Monday, December 10, 2007

Says It All

I thought this line pretty much says it all:
The head of the United Nation's climate-change agency is a careful diplomat. So when he took the unusual step of firing a sardonic barb at Canada Monday, it was a sign of how far Canada's reputation has sunk.

Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief, portrayed Canada as a climate hypocrite.

Quite true, for someone of Yvo de Boer's stature to step out and publicly chastise a member state represents a serious departure from protocol, but it also speaks to just how frustrating Canada is at these talks. Last time I checked, this man isn't a Liberal, doesn't work for an environmental organization that is beholden to the government for cash, isn't part of the vast left-wing media conspiracy which plots Harper's demise. I suppose he is part of the United Nations, so the apologists can seize on this dreaded body, bringing up entirely irrelevant points to distract from what the words tell us. De Boer has a bias, he wants progress on climate change, that's it, nothing more, no agenda, no axe to grind, no partisan consideration.

The public admonishments are a sign of just how out of step Canada has become. To go to these lengths is a statement on our damaging presence. De Boer isn't alone, these statements by the head of the IPCC are really shocking when you think about it:

“This particular government has been a government of skeptics,” said Mr. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...

“They do not want to do anything on climate change,” he added in a published interview in New Delhi.

Pachauri actually comes out, makes a comment, then after further review he decides to go further and says we don't want to do "anything on climate change". Harsh stuff, particularly when these comments come from people who represent an international body, detached from political debates.

The apologists can poke at everyone who dares criticize Harper, and they always find something to comfort them in their delusions. However, if you step back and look at the herculean chasm that exists between the Harper/Baird rhetoric and the reaction, you are faced with naked contradictions. Not only are there no defenders to be found, apart from Buzz Hargrove, two oil execs and the demented crowd that reads SDA, but the critics are so vocal, from sources that are quite surprising.

"A sign of how far Canada's reputation has sunk" indeed. As a matter of fact, I can't remember another time, wherein Canada has been criticized so vehemently on the international stage? What we are witnessing now is unprecedented tarnish, which strangely enough just so happens to coincide with the anniversary of Pearson's nobel prize.

10 comments:

knb said...

Indeed it does Steve. It's disgusting and the con's seem not to realise the implications.

In less than 2 years this government has reduced this country in ways that will be felt for years. That is of course, unless the Lib's get back into power.

I'm not a historian, but certainly in my lifetime, I've never seen Canada regarded this way.

Disgraceful.

Steve V said...

"It's disgusting and the con's seem not to realise the implications."

Rae was on Steve Paikin's show tonight, discussing foreign policy. Rae did a great job exposing the government for the novices that they are, no understanding of nuance or the international arena.

I don't know every facet of Canadian history, but I do have a degree, and I'm hard pressed to find another instance where we have looked like such a pariah.

Dana said...

They know full well that they are making Canada into a pariah in terms of the historical view of Canada. They don't care.

The point is not to maintain how Canada has been viewed for the past 60 years or so but to change it to what they feel it ought to be.

So they've aligned us with the US on everything. Full stop.

Thus we try to derail international agreements the US doesn't like; we participate in the US acceptance of torture, even though at one remove so far; we rail against and discriminate against Muslims; we agree that Iran should be attacked now before its too late.

The coming Harper majority will see these positions hardened and bureaucratized and soon enough we'll be indistinguishable internationally from our masters in the White House.

Then won't the NDP be pleased. They'll have so much more play for their impotent pleas of dismay.

Scotian said...

KNB:

Remember how until 2004 most people were giving the Americans some slack because they truly didn't recognize what they were getting in GWB? Then when he was able to be reelected in 2004 that was when the real damage starting taking root against the American citizen instead of just their government of the day. Well, I suspect that is the case right now for us, especially since he got in on the tails of a 13 year straight government that had had serious corruption issues come to light. So right now the damage is not permanent to any significant degree I suspect, however if we do not dump Harper next time out, even if he only gets another minority, then this damage is going to be permanent.

