Anthony Fenton fentona at shaw.ca
Sat Nov 25 00:31:50 MST 2006

> MONTREAL, NOV 24 2006. -- Over twenty people held a demonstration this
> morning to disrupt a press conference given by Stephen Harper at the
> Montreal General Hospital, in front of a hand-picked audience of young
> Conservatives from McGill University. Despite heavy RCMP and Montreal
> police presence, demonstrators we able to let themselves in to the  
> room
> where Stephen Harper was speaking, before being kicked out by  
> security.
> One member of Block the Empire and No One is Illegal Montreal, Jaggi
> Singh, was arrested as he sat in the  conference room waiting for  
> Harper's
> talk to begin.  Members of BLEM asserted  that it was a public talk  
> and
> they had the right to be there, despite the  security guards  
> telling them
> the event was 'invitation only'. As members of  BLEM were aggressively
> removed from the room by police, one member of BLEM was  sexually  
> harassed
> by a cop, who said "we should go out for a beer some time",  as he  
> pushed
> her back repeatedly.
> To view pictures of the action, click here: gallery.cmaq.net/harper- 
> mtl
> Our message to Stephen Harper: you're not welcome in Montreal (or  
> anywhere
> else for that matter). Everywhere you go, you will be confronted.
> Below is a copy of the flyer that was handed out at the demonstration.
> (This demonstration was organized by Block the Empire Montreal and  
> No One
> Is Illegal Montreal. For more information, please contact
> bloquezlempiremontreal at resist.ca or noii-montreal at riseup.net)
> Friday, November 24, 2006 -- Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper is
> sneaking into Montreal today -- a city where his party has little  
> to no
> support or respect -- for a scripted public relations event at the
> Montreal General Hospital, stacked with eager young Conservatives from
> McGill.
> We're here to disrupt Prime Minister Harper and to expose his far
> right-wing agenda. Real democracy means getting in the face of
> decision-makers, not sitting politely while we're fed empty sound
> bites and stage-managed photo ops while surrounded by cops and
> security guards.
> Why are we here? Here are just some of the reasons:
> Canada out of Kandahar, Bush out of Baghdad!
> Steven Harper is an ideological soul mate of George Bush, and an
> unabashed defender of Bush's disastrous "war on terror". Canadian
> troops are currently in Afghanistan to allow more US troops to  
> occupy and
> kill in Iraq. Bush and Harper have put forward a false choice
> between supporting Western soldiers or the Taliban, and would have us
> believe that their brand of Christian corporate free-market
> fundamentalism is supposed to be the basis for the liberation of
> average Afghanis.
> The killing of civilians is not "justified and measured"
> This summer, when the Israeli Defence Forces brutally attacked
> civilians and the infrastructure of Lebanon, in acts widely  
> recognized as
> war crimes, Steven Harper expressed his unconditional support for  
> Israel.
> Even after an entire Montreal-based family were massacred in their  
> home in
> southern Lebanon, Harper continued to describe the
> Israeli invasion as "justified and measured". The Harper government  
> has
> also continued to side with the continued Israeli occupation of
> Palestinian territories. The anger that brought us out in large
> numbers on the streets of Montreal this past summer to denounce Steven
> Harper's complicity in war crimes brings us to confront him personally
> today.
> Extinguishing indigenous sovereignty
> One of Steven Harper's closest advisors, and ideological mentors, is
> Calgary neo-conservative professor Tom Flanagan. Regarding the  
> rights of
> indigenous peoples, Flanagan has written the following: "Europeans  
> are, in
> effect, a new immigrant wave, taking control of land just as earlier
> aboriginal settlers did. To differentiate the rights of
> earlier and later immigrants is a form of racism." Equating indigenous
> persons as "immigrants" is tantamount to extinguishing indigenous
> rights. The Harper Conservatives stand for assimilation; in the
> context of continued self-determination struggles at Six Nations, Sun
> Peaks, Grassy Narrows and elsewhere, the Harper Conservative  
> position is
> tantamount to continued genocide.
> The National Insecurity Agenda
> Not surprisingly, the Conservatives have entrenched the previous
> Liberal government's national insecurity agenda, promoting fear and
> paranoia, and using the "war on terror" to justify more repressive  
> police
> and security measures. Public Security Minister Stockwell Day  
> intends to
> arm border guards, while Steven Harper self-servingly
> pronounces on the guilt of suspects in Toronto. The Harper
> Conservatives create fear to justify their own "law and order" agenda.
> Continued Deportations and Detentions
> Under Immigration Minister Monte Solberg and Stockwell Day -- who is
> responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency -- the Harper
> government has accelerated the policy of deportation and detention,
> entering homes, workplaces, shopping malls, subway stations and even
> schools to detain migrants. Under the current Conservative government,
> CBSA officials have entered primary and secondary schools in  
> Toronto on at
> least two occasions to detain children. In Montreal, deportation  
> agents
> have raided carwashes to detain workers, as well as entering buses to
> check IDs and detain individuals. The net effect has been to create  
> fear
> within immigrant communities.
> Harper Homophobia
> The Harper government has decided to re-open the same-sex marriage  
> debate,
> in a blatant attempt to mimic the US neo-conservative tactic of  
> provoking
> homophobia to win votes. Re-opening this settled debate also serves to
> ignore the substantive issues ? such as health care, youth  
> homelessness,
> etc -- that effect the wider queer community.
> Environmental Degradation
> In a clear attempt to appease the oil and gas industry, the Harper
> government remains in denial about global warming, and continues to
> promote ecologically destructive policies.
> Cutbacks to Social Funding
> The Harper Conservatives -- under the leadership of former Mike Harris
> thug and now Finance Minister Jim Flaherty -- have deepened Liberal
> cutbacks to social programs, undermining services to women, the poor,
> immigrants, indigenous peoples and queers.
> We're here today as members of diverse anti-war, anti-poverty,
> anti-oppression and social justice groups in Montreal. Steven  
> Harper and
> his crew of right-wing men ? Stockwell Day, Monte Solberg, Vic Toews,
> Michel Fortier, Jim Prentice, Jim Flaherty, Tom Flanagan and  
> others ? need
> to understand that they will not pass through Montreal without a
> confrontation and disruption.
> This action is organized and supported by Block the Empire- 
> Montreal, No
> One Is Illegal-Montreal as well as other groups and individuals.
> bloquezlempiremontreal at resist.ca -- noii-montreal at resist.ca
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