Saturday, March 22, 2008

Well That Didn't Take Long

When Mike Duffy followed up on a W-5 program that shone badly needed light on Brenda Martin's plight, I confess I was a bit surprised.

Why? Because it's not often that you see Duffy present something that might have a negative impact on the Con government. All the same, I was quietly grateful to see that the right thing was being done.

Then suddenly, last week, I saw Duffy modify his message somewhat. I muttered out loud, well that didn't take long. I'd already noticed that right leaning blogs were defending the government and shifting the blame to Ms. Martin, so I thought that the media may soon be shifting their position.
Duffy wasn't callous in fairness, but he was taking the party line by asking/telling Martin's friend Deb Teileman that the PM had pointed out that the government could not intervene in Mexico's judicial system. He seemed resigned to that fact and asked Tieleman 'What more can the PM do?'

Slowly but surely, the media seem to be readjusting their course to support the government. They are buying Harper's line that our government has been in touch with the Mexicans over 100 times. They omit pertinent facts however like:

Martin's Toronto lawyer, Guillermo Cruz Rico, said a review of the legal file showed consulate officials were notified of Martin's incarceration on Feb. 18, 2006, but it was not until Dec. 14, 2007, that a representative made official inquiries to the Mexican court about her legal status.

Her MP, Rick Norlock has made the comment that he's been on the case since day one. That is reported, but what is no longer in the news is this:

Norlock is the MP for the riding that includes Trenton. When he was approached by Canwest News Service in February 2007 for the first story about Martin's imprisonment, he told the reporter he had reviewed her file and said she belonged in prison.

Gone from the narrative now is the fact that when she finally received a consular visit and was presented with a list of lawyers, there was no assistance in choosing one that was a) reputable and b) a criminal lawyer. No, now the story has shifted how she herself may have damaged her own case by changing lawyers, etc.

Why is this happening? You tell me.

All I can see is that the government was being damaged by this story and now subtle shifts are showing up in how it's being told and I find that disturbing. They are still reporting what the politicians are saying, but they are leaving out context and what else is known about the case.

Bill Casey however once again shows us the difference between a Progressive Conservative and the gang who run the country at the moment with this article. Get a load of some of the comments that follow it. Compassionate conservatives showing us once again just how low they will stoop to defend Harper, who by the way wouldn't defend them if they found themselves in dire circumstances.

As the song goes...Isn't it ironic?

Update 1 - Stockwell Day's compassionate policy
Update 2 - Helena Guergis's version of compassion


Gayle said...

I have some sympathy to the argument that changing lawyers is causing delays, because it does the same thing in Canada.

The reason she is behaving in this fashion is that she appears to have mental health problems brought on by her incarceration. The government dropped the ball the minute she was arrested. Whether or not they seek her release they have a duty to ensure she has adequate representation and that she understands the process. They did neither of these things. Yes, when you go to a foreign country you are subject to their laws, but there is a reason we have embassies and consulates in these countries, and it is not just for trade negotiations.

In this particular case allegations have been made that she is only in custody because she was unable to pay a bribe to free herself. If true this is more than simply being subject to a foreign justice system. If that system is corrupt then our government has a duty to act to secure the release of its citizens.

In any event, if the government is using the line that it is her own choice to subject herself to the laws of a foreign jurisdiction, then they should also be issuing warnings to Canadians suggested they do not travel to Mexico.

Anonymous said...

What more can the government do with Brenda Martin's case in Mexico?

Does anyone really believe that a boycott would work? History has proven that they don't work. Only the weak will suffer in a boycott.

What is your Leader or more accurately none leader Mr.Dion is purposing that the government should be doing? Beside just say do more.

Your none leader Mr.Dion wants to be PM of our country one day. So he should at least put forward a solution to this problem. It is much easier to criticize then to present a solution that actual make sense.

Happy Easter!

Gayle said...

A diplomatic note has been suggested more than once by the liberals.

Gayle said...

"Does anyone really believe that a boycott would work?"

Given the amount of tourist traffic Mexico would lose...yes.

Anonymous said...

But Brenda Martin was NOT a Canadian "Tourist". She had lived there for 10 years working illegally without a green card.

