Saturday, November 13, 2010

Human Rights Watch Says That Canada Has Lost it's Moral Voice in the World

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch was speaking in Toronto, lamenting the loss of Canada's soul.
I have long been an admirer of Canada’s role in the world. Canada created the modern concept of UN peacekeeping. It once stood at the forefront of global efforts to promote human rights, such as the fight against apartheid. When HRW wanted a governmental partner to help create a treaty banning landmines, we came to Ottawa. A Canadian chaired the negotiations to launch the International Criminal Court and he then served as the new court’s first president.

Because of the values that informed its dealings with the world, Canada punched above its weight. It was a nation to be contended with. It is thus with considerable sadness that I see Canada in recent years shying away from being a strong moral voice on international issues. Like most Western nations, Canada contributes few peacekeepers. Ottawa seems to have abandoned concepts that it once promoted, such as the responsibility to protect people facing mass atrocities. When HRW sought a governmental partner to lead our recent campaign to ban cluster munitions, we had to go to Norway, instead of Canada.
Portugal instead of Canada. Norway instead of Canada. It seems like anyone but Canada these days.

And with our aid to impoverished nations reduced to a postcard "wish you were not here", and the occasional expensive trip abroad, Stephen Harper is now planning on closing several embassies in Africa.
Just weeks after losing a crucial vote for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, the Harper government is wrestling with a diplomatic move that could further damage its influence on the world stage.

The government is considering the closing of several Canadian embassies in Africa, a move that has triggered alarm among many foreign-policy activists. Up to four embassies – including those in Cameroon, Zambia and Tunisia – are said to be on the chopping block.
Paul Fromm must be thrilled. He was allowed to sell memberships to his C-Far at Reform Party conventions, if he got Stephen Harper's favourite author, Peter Brimelow, to speak.

But don't call Fromm or Brimelow white supremacists. They now prefer paleoconservatives.

And these guys are now part of the mainstream.

James Laxer wrote an excellent piece for Rabble this week: The demagogic right plays a tough game in tough times

He reminds us of how quickly this radical right-wing movement is growing, not only in Canada, but other Western nations. It's devastating. An absolute must read.

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