Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Stephen Harper Was so Wrong About Nelson Mandela

In 1989, Stephen Harper and several other known Right Wing Extremists formed an organization called the Northern Foundation. It was going to be the vanguard for an Anglo-Saxon movement, and encompassed many other groups like the Heritage Front, APEC and C-Far.

One of their first orders of business was to work with the white South African embassy in Ottawa, to try to keep Nelson Mandela in prison and ensure that Apartheid would be allowed to continue unchallenged.

Though Dr. Debra Chin in the Canadian refers to the Northern Foundation as a White Brotherhood, and in many ways I suppose it was, much of the reasoning behind the pro-Apartheid attitude was monetary. Corporate profits were higher when they could employ blacks. Sadly, it was just that simple.

However, watching this video, reminds me of the difference between Stephen Harper and Nelson Mandela. Mandela took a country that was divided and united it through a common interest. Stephen Harper took a country that was united and has constantly divided it for political gain.

During the parliamentary crisis he pit the West against the East and allowed horrendous attacks on Quebec to go unchecked. His latest fiasco with the gun registry, pit rural Canada against urban Canada.

Part of the neo-conservative theory is to look for hot button issues and milk them dry. Harper is very adept at finding these issues and bringing them to the forefront, while he stands back and watches the carnage. His governing has been one big attack ad.

Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize, but as Lawrence Martin stated in a column a few weeks ago

"The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama prompts a question. Where would the current Canadian Prime Minister finish in the Nobel committee's rankings?

Would our guy, Stephen Harper, be short-listed, middle-ranked, long-listed or worse?

If you guessed worse – as in the Nobel jurors wouldn't touch him with a barge poll – you've probably nailed it.

The Nobel priorities are disarmament, multilateralism, the extension of olive branches to adversaries etc. Those components were usually central to Canadian foreign policy.

But if you're partial to that kind of thing, don't look now. With the Conservatives' preference for a more confrontational approach, we've gone the other way. That long-time multilateralist image is fading fast. Now, it's Washington, where the new President reaches out, that is seen as having the global conscience.

It's a striking role reversal. Through the decades, we were the do-gooders, often trying to rein in the U.S. with calls for collective security. Now, the dove is in the other hand.

Is this who we are now?

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