Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Harper doesn't "get" neutrality

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (on CTV's Question Period): "What's the neutrality here? Are we neutral with regard to Hezbollah? Are we neutral on a terrorist group? I don't think the opposition wants to say that...but if they want to say it let them say it explicitly.

"What exactly are they saying? Are they suggesting Israel unilaterally stop defending itself, or stop participating or declare a unilateral ceasefire? Are they suggesting we become neutral vis-a-vis terrorist organizations that we're fighting in Afghanistan, that we're frankly fighting in this country with the arrests in Toronto? This is not a viable position."

["What is the neutrality here"? This is a lesson in framing the question. If Harper had even considered that Canada might play a mediating or peacekeeping role, he would be able to answer his own question. Is this a failure of imagination? or judgement? He goes on...]

Harper warned that the government "can't take positions based on reaction in certain domestic communities. [Although this is exactly what he is doing.] These are serious international issues. There's not only a lot of lives at stake, there are a lot of long term strategic interests of this country and of the world, at stake here." [We know, we know.]

These remarks came after Harper's Foreign Minister, Peter MacKay told an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, "For me it's not a difficult choice between siding with a state--a democratically elected government, a democracy that's being attacked by terrorists--and a group of cold blooded killers."

Gloria Galloway, "PM adopts softer tone on Mideast conflict," Globe and Mail, August 5, 2006.Recommend this Post

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