Harper’s Canada: Hypocrisy And Double Standards
By Eric Carter
Over the years Canada has become a land of hypocrisy and double standards. It reached its peak during the tenure of current Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his band of merry men. Thanks to Harper and his unending appetite to remain in power at any cost, Canada has lost its place in the world stage to the disappointment of many Canadians. For example, Harper is not considered seriously by other world leaders – not even by Canada’s closest neighbour, the United States of America, and its President Barrack Obama. There is another reason for them to push Harper away: as a person he is known to be cold, aloof; an introvert with no sense of humour or any sort of friendliness with anyone – not even with his own cabinet colleagues. Canada has failed to produce another leader as famous as Pierre Trudeau. May be his son Justin, the current leader of the Liberal Party, might be able to live up his father’s reputation, and put Canada back on the world map, if he becomes the next Prime Minister.
However, even young Justin Trudeau will fail if he tries to follow Harper’s method to gain votes of the ethnic groups in Canada, like the aggressive and sometimes violent supporters of Tamil Tigers who have discredited not only Canada but the whole world with their brutality. Whilst neighbouring United States appears to take a somewhat hard-line on the supporters of Tamil Tigers,
Harper, in sheer desperation to win in the province of Ontario, a Liberal stronghold, is going all out to appease the huge number of Tamil Tiger supporters living in Ontario. Therefore, he is damaging and hurting the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka – a country which named the road from its only international airport ‘Sri Lanka – Canada friendship road’.
UN concerned over First Nations
Harper has done a lot to undo that road of friendship by citing ‘violation’ of human rights in the island nation whilst he has failed to set his own country’s human rights record straight. Harper has failed to treat the original sons and daughters of Canada – The First Nations – with respect and dignity. Instead, he has chosen the path to appease and shower love and praise to Tamil Tiger supporters purely to gain their votes.
Canadians are criticizing the Harper government for dismissing
UN concerns about the human rights situation in the country. Canada is currently undergoing a Universal Periodic Review at the UN, where members have expressed concern about the plight of the country’s indigenous people.
The world is taking note of the ruling Conservatives’ shameful betrayal of Canada’s once admirable reputation as a fair country sincerely working on the world stage to improve the lot of the disadvantaged and suffering. In the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, Canada was criticized to such an extent that the Council decided to send the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, representatives of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the situation in Canada.
Harper learns a lesson in diplomacy
However, the talking point in diplomatic circles world over is the hypocrisy and double standards of Harper when he decided to boycott the Commonwealth conference scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo next month. Many Canadians point out that Harper has slipped to the lowest level a leader of any country could fall to. At the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Bali, Harper was snubbed by the prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia when Harper brought the subject of boycotting the CHOGM in Sri Lanka.
They both told Harper, in no uncertain terms, that they would attend the Commonwealth conference in Colombo. Harper learnt a lesson from Tony Abbott, who was only recently elected as the Prime Minister of Australia, when he was told by Abbott how to deal with friends and how to develop friendships. Abbott said he considered Sri Lanka to be a friend. David Cameron snubbed Harper months ago. The Queen’s decision to send her son Prince Charles to Sri Lanka to represent her is also seen as a new beginning for the Commonwealth. Harper has failed to see that move by the British monarchy.
Hugh Segal, one of Harpers men who visited Sri Lanka recently last week, stooped to the lowest level and called a very highly respected former Indian diplomat, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamlesh Sharma a stooge. Sources close to Harper say that Segal had the blessings of the Canadian Prime Minister to call Sharma a stooge of the Sri Lankan government. Sources further pointed out that Harper had isolated himself and Canada on the world stage by his foolishness and immaturity.
No sense of foreign relations
Harper and his highly inexperienced Foreign Minister John Baird have no sense of foreign relations. They have completely ignored the advice given by several senior Canadian diplomats on improving relations with Sri Lanka. Harper and Baird are considered restless and inexperienced and are no match for the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is known to hail from a family involved in politics for over 67 years. The President himself has been in politics for over 45 years and is considered the most successful Sri Lankan President ever. Rajapaksa, unlike his predecessors, has made a name for himself on the world stage for his boldness, strong convictions and his leadership.
He is loved and hailed by the Sri Lankan masses and has won many elections. He is on his second term as the President of Sri Lanka. Harper’s Baird is no match for the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Prof. G L Peiris, a professor of law and a buddy of former American President Bill Clinton from his Harvard days. Both Harper and Baird recently came under fire from the leader of one of the smallest islands in the world, the Maldives, for interfering in affairs of their country. Baird has a bad, foolish habit of meeting protesters without knowing who they are and what their cause is. John Ibbitson, the Chief Political writer of the Globe and Mail, wrote in his column last week that Harper’s decision to boycott the Commonwealth summit is purely political: to gain the support of Toronto’s Tamil community.
Jeffrey Simpson in his column in the Globe and Mail said that Harper is trying to please the large Tamil community in Toronto who feel aggrieved for having lost the civil war in Sri Lanka and Harper is trying to cement the Tamil support for his conservative party. Simpson in one line described Harper’s boycott of the Commonwealth in Colombo as “this principles is naked self interest”. Thomas Walkom wrote in the Toronto Star that Harper has little use for the international institutions that Canada once championed after the announcement of his boycott. Walkom also said that Harper regularly snubs the United Nations. This proves beyond any doubt that Stephen Harper is just another Stephen, a lonely man, the Pied Harper of Canada who will lead us nowhere.