Canada and “the butchers” – By Brodie Fenlon (Globe and Mail)

June 23rd, 2010 Print Print Email Email

A quick taxi ride this morning suggests the Harper government will have to mend relationships with at least some people in one of Canada’s immigrant communities after the G8/G20 summits. (more…)

A quick taxi ride this morning suggests the Harper government will have to mend relationships with at least some people in one of Canada’s immigrant communities after the G8/G20 summits.

My driver, an Ethiopian-Canadian whose name I didn’t get on the 10-minute ride, nearly spat with disgust when I raised the topic of the G20.

“They invite the butchers here. Why? Why they bring butchers to Canada?” he asked in heavily accented English.

He spoke with disdain of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who seized power in an armed takeover in 1991 and whose party most recently won a landslide election in May. Many observers, including Human Rights Watch, said the election was marred by government intimidation, threats and pressure on the electorate.

Mr. Zenawi is one of a half-dozen African leaders invited to the June 25 summit in Muskoka, Ont., as part of an outreach to African countries.

My cabbie recalled the last Ethiopian election in 2005, which led to angry protests and a violent crackdown by government security forces. An estimated 200 people were shot dead.

“We come here because Canada is a democratic country. Then they invite him … Why?”

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