Resisting the Chill: Walk to Release Canada's Disappeared, January 2002


Toronto Action for Social Change

Building Community Through Nonviolent Action

PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West

Toronto, ON M6C 1C0, (416) 651-5800,


Three-Day, 38 km Martin Luther King "Walk for Canada's Disappeared"

Begins Sunday, January 13, 11:15 am

Walk Demands Information on and Release of Hundreds of Political Detainees Rounded up in Post-Sept. 11 Racial Profiling by CSIS, RCMP, Immigration Officials

Toronto -- Dozens of people calling for an end to Canada's role in war, racism and repression will set out from the Metro West Detention Centre (111 Disco Road, Etobicoke, northeast of Carlingview and Dixon) at about 11:15 am Sunday, January 13 on the first leg of a three-day, 38 km hike that will end at the office of Minister for Refugee Rejection Elinor Caplan. Metro West houses many of those interned since Sept. 11 as well as others forced there by Caplan's "security certificate" signatures.

The walk has been organized to protest the arbitrary detention of hundreds of people of Muslim faith or Arab, Middle Eastern or Asian background who have been caught up in the post Sept. 11 security hysteria. Thusfar, the federal government has refused to disclose how many have been rounded up, why they are being held, and whether they've been allowed access to family members and attorneys, this despite calls for such accountability from numerous civil rights groups and the Toronto Star.

"It's not good enough to see innocents slowly trickle out of the jail system after two or three months in solitary confinement without compensation, explanation, or apology," says a TASC spokesperson, referring to numerous "oops, CSIS goofed" cases which have been publicized in recent weeks and which are likely only the tip of the iceberg in terms of wrongful imprisonment cases.

"While Canada spends billions to participate in wars against very poor countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, here at home many communities have been terrorized by repressive measures which are only likely to get worse with the passage of so-called 'anti-terrorist' legislation by Parliament."

Indeed, the walk is also a statement against the rash of anti-civil liberties legislation recently passed and still planned by Parliament, including harsh new immigration guidelines. The walk is also in opposition to the so-called war on terrorism.

"We do not oppose efforts to end terrorism, but we do not believe using the tools of terrorism, such as 15-ton bombs, cluster bombs the same colour as food packages, and random bombings of civilians, are the way to do it. Indeed, those who take part in such barbaric acts betray a particularly strong resemblance to terrorists."

TASC also believes the walk is very much in the spirit of nonviolent confrontation exercised by King and the civil rights movement, and that King, were he alive today, would be similarly compelled to speak out against the injustices waged in the name of "national security."

"A time comes when silence is betrayal," King said in 1967. "We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our bothers and sisters."

Below are details on the three days of the walk, followed by two pages of more background information.

For more information call (416) 651-5800. During the walk itself, a media contact will be available at (416) 832-9165.

SUNDAY JANUARY 13: After starting from Metro West Detention Centre (111 Disco Road), we will proceed 15 km, stopping to "decorate" the fence of Litton Industries (which created the guidance system for the deadly cruise missile) on City View Drive, and proceed East along Dixon, north to Wilson, and end at War Minister Art Eggleton's office at 845 Wilson Avenue.

MONDAY, JANUARY 14: We will begin at 10 am at the Wilson Subway Station and proceed west along Wilson to Eggleton's office, where walkers will present the War Minister with a documented list of more than 3,700 confirmed civilian casualties in Afghanistan. We then proceed to Keele, north to Sheppard and CFB Downsview, where the walk will pause at the new $40 million "consolidated military facility" (representing monies which would better have been spent on housing). We also stop at one of the five federal War Research facilities, DCIEM, near the Allen expressway. The walk concludes at the corporate headquarters of Nestle, whose infant formula export policies kill millions of children annually, particularly in poor countries such as Afghanistan.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15: Martin Luther King's birthday, begins at 10 am at the Armed Forces Recruitment Centre at 4900 Yonge (1 block north of Sheppard) and ends some 6 km north at the office of Elinor Caplan, 7670 Yonge (at John), where a list of demands will be presented.

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