Sign this petition!
This is an online petition sent out by Naomi Klein (author of No Logo
and activist for free speech). Ms. Klein is going to send this petition out on April 13th, so you need to act fast! Here is a copy of it, so you can know what you're signing:
As Canadians who value freedom of expression as an essential
democratic right and depend on that right to make our living, we will watch with
vigilance the actions of police officers and immigration agents next
week when the Summit of the Americas convenes in Quebec City.
The right to freedom of expression, so fundamental to our democracy,
includes the right not just to speak and communicate but to be heard.
The constitutional right to peaceful assembly encompasses the right
gather in public spaces in all Canadian cities. The right to freedom
movement across borders extends not just to trade and tourism but
to political rallies, conferences and protests.
Designed to keep lawful protesters out of sight and earshot, the
construction of a security barrier around Quebec City tramples on
fundamental freedoms. Following the spirit of our constitution, we
condemn this action. We believe that the planned presence of
approximately 6,000 police officers around the summit site is not an
incentive to peaceful protest. We also condemn the practice of
refusing entry to concerned citizens of other countries, thereby
preventing them from expressing their views to the world media about
free trade agreement that extends across 34 national borders.
Democracy does not only take place in parliaments, voting booths and
official summits. It takes place in meeting halls, public parks, and
public streets. It also includes, at times, peaceful acts of civil
disobedience. When the streets are blocked off and hundreds of
halls in Quebec City are out of reach to citizens because they are
inside a sprawling "security zone", it is democracy itself that is
marginalized. And when large corporations are given the opportunity
buy access to political leaders through partial sponsorship of the
Summit of the Americas, as has transpired here, it creates the
impression that political accountability is for sale.
We are also concerned about leaked Canadian Security Intelligence
Service documents that portray protesters coming to Quebec City as
"violent" yet fail to support that claim with any corroborating
evidence; and that such unsupported characterizations, repeated in press
could set the stage for excessive use of force by police officers.
of the activists headed for Quebec City are young people engaged in
principled and peaceful expression and civil disobedience and we are
gravely concerned about all the protesters' physical safety.
In the past four years, we have watched the use of pepper spray
distressingly commonplace at political demonstrations timed with
meetings of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the
Trade Organization, the World Economic Forum, the Asia Pacific
Co-operation forum, as well as U.S. political conventions. We have
witnessed, from the streets of Washington D.C. to Davos, Switzerland,
the escalating use of tear gas, mass arrests, water cannons, and
bullets by police during some of these demonstrations, as well as
increasingly common security techniques as pre-emptive arrests of
protest organizers, random beatings of activists, raids on activist
"convergence centres" and the seizure of harmless protest materials
as placards and puppets.
Throughout this country's proud history, Canadians such as
George Etienne Cartier and Robert Baldwin have fought for both civic
tolerance and the democratic right of freedom of expression. It is
too late for the Summit of the Americas to be an event during which
political leaders do more than talk about democracy. They can also
embody democratic principles of freedom of expression and movement by
refusing to shield themselves from open criticism and debate on
of crucial importance to citizens of the Americas. With the world
watching closely, this is an opportunity to make Canada a model for
democratic principles. In this spirit, we call on the security forces
borders and in Quebec City to vigorously defend not only the safety
visiting heads of state, but the rights of political activists within
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