Democracies are allowed to make mistakes in who they elected the first time around, it is when they reelect those mistakes, such as America did with GWB (assuming you consider that an honest/clean election, given what I have seen regarding massive voting errors, conflicts of interest and lack of verifiability I do not) that things start to really cause problems for the reputation, especially in the case of long term stable nations such as we have been. That said though he is still doing some damage long term if only to a mild extent and still is doing moderate damage that will trouble us for several years at a minimum. At least that is my read on these matters, so long as Harper doesn't go too much farther anyways in how offensive he is willing to be in terms of repudiating core decades old policies in foreign affairs than he already has.

In the meantime though all the nations that relied on us to be strict advocates of the rule of law including all the international ones we are signed onto are being abandoned by this government pretty much across the board from what I've seen to date. This is doing us damage that will take time to recover/repair, the one hope we have is being able to keep it to within a generation. The Americans I fear are going to have a much longer and harder time of it than that, especially if Bushco gets out of office without being exposed for what it has been via investigation and preferably impeachment but I'd take criminal charges. We are abandoning our traditional leadership role internationally, and not merely on the environment although that is one of the worst areas with the Harper CPC.

That we are seeing this on the 50th anniversary of Pearson's Nobel prize though is something that as I agreed with Steve V in the prior thread about truly illuminates just how far from typical Canadian foreign and domestic policy this government has gone. By that I do not mean merely Liberal policy either, I am including the PCPC governments of the post WWII period in this as well. What we are seeing here is the selling out of our Canadian heritage by a party led by those that find nothing worthy of respect in those traditions and accomplishments and instead want to align us with the hyperpower to our south in every way possible. They see no difference between our two cultures, which only underscores why they are such a bad choice to run the federal government, they do not believe in the same basic Canadian principles as the vast majority of us, including many of the former PCPC voters/supporters they still have left (a dwindling number as the years go by) have conned into supporting them. As Steve V said in his thread title this "Says it all." in terms of why this government must be removed from power at the next election no matter what else.

This is like having a government that makes bad judgments like selling off the Avro Arrow and destroying them all on a regular basis in the foreign policy area, and IMHO the domestic one as well. I'm not saying that all those misjudgments have the same impact on the Canadian society as Arrow's cancellation did, but we are a much more diversified nation than that now and while the economic and social misjudgments may be on a par with them their actual impact on society tends to be much more variable than that but when aggregated together could well exceed in the end the level of damage Arrow's cancellation did.

To be fair I suppose I am exaggerating their degree of misjudgments slightly with this particular example/comparison with the Arrow, but man their judgment has been something out of a horror film in so many respects. This government is the first one in my lifetime that has let me feeling ashamed to be Canadian on the global stage, and I most certainly do not thank them for it. This latest basis for that shame alas being anything but the first example for it though, the way they both abandoned Kyoto despite it being formal law within this country and the way they have back-doored their views on capital punishment on Canadians in foreign countries was bad enough. However, it was what and how they handled both the Israeli-Lebanese conflict last year AND the way they have handled from the outset the concerns regarding Geneva violations regarding prisoners in Afghanistan that first started causing me to feel shame at being a Canadian.

sassy said...

Message from Canadian Citizen to world

S O S

Scotian said...

Dana:

You really are angered/infuriated/embittered by the way Layton has chosen to make beating the Liberals at least as if not more important than the Harper CPC in the next election despite all they have seen to date from the Harper government, aren't you? Not that I disagree with you alas, as you well know I have been more than a little critical of Layton's decision making in this area and the willingness of too many NDPers online to support it despite the very real threat the Harper CPC presents to all Canadians of a progressive nature. Not to mention the inability of some to see any significant difference between a Harper CPC government and any of the prior Liberal governments.

