Mary Jo Leddy–a 1996 recipient of the Order of Canada–has spent a career bifurcated between the roles of Catholic theologian and director of Toronto’s Romero House, a refugee housing and advocacy organization. Elements of both legacies are in evidence in Our Friendly Local Terrorist, an account of CSIS interference in Canadian immigration proceedings. The book centers around Suleyman Goven, a Turkish Kurd living in Toronto, whose landed immigrant application is tacitly inferred by officials to be hinging on his participation in domestic spying operations. Themes of “terrorist” hysteria, the role of geopolitics in disfiguring a supposedly nonpartisan bureaucracy, and, ultimately, the outright trampling of civil rights in immigrant communities–too often unexplored in Canada–here are laid bare in an alarming reversal of traditional beliefs about our federal immigration program.
This article appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Canadian Dimension (The New Feminism).