“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” ~ George Orwell

The hypocrisy of Stephen Harper’s recent announcement that he would be boycotting the big grand poo-bah’s summit in Sri Lanka next month is stunning.

The lack of comment on it thus far, even more so. According to reports from overseas:

” Canada will skip the meeting because of  what Harper called “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war,” which ended there four years ago with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. “

Because I know that the Privy Council office reads here frequently, I would like to point out that it’s really hard to take Harper’s momentary bouts of concern over human rights in other countries seriously, because of his abrupt flip-flop on his new BFF, the Chinese government .

In many ways, China’s record on human rights is getting worse, not better.  Increasingly, targets are not only religious minorities such as the Falun Gong, but of political activists and their families.

In August, representatives from the US has this to say about the state of human rights in China:

China‘s human rights situation is getting worse, a senior US official said in Beijing on Friday, as reports of another detention increased fears of a crackdown on activists and lawyers.

Uzra Zeya, who led the US side in annual bilateral rights dialogue, cited increasing pressure on activists’ friends and relatives and religious restrictions in Tibet and Xinjiang.

“I think we have continued to see a deterioration in the overall situation in China,” said Zeva, the acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour.

“The specific issue of the targeting of family members is one reason for that assessment: the case of the family of Liu Xiaobo, of Chen Guangcheng and other instances. This is a worrisome trend and one we have raised at senior levels.”

Even though China – which is still ruled by the Chinese Communist Party – signed the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), on October 5, 1998 – it has never actually ratified it. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/08/china-ratify-key-international-human-rights-treaty

“Human Rights Watch believes that there are no credible reasons for the Chinese government to further delay ratification, absent which the government is not fully bound to uphold the treaty’s protections.

“China wants to join the UN’s top human rights body, but it won’t submit itself to the standards that body is sworn to apply,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director.

China is the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council not to have joined the ICCPR which guarantees essential rights ranging from the right to trial before an independent and impartial court to freedom of expression and political participation through regular and free elections.”

Adding to the glaring hypocrisy of Harpers human rights position this week, are stories of:

– forced abortions in some provinces to enforce the one-child law: http://news.sky.com/story/1150016/china-couple-speak-of-forced-abortion

-the arrest of political activists in China, by State authorities: http://www.voanews.com/content/china-arrests-activist-for-seeking-public-comments-in-un-rights-report/1760594.html

China, for as much as it appears to be a modern, progressive society, is still anything but all of those labels, if you oppose the government, its policies and it’s laws. When you can be jailed for 7 years for poetry that pushes and calls for democracy,  democracy does not yet truly exist in the motherland.

This is why I laugh when Harper feigns concerns over Sri Lanka’s humans rights. How easily he forgets when it comes to the government of Chinas failing on that very issue.

From “Playing with the DragonsII: The architects behind Canada’s China Policy” :

“Certainly, the Chinese government would not consider having to address its horrific human rights record as a condition of doing business in, and with, Canada – and Stephen Harper seems just fine with that.

He, who was once stand-offish when it came to cultivating Chinese business interest in Canada is now going as far as stating he will over-rule environmental  and regulatory process to ensure the Northern Gateway project gets built. Chinese state connected corporations have been busy in Canada’s north and Harper has gone to extreme lengths to facilitate this surge.

Which leads me to ask, why is that? Why is the Canadian government seemingly so eager to get into a financial bed with the Chinese government and Chinese state-connected corporations, when so many other governments have rung alarm bells at the risk of doing so, without adequate safeguards to Canadian interests?

To understand why, one has to look beyond the Prime Minister, and into corporate Canada, to two organizations that have been deemed the architects of Canada’s China policy for far longer than Harper has been Prime Minister : the aptly named Power Corporation and the Canada Chinese Business Council.

The Power Corporation of Canada, under the direction of Andre and Paul Desmarais, has long been referred to ( and written about) as being ’the’ power behind the upper echelon of Canadian politics, in particular the Privy Council and the Prime Ministers office.

In fact, the company has shared a long and lively history with several prime ministers of different political leanings, who have worked on staff, including Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney. Over many years, political and professional connections continued in addition to personal ones, with the marriage of Andre Desmarais to Jean Cretiens daughter, so entrenched are the families and business/politics…

Read all of this post and more, here: https://lailayuile.com/2012/06/06/playing-with-the-dragon-ii-the-architects-behind-canadas-china-policy/

harperhockeyIronically,while Rome Canada burns, Harper has oddly moved onto violence in hockey, a sport he has been known to watch while drinking a double double with our dear Christy Clark who also is an avid sports fan.

The question then becomes, in the face of all this rampant hypocrisy on human rights, what is the real reason Harper is boycotting Sri Lanka? Is is simply about the money, or is there something more?

Or am I the only one who noticed that while he is rolling out the red carpet for a country ( China) with one of the worst human rights records in history… he is  now boycotting another?

16 thoughts on ““He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” ~ George Orwell

  1. Let me guess…Sri Lanka is not a likely target energy and investment market, so Stephen gets a free pass. As to the hockey violence, he needs to check his record of sending people overseas to get shot at, and then bringing them home to get shot at some more before he crosses his Cherry buddy, also the biggest support the troops cheerleader.

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  2. No, it is all quite noticeable.

    And, as you point out, not just a little confusing. Why is Harper selling out to Malaysia with regard to LNG when, in fact, no actual proposals or permits have been issued for an LNG port yet?

    How do you take some $40 billion when you don’t have the means to deliver? Does that mean that due process and real science, eco studies, impact studies and God-knows-what-all are just a sham? And, if they are a sham, what is Harper doing posturing over human rights? More lies and duplicity? The answers are obvious. Everything he says is a lie.

    Is LNG off Texada island/Vanocuver/Campbell River/Prince Rupert a done deal?

    How can he sell our resources (by way of BC ports) when we have not yet approved a damn thing!?

    Gee, I wonder if ship building contracts for Christie were intended to grease such wheels?

    Power Corp owns Canada. And Harper. And Christie/Allison Redford came along as hospitality.

    The rest of us are not innocent bystanders, we are accomplices if we let this thing carry on.

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    1. Good point, the sell-out of LNG “before” any such terminal, environment assessments and even the LNG itself, has even been implemented. Why even bother with assessments and town meetings and 10’s of millions spent on “action ads” when you’re just going to approve it anyways?

      Sort of flies in the face of respecting (potential) environment impact statements and factual science, followed by Constitutional rights and Charter Freedoms and rights to information and transparency from Government, as well as FN discussions and the rest of Canada’s (in particular BC’s population) pretty solid statement of NO.

      In Harper’s world, NO means Yes.
      NO NO means YES YES.
      Absolutely not or you’re fired means everything done off-camera and behind closed doors with “leaks” being the public’s way of finding anything out (while the media portrays the “whistle-blowers” as more contentious than Harper’s dismantling of Democracy).
      2015 can’t come soon enough.

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  3. e.a.f.

    stevie slime’s comments regarding Sri Lanka were rich to say the least. There he is swaining about with Malaysia and China and their rights records, but hey, they want to buy what he is selling. He wants a free trade agreemetn with China, have their military over for a visit and they still go around abusing human rights. Must be that they are rich and have something to offer him and his.

    Then of course he ought to look at the abuses of human rights in Canada, wasn’t he in the North this summer. talk about an abuse of human rights, such as the right to clean water, decent housing and healthcare and an education.

    No stevie just didn’t want to go, he couldnt’ get anything out of them. The guys a hipocrite.

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  4. mighty mo

    Coleman always touts his “RCMP” background – not such a wonderful recommendation these given recent RCMP activities — but I think most of his “on the street experience” was gained whilst he was a prison guard. Cons are much wiser than the rest of us when it comes to the scam etc. Gawd! I hope we don’t have to feed him whilst he travels, its enough that he is giving away everything that we actually though we owned!!!

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  5. islandcynic

    Harper has his sights on the next election. I think he is playing politics here and is just trying to win the vote of some ethnic community in a riding that is important for the CONS to hold onto. Many of the strange politics that we are seeing out of the PMO makes sense with this explanation. Does this guy ever make decisions based on the good of our country? No, it’s all politics all the time.

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  6. Mike

    I suspect our PM is a micro-manager of the highest order. Not a good or bad thing, rather just a
    thing. In this context however, it is perhaps a bit easier to understand the man and his methodology.
    Where many in this blog are critical based on the informaion provided, there is more to the process than meets the eye. There in lays the challenge of governanace as I see it. So what do I mean? Well each event and subsequent outcome is in many cases not a direct result of prior decisions or committments, but rather simply reflect the dynamic at hand. In a simple way todays choice maynot be the same tomorrow and this is not a bad thing on balance.
    Oherwise, dogma and doctrinaire set in and take over the governments agenda and that is bad for everyone.
    What we will never know but understand is in play, are demands made, favors granted, positions taken. On China, I have no doubt the PM or his government do not condone and never will, the ill treatment and lack of democratic protections afforded by China. China will be called on to come in line when the time is right and they will do so. Such is the nature of poitics.

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    1. Laila

      Mike, you have read my prior Playing with the Dragon pieces, have you not? This is not the first turnabout on the Chinese government Harper has done, and certainly not the last.

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    2. Essentially, Mike you are claiming that Harper is likely being reasonable under the circumstances – circumstances we are not privy to. And, of course, I agree. Harper is reasonable under the prevailing circumstances. But the counter to that is this (and it came from G.B. Shaw – paraphrased), “Reasonable men endeavour to adapt themselves to the world around them. Unreasonable men endeavour to adapt the world to them. Ergo, any real change comes from the unreasonable man.” So – just to make this clear – we want change, not the status quo. We want change for Canadians and we want change for Bangladeshi garment workers and Chinese dissidents. Therefor, we do not want reasonable, go-along Harper. Put another way: Harper IS the establishment and the establishment isn’t working. If I am going to have a leader, I want one that leads, not follows. I do not want a sycophant. I do not want a card-carrying elite. I want a truth teller. I want real leadership. I want change. And Harper ain’t that. Harper should be a cop – he does what he is told even if he knows it is wrong.

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      1. To save the inevitable rebuttal: NOT all cops are Lt. Calley, taser-carrying zombies. I know that. But if you want to find the highest ratio of blind followers of establishment traditions, you know where to look. Apologies to all good, well-intended cops who actually think before using their taser.

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  7. Pingback: When actions speak louder than words: Harpers disconnect on human rights. | No Strings Attached : Laila Yuile on politics and life in B.C.

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