Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Canada's Conservatives - Dishonesty, Denial and Irresponsibility

This should come as no surprise:

On one hand, the Canada Border Services Agency said this morning it is working to issue the Toronto woman travel documents, tacitly admitting that Canadian authorities made a mistake in voiding her passport in Nairobi, Kenya, nearly three months ago.

On the other hand, no government politician has acted to get the woman home, instead leaving the federal court to sort out details.

In short, once again, Canada's Conservatives have shown us their fundamentally bigoted approach to Canada's citizens. If you are a Canadian citizen, and a foreign government detains you, you're pretty much screwed. On top of that, it's amazing how often this happens to Canadians of colour.

My own disgust with the Conservatives on Foreign Affairs matters is well documented in past postings - Harper & Co. simply don't get it when it comes to playing on the world stage and end up coming off as a bunch of juvenile thugs.

However, Ms. Mohamud's case is a reptition of something that has happened often enough to start looking like a pattern - and pattern in government is an indicator of policy - whether or not the government has said it out loud.

Sure enough, Alison over at Creekside has found a real gem:

"Gender Equality", "Child Soldiers" and "Humanitarian Law" are Axed from Foreign Policy Language

With subtle strokes of the pen, it appears the Conservative government has been systematically changing the language employed by the foreign service and, as a result, bringing subtle but sweeping changes to traditional Canadian foreign policy.

In an email communication obtained by Embassy, staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs express concern about frequent changes being made to commonly used terms, particularly where such changes are not consistent with accepted Canadian policy, and which may be carried out to minimize international obligations on issues as complex as the Omar Khadr case.

In short, Canada's Con$ are sneaking around and changing our foreign policy to represent something that only George W. Bush could ever be proud of. Filled with language designed to deny the very principles that Canada has represented since the end of WWII, these wording changes reflect a policy direction that Canadians should be embarrassed by at the very least, and outraged by in truth.

Within DFoA, it's clear that people are concerned:

For many observers of Canada's foreign policy, these are distressing language changes that water down many of the very international human rights obligations Canada once fought to have adopted in conventions at the United Nations. As one source said, in the international world of diplomacy—where officials often focus detailed discussions on the language included in documents and policies—wording makes a big difference.

Indeed, the email states "It is often not entirely clear to us why [office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs] advisers are making such changes, and whether they have a full grasp of the potential impact on [Canadian] policy in asking for changes to phrases and concepts that have been accepted internationally and used for some time."

No, it's perfectly clear - and as dishonest an approach to policy as a government could possibly take. This is unnecessary mucking about with the language of diplomacy - a tactic which can only serve to obfuscate and confuse issues.

Which is precisely what the Con$ have done with Omar Khadr, Abousfian Abdel-Razik and now Suaad Hagi Mohamud. We don't need to spend much time talking about Mr. Celil who is now rotting in a Chinese prison; or the royal screw-up made of Brenda Martin's case.

No matter what Mr. Harper and his band of NeoCon nasties think, Canadians as a whole don't believe as they do - and should be outraged at Mr. Harper's government for its blatant abuse of both language and its own citizens abroad.

1 comment:

VĂ©ronique said...

This is seriously disturbing. I'd say astounding, but nothing surprises me about this government any more.