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Pt 2: Scott McLellan - Back in the 1990s, when Scott McClellan went to work for then-Texas Governor George Bush, he had no idea he'd end up serving as the mouthpiece for one of the most controversial Presidents in American history. McClellan served as a spokesperson for President Bush during a tumultuous time for the United States.
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Today's guest host was Jim Brown.
It's Tuesday July 8th.
Leaders at the G8 summit in Japan are being treated to extravagant five-course lunches and an even more lavish eight-course dinners.
Currently, G8 leaders plan to address the ever-worsening global food crisis if they can squeeze in half an hour between lunch and dinner.
This is The Current.
Roma in Hiding
In March 2008, 51-year-old Roma Adolf Horvath was supposed to report to the Metro West Detention Centre in Toronto so he could be extradited to his native Hungary. Adolf Horvath came to Canada back in 1999, after a group of neo-Nazis stabbed and beat him simply for being a Roma. Citizenship and Immigration Canada investigated his case and decided he did face persecution in Hungary and that he was a person in need of protection who should be allowed to stay in Canada.
But then the Hungarian Government accused Mr. Horvath of robbery, blackmail and extortion and asked Canada to extradite him. The Department of Justice complied with the request, and issued an extradition order, despite the fact that Citizenship and Immigration still considered Mr. Horvath a person in need of protection. In fact, in its original review of his case, Citizenship and Immigration concluded:
"There is no concrete evidence of any criminal activity either here in Canada nor in Hungary."
But despite those findings, the extradition order was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the case.
And so, in the months following the ruling, Adolph Horvath was in hiding. Even his immediate family say they don't know where he is. But in the first week of July 2008, The Current managed to arrange a phone call with Mr. Horvath from his hiding place.
Immigration Canada said it would not comment on Mr. Horvath's case and referred us to the Department of Justice, which issued the following statement:
After reviewing the evidence provided by Hungary in support of its extradition request, the extradition judge found that if the alleged conduct had occurred in Canada, the evidence would have supported the Canadian offences of extortion, uttering threats and robbery. He therefore committed Mr. Horvath for extradition.
Both decisions -- of Ministers Toews and Nicholson -- were reviewed and upheld by the Court of Appeal of Ontario. Mr. Horvath was denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Horvath failed to turn himself into custody as required by the terms of his bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Of course that still leaves the question of whether Mr. Horvath might face persecution for being a Roma in Hungary as well as prosecution for whatever crimes he is alleged to have committed.
The Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa gave us the following statement about those concerns:
There are several governmental and non-governmental organizations advocating Roma rights ... even a national-level organization called the National Gipsy Municipality. There are Members of Parliament with Roma background, both in the Hungarian National Assembly and in the European Parliament. If one feels to have exhausted all potential legal remedies in relation to the violation of his rights on the national level, he may file a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights.
But for Adolf Horvath's lawyer, Ron Poulton, there's another, more fundamental issue. He played no role in facilitating our interview with Mr. Horvath and says he does not know where his client is hiding.
This is obviously a very complicated case. And James Bissett, former Executive Director of Canada's immigration service, was one of the few people with the expertise to help us navigate it. He joined us from Ottawa.
Listen to Part One:
Back in the 1990s, when Scott McClellan went to work for then-Texas Governor George Bush, he had no idea he'd end up serving as the mouthpiece for one of the most controversial Presidents in American history. McClellan served as a spokesperson for President Bush during a tumultuous time for the United States.
He was at the President's side as the twin towers fell in New York City. He made the case for the Iraq war to the American public. He spread false information about how CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was revealed. And he was the face of the White House when it was being pilloried for its inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina.
But after years of defending President Bush and his inner circle, Scott McClellan began reading from a very different script. He became an outspoken critic of the administration and even mused publicly about the positive impact Barack Obama could have on America. His memoir is called What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception and he joined us from Washington.
Listen to Part Two: