Nov 19 2006

Stephen Harper: human rights activist

The silence is deafening.

Now that the Prime Minister has changed the rules of the game for dealing with China, the Conservatives’ ideological enemies have gone into hiding.

Stephen Harper’s recent broadside against the Chinese dictatorship: “I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values — our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don’t want to sell that out to the almighty dollar.”

The Chinese government insists that human rights were not brought up during the APEC summit, but acknowledged that Harper brought up the case of Huseyin Celil, a Chinese-Canadian imprisoned in China on terrorism charges. That’s kind of like saying that they didn’t discuss the economy… it was just a lot of talk about exports, banking, stocks, interest rates, you know, that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, the Liberals are silent, or grumbling behind people’s backs that human rights is bad for business. The NDP, Canada’s so-called progressive party, by definition should be backing Harper’s stance. But from Jack Layton, we have… bupkis.

From the left, there’s the usual silence on this matter. So long as the human rights violations are not committed by the USA or Israel, it’s not worth mentioning.

It’s only been a few days since Harper made his “inflammatory” remarks, so it’s not too late for the rest of our elected representatives to say what they think. I’m not holding my breath.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Stephen Harper: human rights activist”

  1. on 20 Nov 2006 at 2:11 am

    Harper is concerned with the the Human Rights of the Chinese.Kind of laughable don’t you think.This from the guy who rejected the Kelowna Accord,and voted with Russia against the UN resolution on the rights of Indigenous peoples.
    How about cleaning up your own backyard before pointing fingers.
    For sure China needs to be reminded of Human Rights,but not from those who have double standards.
    And besides Human Rights in China have not stopped or caused any Western country to take action against China.It but talk,talk we been hearing ever since China opened up to Western capital.

  2. on 20 Nov 2006 at 6:04 am

    Rejecting the Kelowna Accord can hardly be compared with harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners or the habitual use of torture by police to extract confessions. Some perspective, please.

  3. on 20 Nov 2006 at 7:09 am

    No you are wrong,the Kelowna Accord and other such issues are very important to indigenous peoples,perhaps you can not see that.The Kelowna Accord are needed to correct decades of injustice suffered by Indigenous peoples.The rejection of the Kelowna Accord is just one more of many such rejections of the basic rights of Canada’s indigenous peoples,it part of a pattern.Injustices that at times have been as murderous ,as any in China.That fact some of the more brutal aspects of Canadian injustices towards indigenous peoples are in the past(near Past)does not change anything Indigenous peoples are still affected by these injustices.Harper by his actions is saying he has no regard or sympathy for Indigenous peoples or the injustice they have suffered and still do.Such attitudes prolong their suffering and dignity and sense of worth.
    As the saying goes clean up your own backyard before pointing fingers.How can any one be expect to be taken as serious or sincere if they criticize others while ignoring their own failings towards their fellow countrymen and women. Harper is the PM,he is in a position to address human rights violation of indigenous peoples in Canada,he choses not to.Therefore he has double standards,he is a hypocrite
    Some perspective you say,First Nations peoples have been subject to extreme HR violations.Take for example the “Starlight tours”,where the police take indigenous people far out into the country side in the depths of winter,where some have frozen to death,yet the practice continues.Then there is the residential schools that ran until the 70’s.Where they were beat tortured,and broken.The victims are still very much here,the FN community deal with the consequences of this past every day.In the form of higher suicide rates,poverty,unemployment,lack of opportunity etc etc.The conditions of poverty that most indigenous peoples live is directly related to the denial of their right,Human Rights which Harper rejects.
    When FN communities stand up for their rights,the army gets called in.Then there are the cases of police shooting,e.g Ipperwash.So again where is Harper on that.Why is it Canadians are the last to recognize their own failings while quick to point the fingers of judgment at others.

  4. on 20 Nov 2006 at 7:37 pm

    You’ve made some good points, but again, I don’t think you are being fair. First off, rejecting the Kelowna Accord isn’t a rejection of human rights for First Nations – it the the rejection of a multi-billion dollar handout to First Nations with no benchmarks for success or for accountability.

    Mainly, though, I just don’t think you can honestly compare the harvesting of organs of people who don’t share the dictatorship’s political views with the plight of First Nations people in Canada – not to mention China’s widespread use of capital punishment for minor crimes and the habitual use of torture by police. The incidents you’ve cited of the Starlight tours are hardly “habitual” by any standard.

  5. on 20 Nov 2006 at 11:19 pm

    Your views on the Kelowna Accord are your and that of the Harper and co.Again the Rejection of the KA is just one such action of Harper and co.Check out Canada’s reaction to the vote on the rights of indigenous peoples at the UN.If he had problems with the Accord,why not sit with the FN community and explain.But no this was not the case.He dismissed the Accord out of hand.Basically told FN peoples to piss off.The Conservative position and that of many Cnd who have no clue of the injustice FN peoples live with is one of blame the suffering on the victims.An inability to admit error,and do something about it.
    Harvesting of organs of people for sure is brutal,but what China does is not the point.My argument is about double standards.
    Instead of dealing with HR he can do something about,that of FN peoples,Harper dismisses,choosing to point the finger at a situation and others that he can not do a damn thing about.A situation that has been going on since China opened up to Western capital,and has done nothing to limit western cash including that of Canada.Investment is at such a level that HR will always play second fiddle.
    So in affect Harper and co are playing politics while denying FN communities their HR,playing politics with the lives of other.He is a hypocrite,there can be no other conclusion.

  6. on 21 Nov 2006 at 2:21 am

    Dirk, you take it as a proven fact that the Conservative decisions on the Kelowna Accord and the UN resolution are based on contempt for First Nations. Yet the government is perfectly within its rights to choose no to support resolutions that will help Native people without being accused of systematic racism and denial of human rights. Denial of funding and authority over natural resources does not equal denial of human rights.

    Far from being hypocritical, Stephen Harper is promoting Canadian democratic values and human rights in China by making clear that such things will not always take a backseat to commerce, as was the case for every Canadian government in the past twenty years or so. To suggest that Canadians cannot criticize Orwellian dictatorships because of the plight of indigenous Canadians, as tragic as it is, misses the point entirely.

  7. on 21 Nov 2006 at 5:27 am

    I never suggested Canadians can not talk about China’s HR violations.Of course they can,there is much to criticize China for in this area.
    My point is its laughable that Harpers is.The same man,who leads the conservatives which has done everything it can,to not address First Nations HR concerns,(indeed the Govt has undermined the process).
    HR violations that well know,and which have been defined as HR violations by the UN.
    If one sincerely supports HR’s,then one can not pick and chose which HR’s one will highlight while ignoring others.Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.
    We can go around in circles here forever.
    As the saying goes,clean up your own backyard before you point fingers.
    So with that I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.I see hypocrisy,you don’t.I see Harper actively contributing to and prolonging the HR’s violation of Cnd indigenous peoples,while doing nothing to engage with indigenous peoples to address these problems.Problems that third party groups etc have defined as HR’s violation and clearly shown the Cnd government is in violation.By its own laws and by international agreements,and protocols that Canada is a signatory of.While having the nerve to point fingers at other who are also violating the Human Rights of their own people.Violations that have been defined as such,by many of the same org’s and groups that have found, Canada is also violating HR’s.
    I am not against criticizing China or any other country when they are in clear violation of Human Rights.And god knows China has a horrendous record.

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