users. Riot police used excessive force, tear gas and stun grenades against peaceful demonstrations by government opponents."


“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.  The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.” Arundhati Roy

May 27 will be a day-long witness against terrorism, war, torture, and the human rights violations that arise from such conspiracies as CANSEC15.

We will be organizing transportation to and from the site, so consider how long you can stay: a few hours, half a day, or perhaps the whole day. (With that in mind, pack a lunch, bring snacks and water)

We will be hanging lots of banners on the fences. Consider making some artwork that is representative of resistance to war.
We will read aloud the reports of human rights groups, the testimonies of the disappeared and detained,  the stories of survivors who have lived in terror under the bombs that come from Canada. We will nonviolently, lovingly lay siege to CANSEC15 by, as Arundhati Roy suggests, telling our own stories and refusing to buy the myths of militarism and CANSEC’s glorification of terrorism and barbaric cultural practices. We will build a large graveyard to commemorate victims of CANSEC’s exhibitors, guests, and hosts. We will sing. We will speak our truth. At the same time, we will refuse to engage in any acts of violence, whether physical or verbal, and will not seek to humiliate CANSEC15 attendees or those hired hands patrolling the vicinity.


1.     1. Coming from out of town? Let us know if you need billeting.

2.     2. Can you provide transportation to help people get to the EY Centre (next to Ottawa airport)? Can you put up out-of-town visitors in your Ottawa home? Can you help provide food and water on the day of the event? Contact or call 613-267-3998

3.     3. Can you donate to help us meet our costs? We are building a large mosaic of the Human Face of War. You can sponsor one of those faces for $60. Cheques can be made out to Homes not Bombs and mailed to PO Box 2121, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0 OR you can arrange to send an interac e-transfer to

4.     4. Can’t make it? Send us a poem, an essay, something that you want shared at our day-long speakers’ platform. Let us know if you would be able to organize a vigil in your community art a weapons manufacturer, a federal office, etc.

      5. Consider endorsing our event.

More information: Homes not Bombs,, 613-267-3998,


“When you are engaged in activities that explicitly promote or advocate terrorism, that is a serious criminal offence no matter who you are." PM Stephen Harper

"I will kill everything in sight, every single time, that’s what F-22 and 10 years of it’s employment has taught us." CANSEC exhibitor Lockheed Martin

(see a video on CANSEC at )

“Children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured in Bahrain.” Amnesty International report on Bahrain, an honoured CANSEC guest.

“I thought they were killing Said, and that I was next. I could hear beating and shouting. I didn’t want to die afraid; I wanted to be strong, honourable. I prayed and thought of my parents. I will never forget the sound of the sticks hitting him.” Basimah Al-Rajhi, human rights lawyer, on being detained in Oman, one of CANSEC’s honoured guests.

The weapons sold at CANSEC, when used properly, are tools of terrorism as categorized under Canada's own laws, given that they are designed to cause " (A) death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of  violence, (B) endangers a person’s life, (C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public, (D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or (E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private."


CANSEC hosted 31 international delegations last year in cooperation with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, with the beheading capital of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, heading the list. Other regular violators of human rights who are officially touted as 2015 guests include Bahrain (according to Amnesty International, “Children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured in Bahrain.”), Kuwait (repression of women, torture), Israel (well documented by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, as well as war crimes documented by Amnesty International), Mexico (the use of torture has grown by 600% in the last decade), Oman (Human Rights Watch reports “rights routinely trampled” and where “Torture has become the state’s knee jerk response to political expression.”), United Arab Emirates (where torture is commonplace with as many as 75% of detainees experiencing abuse), United Kingdom (intensely complicit in the rendition to torture program) and United States (U.S. Senate report on “ruthless” brutality). Saudi Arabia is not yet officially listed as a guest in 2015 but as the largest purchaser of Canadian weapons, they are sure to be in attendance.   As host country, Canada is also complicit in the torture of its own citizens (as established by two separate judicial inquiries as well as Supreme Court and Federal Court decisions) as well as deportation to torture.


A who’s who of the world largest weapons manufacturers (what used to be more properly called “death merchants”) will be selling their wares, as well as smaller companies who provide key components for weapons systems. What they are selling can properly be called tools of terrorism, for their use is intended to make political points, to create fear, and to coerce governments and societies. Also on display will be the tools used by increasingly militarized police forces.


