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Politically Incorrect

Paul Martin's codeword for "who cares"

by arthur Weinreb, associate Editor,
Friday, april 8, 2005

at the end of March, information that Dr. Shahram azam had given to the Canadian government about the death of Zahra Kazemi was made public. Kazemi, a dual citizen of Canada and Iran was arrested in Iran two years ago after taking pictures of a student demonstration outside of a Tehran prison. The 54-year-old photojournalist from Montreal died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003.

The Iranian government insisted that Kazemi died as a result of suffering a stroke. Officials later admitted that she was beaten but after a security agent was tried and acquitted for "quasi-intentional murder", Iran announced that the death of the Canadian citizen was accidental.

Zahra Kazemi’s death caused an outrage in Canada by almost everyone except the Liberal government. Then Foreign affairs Minister, Bill Graham, was so mad he almost stomped both his feet at the actions of the Iranian government. Canada recalled the ambassador shortly after Kazemi’s murder. But the government ruled out taking any further action.

azam, a staff physician with the Iranian Defense Ministry left Iran in august 2004 on the pretext of obtaining medical treatment in Finland. He made his way to Sweden and contacted Kazemi’s son, Stephen. The doctor was later interviewed by Canadian officials in Sweden and granted permission to come to Canada as a refugee.

azam has claimed that he examined Zahra Kazemi four days after her arrest and found that as a result of the beating, she had broken fingers, a broken nose, a fractured skull, and a smashed toe. She had been raped and marks on her legs indicated that she had been flogged.

So what did our illustrious Prime Minister have to say about Dr. azam’s report about how this citizen of Canada had been tortured and killed by authorities in Iran? Fearful Leader said it was "unacceptable". Unacceptable is a word that Martin and his Liberal members use when they disapprove of something but have absolutely no intention of doing anything about it. It would be difficult to find a government that is so non-caring about the torture and murder abroad of one of its citizens. Graham proved that in the case of William Sampson when, for a long time, he refused to believe the Saudis would actually torture the Canadian citizen.

Just when you thought that Canada could not come up with a wimpier Foreign affairs Minister, Paul Martin appointed Pierre Pettigrew to the post. Pettigrew’s big solution to what is obviously a minor distraction for the government is to have Iran ship Kazemi’s body back to Canada so the truth of Dr. azam’s allegations can be determined. Good move--leave it up to Iran to act. Demands for the return of Zahra Kazemi’s remains were made by her son, with some moral if not actual help from the Liberal government since her death. Pettigrew’s request that Iran return Kazemi’s body to Canada would be laughable if the matter was not so tragic.

Paul Martin has gone to some length to show that he simply doesn’t care about what happened to this Canadian citizen at the hands of Iranian security agents. To Martin, the fact that Shahram azam was given safe haven in Canada is more important that Kazemi’s torture and murder. He’d rather talk about welcoming Dr. azam to Canada than take action against Iran. Last November, after the government had talked to Dr. azam and learned the details of Kazemi’s torture, Martin responded by sending Gordon Venner to Iran as Canada’s new ambassador.

as proof that Paul Martin couldn’t care less about what Iran did to a Canadian citizen, when questioned about azam’s allegations by Stephen Harper during Question Period, the prime minister used the entire amount of his allotted time to talk about what a wonderful thing that he did in appointing Justice Gomery to investigate adscam. How dare the leader of the opposition question him about a murdered Canadian when he wants to talk about Gomery?

The whole Kazemi affair should make Canadians decide that Paul Martin and his Liberal government are "unacceptable".