If someone lived in Canada for 10 years would we still call them "visitors" or tourists.

And, if someone lives in Mexico, by choice, for 10 years do you still believe the story that she could not speak the language?

Gayle said...

"And, if someone lives in Mexico, by choice, for 10 years do you still believe the story that she could not speak the language?"

Yes. Have you ever been to a country where English is not the first language? You can get by almost anywhere with English.

When I was in Prague in the early 1990's, there were tens of thousands of Americans there. Most of them did not speak the language.

I am sure she had a rudimentary understanding of Spanish, much like many immigrants to our country have of English, however when questioned by the police on a matter that may impact her freedom, and where technical language may be used, and while she is stressed, chances are what rudimnentary language skills she did have disappeared.

When Canadian police interview Canadian citizens whose English is poor, they routinely get a translator.

Anonymous said...

"A diplomatic note has been suggested more than once by the liberals."

Gayle the government has already send a diplomatic note. What changed?

"Given the amount of tourist traffic Mexico would lose...yes."

Give me a break Gayle.Let me give you an example of boycotts o.k.

First the most power full country on the planet the U.S.A has been boycotting Cuba for decades now. The only ones effected by this are the poor people of Cuba not the government.

Now Canada is a country of only 32 million people. How can we be more successful boycotting Mexico then the U.S. was with Cuba.

Remember we would only be one country doing this.

Happy Easter!

Gayle said...

Oh, and it really does not matter if she was a tourist or not. The fact is if the justice system in Mexico is so corrupt that people may be held without trial and be considered guilty until proven innocent, Canadians should know that before deciding to travel there. The same system applies whether you are there as a tourist or as an illegal worker.

Gayle said...

Right - the US is more than boycotting Cuba through tourist traffic. It is also imposing an economic embargo.

This is similar to the embargo Canada imposed on South Africa. It seems to me that was pretty effective.

If you think a drop in tourist traffic from Canada to Mexico will not affect Mexico you are dreaming.

And in any event, who cares about how this affects Mexico. At least Canadians will be aware of the perils of travelling there.

As for the note - it all depends on what it said. It appears the government only discussed the length of her pre-trial incarceration.

Karen said...

A diplomatic note is not what the Lib's have called for. They called for a diplomatic letter of protest, which is far less ambiguous.

Right, as in every argument you enter into, you say, what is Dion doing? Instead of objectively looking at the mess Harper and co. have made of the situation, you try to make it about Dion.

Guess what, it's not his job, never the less, the Lib's have been on this longer than than the Con's and if the notice of protest had been issued a month ago, we may be in a different position.

Kenney went down because the Con's were getting creamed by the story...what is missed though, is just how rookie ths government is at dealing with all things international.

How in hell does it make sense to send the Minister of Multi Culturalism instead of the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

The only good news is that they took the dimwitted Geurgis off the file.

Anonymous said...

"This is similar to the embargo Canada imposed on South Africa. It seems to me that was pretty effective."

Please Gayle apples and oranges here. Canada was not the only country when they imposed the embargo on South Africa. It took decades to have an impact there.

"And in any event, who cares about how this affects Mexico. At least Canadians will be aware of the perils of travelling there."

If the government boycotts Mexico,you don't think that the Mexican government would not do the same to Canada?

Karen said...

gayle, it's my understandig that her first lawyer took off with his $10,000. retainer, the second one was a mercantile lawyer.

The long and short of it is that she was not assisted by Canada in obtaining a lawyer that was suited to the case, nor was the legal process explained to her.

Here's some of what the legal system is now claiming. i don't know how you fight that with even one good lawyer?

Anonymous said...

"Right, as in every argument you enter into, you say, what is Dion doing? Instead of objectively looking at the mess Harper and co. have made of the situation, you try to make it about Dion."

KNB I do look at what this government does objectively. Unlike you and others on the blogs. No mater what our government does its the end of the world for you sky is falling. But luckily there are people in your Liberal party who realize the big mistake to elect a weak leader like Mr.Dion. But of course you will never admit it. Your problem not mine.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Karen said...

anon, how many people do you know who have lived in Canada for over 10 years and they still do speak English, let alone read and write it?

