Harper: Canada’s Embarrassment
Harper: Canada’s embarrassment
Sep 30, 2009 02:03 PM
Whether you agree or not that the world needs more Canada, Prime Minister Harper is doing his damnedest to make sure the world is getting less of us.
Take, for example, Canada’s no-show to the United Nations Summit on Climate Change last week. While the leaders of China and the U.S. — the world’s biggest polluters — spoke out forcefully on the need to go the distance in rolling back greenhouse gas emissions, Harper said nothing. He wasn’t even there.
Instead, he was back home, posing for a photo-op in Tim Horton’s to celebrate how dropping corporate taxes brought the coffee behemoth back to Canadian ownership.
In Harper’s defence, he did send Environment Minister Jim Prentice to cover for him, which is to say to take notes. According to the Prime Minister’s office, Harper wasn’t even invited to speak at the Summit.
Little wonder. Who really wants to hear Canada lecture on about the importance of stopping climate change when we’re among the top-five worst polluters on earth, per capita? Our voice, once strong on matters of global conscience, has become irrelevant.
Another example of Harper’s global statesmanship: not taking to the podium at the UN General Assembly. World leaders lined up to promote their visions of global cooperation and reform. Harper sent Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to ditto what everyone else said.
Everyone else, that is, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sure, Ahmadinejad is a rogue leader with a loose grip on reality, tarnished by controversial election results, but did Canada really “lead” by being the first to walk out on his speech to the assembly before it started?
Harper would have you think so. Standing at his podium in Tim Horton’s, Harper said that Canada had to walk out because Ahmadinejad says repugnant things about Israel that shouldn’t be dignified by our presence. Ahmadinejad’s politics are repugnant, yes, but is Canada’s response (closing our eyes, sticking fingers in our ears and tra-la-la-la-la-ing) the answer? If it is, then why didn’t Harper pull the same stunt on George W. Bush?
On countless examples, Harper is failing to “Stand up for Canada” and champion our values to the world, be it our support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our slandered health care system, our desire to see child soldiers rehabilitated or our commitment to defending the rights of Canadian citizens abroad.
We were an honest broker for years, “punching above our weight” as it was said. Now we look tired, pudgy and twitchy. Really, the rest of the world sees Canada like we see Harper.
All Harper can talk about is defending our economy by fighting Buy American laws in the U.S. and lobbying President Obama to not listen to the anti-Tar Sands movement. When he’s not speaking out “internationally” on that, he’s up in Canada’s north, making sure the world knows what any map will tell them: Canada is sovereign over its arctic territories. Coincidentally, thanks to global climate change, that’s where Canada’s next oil-rush will be.
Lucky too, now that we’ve got Tim Horton’s back. They’ll have lots of room to grow, setting up shop at all those oil rigs. And the tundra’s so vast, all the litter that usually ends up on curbs or in parks will just blow oh so far away.