A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Harper goes humanitarian

Curious don't you think, just when Canada's interim government is about to take a serious public relations hit on its environmental platform, our Prime Minister steals away the headlines by asserting his right to talk "human rights" with governments in South East Asia.
Remember the movie a few years back?
Wagging the dog.
I get the odour of it all right, and expect you do too!
One wonders how far Mr. Harper will be willing to go with this.
Will he challenge those states in America that still apply the death penalty?
Perhaps he'll challenge George Bush on the fact the United States have more of their own citizens incarcerated, per capita, than any other country in the world, more than the Chinese!
What about those not so secret CIA prisons?
And what about human rights right here at home?
What about poverty, literacy, and the institutionalized racism towards our First Nations People?
For a moment, I thought Mr. Harper had been moved by all the tributes to the late Martin Luther King, even FOX carried those. I wondered for a sec if the late Mike Pearson hadn't somehow moved into Stephen's body. Was I seeing a shade of Dief the Chief, who actually cared about human consequences.
Alas, to live in such naivete!
How many times have you heard Stephen Harper and his band of Hair Doos argue the best cure for human rights abuses is trade?
If he believes that, then why would he risk trade relations by handing the leaders of China, North Korea and Vietnam what are basically cultural insults?
Why would he not simply do whatever he could to expand trade?
There's only one answer to that question!
Stephen Harper's recent humanitarianism isn't about human rights! Its about spin. Its about making the bunch of us bozos out here think about something else.
Its also about finding a hook issue, something to bind us, something we can all agree on.
Who's going to take the Prime Minister on over demanding repressive societies to clean up their abuse?
I certainly wouldn't, but because this isn't about human rights, its about other things. I for one feel at liberty to condemn Mr. Harper's recent actions.
This is a government that came to office on a promise of transparency and openness, on less spin and more action. It is a government that promised improved trade relations with our partners, not international incidents.
What we're getting instead is a lesson in spin, of blaming the opposition, of no accountibility, of flag waving and fear mongering, and now, most cynical of all, changing the subject on the backs of some of the world's most repressed peoples, using human rights like a dog to be wagged.
Everywhere I go these days I'm hearing the slogan "Canada's New Government". Perhaps its really is true. Maybe we really do have a "new" government.
Question is: Is this really the type of government we want?


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