Under Canadian anti-terrorism law, anything that would normally constitute a terrorist act is exempted if it is committed by a member of the armed forces under the “laws” of war.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Join the Chain Fast Against Canadian Government Racism

(photo from Witness Against Torture's 2014 Fast for Justice)

How it works:

You can fast as per your tradition (some people refrain from eating sun-up to sun-down, others do it for 24 hours. Some people will drink water or other fluids, others not). You sign up for a day (or more) by emailing with suggested dates, which will be publicly posted at the Homes not Bombs blog site ( The key thing is to do this publicly: while the roots of racism are deep in our culture, they receive a huge boost when the racist messages comes from on high.

I am joining the Chain Fast To End Canadian Government Racism

Members of the Harper government are contributing in word and deed to an increased climate of racist tension with comments that equate Islam with violence and abuse the term jihad. Such comments include telling Muslim women to "stay the hell where they came from", declaring that Muslims are connected to a "culture that is anti-women," and tweets like " Niqab, hejab, burqa, wedding veil -- face coverings have no place in cit oath-taking." This is part of a broader attack on racialized communities, including the comment that it makes no sense to pay "whities" to stay home while companies bring in "brown people" as temporary foreign workers, and an incendiary Conservative-sponsored petition insulting First Nations governments.

The Harper government is rushing through legislation (C-51) that will likely increase the targetting, surveillance, harassment, and potential detention and torture of members of Canada's Muslim communities, while also criminalizing/terrorizing First Nations, Inuit and Métis, as well as all racialized communities.

The Harper government has repeatedly refused to answer calls for an inquiry into the over 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women, and done nothing to address the shockingly high rates of suicide in aboriginal communities, nor to end the hundreds of devastating boil water alerts in First Nations communities, some lasting for well over a decade. Instead, this government has targeted First Nations leaders and treated them as security threats.

The Harper government is refusing to act on a motion passed by a majority of the House of Commons in December, 2009, to apologize to, provide compensation for, and clear the names of three Muslim Canadian men – Abdullah Almalki, Ahmed El-Maati, and Muayyed Nureddin – who were found to have been falsely labelled as security threats and tortured with Canadian complicity. All cases were motivated in part by racist/religious profiling.

The Harper government has refused to apologize to, provide compensation for, and clear the name of Canadian Muslim Abousfian Abdelrazik, in whose overseas torture the Canadian government was found to be complicit by  a Canadian court.

The Harper government has continued to demonize and block any efforts seeking justice for detained Canadian Muslim Omar Khadr, who was tortured with Canadian complicity at Bagram Air Force Base (Afghanistan) and the U.S. torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and remains behind bars in Alberta based on a fundamentally flawed process.

The Harper government continues pursuing secret trial security certificates against a number of Muslim men (all of which were signed by previous Liberal governments).

The Harper government plays a racist double standard when it refuses to categorize the actions of white supremacists and gun fanatics (such as the targetted murders of RCMP officers in Alberta and New Brunswick and the planned Valentine's Day masscare in a Halifax mall) as terrorist threats, preferring to dismiss them with terms such as "murderous misfits".

Canada's state security agencies (RCMP and CSIS) are pressuring and threatening young Canadian Muslims to spy on their communities and self-censor opinions on social injustice, while those same agencies continue treating First Nations as surveillance targets because of the false connection to  "threats to national security and criminal extremism or terrorism".

The Harper government has falsely, slanderously accused the reputable National Council of Canadian Muslims as connected to terrorism, with one MP openly attacking the group's executive director at a recent Parliamentary hearing.

Recognizing that the latest attacks are part of a long, unfortunate Canadian tradition of provoking fear and hatred by targetting specific groups and spreading racist lies, we believe standing up and speaking out is an obligation.  

Beginning April 15 and lasting until the beginning of Ramadan, June 18, 2015, we pledge to join the chain fast for one full day (or more throughout the time period), explaining to friends, colleagues, and neighbours, as well as local media, why we have undertaken this fast, and educating our fellow residents about the need to reject the dangerous discourse of racism infecting public life and emanating from the highest levels of the Canadian government.

The day after our fasting, as the chain fast passes on to a new member, we will continue to raise these issues in our communities and refuse to stay silent.


