Canada To Bush: Y’all Don’t Come Back Soon!

calgary_bushA few weeks ago, George W. Bush slunk into Calgary, Alberta where he was paid a reported $50,000 to address a gathering of oil men; in Alberta, there’s no such thing as oil women because, even in the 21st century, the province still revels in its rough-n’-ready, real cowboys are men, way of thinking. It was his first post-presidency speech and Canadians weren’t happy about it.

In fact, so many protesters showed up at the auditorium that Bush had to be squirreled through a maze of tunnels and back alleys to get from The Pallister Hotel where he stayed to the venue.

But protestors on the street weren’t the only group seeking to block Bush’s high-priced speech. Canadian human rights lawyers filed a lawsuit, trying to prevent Bush either from entering the country or to force the federal government to arrest him on charges of suspicion of war crimes.

Although the legal manoeuvre failed, mostly because it was filed to late to do any good, it indirectly resulted in the former president being asked by Ottawa to not return.

Keep Out
Three different sources in the minority Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper – an Albertan himself although he did not attend the Calgary event – confirmed to me that after the appearance, the Canadian government quietly sent word to Bush’s office in Texas saying it would be much happier if he didn’t try crossing the border again anytime soon.

Apparently deciding he better shore up his base in case the story leaked out – which it now has – he went on Fox News Sunday morning to discuss anything but telling Bush “get lost.”

In fact, at the same time the government reportedly slipped the same cautionary advice to Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld – who’s already been chased once through the streets of Paris by a French prosecutor who wanted to arrest and investigate him for car crimes – Fredo “Please Cry For Me I’m Al” Gonzales, John Ashcroft, and reportedly a few others, telling them that it would not be in their best interest to try entering Canada. Since none of the Bushies are protected any longer by diplomatic immunity, they could be seized at the border like some aged former SS officer still on the lam.

“The PM doesn’t want to be confronted during question time by the Opposition asking why he’s letting potential war criminals into the country,” one of the three sources said in an interview this week. Because they are part of the government, none of the three was willing to be quoted by name.

Another of the three sources told me, “Even though Harper likes Bush personally, the country hates him so the PM is trying to avoid what could be an embarrassing cross-border diplomatic incident, doing something that could trigger an election, or being seen by the public as coddling a possible war criminal.”

Canadian Law
Under Canadian law, the Attorney General can investigate anyone anywhere in the world for war crimes and crimes against humanity even if a Canadian citizen is not involved.

However, at least three Canadian citizens were swept up by Bush war crimes: Two were held at Guantanamo – one is still there after being captured in 2001 as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan – and one endured “extraordinary rendition” when he was stopped at Kennedy Airport and sent to Syria’s torture chambers. It took more than a year to get the US to return Maher Arar, a telecommunications engineer living in Ottawa; when he finally got home, an independent commission awarded him several million dollars after finding he had no ties to terrorists and CSIS, the Canadian foreign security service, was complicit in his kidnapping.

If someone suspected of war crimes tries entering the country, the law says they must be detained at the border. Under the narrowest definition of war crimes in Canadian statutes, Bush and other high-ranking members of his administration committed four separate war crimes:

  • When the US invaded Iraq without UN approval;
  • When the invasion resulted in the deaths of Iraqi civilians;
  • When Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ordered torture to be used during interrogations; and
  • When the White House and Pentagon denied Red Cross access to prisoners at Gitmo and CIA black site prisons in Thailand, Poland and on the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia.

charley-james.jpgWhile a significant number of people here, in the US and around the world would be positively gleeful at the sight of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a long list of others being clapped in irons at the border by the RCMP and hauled off to Kingston Prison while an investigation is undertaken, Ottawa has no interest in prompting a potential major row with Washington.

Harper decided it is more convenient to ask a handful of potential tourists to stay home.

Charley James
The Progressive Curmudgeon


  1. Gen. Lee Wright says


    Who was reporting this for you, or did you just make it up like all other lefty sites?