Gayle said...

Right - I never said the government should boycott Mexico. I think they should properly warn Canadians travelling there that Mexico has a corrupt justice system and if a Canadian is arrested they will do little or nothing to help them.

KNB - there seems to be little question this whole thing is a farce. Assuming the allegations that they wanted her to pay a bribe are true, it appears that everything that is going on now is an attempt to cover that up by pretending this case has the air of legitimacy.

As for the confession, the reason most countries like Canada have strict rules governing the admission of statements is because false confessions are so easily obtained. I know of one case in Edmonton where the wrong person was arrested, confessed and charged. After he was charged the real perpetrators came forward. Even though the police used proper means to obtain the confession, it was still a false one.

Anonymous said...

Well...she seems to be partly to blame for the long delay...with with legal challenges and then changing lawyers.
It should also be noted that as a full sovereign government, there is little Canada can do....If a similar situati arose in Canada, we would be upset if the government in charge took steps that were over and above our legal system. The same applies in Mexico.
She is now beginning to sound ungrateful....common sense would suggest that she should appreciate government efforts instead of selfishly critizing the very ones that are attempting to help her...realistically she should be encouraging those attempting to help her instead of critizing them.

RuralSandi said...

I live in Norlock's riding. Here are some facts. Paul Macklin, our local Liberal, started a fund in "MAY 2007" to try to raise funds for decent legal counsel for Ms. Martin. Frustrated with Norlock's lack of action and interest, Macklin made it public in "AUGUST 2007" and Norlock's responses were total nasty partisan shots.

The locals here have gotten so angry, Norlock "just in the last week or so" decided to look like he's doing something - nearly a year after Macklin tried to deal with it.

Norlock was a former member of the Alliance Party and a former cop. He's does nothing that isn't PM approved - everything he says is PM rhetoric.

But, hey, he has time for photo-ops at Trenton army base. Oh, yes, he sent "4" partisan flyers in less than 2 weeks with questionnaires included - polling at taxpayer expense.

His visit to Mexico was an attempt at damage control and nothing else.

ottlib said...

This government does not care about Ms. Martin and they would still be letting her rot in prison without the little help they have given her if it were not for Paul Martin visiting Ms. Martin a few weeks ago.

When a former PM receives good press by visiting her the current government has to play catchup.

The question is why do they feel this way? Is it the instinctive belief by many Conservatives that anybody accused of a crime must be guilty? Or is it just plain, ordinary government incompetence?

The interesting part is the consular staff are trained to assist Canadians in other countries in this situation. So how come they dropped the ball in this case? Was it incompetence on the part of the Consular staff or was it interference from Ottawa?

As for the media take knb, remember what I said about our MSM. It is broken. They no longer care about news and getting to the truth. They only care about the narrative. Whenever an event occurs that does not fit the narrative but needs to be reported they are quite happy to be spoon fed information. In this case the only party that is in a position to do that is the government. Ms. Martin is over 1000 km south locked in a cell without access to the media.

Anonymous said...

I find it terribly sad that the Liberals are trying to turn this into political advantage. Dion, McTeague and the Liberals know full well that there is little that can be done, Justice is sometimes excruciatingly slow, and she has contributed substantially to her own delays. She has lived there fo (10) plus years appears she wants the help of the same people she is critizing.
If this was reversed and the Conservatives were attempting to circumvent our Justice system to the benifit of a non-citizen that had lived here for 10 plus years...these same liberal partisans would be crying foul.
Lets be honest...let common sense take hold...put the partianship aside...there is little any Canadian Government can do...just as there would be little the Mexican government could do if the situation were reversed.

Gayle said...

"She is now beginning to sound ungrateful....common sense would suggest that she should appreciate government efforts instead of selfishly critizing the very ones that are attempting to help her...realistically she should be encouraging those attempting to help her instead of critizing them."

She does not have to play some little game in order to get assistance from her government. She has a right to that assistance as a Canadian citizen - and as a citizen she also has a right to criticize her government. That criticism should have no bearing on teh government's efforts on her behalf.

