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, February 10, 2007

PM dogs the wag to dizzying dismay

When to United States decided to give Canada the shaft on softwood lumber our current Prime Minister knuckled under and sold the farm, settling for far less than we were entitled to.
When the United States refused to take Maher Arar’s name off the terrorism watchlist, our current Prime Minister made only a feeble and polite request that the US reconsider.
When US ambassador David Wilkins publically slandered Mr. Arar, our current Prime Minister said nothing.
When a Chinese official cautioned Canada’s trade relationship with China could be threatened by the Canadian government’s tough stance on human rights, our current PM started talking even tough.

'When a Canadian citizen is ill-treated and when the rights of a Canadian citizen need to be defended, I think it's always the obligation of the government of Canada to vocally and publicly stand up for that Canadian citizen.'—Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Does anyone else see the hypocracy here?
The US stance on softwood lumber violated the rights of Canadians employed in the lumber industry, and Canadian lumber companies, for a fair price for their product. Mr. Harper’s response was to let the US have its way. He cited the fact the US is one of our largest trading partners, and because of this, we should not be too harsh on them.
The US decision to leave Maher Arar’s name on the terrorism watchlist, and to refuse to allow him to travel to the US, violated Mr. Arar’s rights to travel freely. Mr. Harper’s response was basically to aquiese that the US had a right to do so. He simply is unwilling to press the matter too far, fearing it may affect trade with the US.
I hate to repeat myself, but does anyone else see the hyprocracy here?
From his comments one must assume that our current Prime Minister is willing to risk billions of dollars in trade with China because of its human rights record, but is totally unwilling to risk similar trade dollars with the US over its human rights record.
Speaking of human rights.
How many people does the US have imprisoned, without due process, all over the world?
How many Canadians are being held without charge in Guantanamo?
How many American citizens are currently being held in American jails without benefit of adequate legal representation?
How many wrongfully convicted people have been put to death, or held on death rows, in American jails?
How many innocent women and children have been killed by US munitions in Iraq?
If our current PM is such a human rights advocate, then why is he so willing to ignore the injustices currently perpetrated by the US, in the name of trade, but unwilling to extend the same blind eye to the Chinese?
The simple answer is that our current Prime Minister is not really concerned about human rights at all. His larger concern is image. He knows he’s taking a beating in the polls, and appearing to be tough on the Chinese, he believes, makes him look strong, and deflects some of the attention away from his inept handling of many domestic portfolios, including the environment, healthcare, education, childcare, and the RCMP.
Why is Stephen Harper willing to risk billions of dollars in trade with the Chinese?
The short answer is he is not. The Chinese are no more likely to break off trade relations with Canada than the Americans are. Both the Chinese and the Americans need what Canada has, oil, water, wood, minerals.
Fact is: our current PM is simply wagging the dog. No, he’s picking the dog up by the tail and doing a whirly gig! Its a desperate measure.
Have we had enough yet?
I’m getting dizzy! Then again, maybe that's the plan!



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