The story of Song Dae Ri is somewhat disturbing. Mr. Ri was a North Korean trade official working in their Beijing embassy in 2001 when he defected to Canada with his wife and young son. Since then, his wife was lured back to North Korea and executed for treason, his son was granted asylum, and Mr. Ri has been branded as a war criminal not entitled to Canada’s protection. However,
“No allegations of specific crimes against humanity have been made against him, and Canada’s War Crimes Unit found no evidence of wrongdoing.”
Since Mr. Ri was a commodities broker and not a prison guard nor concentration camp worker, there seems to be no basis for calling him a war criminal. Nonetheless, Mr. Ri is at real risk of being sent back to North Korea and my guess is that he would be shot within minutes of arriving.
The blame for this whole situation can be placed on the nightmare government bureaucracy. While a man’s life is in the balance, Bonnie Milliner of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, the War Crimes Unit, and Immigration Minister Judy Sgro are engaging in an ugly bureaucratic cluster caucus with no leadership. Isn’t there anyone in Canada with the authority and moxie to stand up and do the right thing?
The bureaucratic sloth needs to be jolted to give Mr. Ri asylum and move on.
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