TO JOIN: Email with your name, city, and dates you would like to fast

Chain Fast Participants

Thursday, April 16: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Sadia Jama, Kingston, ON
Friday, April 17: David Heap, London, ON, Tenzin Tharchen, Owen Sound, ON
Saturday, April 18: Tanya M. Gulliver-Garcia, Toronto
Sunday, April 19: Matthew Behrens, Perth, ON
Monday, April 20: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON, Sadia Jama, , Kingston, ON
Tuesday, April 21: Sue Breeze, Barrière, BC, Jamie Page, Toronto, ON
Wednesday, April 22: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON
Thursday, April 23: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Sadia Jama, Kingston, ON
Friday, April 24: Mary Cowper-Smith, Charlottetown, PEI, Judy Deutsch, Toronto, ON, Helga Mankovitz, Kingston, ON
Saturday, April 25: James Campbell, Toronto, ON
Sunday, April 26: Genevieve Gallant, Ottawa, Ontario
Monday, April 27: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON, Ria Heynen, Ottawa, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON, Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Tuesday, April 28: Louise Slobodian, Kingston, ON, Nino Pagliccia, Vancouver, BC, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Wednesday, April 29: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Thursday, April 30: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Friday, May 1: Donna Loft and Ed File, Priceville, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Saturday, May 2: Nino Pagliccia, Vancouver, BC, Angelina Martz, Saint John, NB, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Sunday, May 3: Jozef Konyari, Toronto, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON, Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Monday, May 4: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, May 5: Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Wednesday, May 6: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Thursday, May 7: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Friday, May 8: Genevieve Gallant, Ottawa, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Saturday, May 9: Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON, Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Sunday, May 10: Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Monday, May 11: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON, Deka Omar, Ottawa, ON
Tuesday, May 12: Barbara Gordon, Toronto, ON
Wednesday, May 13: Murray Lumley, Toronto, ON
Thursday, May 14: Michele Schmidt, Toronto
Friday, May 15: Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Saturday, May 16: David Heap, London, ON
Sunday, May 17: Matthew Behrens, Perth, ON
Monday, May 18: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON
Tuesday, May 19: Luke Stocking, Toronto, ON, Ria Heynen, Ottawa,  ON
Wednesday, May 20: Jamie Page, Regina, SK, Helga Mankovitz, Kingston, ON
Thursday, May 21: Michele Schmidt, Toronto
Friday, May 22: Jennifer Deguire, Grimsby, ON
Saturday, May 23: David Janzen, London, ON, Dunia Hamou, London, ON
Sunday, May 24: Marisa Conte, Rome, Italy, Dunia Hamou, London, ON
Monday, May 25: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON, Dunia Hamou, London, ON
Tuesday, May 26: Jamie Page, Regina, SK, Dunia Hamou, London, ON
Wednesday, May 27: James Campbell, Toronto, ON, Tina Stevens, London, ON
Thursday, May 28: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Nusaiba Al-Azem, London, ON
Friday, May 29: Juan Davis, Victoria, BC
Saturday, May 30: Chris Stroud, London, ON, Elaine Stewart, Toronto, ON
Sunday, May 31: Marie Lloyd, Kingston, ON
Monday, June 1: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON
Tuesday, June 2: Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Wednesday, June 3: Paula Marcotte, London, ON
Thursday, June 4: Michele Schmidt, Toronto, Nusaiba Al-Azem, London, ON, Leila Almawy, London, ON (note that a community discussion event on C-51 takes place in conjunction with the chain fast,
Friday, June 5: Sâkihitowin Awâsis, London, ON
Saturday, June 6: Sâkihitowin Awâsis, London, ON Sâkihitowin Awâsis, London, ON
Sunday, June 7: Jamie Page, Regina, SK
Monday, June 8: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON
Tuesday, June 9: Matthew Behrens, Perth, ON
Wednesday, June 10: Nusaiba Al-Azem, London, ON
Thursday, June 11: Michele Schmidt, Toronto
Friday, June 12: Elaine McIlwraith, London, ON
Saturday, June 13:
Sunday, June 14: Jozef Konyari, Toronto, ON
Monday, June 15: Gary Connolly, Brampton, ON
Tuesday, June 16: Jamie Page, Regina, SK, Barb Campbell, Ottawa, ON
Wednesday, June 17:
Thursday, June 18: Michele Schmidt, Toronto

Week-long march against Canadian government racism, repression and war, Summer, 2002, Hamilton to Scarborough (Homes not Bombs/Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Guantanamo Diary Reveals Canadian Complicity in Torture

(April CCPA Monitor)
By Matthew Behrens
            Following December’s release of the U.S. Senate report on American complicity in torture, Prime Minister Stephen Harper quickly declared, “It has nothing to do whatsoever with the government of Canada.” Despite the CIA’s close relationship with Canadian state security agencies – as well as two judicial inquiries finding Ottawa complicit in the torture of Canadian citizens in Syria and Egypt – Harper preferred to ignore the facts.
            At the same time, a stunning memoir was published that paints another damning portrait of Canadian authorities from even before 9/11. Guantanamo Diary – originally composed by hand in 2005 from a cell at the infamous U.S. torture camp that remains open despite President Obama’s promise to close it 8 years ago – is the remarkable story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian national who remains detained there despite a 2010 U.S. release order.

