Citizenshift-Measuring Security Measures

Posted by admin on Oct 26th, 2005

Citizenshift-Measuring Security Measures
CitizenShift (NFB) & überculture present

A close look at immigration, media and law in a secure Canada
• Are recent security laws and policies in Canada undermining civil liberties?
• Has mainstream media in Canada adequately framed and analyzed this issue?

>From Halifax to Vancouver, CitizenShift and überculture with the participation of refugee and immigrant advocacy groups have organized two exciting weeks of film screenings and panel discussions in over ten Canadian cities. These symposiums will be held from October 17-30, 2005, and are meant to provide an open and accessible forum for debate on the issues of immigration, media, law and national security in our country.

These three intersecting components of Measuring Security Measures provide a framework for discussion with audience and panellists. Changes in Canadian laws and policies since September 11, 2001 and the consequences of these laws for many immigrants and refugees will be examined, analyzed and discussed through new short films and panels. The media’s role in framing and covering such debate will also be discussed.

Following one hour of film screenings, audiences will hear from the panellists, then be invited to join in a discussion. The events, occurring from coast to coast are free and open to all.

October 27th, 7pm at Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour St. Vancouver. Co-presented by MARU and DOXA Documentary Festival

* Tom Sandorn is a poet, activist, Board Member of BC Civil Liberties Association

* Naava Smolash is a media researcher focused on newspaper racializations of bodies deemed the “enemy within” in Canada. She gives regular workshops on media, nationalism, and race. She is also involved in the campaign to end secret trials through work with No One Is Illegal. Her previous work touches on two films shown in the CitizenShift series: her Master’s thesis at the University of Guelph analyzed coverage of the Project Thread detentions in Canada’s national newspapers, and her spoken word piece “War Measures”was written in response to the film “Security Consciousness” and was performed at that film’s opening event.

* Zool Suleman is an immigration lawyer/activist ( based in Vancouver. He is the coordinator of a national campaign to stop racial profiling ( Zool has been involved with a
variety of projects, on a national and regional level, related to race politics, art, migrant rights, and constitutional/civil liberties issues.

* Moderator: Harsha Walia is a local activist and writer. Her writings have appeared in many alternative and mainstream newspapers and journals. She has been heavily involved in organizing for migrant rights in the post 9/11 climate through community-based groups including No One is Illegal, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy and Vancouver Status of Women.


– Security Consciousness: Detained in Guelph produced and directed by Reel Alternative Productions, 2004, Canada, 35min . 12 min. excerpt will be shown. With no film-making experience six University of Guelph undergraduate students and a Sheridan College student created a project using the medium of film to engage a wide audience in dialogue about the role that post-9/11 security consciousness has had on the detention and deportation of immigrants and refugees in Canada. The film’s starting point is the recently negotiated use of the Guelph correctional facility for detaining immigrants. The film aims to inspire collective opposition to current practices of detention.

– Whose Rights Anyway? directed by Anice Wong, produced by Anice Wong and Hugh Gibson, 2005, 23 min. The film revolves around the security certificate case of Mohamed Harkat as told by his Canadian wife, his lawyer, and an activist. The documentary speaks of the initial arrest and how his fundamental human rights have since been violated. It also deals with the racism felt by the Arab and Muslim community since the events of September 11, 2001, and how it is against this backdrop that the Canadian government is allowing itself to limit certain rights in the name of “national security.” Harkat has been detained in a provincial jail in Ottawa since December 10, 2002. He was arrested under a security certificate, a provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,
which allows for his detention not on solid evidence, but solely on assumptions suggesting that he may be linked to terrorism. No charges have been laid. Furthermore, the government of Canada has withheld all evidence
it has from him and his lawyer, making it next to impossible for them to defend themselves in court. This is an updated version of the film that was shown in 2004.

– Sophie. directed and produced by Alexandre Roy
2004, 3 min. A hard hitting short animation that tells the story of Sophie, a young Québecoise who wins a BBQ but refuses to take the prize when she realizes that racism has tainted the contest.

– Threadbare, (a work in progress) produced and directed by Arshad Khan. 50 min., 2005, Canada. 20 min. excerpt will be shown. August 14th 2003: After having their apartment doors kicked in and belongings trashed, nineteen men were arrested in pre-dawn raids in the Greater Toronto Area on suspicion that they might be a threat to National Security. They were asked, “Are you Pakistani? Are you Muslim?” The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carried out these and several other raids with the help of
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Threadbare is a film about racism against Pakistanis and South Asian Muslims in the Canadian Immigration and Legal justice system. The documentary film revolves around the struggles of the 25 Project Thread detainees, many now deportees, that were a target of the RCMP Al-Qaeda investigation in August 2003. All allegations of terrorism against the detainees were dropped within two weeks of the arrests, yet the detainees spent two to five months in a maximum security prison outside Toronto. Threadbare also documents the activist campaign – Project Threadbare in its struggle to exonerate, compensate, apologize, naturalize the detainees.

– Take Back the Days: Step by Step to Ottawa. produced and Directed by Eylem Kaftan. 12 min., Canada 2005. June 2005- Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-area coalition initiated by several groups active in defending the rights of migrants, immigrants and refugees organized a march in solidarity with all non-status persons in Canada, and in support of the main demands of the Solidarity Across Borders network: the regularization of all non-status persons in Canada; an end to the deportation and detention of migrants; and the abolition of security certificates. The film documents the journey giving voice to those who walked with purpose to Ottawa. We see the solidarity, hope and commitment shared amongst the
marchers and witness the profound effect the trip had on them.

For more information on Measuring Security Measures please contact us or
visit these Web sites:
CitizenShift: Patricia Kearns, p.kearns (at) onf (dot) ca, 514.283.9478
überculture: Ezra Winton, ezra (at) uberculture (dot) org, 514.313.3478

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