Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Harper Continues To Isolate Canada

With Harper and his band of geniuses running around the UN this, it's actually been kind of interesting.  As I pointed out back in May, Harper's foreign policy has served primarily to isolate Canada on the world stage, and continue the far-right narrative about the "irrelevance" of the United Nations.

Today, in what must be a first in history, Canada refused to sign a UN treaty which the US agreed to sign.  
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said there is a potential link between signing on to the treaty and Canada's now-abolished long gun registry.
Baird's spokesman said earlier this week that the government is still doing consultations on whether the treaty would affect lawful recreational firearms owners in Canada.
"It is past time for Canada to get beyond spurious claims that the treaty will affect legal Canadian gun-owners and join the states that want to save lives by ending irresponsible arms transfers," Ken Epps of the group Project Ploughshares said in a statement.
For the Harper Government to take this stance really comes as no surprise.  First, they are trying to use it to play to the gun lobby in Canada, who they are clearly in bed with.  Second, it takes Canada further from the role of being an effective middle power at the UN.
"Every day, conventional arms are used to commit serious acts of violence against women and girls, including rape," Fox said in a statement.
 Meanwhile, at the UN, we find Harper trumpeting his spending on programs for Maternal Health.
Action trumps rhetoric, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a United Nations panel on maternal and child health Wednesday as he outlined $203 million over five years to help mothers and babies in developing countries.
Well, let's consider Harper's actions for a minute.  As the Toronto Star points out, Harper's cuts in 2006 have hamstrung Canada's ability to ensure that we actually know where women stand in Canada.  In the realm of actions and words, Mr. Harper's own actions deserve to be held to scrutiny when he stands on the world stage and plays the "look how noble we are" card.

Helene Laverdiere, the NDP's international development critic, was quick to slam the government not only for re-announcing three-year-old funding, but for failing to include support for reproductive health. 
"Canada's Muskoka funding should have included funding for women to access sexual and reproductive health services, including emergency contraception and safe abortion," Laverdiere said in a statement.She also assailed the government for rejecting last week's call from the UN Human Rights Council for a comprehensive national review of violence against aboriginal women. 
"Under Harper, it's clear that Canada is not a real leader on women's health and women's rights."
Harper continues to play a very narrow, partisan game at all times.  One can only hope that Canadians are becoming aware of the game he is playing.

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