            Learning English by listening to his kidnappers and torturers, Slahi elegantly relates a tale of human resilience under the most appalling conditions. Filled with wisdom, humour, and heartbreaking moments of despair produced by unending months of round-the-clock torture, the memoir was classified secret, becoming the subject of a six-year legal battle for its release. It contains countless redactions from single words to whole pages, but in a remarkable comment on the cultural shift that has come to accept torture as reasonable and inevitable, most of the sections detailing his brutalization appear intact.
Slahi’s troubles began in Montreal in 2000, where, after 12 years in Germany, he lived as a Canadian permanent resident for just over two months. At the time, he was subject to an RCMP/CSIS “disruption” campaign of harassment: two cameras were implanted in the wall of his Montreal room, and he was followed in an obvious manner “to give the message that we are watching you.” Slahi’s very first interrogation was at the hands of the RCMP, and “I was scared to hell” as he was questioned about a fellow Montrealer he’d never met: Ahmed Ressam, who was eventually convicted in the U.S. for a “Millennium Plot” to bomb the Los Angeles Airport.
Flying home to Mauritania, Slahi was intercepted and twice detained at the behest of U.S. officials, first in Senegal and then Mauritania, repeatedly interrogated about alleged involvement in the Millennium Plot. Released in February, 2000, Slahi was again arrested in September 2001, questioned, cleared, and released. In one 2000 Mauritanian interrogation, Slahi recalled that things seemed to be going smoothly, “but when they opened the Canadian file, things soured decidedly.” Significantly, this illustrates how Canadian state agencies were participating in the U.S.-led rendition-to-torture program at least 20 months before 9/11, which contradicts CSIS and RCMP claims that similar human rights violations they committed in 2002 and 2003 were mistakes resulting from confusion and fear after 9/11, as opposed to a Standard Operating Procedure that was clearly employed against Slahi.
            Indeed, readers familiar with Canadian human rights abuses against Arab Muslims will recognize in Slahi’s memoir a similar pattern that reveals the dangers of “information sharing,” “intelligence” data dumps that are full of inflammatory and false allegations, “cooperation” with secret police, and using the fruits of torture.
            Slahi’s decision to voluntarily show up for another round of Mauritanian police questioning in November 2001 led to his self-described rendition world tour: Jordan, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the human hellhole reserved for “the worst of the worst” which, by the time Slahi arrived in 2002, was found by an LA Times investigation to detain “no big fish,” but instead hundreds of innocents who had been turned in by Afghan bounty hunters seeking rewards from Americans who paid good money and never confirmed the truthfulness of the hunters’ allegations. Indeed, as Associated Press reported in 2013, there were ongoing efforts between 2002 and 2005 to recruit Gitmo detainees as spies and double agents. Slahi himself describes a facility where intelligence agents came from around the world – including Canada – to interrogate their “nationals” or refugees who had escaped their clutches.
The basis for Slahi’s detention appears to be two-fold: in U.S. eyes, he fit the profile of an alleged threat because be fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1991-92 with a little-known, U.S.-funded group called Al Qaeda. Although Slahi left in 1992, a distant cousin, Abu Hafs, became a member of the group’s shura council; opposing the 9/11 attacks, Abu Hafs served some time under Iranian house arrest, and is now a free man.
With those two links providing no traction, it appears that the sole basis for his detention is the alleged Millennium plot connection, even though the plot’s singular member, Ahmed Ressam, never implicated Slahi when he freely cooperated with U.S. authorities (and later recanted about those he did try to implicate). Canadian security agencies notoriously lost track of Ressam, who was only caught because of an attentive U.S. border guard.
 “Canadian intelligence wishes I were a criminal, so they could make up for their failure when [NAME REDACTED, but clearly Ressam] slipped from their country to the U.S. carrying explosives,” Slahi writes. “The U.S. blamed Canada for being a preparation ground for terrorist attacks against the U.S., and that’s why Canadians Intels freaked out. They really lost their composure, trying everything to calm the rage of their big brother, the U.S. They began watching the people they believed to be bad, including me.”
            As in most cases of Canadian targeting and profiling over the past two decades, Slahi is the victim of alleged guilt by association, no matter how many degrees of separation. Like Ottawa’s Maher Arar, who was the subject of a massive data dump of inflammatory falsehoods that, shared with the Americans, led to Arar’s being branded a threat and a target for Syrian torture, Slahi writes: “I stayed less than two months in Canada, and yet the Americans claimed that the Canadians provided tons of information. The Canadians don’t even know me!” Notably, the Germans provided nothing for Slahi’s interrogations.
