Every so often one comes across a news item that infuriates. Last night’s W-FIVE carried just such a story – Mexican Standoff.
The gist of it is this: a 50-year-old Canadian woman, Brenda Martin, has been held in a Mexican prison in Guadalajara for more than two years although she has not been convicted of any crime, nor in fact, does it appear she has even committed any crime. Seems like a pretty straightforward situation where, regardless of the merits of the legal case, the Canadian consulate would be engaged to ensure that a Canadian’s rights are being upheld and that she is getting due process, right?
Wrong! During her entire ordeal, Canadian government support has been virtually non-existent in spite of repeated attempts on her part to get them involved to help with translation and other legal issues. It is only through the intervention of an old friend that she even now has competent legal representation (possibly too late) and any visibility for her case in Canada.
Attempts by the W-FIVE team to get a response from the Canadian government were routinely brushed off and the responsible(?) minister, Helena Guergis, actually lied to the reporter about making a statement and then snuck out the back door. And the clip of the conversation with the security guard at the Canadian Consulate in Guadalajara would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad and ridiculous. In fact, it seems that she is getting more support from the Mexican Ambassador to Canada than she has from the Harper government.
I don’t know if this is another “tough on crime” thing – the Harpercrites being afraid their base wouldn’t support them if they actually helped someone charged with a crime outside Canada – or if it’s simply ministerial incompetence layered on top of bureaucratic indifference, but this situation is appalling and it verily screams out for action on the part of Canada.