On January 11, an op-ed appeared in the Hamilton Spectator. “Harper is wrong in demonizing Iran” by former postal worker and teacher Ken Stone criticized U.S. and Canadian foreign policy:
“In response to Western sabre-rattling and unjustified economic sanctions, Iran talked about closing the Straits of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil is shipped. It’s acutely aware of the similarities between the U.S.-sponsored campaign of sanctions and military intervention against Iraq, allegedly over Saddam’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, and Obama’s bellicose threats regarding Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The regime of economic sanctions against Iraq caused the malnutrition deaths of a half-million Iraqi children and softened up Iraq for attack from the West. The Iranians do not want to be the next victims in the U.S. war of terror. Justifiably, they want to put pressure on the West to remove the sanctions.”
Stone also mentioned attending a conference in Iran on the situation in Palestine, as a guest of the Iranian government. While the Canadian government has a travel advisory in place, travel to Iran is certainly not banned.
“Stone told CBC Hamilton “they wanted to know what my relationship was with the government of Iran. They also said that they wanted to hear from me especially because they thought my views on Iran might be favourable.”
Stunned, Stone told the visitors his opinions on the topic were already public and asked the investigators to leave. He recommends that anyone who finds themselves in the same position do the same.
Moreover, the former postal worker and teacher said he’s going public to raise the alarm about what he believes is a campaign to silence vocal critics of the Canadian government.
“It had nothing to with national security or espionage. It was, in my opinion, intimidation.””
It is difficult to see how it could be anything else. Stephen Harper has repeatedly done what he could to silence critics in his own party, in the opposition and in the bureaucracy. Now, he or someone on the government, apparently feels the need to intimidate private citizens and activists as well. Harper’s policy on Iran is indefensible and more hardline than any other country, with the possible exception of Israel. The current state of Canadian-Iranian relations as well as Harper’s attacks on free speech and transparency in no way represent this country or the will of its citizens.