Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Canada Is Back"

Another proud day for Canadians, with further evidence to support the “Canada Is Back” claim of Stephen Harper:
Canada has voted with three other countries against a United Nations declaration on aboriginal rights.
The non-binding declaration passed 143-4 in Thursday's vote in the UN's General Assembly. Australia, New Zealand and the United States also voted against the declaration, with 11 countries abstaining.

Not even the symbolism of abstaining to recoginize the spirit, if not the final text. Nope, right in lockstep with Bush and Howard. Dion hits the nail on the head:
"By opposing this declaration the Conservative government has signalled to Aboriginal Canadians that their rights aren't worth defending," Liberal leader Stephane Dion said in a statement. "The government has also dramatically weakened the leadership role Canada has long enjoyed in the global human rights movement."

Dion’s criticism echoes what we have heard from delegations, who often view Canada as a leader on human rights. The damage to our credibility will go largely unseen, but it is real and Canada's future leverage is minimized.

Can someone point to one area where the Harper government has distinguished itself on the international stage (verbal gymnastics aside)? We hear all the rhetoric about Canada’s new role in foreign affairs, but apart from the Liberals commitment in Afghanistan, all the government seems to do is side with the other deadbeat countries, on any particular issue. We seem pretty adept at “undermining”, but no evidence of accomplishment. Another disappointing day, in what is beginning to look like a consistent trend.


Anonymous said...

As a Mohawk myself, who was in oka, this is what we meant by, there is no more reason to negotiate any longer with the europeans, they will never be, sincere. Haper is the worse, since we are in the better of the 4, this vote against should of at least been for, since it was not binding, harper was told how to vote by bush, since one native problems would affect the other.

Anonymous said...

there is only one way left for us, is'nt there.

rabbit said...

In the grand tradition of key-hole journalism, I can't find a copy of the "Aboriginal rights declaration" to read for myself. Surely the precise wording of the document is of the utmost importance, and not whether Canada voted with or counter to the U.S.

The only quote from it I can find is this...

'Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.'

What the heck does that mean? Interpreted liberally, that could mean all of Canada.

Without a precise definition of the above, I don't think I would sign the declaration either. I certainly wouldn't sign just to look good in the eyes of the world.

Steve V said...



Steve V said...

BTW, it's a "non-binding" text for all the fear mongers that argue the declaration amounts to handing over the country.

rabbit said...


Thanks for the information.

But it matters not whether it's non-binding. If one disagrees with the details of a document, then one shouldn't sign it, whether it be "aspirational" or not.

To sign it while disagreeing with the details is (as I opined over at Scott's Diatribe) two-faced pandering to public opinion.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Certainly to date the Harper government's actions have not been helpful on the global scene. The only good thing for us is few people pay much attention to Canada so as long as Harper isn't in office too long it will be easier for us to recover the damage than for the United States under Bush. When I was in Europe recently, almost nobody was aware of the domestic politics and the increasing negative feelings towards the United States still haven't yet been experienced towards Canadians.

As for this one, I think the agreement in principle is a good one and we should support it. The UN has very little power to actually make laws or changes, so what matters is whether we support the spirit or not. It is not like the EU who actually has the power to make laws and override national ones that don't comply.

Steve V said...

I would say Strahl articulate the "two-face" tonight, but trying to change the channel, criticizes the opposition for not supporting "human rights" in committee, when they exposed the Con fraud this summer.

I think I might just start reading the Australian papers to see what Howard is thinking, to get a better sense of Harper's opinion. The similarities are becoming uncanny. Howper the two-faced monster.


The funny part, the declaration speaks of "aspirations", which is the same toothless language Harper lauded at APEC.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Steve V - Looking at the government's record to date on the aboriginal file, it has not been particularly impressive so their reasons don't fly with me. In addition this only sets overall objectives, it doesn't tell each country how to achieve them and never mind they are non-binding. Still we should try to achieve them, but we can do it without breaking any treaties or the Charter. This is just a lame excuse by the Tories.

Karen said...

I think I might just start reading the Australian papers to see what Howard is thinking, to get a better sense of Harper's opinion. .

Do it. I do, you'd be surprised.

Anon @ 4:32 has a point and I think he/she articulated it well. How can there be trust?

I disagree though anon. Harper was not told how to vote, he chose how to vote...more is the pity.

Koby said...

Look the Justice department has given clear advice on this manner over the years. Do not sign on. Signing on will have legal consquences. As it stands, the UN document will be brought up in furture land claims. The Justice Department is not alone in this regard and it opinion held by people and groups on both sides of the political divide. For Christ sake what do you think they were arguing about for 20 years?

Anonymous said...

if it's not binding, what's the point of voting on it?

and if it really is non-binding, it would be just another Kyoto, all show and no go.

Steve V said...

"if it's not binding, what's the point of voting on it?

and if it really is non-binding, it would be just another Kyoto, all show and no go."

Just like Harper's "aspirational" targets coming out of the APEC Summit? Same language even :)