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1940 in 2015 by Tony Nardi

Since the first Gulf War in 1990, when I began working on Terminus, I became aware of the
harassment of Muslim Canadians by authorities, largely unreported in the mainstream media prior to
9/11. I was surprised that no one from the German, Japanese or Italian communities in Canada uttered
a word in protest, though members of their communities had been interned in 1940. My becoming
aware of the security certificates cases, discrimination on the ground of citizenship, and my 7-year
collaboration with constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati, executive producer of the film versions of Two
LettersAnd Counting!, confirmed that the 1940s are alive and well in 2015.
The examples, of many, cited below prove that the crime of 'being suspicious' on account of being
culturally different has always been a reality in Canada.
Mahmoud Jaballah had been detained for 7 years since 2001 and put under house arrest for over 8
years not knowing the specific charges against him (classified by the government as secret evidence).
Federal Court Judge Andrew MacKay called the decision to deport Mahmoud Jaballah to torture in
Egypt "not lawfully made" and " without appropriate regard to all of the evidence and circumstances
of the case". MacKay condemned Canadas "secret trial and deportation to torture" bureaucracy, and
stated, in open court, in reference to the indefinite detentions, that we have our own Guantanamo Bay
here in Toronto.
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was deported to Syria in 2002, detained and regularly tortured for
almost a year, based on the Canadian Government willfully ignoring his Canadian citizenship status,
classifying him as an extremist, placing him on the terrorist watch list, and agreeing to the U.S.
authorities shipping him off to Syra. Though Syrian authorities made many attempts at trying to extort
information from him, they later admitted to having no evidence that Arar was a terrorist. An internal
RCMP report confirmed that the RCMP was responsible for causing Arars deportation and torture.
The RCMP officers directly involved were never reprimanded; in fact, several received promotions. A
2006 Canadian Commission of Inquiry exonerated Maher Arar stating, there is no evidence to
indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the
security of Canada. This is exactly what was said repeatedly about Italian-Canadian internees during
and after internment. Arar may as well have been living in 1940.
The Vagrancy laws in place between 1917 and 1972 targeted mainly othercultural Canadians. Italian
men could not gather in front of cafs on College St. or on St. Clair Avenue West in groups of three or
more. Police would force them to disperse with billy clubs if necessary. The tradition continued.
The Toronto Police has a long history of racial profiling, targeting people from so-called ethnic and
visible minorities, due to racial and religious prejudice. African Canadians and Natives are at the top
of the hit list. Since 1990, Muslims (Canadian citizens) have become the new target. Given the
treatment of Muslims and Canadas official war on terror its easier to understand what happened to
the Italian-Canadians, Japanese-Canadians and German-Canadians in 1940. The Internment suddenly
acquires an added relevancy and universal dimension.
Today, the nation borders have been tightened for citizens and widened for governments. The
definition of terrorism under the Canadian criminal code exempts acts of terrorisms when executed by
members of the Canadian Armed Forces or state officials. Canadian Armed Forces and government
officials can commit acts and injustices - on Canadian or foreign soil, by proxy or even directly defined as terrorism when committed by anyone else. Thus, the excuse I was just following orders is
now legal under Canadian law where soldiers and state officials are concerned. This law was added to
the criminal code post 9/11 and is in direct contradiction to and violation of the Nuremberg laws of

Canadas post 9/11War on Terror ushered in fundamental changes in law few Canadians would have
imagined possible or thinkable only a few years ago, and that fewer still would have supported,
changes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg laws of 1945. Bill C-24 and Bill C51, both being challenged in court by Rocco Galati, are merely an extension of a consistent tribal
philosophy that makes an enemy of Canadians who are culturally different.
Bill C-24 has created second-class citizenship within Canada. Canadians, born here or not, who have
citizenship elsewhere are now at risk of facing potential exile on mere suspicion of treason (which
doesnt have to be proven since it falls under national security). Bill C-24 goes beyond any l940 law.
Even Canadians who have been in Canada for generations face the risk of potential exile if they
happen to have citizenship elsewhere without knowing it. Had Bill C-24 been around during the first
and second world wars, anyone suspected of communist and fascist sympathies and holding dual
citizenship would have been deported, possibly to a country they had never seen before, and not
interned. That risk is very real today, and is law. Constitutionally, however, the Canadian government
has no authority to revoke citizenship; it only has the authority to grant it. But unless an
unconstitutional law is challenged in court it remains law, however illegal it may be.
Speaking in front of Queens Park, Rocco Galati publicly called Bill-C 51 Fascist And Dictatorial
Piece Of Legislation it creates a modern-day Gestapo. No exaggeration, that's what it creates. It
chills, censors, and criminalizes free speech, free association, and constitutional rights of assembly."
Galati has also publicly warned that the Canadian court system and independent judiciary is the last
bastion of balancing the rights of the citizens against the rights of the government, and making sure
that the government doesn't turn into a dictatorship.
Having seen the judiciary at work from up close, at the provincial and federal level, I became aware of
its utter fragility, dysfunction, bias, miracle, and fundamental value, as the last forum where society
can make a case for civilization. Yet its easy to see how cultural biases from the bench can
permanently impact individuals and entire communities. We saw it in 1940; were seeing it now.
The courtroom is theatre with potentially grave consequences. The theatre is a courtroom with no
N.B.: On February 15, 2009 Rocco Galati sponsored a public reading of an earlier, partial draft of
Terminus: Things Which Happen Only To The Living (running roughly 4 & 1/2 hours) at what is
now The Canadian Constitutional Centre with an invited audience of about 20 people?
Links re Rocco Galatis court challenges and response to Bill C-24 and Bill C-51: