May / June 2001
TO: TRADE UNIONISTS, MEMBERS & EXECUTIVE COUNCILS OF THE CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (CUPE)
We send greetings of solidarity and thank you for CUPEs support and national participation in the Canadian clemency campaign for Leonard Peltier. Your national and regional executive embarked on a vigorous professional campaign with web site postings, mass letter and postcard mailings, and nation-wide distribution of a CLC commemorative poster. CUPE also sponsored a good portion of the costs of our Toronto legal inquiry and presentations in Ottawa.
As long-time representatives of Mr. Peltiers struggle for freedom, we remain outraged by former President Clintons decision to deny clemency. Nonetheless, our collective work has provided a means for bringing about a broader awareness of Peltiers case and its connection with issues of civil rights violations today. We are thus closer to our goal, having demonstrated our ability to grow in capacity to voice ourselves as informed citizens. Over the months, we have researched avenues for lobby from legal, political and U.N. sources in Canada and internationally. A new agenda is emerging as we work to explore our options.
First, we are investigating the filing of a case with the United Nations against Canada, arguing that fabricated evidence solely was used to extradite Leonard, thus violating his fundamental rights. Our case would include the results of the inquiry held by LPDCC in Toronto on October 25, 2000, in conjunction with The Innocence Project of Osgoode Hall Law School. Here, for the first time, the main extradition witness recanted her testimony before Justice Fred Kaufman, formerly of the Quebec Court of Appeal. An American attorney provided copies of FBI communiqus0020demonstrating how the FBI coerced the witness and set the stage for false affidavits. This then allowed the FBI to frame Peltier for the murder of the agents. The results of the inquiry have formed the basis of our clemency application sent to Clinton and also to Prime Minister Chretien and other government officials.
Secondly, we are initiating a letter-writing campaign. In February, Chretien responded that he would forward the important documents to his Minister of Justice for a review, which means the Peltier case has now been re-opened. (In October 1999, Minister McLellan had closed a lengthy internal review concluding there was no wrongdoing.) We urgently request that you send your letters to Chretien with an appeal that he set up an independent review. This would also include the errors and omissions in fact and judgement in the previous Department of Justice review. Thirdly, we are investigating renewed lobbying of the federal government to persuade a strong recommendation for a new and fair trial or executive review. Canada released Peltier to American authorities 25 years ago on condition he receive a fair trial. It appears that the FBI knowingly misled Canadian authorities on the facts of the case, violating international legal/political principles of good faith, trust and the sovereign jurisdiction of our country.
This fall, our goal is to launch publicly some of these specific projects. We would like to ask all members to support us by taking this update to your next executive meeting and requesting approval of a financial contribution. A contribution from each local would assist in preventing a serious financial shortfall this summer and thus allow us to complete our work without interruption.
Sisters and Brothers, we strongly urge you to stand with us during this critical time. We also urge you to prepare and send to the Prime Ministers Office a letter in the form of the sample below and send us a copy. Your voice will also assist Canadian labour reps to take a leadership role in a petitioning for justice at the upcoming U.N. Conference Against Racism in South Africa.
In the True Spirit of Solidarity, Justice and Freedom for all,
Frank & Anne Dreaver, Natl Co-ordinators, LPDC Canada
Send Copies of letters & Contributions payable to:
LPDC Canada, 43 Chandler Dr., Scarborough, On. M1G 1Z1
Please contact (telfax) 416-439-1893 or firstname.lastname@example.org=mailto:>
SAMPLE LETTER to the RT. HON. JEAN CHRETIEN, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA, House of Commons, Centre Block, room 309-S, Ottawa, ON K1A OA6
Dear Prime Minister Chretien:
Earlier this year you referred the documented results of a Canadian legal inquiry to your Minister of Justice, re-opening a case of international human rights violation with your government. We are referring to the case of a world-recognized political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, whose extradition from Canada on fabricated evidence and his subsequent trial has long been a matter of bitter controversy. The inquiry was the basis of an appeal for clemency, turned down by President Clinton before he left office.
On October 25, 2000, The Honourable Fred Kaufman, C.M., Q.C., former Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal, heard new evidence bearing on Mr. Peltiers extradition. The main witness, Myrtle Poor Bear, testified in detail how the FBI coerced her into signing false affidavits. Classified FBI communiqus0020and other briefs were presented, which support her highly persuasive statements. It has become clear there was no sufficient, reliable evidence to support the extradition and subsequent conviction for murder. The fraudulent extradition marked the beginning of the FBIs deliberate obstruction of justice that included the withholding of critical evidence of Mr. Peltiers innocence. In October 1999, your Minister of Justice concluded the extradition was lawful. Since then, many thousands of Canadian peoples have expressed alarm over the grave errors in her judgement based on the serious omissions of fact and evidence. Based on this shameful record, it is unlikely to expect your Minister of Justice to provide an impartial and fair review.
We therefore urge the Prime Minister to launch an independent review of Mr. Peltiers extradition that would include a full examination of the FBIs role in this case. In view of numerous revelations of FBI misconduct in the U.S., federal authorities continue to withhold crucial evidence, including 6,000 classified FBI documents. As Canadians, we would expect our government to recognize its obligation and seek ways to rectify this injustice. One way is by pursuing negotiations for a fair hearing for Mr. Peltier. After all, it was a Liberal government 25 years ago, with yourself as a member of Cabinet that authorized an extradition based on fraud with the assurances and on the condition that he receives a fair trial.