Wednesday, August 3, 2016
(Details on urgent public action below)
AUGUST 3, 2016 – Justin Trudeau and his Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, have shamefully upheld the Harper-era decision to send an abuse survivor and mother of three Canadian children to the USA, where she is charged with interference with custody because she rescued her kids from an abusive father. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years behind bars.
On the same day the federal government announced an inquiry centred on the theme of ending violence against women, MM – as she is known due to a publication ban – sat in a Canadian prison as she received word that the "feminist" Trudeau government rubberstamped the criminalization of actions that were taken to prevent further harm from coming to MM's children.
In a terrible decision issued today, one that is riddled with the types of misunderstandings that continue to plague anyone who has survived abuse, the Trudeau government showed how little it understands the reality of and limited choices available to battered women and abused children. Despite abundant evidence of the father's abuse of the children, the Justice Minister complains that in saving her kids and taking them to Canada, MM has "deprived [the father] of the reasonable ability to visit his children," even though the children were clear that they wanted no contact with him (see the children's own statement on the case here: https://youtu.be/sJqo7S9VVqI). The decision buys into repeated myths about abuse survivors (claiming the fact that children did not report abuse to guidance counselors and attended school regularly casts doubt on their allegations of abuse).
The decision further attacks MM for not seeking legal remedies (as if access to good counsel and the courts in the US is easy and affordable) and for not speaking with police (how many violence survivors have heard that line, from the Ghomeshi trial on down!).
Women Who Choose to Live, an advocacy network that has been supporting MM, is calling on people across the country to write and phone in to "Justice" Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's office, register their disgust with the decision to extradite MM to the USA, and call on the government to back away from this order and allow MM to stay in Canada with her children, who otherwise will be placed in foster homes. (The Justice Minister rationalizes the choice to break up the family by saying "many families who lose the assistance of a family member because that person is detained in custody find that they have to make changes to manage their new reality.")
The Trudeau government claims that this decision to send MM to a possible 15-year jail term for saving her kids from abuse would not "shock the conscience of Canadians." We disagree, and hope you will too.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Write to Jody Wilson-Raybould and tell her how it shocks your conscience that she would uphold this dreadful Harper-era decision, an insult to abuse survivors everywhere. Please send to these addresses: jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca, Cdncentralauthority@justice.gc.ca, Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2. Call Wilson-Raybould's office in Ottawa ( 613-992-1416) and Vancouver (604-717-1140) with the same message" Keep MM in Canada, Don't send an abuse survivor to a US jail for saving her kids from abuse!
BACKGROUND ON THE CASE
Children Plead with Justice Minister: Keep Our Mom in Canada (short video from December, 2015)
"At the end of the day, there is little demonstrable harm to the integrity of our extradition process in finding it to be unjust or oppressive to extradite the mother of young children she rescued, at their request, from their abusive father. The harm, on the other hand, of depriving the children of their mother in these circumstances is profound and, with respect, demonstrably unfair....To surrender the mother for her conduct in protecting the children is to penalize them for reaching out to her by depriving them of the only parent who can look after them. Moreover, because the defence of rescuing children to protect them from imminent harm does not exist in Georgia, the mother will not be able to raise the defence she would have been able to raise had she been prosecuted in Canada." – Justice Rosalie Abella, Supreme Court of Canada, on the MM case, December, 2015
Women Who Choose to Live is part of the Homes not Bombs nonviolent direct action network. PO Box 2121, 57 Foster Street, Perth, ON K7H 1R0, (613) 267-3998