Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stephen Harper's Contempt For Human Rights and the Rule of Law is Charting a Dangerous Course

The problem with having a government that operates in such secrecy, is that we are not often aware of the things they are doing behind our backs.

It becomes especially alarming when those things they are doing, threaten to put Canada on a course that the majority of citizens would not want to see us travel.

The most vibrant red flag, is their position with Israel. While polls reflect that most Canadians would like to see a two state solution, the Conservatives have instead hooked their wagon to nuts like John Hagee and Charles McVety, who want nothing less than a nuclear war in the middle east, to fulfil a biblical prophesy.

Jason Kenney is pushing to make any criticism of Israel be declared anti-semitism and we saw those horrible hate mail flyers they distributed to predominantly Jewish ridings. I think targeting and profiling Jewish-Canadians is one of the worst forms of anti-semitism. Though loading them in boats and shipping them 'home' to Israel, is probably the worst, especially when you look at what is supposed to happen to them once they get there.

Harper has also been secretly rewriting our foreign policy, to exclude human rights as a priority. Adrian Bradbury, Founder and Executive Director of Athletes for Africa and Football for Good, explains what this means.

An internal DFAIT email was leaked this summer which outlined a series of shifts in the language of Canadian foreign policy. These changes were politically directed, coming from Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon’s office.The terms "gender equality," "child soldiers," "international humanitarian law," "good governance," "human security," "public diplomacy" and "The Responsibility to Protect" have been blacklisted from government parlance.

While already limited to an unprecedented degree on what they are allowed to say in public, Canada’s civil servants and diplomats are now banned from using certain words.


The shift from the term International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to simply International Law, not only blurs two entirely different concepts, but abandons the legal mechanisms developed to protect the rights of civilians, women, and children, aid workers, and prisoners of war, rather than states, in armed conflict. IHL also underlies the International Criminal Court, which Canada was instrumental in founding. Are we abandoning the ICC as well?

And of course Jason Kenney is working overtime to defund any NGOs that do not share his warped vision of the world.

Now there is another very troubling story about Harper's interference in our own human rights agency; Rights and Democracy, the Montreal-based institution that backs Canada's foreign policy by supporting the rule of law...

We are seeing a pattern here, and must start demanding some answers from this government.

Siddiqui: Stephen Harper's homegrown human rights problem
Untimely death of respected rights advocate casts harsh light on Ottawa's hardline support for Israel
By Haroon Siddiqui Editorial Page
January 24, 2010

Stephen Harper is in trouble for being ham-fisted with Parliament and several public institutions. He has also caused a ruckus by penalizing those who dare criticize Israel.

Fused together, those two traits can be combustible enough. Adding a third element, catering to his party's conservative ideologues, the Prime Minister has created a major crisis at Canada's leading international human rights agency ....

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