Monday, July 16, 2007

Harper in Latin America

Alex Neve of Amnesty International on Harper's visit to Columbia:

"We recognize that (Harper), probably, through dealings with the U.S. government and others, is also receiving strong messages that he needs to go down and shore up (Colombian) President (Alvaro) Uribe's beleaguered government and convey a strong message of support," said Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International Canada.

Neve said that support would be for naught if a free trade agreement with the country pushes the human rights situation out of the picture.

"It's our hope that he's going to recognize the importance of being consistent with the human rights message, that if he starts to become inconsistent then he immediately starts to lose his credibility."
There is also concern with respect to Canadian mining company Barrick Gold's interests in Chile:
The most controversial stop on the trip could come Wednesday in Santiago, Chile. There, Harper will visit the offices of Barrick Gold, whose proposed Pascua Lama gold and silver mine in the Andes on the Chile-Argentine border has become a rallying point for critics of multinational mining operations.

Reports that the company's explorations have eroded the size of three glaciers by more than half have some Chilean lawmakers calling for a halt to planned operations and a probe into the environmental effects of Barrick's activities.

I will post more about the business interests in our Business & Human Rights in Vancouver blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More on O'connor/Rumsfeld

I also came across this via Allison's comment on liberal catnip:

IT WAS ONLY SOMEWHAT embarrassing that certain Liberals pasted U.S. President George W. Bush with gross and juvenile insults, but it was excruciatingly embarrassing that a certain Conservative, Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor, sent to former U. S. secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, a letter of congratulations for a job well-done.

Yes, it was stupid of one of former prime minister Jean Chretien’s senior aides to let reporters hear her call the president of the U.S. "a moron." And, yes, it was nasty and childish of Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish to stomp on a Bush doll for viewers of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Was O’Connor trying to atone for the anti-Bush indiscretions of rude Grits? Whatever he had in mind, he complimented Rumsfeld so lavishly he sounded both fawning and utterly ignorant of the ringing attacks on Rumsfeld by scores of knowledgeable Americans.
Read the whole article.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gordon O'Connor and Donald Rumsfeld sitting in a tree...

Here's Robert Fisk on Gordon O'Connor's positive feelings toward Donald Rumsfeld.

Hands up those readers who know that Canada's Defence Minister, Gordon O'Connor, actually sent a letter to Rumsfeld two days before his departure in disgrace from the Pentagon, praising this disreputable man's "leadership". Yes, O'Connor wanted "to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your many achievements (sic) as Secretary of Defence, and to recognise the significant contribution you have made in the fight against terrorism". The world, gushed the ridiculous O'Connor, had benefited from Rumsfeld's "leadership in addressing the complex issues in play".

O'Connor tried to shrug off this grovelling note, acquired through the Canadian Access to Information Act, by claiming he merely wanted to thank Rumsfeld for the use of US medical facilities in Germany to ferry wounded Canadian soldiers home from Afghanistan. But he made no mention of this in his preposterous letter. O'Connor, it seems, is just another of the world's illusionists who believe they can ignore the facts - and laud fools - by stating the opposite of the truth. Bush, of course, is among the worst of these meretricious creatures. So is the late Tony Blair.
Here's a CTV piece on the original story.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Harper: How far will he take petty partisanship?

Scott has a good piece on Deceivin' Stephen, as he calls him, (hey, I like that) resorting to petty partisanship, even on Canada Day of all days. Here's Scott quoting Harper and responding.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told party-goers on Parliament Hill that Canada is once again a player on the world stage. By contributing to the security of Afghanistan and Haiti, and by becoming an energy and resources superpower, he said Canada has resumed its role as a world leader… “The news is spreading throughout the world: Canada’s back,” Mr. Harper told the Ottawa crowd Sunday.

Excuse me, Mr. Harper, Canada was never “gone” to begin with, and did not just “get back” from anywhere, notwithstanding your attempts to make it sound like all of this coincided with your election victory last year. Furthermore, Canada was both in Afghanistan and Haiti long before you showed up on the scene, and definitely not under a Conservative Government.

I also caught that snide remark about the “energy and resources superpower”. That’s code word saying to the public “if you go green like those environmentalists and opposition politicians want you to, you lose our superpower capabilities that oil gives us”.

Canada Day is a day that should unite us as Canadians. A day where we should try anyway to put our differences aside. It should be sacred in that respect. That Harper would break that tradition suggests to me how desperate he is to score political points. Hopefully, it will backfire. And criticizing Harper on this day is fair. He made himself fair game.