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The ‘please be friends with us’ tour Harper has sent the GG on to the Middle East.

The Conservative government tends to be rather – at the very least – awkward with some of its foreign policy and ventures. I’m thinking this Governor-General tour could have been postponed while the events of the Middle East are taking place:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sending the Governor General on a goodwill mission to the oil-rich Persian Gulf where the absolute control of the region’s dynasties is being threatened by pro-democracy unrest. Gov.-Gen. David Johnston and his wife Sharon will arrive in Kuwait on Friday before travelling to Qatar on Sunday, both countries considered strategic Western allies. On Tuesday, as the trip was being announced, Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli was imploring his supporters to flood the streets and attack anti-government protesters “in their lairs.” Foreign governments are scrambling to evacuate their nationals..

Above and beyond the timing of this, I find the Middle East policy of Harper and this Conservative government is profoundly hypocritical. They rightly have criticized the Libyan government of Gadaffi for engaging in brutal violence to suppress anti-government demonstrations there. There was however no similar strong statement issued when Mubarak – another “strategic Western ally” was doing the same thing in Egypt. In fact, we had Harper almost lamenting about Mubarak’s fall or impending fall from government, as he told reporters that the toothpaste was out of the tube and couldn’t be put back in (as a snarky aside, Harper chose a quote first prominently used during Watergate by Robert Haldeman, while President Obama was quoting Martin Luther King with regards to Egypt – interesting contrast of phrases between the two leaders, don’t you think?)

The same hypocrisy is evident here: Kuwait and Qatar have their own human rights problems, as detailed in the above article, but Canada is turning a blind eye to that and instead sending our Governor-General to play nice. And why is that? Why, we’re trying to find someone there to like us, after the UAE fiasco:

..the Canadian government appears far less concerned about Kuwait and Qatar, which have their own well-chronicled human rights failings but have so far avoided major street protests…The Harper government is looking for friends in the region, however, after relations soured with the United Arab Emirates in a dispute over airline landing rights. The UAE impasse is also believed to have played a role in Arab nations voting en masse against Canada’s membership on the UN Security Council last September, the first time in 60 years that Canada had been shut out

The Harper government is not the first Canadian government to ignore major failings of certain Arab nations,  but I would assert that of recent Canadian governments, they’ve had the most widespread contradictory and hypocritical stances towards the whole Middle East region, depending upon whether they happen to be our allies or not. If they aren’t, they issue strong statements condemning violence and human rights violations. If they are, they at best issue mute statements about hoping things go peaceful; at worst they completely ignore it and decide to play friendly with them.

10 comments to The ‘please be friends with us’ tour Harper has sent the GG on to the Middle East.

  • Fred

    Jon Pertwee Reply:

    @Fred from BC, Ha ha Fred, that response was full of more holes than swiss cheese. Maybe you should have paid attention in school

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste Fred. It’s not too late to go back to school. I recommend taking Geography

    Wow…you’re even dumber than Redrum, aren’t you? At least he *tried* to put together a coherent, defensible response.

    (failed miserably, of course; he made my own argument for me when he admitted the existence of the Gaza ‘Territory’, and he couldn’t help but spew the tired old ‘occupied’ accusation when there are in fact no Israelis *inside* Gaza (look up ‘occupied’…then try ‘blockade’. Read carefully). He also managed to overlook the fact that Hamas is AT WAR with Israel and that Gaza gets their essentials from Israel but their weapons from Egypt (via tunnels), never mentioned that 14-year-old kids seen taking a chololate bar from an Israeli soldier are then murdered for being “collaborators”, or that homsexuality is also puninshable by death, etc, etc..)

    Despite all that, though, he’s still a wee bit brighter than you are. You’re both wannabe bullies who strut around here like bantam roosters with the blessing of your cowardly benefactor Scott Tribe, mostly picking on girls and thinking up new childish ways to distort their names (awwww…couldn’t think of anything for ‘Fred’ at short notice?). But when someone shows up ready to fight back and starts laughing at you, Daddy Scott will just BANISH that bad man for you, before your little feelings get hurt, right? You’re pathetic, all of you. Grow a pair and fight your own battles.

    • Redrum

      @Ill-bred, made your argument for you? Huh?

      I was just responding to your bizarre claim that Gaza was a COUNTRY.

      Whatever else it is (and, sorry, it IS “currently occupied by Israel according to the international community,” as the wiki I linked notes — ‘look it up’ — but I have ZERO interest in debating that with you), it’s not a country.

      And I also have no interest in debating whether Harper’s ham-fisted single-minded approach to foreign policy is the right thing.

      I simply have no interest in… you.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Redrum, sounds like baby needs his bottle. That was the longest chickenhawk rant Ive heard from a Fred.

        If you’re so tough Fred. Im always up for meeting in Vancouver.

  • Roll Tide

    Gadhafi is far more brutal then Mubarack, yet Obama has yet to ask Gadhafi to step down.

    The lesson learned is that Israel is the only true ally, and only decent country in the region that respects the rights of those of different faiths, sexual orientation, etc. In that regard Harper is spot on.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Roll Tide, Yeah like the Palestinians right Roll Tide. The israelis have consistently treated them with respect and human rights right? That paradise of Israeli human rights Gaza? You’re Israel point is not only inaccurate but an attempt to say that your Conbot talking point is right. It isnt.

      Cripes Roll Tide are you that blindly controlled by Conbot ideology?

      • Fred from BC

        @Jon Pertwee,

        Yeah like the Palestinians right Roll Tide. The israelis have consistently treated them with respect and human rights right?

        Well, as much as possible with people who have sworn to kill you. The suicide bombings and constant rocket/mortar attacks against civilians make it a wee bit more difficult, too.

        That paradise of Israeli human rights Gaza?

        Gaza is a separate country, with an appalling human rights record of their very own. They are also at war with Israel. The Israelis have chosen not to wipe them out, and instead provide them with electricity, food and water.

        Cripes Roll Tide are you that blindly controlled by Conbot ideology?

        Speaking of ideology, yours is disgusting.

        You’re Israel point

        (stay in school, son….)

        • Redrum

          @Fred from BC, What’s that, Fred? Gaza’s a… COUNTRY?

          It’s you who needs to go to school. Or even just consult an encyclopedia or something.

          It’s a CITY, or an “occupied Palestinian territory” (if referring to the “Gaza Strip” its located in)

          http + ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_%28disambiguation%29

          http + ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip
          http + ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_territories

          Anyhow, this is no place to try to sort out the whole Two State issue or why Harper’s become so unbalanced on that and is buggering up foreign affairs & international development & human rights agencies over that.

          On the actual topic — sending the GG out to the area in these turbulent times — maybe it’s just to put the fear of God into him, to remind him: “Ve haf vays of making you sign the next prorogue demand…”

        • Jon Pertwee

          @Fred from BC, Ha ha Fred, that response was full of more holes than swiss cheese. Maybe you should have paid attention in school

          A mind is a terrible thing to waste Fred. It’s not too late to go back to school. I recommend taking Geography.

  • wilson

    ‘..The Harper government is looking for friends in the region, however, after relations soured with the United Arab Emirates in a dispute over airline landing rights…’

    Lazy journalism or what?
    While this UAE flap was going on, Canada signed 2 deals with Gulf countries for Canadian landing rights.
    Can’t remember who got the second set, but Qatar was awarded the deal the UAE airlines turned down.

    Qatar inks air deal with Canada amid UAE landing rights row

    http://dev.arabianbusiness.com/qatar-inks-air-deal-with-canada-amid-uae-landing-rights-row-362271.html?parentID=362490

  • ridenrain

    Let’s send Paul Martin again.

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