If the CPC win a majority next time out it will clearly be because of vote splitting by the NDP given the trends of the electorate on CPC support since the last election. It is also clear that the NDP are more than willing to court such an outcome if it allows them to surpass the Liberals in seats. While under most circumstances I would say this is a reasonable decision to make, the threat posed by Harper's CPC to all progressives in this country from NDP to PCPC makes that gambit inherently dangerous to not just the future of the NDP but that of the nation itself. It was one thing in the last election, the Libs were in power, and the threat Harper's CPC might pose with power was still hypothetical. Well, now we have a record, and this minority which has less seats than Martin's has shown itself to be far more arrogant and abusive of power and there is no excuse for not seeing just how dangerous the Harper CPC are by anyone that dares call themselves progressives and/or believers in Canadian values on social justice and human rights IMHO.

Doesn't it break your heart though to see Layton betraying the NDP heritage? Worse, that so many party stalwarts are unwilling to stand up to this choice, including the NDP leader I most respected while they had the job, Ed Broadbent. I have been very saddened watching my own MP and former leader also going along with this approach, and it cost her my vote in the last election and barring the apparent potential for the CPC candidate to win this riding next time out (not likely a circumstance, especially since this riding is one of the ones the CPC ran their potential election "local" national campaign and ad rebate scam through even discounting the incumbents strength here) my vote next time out too because I refuse to support the NDP in any manner so long as it sees beating the Libs as important as the CPC in the next election so long as it is the Harper/Straussian CPC that it currently is anyway.

Scott Tribe said...

Not to get off-topic here on a very serious topic, but I will state again for the record that you have excellent musings, Scotian, and I wish you'd use that blog of yours a bit more and keep it updated and use some of these excellent musings on there (and maybe apply to Prog Blog to become an affiliate so more people can see them ;) )

Scotian said...

Scott:

Yes, I know, you have said this many times before, including the trying to recruit me to Progblogs despite my repeated refusals to join any aggregator (which I have asked you before to stop doing I believe), in part because I would feel pressure to blog more than I do now and that is a situation I cannot allow myself to get into. My health and energy is not the best, and one of the main reasons I comment more than blog is because I am doing so on things I have run across in my readings and it takes far less time/effort for me to do so. When I blog at Saundrie I want to be doing a detailed and sourced blog entry, and that takes more time and effort than it does to whip off these comments at various blogs. I suppose I must be one of if not the most wordy original creation commentators in the Canadian blogosphere as in I don't cut and paste one blog comment to another (except in extremely rare cases and then I always formally note it), but that is solely because this is how my brain/mind works.

So while I appreciate the compliments Scott I really wish you would lay off the recruiting pitch each time you do so, it feels like I am being pressured and I do not care for that. My health is not the best nor is that of my wife and I have to prioritize my life and where I devote my efforts to as I feel best accomplish my responsibilities. Besides, given that I tend to travel widely between blogs that have fairly good readership themselves my comments/thoughts are likely getting more exposure then they would otherwise, perhaps even including being on an aggregator. And I do provide the link back to Saundrie for anyone that cares to read what is there so it is not like that work does not get picked up on too. As to the frequency, does it really matter whether I make the comments here and at other popular progressive blogs or at Saundrie as long as they are out there to begin with? I don't think so as for me the point is that they are out there where others will see them.

In all honesty what does surprise me and warms my heart is the number of people willing to sit through reading my writing, as it is lengthy and at times tedious/clunky in content and/or style/format, and find such worth/value in it. That there are so many out there that who may not always agree with me appear to recognize that I truly do feel what I say and that I am consistent in my basic principles/values and that I try to work from a fact based intellectual honesty to the best of my ability brings me great comfort. So while I will be getting to something on Saundrie this month, as much as I know that some like yourself might prefer it to be a more active blog I cannot promise anything. I do what is most comfortable for me to do here, not because I am lazy but because I have limited resources and several demands on them aside from the online world and the world of politics in general. Sorry to have to disappoint you yet again Scott.

Mike said...

So much for "Canada is back!" eh?

Steve V said...

"So much for "Canada is back!" eh?"

No one can say that the world isn't taking notice.