July 25, 2006
Dear Brothers, sisters and friends,
First of all, my family and I thank you all for your continuing moral support in my struggle for dignity. This is an update of what happened yesterday in the Courtroom at the Federal Court of Canada.
Recap: As you know, a hearing regarding an attempt by a Prothonotary (this person is not a Judge, I believe an assistant to the Judge) at the Federal Court to prevent my ordeal, as an African-Canadian, from being heard on its merit by a Judge. As you all know, I experienced vicious, humiliating, malicious and serious human rights violations including racial harassment, systemic discrimination, stereotyping and racial profiling; solicitation of corruption, extortion and solicitation of narcotic substances and extortion by "IRB officials" in the course of my employment with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
The Immigration and Refugee Board, a government agency, has done and still doing everything possible to prevent that my concerns are investigated, addressed and dealt with. The IRB has blocked every avenue that would lead to the truth being known. Yesterday hearing was exactly about that. They came to Court to ask the Judge that the Court NOT deal with my grievances on their "MERIT".
I am informing you that THEY FAILED. The Judge saw through and he did not buy it. The Judge DISMISSED their arguments and ALLOWED that the matter should be heard on its merit. Thus, my application with respect to abuse I endured in the department of the IRB will now be heard by a Judge.
WHY THE IRB DOES NOT WANT MY CONCERNS TO BE HEARD BY THE COURT?
During the hearing, it appears to me that the Judge said something to this effect: if the Applicant (Franois A. Moussa) has not abandoned this case so far, there is probability that he will not abandon it. Yes, Mr. Justice...you are absolutely right. I promised my children that I will not abandon this matter that has injured my dignity unless they "bury" me alive(referring to the IRB's confidential memo). I am not prepared to give up!
The IRB has money and its "mighty forces" of lawyers that the department of Justice has allocated to them to cover-up the wrong. But I have the TRUTH. Sooner or later, it will come out! At the Federal Court or elsewhere...
Quoting from "Injusticebusters.com", William Blake [The Proverbs of Hell] wrote: "Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ'd". Further, Sheila Steele [Editor of Injusticebusters.com] stated the following: "Truth suppress'd, whether by courts or crooks, will find an avenue to be told". Finally, a Somali proverb (borrowed from Injusticebusters.com) says: "If you hold the mouth of Truth, It will burst out its rib-cage".
Again, we thank you for everything.
François and family.
16 February 2004
The Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Mr. Martin,
Subject: Corruption and systemic discrimination at the IRB
I am writing you in your capacity as the Prime Minister of Canada. I am aware that this matter does not fall strictly under your prime ministerial purview, but given your role as the Head of the Canadian Government, I felt that you would have both a special interest in and a particular capacity to assist on this issue.
In your address of Thursday, 12th February 2004 at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa, you invited "anyone who knows anything that could help shed light in this area or anywhere in the country should come forward". I understand that my issue does not have the magnitude of the present problem, but in all it does have a common ground with corruption.
I am a Canadian citizen of African descent working for the department of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) in Vancouver, British Columbia. The following information illustrates my vulnerability in the Canadian society.
The subsequent information has been provided to numerous authorities on several occasions but no action has been taken. Time after time I have requested authorities within the Public Service to investigate this matter, but to no avail. At issue is the solicitation and receipt of bribery to which three managers of the IRB have subjected me. This was a condition to secure my employment with the Board. These briberies were provided to them behind closed doors, and I was asked to keep the dealings "confidential", otherwise I will dig my "own grave". Moreover, I was stereotyped and racially profiled by one of the managers who requested that I supply her with narcotic substances.
I also informed the Immigration and Refugee Board, in general terms, of other serious wrongdoing in the regional office. This wrongdoing consisted of misappropriation of the Board's fund.
Furthermore, I have been racially harassed and systematically discriminated against on numerous occasions as a result of my race and place of origin. The IRB used my status (member of a visible minority group) as a scapegoat to meet the qualification as a diversified organization. In due course, I was even coached during an internal competitive process for a position of Receptionist where I would be visible to the general public, but at a lower level of the occupational group in spite of my university education, abilities and qualifications. The regional office of the Board used all sorts of subterfuges to deny me any opportunity to further compete for positions higher than the entry level.
When informed about this wrongdoing, the Chairperson and the Headquarters of the IRB in Ottawa used the defense mechanism of minimization, denial, delusion, repression, suppression, bullying, misinformation and dissociation to deal with my complaint internally. Furthermore, the Executive Office of the Board in Ottawa uttered threats and intimidation - via letters - asking that I do not discuss any related solicitation of bribery with anyone. Needless to mention, every possible effort has been, and is being made, to cover up this issue.
More disturbing is the fact that the IRB turned a blind eye and failed not only to investigate this wrongdoing, but also to provide me with a workplace environment that is free of harassment and discrimination.
Being inept to resolve this matter in a more professional and unbiased manner, the IRB has retaliated against me. The Immigration and Refugee Board has elected the use of a subtle tactic that consists of constructively dismissing me. In doing so, the IRB's objective is to avoid responding to several allegations of wrongdoing I brought forward against the Board. At the time of writing you this letter, the IRB - without any foundation to justify its action - refuses to reinstate my employment - despite my indeterminate status with the Commission. Is this the end result to resolve the issue of solicitation of bribery and systemic discrimination?