Besides, as I said above, she appears to have mental health issues. If you have ever listened to her talk I think it is quite clear she is somewhat incoherent. I should think that is a natural byproduct of being incarcerated for a crime you did not commit, in a situation where human and legal rights seem to take a back seat to corruption and bribes.

Gayle said...

"I find it terribly sad that the Liberals are trying to turn this into political advantage."

I find it quite disgusting that conservatives can only view events as either a political advantage or political disadvantage.

It probably never occured to you the liberals are trying to help this woman, and that is more important than any political benefit, or lack thereof.

It is quite obvious the only way to force the Harper government to take action on her behalf is to shame them into it. I could care less about any advantage to any political party, so long as someone helps this woman.

ottlib said...


The minimum that the government can do is assist Ms. Martin to navigate the Mexican legal system. In fact that is part of the function of Canadian consular official abroad. They have appeared to drop the ball on that score.

In fact it is only two years after her arrest and incarceration that the government has taken notice.

The question is why? Does the reason lie in the Canadian counsul in Mexico or does it lie in Ottawa?

As well Cliff, what is it with Conservatives and Canadians living outside of Canada? For some reason Conservatives always seem to say if you choose to live outside of Canada you do not deserve the protection of the Canadian government anymore. What's up with that?

No citizen of any other Western country has to deal with that kind of attitude. Why do Canadians?

As far as I am concerned if I find myself in trouble in a foreign land, whether I have been there for ten hours or ten years, I expect my government to come to my aid. That is my right as a Canadian citizen and that is the duty of the government towards it citizens.

If they fail to do so then they deserve any scorn and derision they receive.

Karen said...

The question is why do they feel this way?

ottlib, that is the question I keep asking myself.

Personally, I think it is a lethal mix of their ideology with their incompetence.

I mean when you add all these cases up, it seems clear to me that they believe anyone accused of a crime must be guilty. Geez, even all the recent revelations concerning Khadr leave them unmoved.

Extend it beyond the Foreign Affairs file and look at the attitude concerning the so-called terrorists and their treatment. The pushed through that ridiculous legislation that provides them with special advocates, in spite of all the evidence from the UK that it's a bad system. (Here's the latest on that.)

Sorry, I'm babbling now but I really find it so frustrating to see what little value they place on peoples lives, while pretending that they stand for the opposite.

I'm not sure I've ever seen such blatant hypocrisy.

Karen said...

cliff is simply repeating the lines that Harper and gang have put out.

It seems to have suddenly become a crime to choose to live elsewhere in the world for any lenth of time. When I say suddenly, I mean 26 months ago.

Darren McEwen said...

This message is to that guy/gal who keeps wishing everyone a Happy Easter and calling Dion a "none leader": get a grip on your spin.

I'm a former Liberal who is not impressed by Dion's leadership either but the Brenda Martin case isn't really a great venue to spin this back to Dion.

Something needs to be done to ensure this woman -- a Canadian -- is released from a Mexican prison and mindless spin isn't the answer.

Happy Easter to you too.

Red Tory said...

I’m intrigued by this tactic of making asinine comments and then concluding each post with “Happy Easter!” It seems indicative of some kind of mental disturbance.

p.s. Do you think that if Brenda Martin looked like this the treatment in the media and by all of those now denouncing her might be different? Just a thought...

Karen said...

Sandi, thanks for that background. I knew Norlock had done nothing but I forgot about Macklin and how the community rallied.

btw, I've received 4 of those childish flyers too. Oddly, they come from Alberta, Government Caucus Services and the top Harpercrite himself. Considering I live outside of Toronto, it's rather a pathetic display.

Karen said...

darren, for that commenter, all roads lead to Dion.

Karen said...

RT. Interesting point.

I saw a comment at the bottom of one of the articles that was incredibly disparaging and focused on her appearance. They even commented on her hair. For those who don't know, her head was shaved by the guards because of the lice in her cell.

btw, are you on the mend now or still waiting? I'm so bad with dates. Hope you are well in any event.

Red Tory said...

My query wasn’t entirely unserious.

