CANADIANS CALL ON BLAIR TO IMPLEMENT PATTEN
At a press conference in Montreal on 31 October, the former Solicitor General of Canada and current president of the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Warren Allmand,
presented an open letter signed by several members of the Canadian Parliament and trade union leaders expressing total support for the recommendations of the Patten Commission. The letter is addressed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and urges that the British Government abandon its proposed Police Bill and implement Patten immediately. Among those signing the letter are Liberal Party MP Pat O'Brien, chair of the influential Ireland/Canada Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group, Gilles Duceppe, MP and leader of the Bloc Québécois Party, Bill Graham, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Marc Laviolette, president of the 300,000 strong Confederation of National trade Unions.
The letter campaign was organised by the Coalition for Peace in Ireland (CPI-Montreal) and the Information on Ireland Campaign (IOIC-Toronto). Coalition spokesperson, Kevin Callahan, said that the fact that so much support could be gathered in Canada during a hectic federal election campaign shows the widespread consensus that the Patten Recommendations are necessary to begin the process of reforming the RUC. According to Callahan, the Police Bill, if implemented, could jeopardise the entire peace process. ``The Coalition for Peace in Ireland and the Information on Ireland Campaign will continue to build support in Canada for a lasting peace in Ireland based on the Good Friday Agreement. The naysayers cannot be allowed to destroy the movement for equality, respect, and justice.''