Friday, 18 February 2011

NOThing done about freezing Ben Ali clan assets.

The former dictator lies comatose in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, abandoned by family members who are no doubt scurrying about, secreting whatever's available of the MASSIVE fortune Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his thugs stole from the Tunisian people.

On Monday and Tuesday, BQ MP Jean Dorion tried in vain to secure from Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon a clear and straight answer about the assets held in Canada by the Ben Ali cabal. For two days running, Cannon supplied Con-voluted baffle-gab in response to pointed questions from Dorion.

Then the Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson took up the empty rhetoric refrain: "Our government is prepared to assist the Government of Tunisia in any manner while respecting our laws. We will continue to work with representatives of Tunisia on this file. Obviously, we all have a stake in ensuring that justice is done for the people of Tunisia."

Yesterday BQ leader Gilles Duceppe met the Tunisian ambassador - who says he has NOT received any communication whatsoever from Cannon or Nicholson.

At the end of January, Tunisian officials asked Canada to freeze assets held by the former President Ben Ali and his family, including illegal transfers of funds abroad. Ben Ali's family owns a house in Westmount valued at over $ 2 million.

[...] in an interview with The Associated Press the Ambassador of Tunisia in Ottawa Mouldi Sakri said the minister, Lawrence Cannon, has yet to respond to the request of Tunisia [...]

Belhassen Trabelsi, brother-in-law of the deposed president, fled to Canada following the uprising in Tunisia. He has permanent resident status, but the immigration department has taken steps to withdraw his status.

Cannon has invoked Canadian laws on privacy to justify his silence on this issue while Mr. Sakri has received no communication from Canadian officials.

"The Ben Ali must be frozen before they are squandered. The Ministry of Justice in Tunisia presented two requests to the Canadian government," he said.

[...] Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, who met yesterday with the Ambassador of Tunisia in his office on Parliament Hill, said the Harper government cannot shirk its responsibilities. [...]

"The ambassador hoped for a speedy response to his requests and at the very least a temporary freeze of assets, pending a final decision. Ben Ali family members are experts in fiscal evasion. Now they've been given plenty of time to move money to off-shore havens [...]" said Duceppe.

If the HarperCons had acted efficiently and competently, they would have bragged about it. Their evasive tactics in Question Period means neither Cannon nor Nicholson have done anything except procrastinate and put off Tunisian officials.

As fern hill said yesterday, Stevie and his bullies respect the power of money. In addition, they appear to feel ideologically synchronized with oligarchies that undermine the democratic process.

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