“All the Canadians could come up with was, ‘We have seen him with x and y, and they’re bad people.’ ‘We’ve seen him in this and that mosque.’ ‘We have intercepted his telephone conversations, but there’s nothing really.’ The Americans asked the Canadians to provide them the transcripts of my conversations, but after they edited them.” Without providing the full conversations – which Slahi believes Canada should have refused anyhow – there is no opportunity to provide context, and so the Americans fixated on what they believed were two code words in his phone calls: tea and sugar.
            One interrogator tells Slahi “your only problem is your time in Canada. If you really haven’t done anything in Canada, you don’t belong in jail.”  He is also interrogated by one of the men who interrogated Canadian teenager Omar Khadr after the youngster had been “softened up” by weeks of torture.
            The Canadian Slahi file must be bulging with references to Canadians who may have unwittingly suffered surveillance, interrogation, and detention. To cite one of many possible examples – he describes writing out over 1,000 pages of false confessions to try and end the torture at Gitmo – Slahi agreed that he planned to blow up Toronto’s CN Tower, even though he had no clue what it was. Did this “confession” lead to RCMP/CSIS targeting of Canadian Kassim Mohamed after this father of five took photos of the landmark to share with his children, then living in Egypt? That targeting certainly caused Mohamed’s harrowing two-week detention in Egyptian custody during a 2004 family visit.
 How many other people in Canada had cases built around such tortured “confessions? Slahi continues, “Whenever they asked me about somebody in Canada I had some incriminating information about that person even if I didn’t know him,” noting that use of the phrases “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” only invited more torture. Threatened with being disappeared forever, he “took the pen and paper and wrote all kinds of incriminating lies about a poor person who was just seeking refuge in Canada and trying to make some money so he could start a family. Moreover, he is handicapped.” He feels horrible, taking solace that “I didn’t hurt anybody as much as I did myself [and] that I had no choice [and] I was confident that injustice will be defeated.”
            The torturous act of “confession” about things and people he knows nothing about was the culmination of endless rounds of sleep deprivation, sexual assault, beatings, immersion in severe cold, humiliation, degradation, and a starvation diet. The psychological war – informing Slahi his mother is detained at Gitmo and likely to be violated in the all-male environment – is all-pervasive, but throughout, he maintains a combination of defiance (refusing to speak or throwing snarky replies at his interrogators) and spirituality, even though he is forbidden to pray and punished when he tries to do so.  “I hate torture so much,” he writes, adding waiting for torture is worse than torture itself.
            Remarkably, Slahi maintains a sense of ironic humour, comparing his huge number of interrogations to the list of women Charlie Sheen has dated, and likening the repetitive nature of interrogation to the Hollywood film Groundhog Day. He develops relationships with his guards, debating religion and popular culture; one guard cries shamefully when he leaves Guantanamo, believing that he will go to hell because he prevented Slahi from praying. Others have Slahi fix their VCRs and PCs. Slahi’s ocean of tears is one day interrupted with paroxysms of laughter when he reads what he declares “such a funny book”: The Catcher in the Rye.
            Over 6 years, Slahi estimates 100 different interrogators, including Canadian agents, had a go at him. “You know that I know that you know that I have done  nothing,” he tells one American. “You’re holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust. And it’s not the first time you have kidnapped Africans and enslaved them.”
Is Slahi still at Gitmo 13 years after because Canadian intelligence agencies don’t want him released? Could holding him be quid pro quo for Canada accepting Omar Khadr and taking that PR nightmare off American hands? Unfortunately, Slahi’s attempt to secure disclosure of his RCMP/CSIS files, as well as notes from Canada’s Gitmo interrogations, was turned down by a Canadian Federal Court judge, who ruled the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not extend to him, even though it was two months in  Canada that led to Slahi’s nightmare. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Slahi’s subsequent appeal to find out what Canada actually has on him, if anything.
Canadians wondering what the future will look like with passage of new anti-terrorism legislation, C-51, have another frightening roadmap with Slahi’s must-read memoir.