Friday, July 28, 2006

The new Canadian foreign policies

In Canada, while ten premiers are facing the incapacity to get on the same ground in order to solve the problem known as the fiscal imbalance at a meeting in St-John's, the world is witnessing other condemnable blunders from the Israeli troops during their illegal trip to Lebanon. In the Canadian newspaper of French language La Presse, Richard Hétu wrote that by doing an air strike on an outpost of the United Nations (UN) meant for observation at Khiam (Lebanon), some Israeli soldiers have killed four international observers, including a Canadian, at the service of the UN.1 The other three victims were respectively Austrian, Chinese and Finnish.

Canadian Prime minister Stephen Harper is described by Bill Graham, the leader of the Liberal Party, as an "irresponsible" head of government.2 Graham also supports his argument with the fact that because of Stephen Harper, Canada is actually losing its role of peacemaker, because Harper offers a strong support for Israel with his stand that lacks nuances. The previous statement shows us that Canada's foreign policies are, unfortunately, getting closer to the USA's imperialistic foreign policies. Furthermore, the way Stephen Harper handled the crisis in Lebanon was a total mess, because since he wanted to control every single information that he has, he couldn't give a psychological support for Canadians who were seeing the war in Lebanon. In addition to that, his obsession for control brought an unforgivable delay for the evacuation of Canadian nationals. In fact, as it was written in my previous blog entry, an evacuation plan that was left on the desk of Canada's Prime minister remained unanswered for at least twenty-four hours and no margin of manoeuvre was given to Peter McKay, the minister of Foreign affairs.

Many people have argued that the reason why the Canadian government couldn't offer proper services to Canadian nationals it's because our country is, as some political commentators said, "geographically far from Lebanon in comparison with the European countries". Given the complicate situation in the Middle East, the Canadian government, in order to compensate for Canada's geographic distance, could have, before the beginning of summer vacations, concluded a territorial deal with the Greek, Turk and Cypriot government that will allow Canada to put its fleet in the national waters of these three countries only during the period of the summer vacations under their governmental supervision. The point of this deal is not to control the waters of these three countries, but rather to get prepared for a crisis if Canadian nationals definitely need to be evacuated very quickly. Obviously, thinking about such a plan is easy, but the most difficult part will be to convince the government of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. Now that the world has seen how the Canadian government is thinking, let it be said that most countries won't be ready to trust Canada in foreign affairs. By the way, here are three blogs that are showing the Israeli's point of view on this military conflict.

2. Live from an Israeli bunker.

3. Pajamas Media.

1. Richard Hétu. « Un Canadien parmi les victimes », La Presse, Montréal, 26th of July, 2006, p. A1

2. Nathaëlle Morissette. « Harper qualifié "d'irresponsable" », La Presse, 28th of July, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Canadian politics according to Stephen

During the federal election held on the 23th of January 2006, it was clearly said in the news that Stephen Harper and his troopers from the Tories were flying high in the surveys. Now, as the time goes by, it's really about time to judge Her Majesty's humble servant. In terms of Canadian national policies, Harper handles things in a fairly good way even though there are still some rooms for improvement, but given what we've seen from him in the management of the unexpected crisis in Lebanon, it should rather be said that foreign policies don't seem to be our Prime Minister's forte, but seriously, the Liberal Party can still criticize the leader of the Conservative Party, but they wouldn't be better with the Lebanese crisis.

The reason why it was said that there are still some rooms for improvement in Stephen Harper's way of taking national policies in his hands, it's because even though this man has a good memory (he doesn't turn his back to some of his promises), he definitely lacks subtlety in showing his right wing mentality. Instead of feeding Canada's national network of daycare centres, the chief of our government presents a plan that forces some women to stay at home (1200$ per year for each child under six years old in one family)1, because nothing is done in order to improve the services in the daycare centres and apparently there are not enough places in daycare centres for kids, especially in Alberta. In fact, we can learn that in this Canadian province, six women out of ten are looking for a job.2 Furthermore, this plan is such a hard blow for women who live alone with their children... All in all, Harper's frame of mind doesn't necessarily correspond to nowadays' reality.

Some people will say that Harper is saving his butt from a parliamentary disaster with his Accountability Act that can be described as "a sweeping plan to clean up the government". However, despite all the efforts that he has made, no efforts have been done in order to reinforce the Access to Information Act according to what public critics have said. Stephen Harper should try to be less inclined for total control on everything. He should learn how to give a decent margin of manoeuvre to his ministers by supporting them and not always trying to do their job for them or forbidding them to talk to the media, because Stephen Harper, while being in the opposition, has apparently been the cantor of transparence. After all, don't Canadians have the fundamental right to know what is being done with their taxes?

In terms of foreign affairs, Harper did display his weakness by the way he handles things. While so many Canadians could have been evacuated from Lebanon in a quicker way, Stephen Harper, once again, put his grain of salt for no reason. As it was written by columnist Sheila Copps in the Journal de Montréal, the ministry of Foreign Affairs encountered some problems.

The first reports on the delay directly fingers the prime minister's (Stephen Harper) office. According to certain sources from the Foreign Affairs, some evacuation plans left on the prime minister's desk remained unanswered for more than 24 hours. The official communiqués were talking about evacuation but, on the field (Lebanon), the officials were waiting for the instruction of [the government in] Ottawa.3
Finally, this what I have to say for today about Stephen Harper's weakness. To be very honest with you, Stephen Harper is not necessarily a bad prime minister nor a good one, but he certainly has chances to fix his blunders in handling Canadian politics. The upcoming blog entry that should be posted in one week will be dealing with (again!) the crisis in Lebanon and Canadian foreign policies. Good night and for independent columnism, I'm Anh Khoi Do.

1. [s.a], Stand Up for Canada - Conservative Party of Canada Federal Election Platform, [s.e], [s.l], 2006, p. 31

2. Pierre Dubuc. « La femme au foyer », L'aut'journal, Montreal, July-August 2006, issue 251, p. 6

3. Sheila Copps. « À vouloir trop contrôler... », Journal de Montréal, Montreal, July 21, 2006, p. 18

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Welcome on my new blog

Welcome on my new blog everybody. As you probably know it, the reason why I changed blog, it's because even though my previous blog on MSN Spaces came with really great features that you wouldn't find on other blogging services, it didn't allow people who don't have an account on MSN Spaces to write comments. I hope that with this new blog that deals with politics and those screw it up as you all know it, more people will have the pleasure to participate to the debates with more pleasure. Anyway, I hope that in the next weeks, I'll be coming with an interesting subject for you.


Anh Khoi Do

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