    I won’t rebut everything, mostly because you’re just going to summarily dismiss my post anyway, but I also just can’t read any more of this drivel.

    1) Bush paid $50,000? Yeah, right…in what world? Approximately $160,000 was the honourarium.

    2) Spoke to ‘oil men’? In a word, no. He spoke to Calgarians – and lots of them. Men and women. Oh, plenty of women in the oilpatch, btw, many as executives. Only difference in Calgary is that we don’t believe in ‘affirmative action’ where incompetent morons get promoted based on any perceived minority status. So if you don’t see that many women in one particular sector in Calgary, it’s because they aren’t as qualified as the men in that position.

    3) “So many protestors showed up that” in typical lefty fashion, their numbers had to be lied about to their own people…once again. So many that the only shots you’ll ever see are extreme close ups in order to make the crowd somehow seem huge. Seriously, show me the huge crowd from above. You’ll see about 150 people, maybe, and these all a rent-a-crowd. Pretty pathetic.
    Also, in delusional leftyland(TM) they believe their meagre efforts have produce quantifiable results – not so. The ex-President would always be taken away from a nutjob crowd, no matter how small, as much for his safety as for his sanity. He doesn’t have to listen to ignorant morons if he doesn’t want to.

    4) What ‘sources’? Go ahead and gimme just one name in a personal e-mail, I won’t embarrass you on your own page. What a joke. I’m sure what you meant to say is that some morons in Ottawa whined to the leftist media that they don’t want him coming back to Canada. To suggest the government at any level was involved in making such an asinine comment is ludicrous. Anyway, without me having to prove that you’ve been caught in another lie, how ’bout you just sit around and wait for his upcoming speech in Montreal. I wonder if he’s going to have to try and sneak across the border, seeing as how he’s been told not to come back and all…

    5) If you want to talk about pathetic, check out the response from socialist/communist Toronto. What an incredibly warm welcome for your boy Bubba. Have they sold 100 tickets yet? Bush’s tickets were going for $400 apiece, and 2,000 were sold. Bubba’s are going for $5 each and ended up almost 10,000. Once again, done for the optics and benefit of the leftist media. Want the full picture? They thought they were going to get 25,000 people to pay between $20-$50 per ticket. They thought they would get around $1M and instead got less than $50,000. Bush brings in $800,000; Clinton $50,000. The government’s ‘stimulus’ package money had to cover the loss for the lying impeached moron’s speech to the tune of $125,000. This to make up the difference and pay Clinton his $175,000 speaking fee.

    As I said, I’m not going to even bother reading any more of your screed. If, however, you choose to better educate yourself and write about your findings, perhaps you’ll let me know.

  2. Suasoria says

    I don't understand why people who don't like this site hang out on it…Charley, don't sweat it. They only do it to annoy, because they know it teases.

  3. says

    Once again, a few people commenting focus on insignificant details like spelling instead of the actual issues being discussed in this well balanced article.

    I'm happy to hear an update on Canadian reactions and politics surrounding Bush's war crimes. I'm heartened that they have become so passionate about this issue. When I spent a summer in Canmore, Alberta (2005) I was vehemently admonished for pointing out in an op ed piece comparisons between the Bush regime and the Nazi party -specifically around the decision to house prisoners outside of US soil. My sense at the time was that Canadians were quick to defend US policy. Now, the tide has turned. Thanks for writing about this, now we need this kind of passion in the US to hold the Bush administration responsible for war crimes.

  4. Charley James says

    App-arently, AndyT, the Spanish government also agrees with Canada. Spanish investigating magistrate Baltazar Garzon – the man who arrested former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 – sent a 98-page complaint to prosecutors asking that John Yoo, William Haynes, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee and Doug Feith plus two unnamed others be investigated for war crimes. Spain claims jurisdiction because five of its citizens were held at Guantanamo and tortured.