Brenda Martin doesn’t come across as a terribly appealing figure in many respects and people’s sympathies can turn on such things as the “likeability” of the person in question (i.e., “Is this somebody I want to relate to or be associated with?”). There seem to be a lot of folks attacking her on a personal level that has nothing whatsoever to do with the facts of the matter. Anyway, it’s just something to tuck away in the back of your mind when considering the coverage and reactions of different individuals…

In answer to your question, my surgery date is May 6th (all being well). Meanwhile, I’m just trying to get as much work done as possible in preparation to that as I’ll be out of commission for several weeks afterwards. Being self-employed with no insurance that's a concern. Even so, it can’t come soon enough because physically I’m just seizing up and becoming more immobile all the time. And then there's the pain. It sucks, but such is life… full of annoyance and bother.

Karen said...

RT, no, I realised that your query was legit. It's telling though isn't it? Perhaps it was always thus, but I don't recall growing up in that world at least that is not who I have become based on my experiences.

As to how you are doing...pain is really tough to deal with. It brings every emotion with it doesn't it? I'm sorry that is you fate for the moment, but it seems you know this will pass and imo that is a good outlook.

For those of us who have brought on certain conditions in spite of whatever knowledge we may have had, it's a tough one. I'm speaking me here, not you.

No insurance? My best friend just went through cancer surgery and therapy, but she is self employed, (really small stuff) and had private insurance that covered her. Is that not available in BC?

Think to the future, fight the frustration, because it's going to be a different world for you.

Anonymous said...

You liberals just don't get it....
There is nothing wrong with living abroad...that is not the point, but, when you do so, you choose to live by the laws of that country. Whether we agree with their justice system is immaterial, their laws apply.
There have been over one hundred contacts by our government and consulate.
Now, other then partisan attacks, what do you realistically think our governemnt can noted earlier, the same would apply in Canada if there was another National in our jail. Our laws would apply...even if they felt they were innocent.
To suggest otherwise is simply partianship...and a lack of understanding. I you choose to live in another country, their laws will apply. While it is nice to have the support of your home country and government...which Ms. Martin does...they are limited in what they can do....facts are facts...and partisanship is partisanship...unfortunately, you libs prefer the latter.

Karen said...

anon, There have been over one hundred contacts by our government and consulate.

Have you followed the flipping story? No one knows when they took place and it took a year and a half for action from the consulate.

Are you people insane? I'm starting to think so because you eliminate fact only and I emphasize only, in an effort to support Harper.

This is not a partisan issue. It's a total lack of leadership by this government to do what they should have done from the start.

Explain the time lag. Explain the lack of involvement until it hit the press. Explain why our government still does not have a handle on the legal situation in Mexico. Explain why she was not provided guideance.

Did you know, when Martin was arrested, an American woman was taken at the same time. Both had dealings with Waage. The American is home with her family because their government stepped in and took action.

Get a grip who ever you are anon.

The only people being partisan are people like you who are so determined to save Harper, it's pathetic.

This is not partisan, it's Canadian. Honestly, the more I hear from Harper defenders, the more ill I become.

You are ill informed and because that seems to be the nature of Harper enthusiasts, you base your arguments on whatever Harper says.


Anonymous said...

The Canadian press is so widely and deeply pro-HTP (Harper Tory Party) that you almost have to figure that the reporters are being juiced.

I mean, how much would it take to grease some reporters? Especially when you got a couple of spare millies lying around, huh?

Red Tory said...

I like how pesky little facts such as the affidavit on record from Waage stating that Martin had no knowledge of the scam don't seem to bother the Harper supporters in the least. As far as they're concerned, she's guilty and, furthermore, deserved to be punished because she was "working illegally" in Mexico (I'm not sure where proof of this comes from) and, this I really love... she was a bad cook and, allegedly, a heavy drinker. I kid you not. Brian Lemon's little buddy "Mary T" even suggested she go right ahead and kill herself.

A fine bunch these Conservative supporters are! They'll happily throw anyone under the nearest bus before criticizing the Dear Leader for anything. Except maybe for just being too dreamy... God, they make me sick.

wilson said...

Ask William Sampson and Arar how the Liberals handle Candians imprisioned in foreign countries.
Tortured in jail and their pleas ignored by the Liberal government.

