The Solidarity Network is organizing a media briefing to support the call for an effective public inquiry into the suppression of dissent around the Summit of the Americas.
Thanks to sponsor MP Svend Robinson, this event will be held in the Railway Committee Room on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, May 22, in the morning. This is one month after the summit, and falls on the same day that legal proceedings start for many of those who were arrested.
The first purpose of this event is to step up pressure for an inquiry, and to lay out minimum requirments which would ensure such an inquiry would be effective – we don’t want another APEC inquiry! Lawyers Clayton Ruby, Dianne Martin and Bill Sloan have helped us determine these criteria, and they are detailed in the statement below.
Secondly, we want to use this opportunity to help concerned organizations and coalitions raise public awareness about the systematic repression of dissent that took place around the Québec Summit, about the very important link to the Free Trade Area of the Americas itself, and to get more people thinking about the grave consequences for democracy.
Amnesty International, the Québec Legal Collective, the People’s Summit and la Table de convergence du Québec will make the call for an inquiry, and lay out the minimum requirements which would ensure an effective inquiry. We are waiting to confirm la Ligue des droits et libertés participation. The Canadian Health Coalition has arranged for Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards of the Alliance for Public Accountability to address public health and environmental issues that need to be examined. Sample testimony will be provided by Québec City residents and protesters. We are looking into the possibility of showing some film footage and displaying photos.
Please consider supporting this work by:
1. SIGNING ON TO THE CALL FOR AN EFFECTIVE INQUIRY At the media briefing, we’d like to provide a diverse and long list of organizations – local, regional and national – who support the call for an inquiry. Please consider having your organization endorse the following statement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before noon, Monday, May 21. We will continue collecting sign-ons after the briefing, but hope to have as many as possible before hand. Please provide both the French and English name of your organization.
2. ISSUING A PUBLIC STATEMENT/MEDIA RELEASE ON MAY 22 Please consider having your organization support the call an effective inquiry by sending out a news release, timed to arrive on journalists’ desks in the morning on May 22. Please try, where possible, to have them available in French and English. Please send copies of your releases or statements to me by email, to email@example.com as soon as possible BEFORE Monday, May 21, and I will ensure copies are available for the media at the press briefing.
3. REGISTERING A REPRESENTATIVE TO ATTEND THE MEDIA BRIEFING Please consider sending a representative/spokesperson to the May 22 media briefing. We do not have any room for additional speakers, but welcome you to send a representative to be available for comment at the briefing, and to bring along copies of your media releases/statements. Because of tight security arrangements on Parliament Hill, you cannot just show up – you must pre-register if you plan to attend – please email me about this at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. SUPPORT THIS WORK WITH A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION Please let me know if your organization would consider a financial or in-kind contribution to support this event. Although the venue itself is free, we need support for travel, accommodation and expenses for the people providing sample testimony at this event, and for translation of materials.
5. PLEASE PASS THIS ON Please pass this call for support on to other organizations which you think should sign on.
Sorry for the short notice on this, but it has taken a while to pull together the details.
Thanks and solidarity,
Kerry Pither, Solidarity Network
Call for a public inquiry into suppression of dissent around the Summit of the Americas
We, the organizations and individuals signing this statement, are alarmed by the suppression of dissent that took place before, during and after the recent Summit of the Americas. We are concerned about the public health, human rights and environmental impacts, and we are concerned about what these state-initiated actions mean for democracy.
We therefore call for a broad-based, independent, public inquiry into the security measures put in place for the Summit of the Americas and their impact on effective dissent related to the summit. We want an effective inquiry where all relevant parties – including Québec City residents, demonstrators, and independent media have guaranteed legal standing with adequately funded, effective legal representation.
We are not calling for an inquiry into the actions of individual police officers. Instead, this inquiry must explore the actions taken and methods used by government and government agencies to suppress dissent, the underlying and systemic causes of this suppression, the public health and environmental impacts of the methods used, and the consequences for the future of our democratic institutions and practices.
Signed: (so far) Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Canadian Branch of the American Association of Jurists Canadian Federation of Students Canadian Health Coalition Canadian Religious Conference Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Council of Canadians Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Rights and Democracy Clayton Ruby, Lawyer Sierra Club of Canada Sierra Youth Coalition Solidarity Network Québec Convergence Table (including the following members: Fédération des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, Fédération autonome du collégial, Opération Québec Printemps 2001, Conférence religieuse canadienne - Québec, Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, Association québécoise pour un contrat mondial de l’eau, Concordia Student Union, Opération SalAMI!, Attac-Québec, Fédération des femmes du Québec et Marche mondiale des femmes, FRAPRU)