Monday, October 22, 2007

Canada Is Back

Stephen Harper says Canada will lead by example, not by rhetoric. Stephen Harper says that Canada is back on the world stage, others are taking notice. Stephen Harper is impressing nobody on the international stage:
Canada's vote against a United Nations declaration of aboriginal rights was an "astonishing" move for a country that claims to be a model of tolerance and diversity, says UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour.

"Canada claims to be an important player in the international community on the advancement of human rights," she said.
"You cannot play if you're not on the rink. You cannot play the whole game sitting on the side, positioning yourself as the arbiter of others' performance without putting your own into question."

Arbour called it a "very surprising position for Canada to take after not only years (but) decades of progressive involvement on that issue . . . . I found it rather astonishing."

Harper is making an impression:
Asked how the world views Canadians, she told the media,"There is a sense that Canada is moving away from its total commitment to multilateralism and is now, I think, advancing other forms of either national or regional alliances."

Damaging Canada's reputation, free lancing, undermining, basically a rogue entity that doesn't play well with others. The sense of pride we should all feel, as Canada "astonishes" the world.

9 comments:

Steve V said...

In fairness, I should acknowledge that Canada is back in one sense, taking its cues from Washington.

burlivespipe said...

And soon, if Harper gets his jamority, we'll really be back -- to the 1950s (well, not Uncle Louis' 1950s, that would be sweet - woollen sweaters for everyone during the winter months, a 53 Dodge in the driveway waiting to take us to Uncle Beryl and Aunt Sally's for Dominion day... I guess it would be more like Vice President Nixon's 1950s).

Kyle G. Olsen said...

It is very likely that a Liberal government would have voted against this as well, since it does have some interesting things to say about aboriginal title to land.

I.E. that legal documents between two nations that extinguished legal title of aboriginal land are null and void and that the original title still exists.

Wouldn't be too good for Canada to acknowledge that eh?

Canada was joined in voting against by other western nations that used the treaty process flowing from the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763.

You simply can't undo 300 years of law and agreements to be on 'the right side of world opinion'.

The rights and freedoms granted to natives by the Proclamation are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ben said...

Leaving aside the substance of what Arbour said, I'd just like to say that I think it's interesting that the last two major "international officials" to make this sort of intervention in Canadian political life using international opinion as an influencing tool have been Canadians -- Arbour at the UNHCR and Ray Henault at NATO.

I think that (a) that's kinda cool, and (b) they feel much more comfortable about throwing their weight around in their home countries, even given the hats they're wearing right now.

As it happens, I agree with Henault and not with Arbour, but I thought the parallel between their roles and their interventions into Canadian domestic politics was interesting.

***

As for Harper on the international stage, my impression is that he impresses with his demeanour, knowledge, and diplomatic skills, but that he also has an unfortunate tendency to air dirty domestic (political) laundry there too.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that there is no report from Wajid Khan's visits to the Middle East becuase he found that things were not favourable for Harper and that although Merkel said the right statesmanlike things at the G8 Summit (a useless event) the German people were totally unhappy with Harper.

Harper's always pounding on his chest - but as they say "empty wagons rattle the most".

It's more like Canada's leaving - not Canada's back.

Gayle said...

Other than the conseradroids who proudly state Harper is bringing Canada back to the world stage, who is actually saying that?

I really do not know what they are talking about when they say that. Are they suggesting that no other PM before Harper ever attended international events/meetings/summits? Is he the only Canadian PM to speak at the UN of something?

Mike said...

Kyle,

The resolution itself was drafted by Canada under the Liberals (which likely explains why the Cons voted against it), so likely as not, the Libs would have supported it.

The resolution was also a symbolic, non binding one, not a full blown treaty. It would have had little or no effect on current land claims or title, other than to demonstrate a respect and willingness on behalf of the Federal government to negotiate in good faith.

Instead, what we have is the same government that reneged on the Kelowna Accord demonstrating once again it doesn't care one shit about natives or their rights in this country.

Do you think that will make future negotiations easier or harder?

And out of curiosity, which "two nations" do you refer to and which part of the resolution do you refer to?

Canada was joined in voting against this by racists thugs like John Howard's Conservatives in Australia and the US, who are in the process of trying to destroy their aboriginal people.

Steve V said...

"It is very likely that a Liberal government would have voted against this as well"

Complete rubbish. If you ask anyone involved in the process, Canada was considered "instrumental", "influentially", "fully engaged", helping to craft the final text which came up for a vote.

Abdul-Rahim said...

Well at least they weren't alone. Australia and the U.S. voted against it too. Hmmm...