Karen said...

wilson, I was just waiting for such a comment to show up.

I will not suggest that when the Lib's were in power, everything went well. Gawd, I'm one who fought for Maher Arar.

Circumstances were different and if you have read the judgements, that had to do with CSIS and the RCMP, not government.

That not withstanding, this is not a partisan issue! What is it that you guy's don't get?

This is about Canada and a Canadian. If you do not think that it is important how we treat our own and you are more concerned about how Harper looks, you completely miss the point.

This is your guy on the world stage. Yes, that's
right. This story has been written about in the UK, various other countries in Europe and Australia.

Harper looks like an ass and Canada looks idiotic. This is not a position in the world that Canada usually places itself.

This is not about the Con's, it's about who represents us. At this moment in time, they are an embarassment.

Karen said...

RT, I'm beginning to think they are clinically insane.

I'm not being funny here.

Anonymous said... Libs just don't get it...there is more to being a Canadian then complaining and attacking those who questions your motives and partianship.

Now...if the Libs were in power...what would they do?

We have seen what you have done in the past with William Sampson and Arar. We have seen Chretien help free the terrorist and elder Khadr from a Pakistani prison before he went back to Afghanistan to help Osama with 911
Again...what would you do...would you send the army in to free her?
This is a sovereign legitimate government in a foreign country.

Anonymous said...

From the Edmonton Journal in 2003 a look at the workings of Mr. Waage and "Brenda Martin"

Anonymous said...

Oh yes that darned link please. Link to the Edmonton Journal writer and his book.

Anonymous said...

Charles Rusnell of the Edmonton Journal in different stories as well as in an interview with Charles Adler on Tuesday afternoon has broken the news that Brenda Martin categorically denies that she was asked for a half million dollar bribe or any bribe as carried in the Canadian Press story, attributed to the convicted felon Alyn Waage.
Dan McTeague in a radio interview continues to float the half million dollar bribe story, because it fits his political agenda and proves that he is not interested in the truth. He has been in contact with Brenda, and he has also worked with Charles Rusnell, so he knows better and knows the truth. He is now in essence calling Brenda Martin a liar, in his clumsy attempt to try and incriminate the Canadian government of mismanagement of the Martin file. How low can he stoop when we have this evidence that he is prepared to use Brenda Martin's plight to try and score cheap political points. Will the Brenda Martin team give this unscrupulous and unprincipled politician the boot?

Anonymous said...

In attempting to demontrate that Dan McTeague did in fact deliberately choose to obfuscate and continue to contradict Brenda Martin and prop up Waage's story that Martin said she was asked for a 500,000 bribe I searched the net.
One of the Dan McTeague interviews that I was able to track down can be found in the vault of at approx. 12:40 on Tuesday Mar.25. It is on the Aphrodite Salas Show interview with McTeague.
He makes reference to the half million dollar bribe and states Martin will "not able to pay a bribe to get herself out" and also a Mexican official will not release Martin "until he is paid a half million dollars"
He also manages to get in his partisan political shots,one of which amongst others he says "Guergis did nothing". McTeague may find the slur comforting to his warped mind, there is no doubt that Guergis has done a lot work on this file and although Martin has complained that she didn't meet personally with her in Mexico, but for McTeague to flat out say "Guergis did nothing" is patently unfair and an outright lie - only one of many by Dan McTeague.
I have received the following note from one of the MP's
We have raised her case numerous times at the highest levels to the Mexican government, up to and including the President of Mexico. In January 2008, Secretary of State Guergis travelled to Mexico to address a number of consular matters. She met with Mexico's Attorney General, Foreign Minister and Head of the Mexican Human Rights Commission in addition to thirteen other Federal, State and local officials. In each instance, she raised Ms. Martin's case and made it clear that Canada expects justice for Ms. Martin. We have made it clear to Mexican authorities that the various delays in her court proceedings are unacceptable.

Being the coward that he is he also makes references to Prime Minister Harper knowing full well that he won't be contradicted about any mis-statements because Harper is not present to challenge. Furthermore only a unscrupulous politician like Dan McTeague would want to take advantage and use Debra Martin's plight for possible political gain.