I am taking this opportunity to inform your Honour that when the three individuals of the regional managerial team were enjoying the solicited bribery, my employment with the Board was assured. Moreover, I was even promoted to an acting position at a higher level.
Through this situation, I can only hope that you will understand the difficulty of being a visible minority employee working for the Immigration and Refugee Board.
This is a very serious matter. I believe that the Canadian community needs to know how the officials of the IRB have treated a Black employee who has simply complained about the humiliating and dehumanizing solicitation of bribery, harassment and racial discrimination. I am informing you that denigrating and inaccurate reports that may be put forward would simply have the objective to cover-up the wrongdoing, as this has been the case time and again.
I look forward to hearing from you.
François Alain Moussa
c.c.: The Honourable Irwin Cottler, Minister Responsible for the Human Rights
c.c.: The Honourable Judy Sgro, Minister Responsible for the IRB
c.c.: The Honourable Jean Augustine, Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
c.c.: Ms. Mary M. Gusella, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
c.c.: Mr. James Moore, Member of Parliament.
The federal agency that deals with refugee claimants from around the world is facing fresh allegations of racism from several current and former employees.
In human-rights complaints and labour grievances, at least four black and other non-white employees in the refugee protection division of the Immigration and Refugee Board say they have been subject to harassment, ghettoized in lower-level positions or denied permanent status.
In the latest complaint filed recently with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a 15-year board employee said colleagues used racist terms such as "spook" to refer to a fellow black employee.
Initial complaints to a supervisor resulted only in a warning that he "be careful" because he could be targeted with a counter-harassment complaint by the co-workers, said Norm Murray, a black refugee protection officer based in Toronto.
"Management at the IRB . . . has created and supported a poisoned work environment," Murray said in his unproven complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.
In another case, a Hispanic employee was issued a redundancy notice in April that was to have taken effect in late May. However, she was told to leave her Toronto office almost immediately.
"I find this procedure irregular and strange," she wrote in a farewell e-mail to colleagues.
"Perhaps, it is a coincidence that these drastic measures have been taken within days of my having filed a formal complaint decrying racism and harassment in the workplace."
Raoul Boulakia of the Refugee Lawyers Association said it's imperative the board deal openly and honestly with the allegations, a position he said he made clear to its chairman, Jean-Guy Fleury.
"Obviously you can't have any racism in an institution that's dealing with people from around the world," Boulakia said.
Several board employees, supervisors and even one senior union official refused to discuss the allegations publicly, saying managers had warned them against talking to the media on the threat of discipline or dismissal.
Jeannette Meunier-McKay, president of the Canadian Employment and Immigration Union, said while discrimination and harassment complaints come from across the public service, "it seems to be more predominant within the IRB for some reason."
She refused to say how many such grievances the union was dealing with.
Fleury and executive-director Marilyn Stuart-Major refused to comment but a spokeswoman said the board was "looking into the matter" and takes allegations of racism seriously.
The board is already under scrutiny for other reasons. Results of an external investigation leaked last week found evidence of ``improper conduct" on behalf of two politically appointed decision-makers who allegedly didn't write rulings themselves.
Immigration Minister Judy Sgro, who earlier this year announced changes to the way board members are appointed, would not comment on the racism allegations.
The Immigration and Refugee Board is Canada's largest quasi-judicial tribunal. In its refugee protection division, about 200 political appointees currently make decisions on more than 40,000 asylum applications each year.
Another 1,390 civil servants provide bureaucratic support.
An extensive public-service survey in 2002 found a slightly higher ratio of respondents at the board believed they had been discriminated against. However, in Toronto, 27 per cent said they had - a rate far higher than the 17 per cent civil service average.
While most of the problems appear to have been in Toronto, the board's only black employee in Vancouver has also complained to the human rights commission about what he called "corruption and systemic discrimination."
In a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin earlier this year, Francois Moussa said three managers had asked him for bottles of liquor to secure a permanent job, and one "racially profiled" him by asking him for narcotics.
When he complained, he was given a job stamping thousands of envelopes.
Moussa, who has been on stress leave, accused senior board members of a cover-up.
Toronto lawyer Pamela Bhardwaj, who is familiar with the racism allegations, said she believes there's a real problem.
"There may be a few bad apples that you want to weed out but when management is attacking the victims and promoting the bad apples, that is unacceptable," said Bhardwaj. "It's really disturbing."
Selwyn Pieters, a black lawyer and refugee protection officer in Toronto, said he was harassed after he complained.
An anonymous note at work warned him his manager would give him a ``hard time because American blacks are big time trouble-makers."
Pieters also has a human-rights complaint alleging he was subjected "to adverse differential treatment, individual, institutional/systemic, and cultural/ideological, racism."
Don Oliver, a black senator from Nova Scotia, said he didn't know whether the refugee board was any worse than other federal agency.
But in a hard-hitting speech recently, Oliver portrayed the entire civil service as rife with racism and urged the government to appoint an anti-racism commissioner.
In an interview, Oliver said his speech had prompted dozens of e-mails from civil servants across the country saying they were "so happy that someone finally has the courage to stand up and say it."