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Let Lennikov Stay

Mikhail Lennikov and his family. Photo by CBC.

Mikhail Lennikov and his family. Photo by CBC.

In this nation of second chances, he’s earned one.

We’re a province of wimps as the recent election demonstrated. Where was the anger at the Campbell government forcing BC Hydro to contract with private power companies for power they don’t need, these contracts now at $31 Billion and climbing? Where was the swell of public anger at the Campbell government setting BC Hydro on a course to bankruptcy? Where indeed the outrage is over the recent approval of the Glacier Howser project in the East Kootenays, which project doesn’t even put the rivers back into the river bed after their diversion but dumps them into a lake?

The NDP version of outrage came from Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke suggests that since the projects are put in the hands of private companies like AXOR, questions need to be asked about motives when considering the studies they publish. He prattles on about a number of concerns with nary a word about how Hydro doesn’t need the power nor the huge additional burden Hydro will bear when it must give the developer, Axos, its share of the lolly to be added to the $31 Billion.

We are at least one half a province of wimps since half of us, who could have saved BC Hydro didn’t even get off our asses to vote the Campbell government out because they would rather see their environment and BC Hydro killed than vote NDP.

It will be like a four year movie you can watch scene by scene that chronicles the death of our rivers and of BC Hydro. For those who voted Liberal or didn’t vote at all, enjoy.

There is one non wimp in this province, Pastor Richard Hergesheimer of First Lutheran Church who had given the Russian deportee Mikhail Lennikov sanctuary in his church.

The legal right of a church to provide sanctuary in cases like this is questionable but in admittedly limited research I could find no Canadian legal authority on the subject.

I did, however, come across a revlew of a book called Sanctary, Sovereignty, Sacrifice by Dr. R. Lippert of The University of Windsor with this quote from the University’s review.
“Facing immediate deportation, a lone Guatemalan migrant entered sanctuary in a Montreal church in December 1983. Thus began the practice of sanctuary in Canada. By 2003, thirty-six incidents involving 261 migrants had occurred nationwide.

[In] Sanctuary, Sovereignty, Sacrifice  … Randy Lippert suggests that, far from being a coherent social movement, sanctuary practice is a localized and isolated phenomenon, and often not primarily religious in orientation. It is also remarkably successful – in every documented incident, state authorities were kept at bay and providers avoided arrest. In most cases, migrants also ultimately received legal status.

Many of you will, at this moment, be well to take a nip of Grandma’s brandy before continuing.

The case for Lennikov’s staying

The deportee, Mikhail Lennikov, has lived in Canada since 1997 and, by all accounts, has been a model resident. He and his wife recently attended the high school graduation of their son from high school. Strangely, you might think, Mr. Lennikov’s wife and son have been allowed to stay.

Mr. Lennikov’s sin is that he served in the Soviet Union’s secret service, the KGB form 1982, when he graduated from university, until 1988. (This is the same KGB once headed up by former president and now Prime Minister Putin.)

There is no evidence that Mr. Lennikov committed any sort of crimes against humanity – rather that he was a simple bureaucrat not a policy maker.

Canada’s second chance tradition

I’m old enough, easily I might add, to have witnessed several waves of immigration.

The British came early and often and, in the main, did everything they could to retain the Britishness by flying the Union Jack, singing God Save the King at every possible occasion, and shunning Canadian games like baseball (just Rounders you know, old chap) and Canadian football for Cricket, Soccer and Rugger. It’s not their love of their own games that irks me – they’re good games – but their toffee nosed snootiness at games played in their adopted home.

The Germans came at the same time. Many of them were at least titular Nazis having served, like it or not, in the Hitler Youth and the armed forces fighting for Hitler. Many worked in government where membership in the party was mandatory; many belonged to the viciously wicked SS.

We have in more recent years seen Indo-Canadians coming to Canada and demonstrating violently for a free state called Khalistan.

I will be misunderstood I realize and will be thought of as racist and anti this and anti that. Not so – I simply point out that Mr. Lennikov’s past working record scarcely disqualifies him if one looks at the Canadian tradition in these matters.

Weigh the human harm

I have no doubt that Mr. Lennikov will return to a difficult if not dangerous homeland.

In short, Mr. Lennikov’s record as a resident of this country is there for all to see. Why isn’t that sufficient to allow him to stay in the country he loves with his wife and son?

Pastor Hergesheimer and his flock do have some backbone here in the Land Of Blah and I hope that lays off for the Lennikov family.


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