In a development that will most certainly strengthen the view that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will do anything to appease the Trump administration, Canadian immigration authorities just barred Chelsea Manning from entering Canada. Manning, one of the most prominent whistleblowers in the world today, announced the ban in a letter posted to Twitter earlier today.
“So, I guess Canada has permanently banned me?” wrote Manning in a tweet accompanying the letter, which was addressed to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) September 25, 2017
Quoting subsection 44(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the writer of the letter stated that the former US soldier “is a person who is a foreign national who has not been authorized to enter Canada.” In the writer’s “opinion”, Manning is “inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for having been convicted of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.” The letter added:
If committed in Canada this offence would equate to an indictable offence, namely Treason described under section 46(2)(B) of the Criminal Code of Canada, punishable under section 47(2)(C) of the Criminal Code of Canada, for which a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment may be imposed.
In 2013, a military court charged Manning under the United States Espionage Act for leaking 700,000 military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks and sentenced her to 35 years in prison. According to The Intercept, her disclosures “led to a series of exposes by the New York Times and many other outlets, and exposed, among other things, a dramatically high civilian death count in Afghanistan, evidence of abuse by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, and information about who was being held at Guantánamo Bay.”
Manning was released from prison in May, after former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in his final days in the White House. Justifying the release, Obama stated that Manning’s 35-year prison sentence was “very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received”.
The comparison between Canadian and US law in the immigration official’s letter is absurd, to say the least. Manning is “not authorized to enter Canada” because the Trudeau government will do anything to turn the machinery of the Canadian government “toward finding a way to get along” with Trump. We’re not blind to the fact that the ban came shortly after Harvard University surrendered to pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and rescinded its decision to grand the former military intelligence analyst a visiting fellowship. CIA director Mike Pompeo had protested the decision, labelling Manning an “American traitor”.
— Niki Ashton (@nikiashton) September 25, 2017
Manning is not a threat to Canada. In fact, she’s a hero to many people here and around the world. For example, in 2013, she was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning international peace federation founded in 1891.
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He’s the founder and editor of these blogs: The Canadian Progressive, The Zimbabwean Progressive, and Charity Files. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad