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Monday, November 20, 2006 

Harper Slammed on Foreign Affairs - Ezra Levant Comes to His Defence

During Question Period in the House of Commons, the opposition slammed the Tory government over its recent performance on the world stage, especially the Prime Minister's meeting with the Chinese president.

Parliamentary secretary and official mouth piece for the Prime Minister, Jason Kenney, tried to defend his boss, saying they were extremely proud of what the prime minister has done internationally.

"This country defended the interests and values of Canada on an international scale," Kenney said.

Kenney was not convincing anyone least of all the opposition (nor informed Canadians).

So, it was time to bring in the 'big guns' and as we have seen in the past, mister 'Fix It' for the Conservatives is always Western Standard editor, and right wing ideologue, Ezra Levant. In an article in the Calgary Sun, Mr. Levant was literally gushing with pride at the performance of Mr. Harper on the international front.

"Harper dug in. Then an amazing thing happened. After Harper's statement on human rights, his declaration of his plans to speak openly about China, Beijing called Ottawa, and asked for the meeting again. They blinked. There are a few lessons here. First: China, like any bully, respects strength more than weakness."

Yeah... right Ezra.

CBC
Calgary Sun

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Of course, what idiots like Levant don't recognize is how much China has changed over the last fifty years.

China has never changed 'quickly', and with good reason. They can look back to a recorded history that dates back thousands of years before "Western" society emerges.

On your blog, your posting 'the man is clueless' is well stated. These guys are such ideological 'know it all's'. They truly do not have a CLUE!

As you said, when you look how far China has come in the last 50 years, it is amazing. From a nation devastated by Japanese imperialism, and unable to feed itself, the Chinese have dragged themselves into the 20th century in a manner that is amazing.

This whole right wing concept of what constitutes 'human right's' is also bizarre. Their hatred of socialism and anything 'left' blinds them to reality.

The ongoing plight of aboriginal persons in Canada and the US as well as American urban black poverty is a human rights disgrace, but these right wing extremists are blind to what is going on in their own back yard.

PS Hey grog, I can't find your email address - shoot it to me on my email sometime.

I agree with you. I find Harper's narrow view of human rights I find frustrating as well. Why criticize China and not the US?

That said, I am no fan of the Chinese government. They do, to this day, have a reprehensible record on human rights, and I have no problem with leaders holding them to account on human rights.

Agreed.

They are bent on challenging China because of some post REFORM PARTY ideological schlock that they actually believe.

1. Intelligence files reportedly suggest that an estimated 1,000 Chinese agents and informants operate in Canada. Many of them are visiting students, scientists and business people, told to steal cutting-edge technology

2. A recent decision to allow Chinese political dissident Lu Decheng, 43, to emigrate to Canada has already raised tensions between Beijing and Ottawa.

China imprisoned Lu for nine years after he defaced a portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square with paint. He received an immigration visa from Canada earlier this month.

3. the Dalai Lama was given an honourary Canadian citizenship.

4. From Amnesty International's 2005 Report on China:
Between January and December 2004, there was progress towards reform in some areas, but this failed to have a significant impact on serious and widespread human rights violations perpetrated across the country.

* Tens of thousands of people continued to be detained or imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human rights and were at high risk of torture or ill-treatment.

* Thousands of people were sentenced to death or executed, many after unfair trials. Public protests increased against forcible evictions and land requisition without adequate compensation.

* China continued to use the global “war on terrorism” to justify its crackdown on the Uighur community in Xinjiang.

* Freedom of expression and religion continued to be severely restricted in Tibet and other Tibetan areas of China.

5. Several Canadians have been detained, arrested and imprisoned in China over the decades, with routine requests by Canadian officials to meet with citizens denied by the Chinese. The latest is Huseyin Celil who was arrested in March while visiting relatives with his family in Uzbekistan and has been detained in China without access to his family or Canadian officials.

Now, I'm not a Tory of anything but, on the whole, I think they are doing the right thing by challenging China of their very, very long standing human rights records. Harper might be new at this but he is doing the right thing so cut him some slack on this issue.

And we still wait to hear Harper say something about Human Rights in the USA:

Here are some statistics on the nature of poverty and the waste of food and money in America.
-Over 40,000,000 have no health insurance and are required to attempt to access charitable options for health care
-In 2004, requests for emergency food assistance increased by an average of 14 percent during the year, according to a 27-city study by the United States Conference of Mayors.
- 20 percent of requests for emergency food assistance have gone unmet in 2005.
-According to the Bread for the World Institute (http://www.bread.org/hungerbasics/domestic.html) 3.5 percent of U.S. households experience hunger. Some people in these households frequently skip meals or eat too little, sometimes going without food for a whole day. 9.6 million people, including 3 million children, live in these homes.
-America's Second Harvest (http://www.secondharvest.org/), the nation's largest network of food banks, reports that 23.3 million people turned to the agencies they serve in 2001, an increase of over 2 million since 1997. Forty percent were from working families.
33 million Americans continue to live in households that did not have an adequate supply of food. Nearly one-third of these households contain adults or children who went hungry at some point in 2000.
· Proportion of Americans living below the poverty level: 12.7 percent (34.5 million people)
· The average poverty threshold for a family of four: $16,660 in annual income
· The average poverty threshold for a family of three: $13,003 in annual income
· Poverty rate for metropolitan areas: 12.3 percent
· Poverty rate for those living inside central cities: 18.5 percent
· Poverty rate for those living in the suburbs: 8.7 percent
· Percentage and number of poor children: 18.9 percent (13.5 million)
· Children make up 39 percent of the poor and 26 percent of the total population.
· The poverty rate for children is higher than for any other age group.
Child poverty:
· -for children under age 6 living in families with a female householder and no husband present: 54.8 percent
· -for children under age 6 in married-couple families: 10.1 percent
· Poverty rate for African Americans: 26.1 percent
· Poverty rate for Asians and Pacific Islanders: 12.5 percent
· Poverty rate for Hispanics of any race: 25.6 percent
· Poverty rate for non-Hispanic whites: 8.2 percent

... Harper might be new at this but he is doing the right thing so cut him some slack on this issue.

No, actually he's doing exactly the wrong thing.

You don't walk up to China, and puff up your chest to make a point. The Chinese have seen it before, and they'll just ignore you.

The changes in China since the end of WW II have come not as a result of threats and "holier-than-thou" lectures, but from careful engagement and a subtle game of encouragement and rewards.

Harper strutting about the world stage playing "beach muscle dude" is rather like a chihuahua on a short chain trying to act threatening - it's unpersuasive at best, laughable most of the time.

China has demonstrated repeatedly that it doesn't really care what the world thinks. It changes only when it perceives that it can gain from it. (and China is economically quite capable of sustaining itself - with or without Canada's trade)

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