  5. William Throbworth says

    This article is rife with misspellings, misused words (on the lamb ha) and other grammatical errors.

  6. Andyt says

    Charlie/Charley I agree with A Canadian. The whole LA Progressive is one big “I’m right and you’re wrong and that’s the name of that tune”.

    Dudes and dudettes, you’re never going to convince anyone with that rhetoric.

  7. Charley James says

    Dear Mr. Throbworth,

    I take your comment seriously. But I both spell and gammar checked the article before sending it to my editors and then did another check after reading your remark. I'm at a loss to find any spelling or grammatical mistakes other than inadvertently spelling "lam" as "lamb" – which spell check missed and has now been corrected.


  8. A Canadian says

    “in Alberta, there’s no such thing as oil women”. Really? You wouldn’t want to back that assertion up, would you? I thought not.

    “It was his first post-presidency speech and Canadians weren’t happy about it”. I’m Canadian, I don’t like Bush, and his speaking here didn’t bother me in the least. And when you’ve put Obama out to pasture, he can do a speech here too without upsetting me. You see, Charley, here in Canada freedom of speech extends even to unpopular people. Okay, we do draw a questionable line with certain kinds of hate speech, but people like Bush and Obama spew idiocy, not hate.

    “Apparently deciding he better shore up his base in case the story leaked out – which it now has – [Harper] went on Fox News Sunday morning to discuss anything but telling Bush ‘get lost'”. I don’t much like Harper either, but I don’t believe for a second that the purpose of Harper’s visit to Fox was even remotely related to your stupid assertion.

    “… like some aged former SS officer still on the lamb”. Did the SS ride sheep?

    “‘The PM doesn’t want to be confronted during question time by the Opposition asking why he’s letting potential war criminals into the country,’ one of the three sources said in an interview this week. Because they are part of the government, none of the three was willing to be quoted by name”. Now this comment I really do appreciate because it clarifies for us that your sources haven’t the vaguest notion of what the PM wants because they’re no where close to him or his cabinet, or, more likely, they are figments of your imagination.

    “Under Canadian law, the Attorney General can investigate anyone anywhere in the world…”. Actually, I can do that too. So can you.

    “… committed four separate war crimes… When the invasion resulted in the deaths of Iraqi civilians”. Perhaps you could point out a few wars for us readers that resulted in zero civilian deaths. Maybe even just one?

    I am sick of most mainstream media, but when the blogging world holds up garbage of the sort The LA Progressive produces as a useful alternative to anything, I despair.

    Charley, your article is not journalism, that’s a certainty. It’s creative writing – I’ll give you that. But it’s not even good fiction. Your bio claims you are (or have been) a journalist. How is that even possible? I’ve seen far better writing from elementary school students.

    Charley, you do serve one purpose. You exemplify the reasons why a president like Bush ever got into power. Why you’ve made it a mission to rail against a man so like yourself is your business, but could you please do us a favour and leave Canada and Canadians out of your inane writings? You haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about.

    • Charley James says

      Although I am an American citizen by birth, I’ve lived and worked in Canada for nearly 20 years. I’ve spent a lot of time in Alberta and while I exaggerated to make a point, I can almost count on one hand the number of women holding senior positions in the oil patch.

      Moreover, I’ve quoted oil industry executives in previous articles who joked about how the oil industry is the last bastion of “men only supremacy.” I’ll take their word for it.

      Yes, anyone can investigate a war crime but, unlike an attorney general, you and I lack some essential tools such as subpoena power, the ability to compel truthful testimony under penalty of perjury, compelling the production of official documents, etc.

      Unfortunately, you’re right: Civilians do die in war. But because the Iraq war was illegal to start with and thus a war crime, all civilian deaths resulting from it become individual war crimes. According to the British medical journal Lancet, that number is something in excess of 500,000; Iraq Body Count, which uses only public sources to tally its death toll Lancet used a statistically valid survey methodoloy) says the number is somewhere in excess of 100,000.

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