Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Michael Ignatieff divides the Liberals

Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff
Photo Canadian Press

While Michael Ignatieff, one of the eleven candidates in the leadership race of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC), is organizing on his web site auctions that allow people to "date" a deputy that is supporting him, we can be sure that the LPC is not really able to take advantage of the contempt that most Canadians have for the Conservative Party. I'm not a hard supporter of the LPC, but in my opinion, one of the problems that the Liberals have is their division that can clearly be seen in the actual leadership race that is taking place in their party.

The reason why the Liberals can't really take off in the public opinions can also be explained by the division that tears their party as it was said in the introduction. When Stephen Harper, the Prime minister of Canada and the leader of the Conservative Party, have proposed in the House of Commons to prorogate the mandate of the Canadian troops in Afghanistan, some of the Liberals were against that parliamentary initiative. As strange as it might look, it was the Liberals who have had the idea, back in 2001 when Jean Chrétien was Canada's Prime minister, to send our troops in Afghanistan. Now, some of them want our troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, because they do have a feeling that the mission itself doesn't look like a peace-keeping mission, but rather like a war that is described with a big "W" in the public opinion.

Even though he doesn't openly admit that he's a little bit pro-American, Michael Ignatieff should really think about changing his vision in foreign policies if he really wants to become the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) in December. Of course, the Liberals don't advocate the idea of supporting the American imperialism, but do you really think that they can conquer the public opinion with their division in their foreign policies since they often have a tendency to take the ethnic minorities' votes for granted? The answer is no and that is something that Ignatieff must understand.

What so many people in Canada hate about Michael Ignatieff is his interest in promoting the Canadian ideological values, because he's one of the rare Canadian public figures who have condoned the American invasion in Iraq not necessarily for finding the weapons of mass destruction, but rather for the promotion of the principles of human rights. Ignatieff definitely looks like a strong defender of democracy in the likes of Canadian political analyst Rex Murphy, but he must understand that Canadians don't want to see their country becoming a blind supporter of American imperialism. Now, do I consider Michael Ignatieff as a potential leader of the Liberal Party? To tell you the truth, I really don't appreciate Ignatieff's political visions.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Canadians detest their pro-American government

The newspaper Journal de Montréal shows us that the Conservative Party, the governing party that is led by Stephen Harper, lost some support according to the latest survey made by the group SES Research. With a low score of 36% nationwide, the Tories are getting back to where they used to be right before the general election of the 23rd of January 2005. Furthermore, 42% of people coming from the province of Quebec said that they’d vote for the Bloc Québécois.

Even though a sample made of 1003 persons, who responded to the surveys from the 18th to the 23rd of August, was used, it shows us that the dream of Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to form a majority in the House of Commons is gradually fading. Obviously, Harper has hit a low because some Canadians have seen that he can’t really defend the interest of Canada.

In the conflict over the issue of the trades of softwood lumber that opposed Canada to the USA, Canada could only get $4 billions out of the $5.3 billions that our Southern neighbours owe us. Although international trading courts have proven that Canada is in a good position to claim $5.3 billions, the Bush administration refused to pay what it owes to Canada and Harper doesn’t seem to care about that, which is, for most Canadians, a display of weakness towards the Americans.

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, is apparently showing to these Americans that it doesn’t matter if they just fuck us. Do we want a government that is transforming our country into the slave of our Southern neighbour? The answer is no. It is true that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) connects the Americans’ economy to that of Canada. But how much does Harper wants to connect Canada’s economy to that of the USA?

Maybe too much? The NAFTA might have some advantages, but the downside of this agreement is that when Canada is totally right on certain issues, the USA just wants to do things with their own way. Harper’s patent pro-Americanism can cost him so many votes. The only way to win an election in Canada is to let people know that their country can have a voice of its own while facing the USA. Harper can be sure that he’ll hit another low, because the upcoming agreement, which will be the object of a vote in the House of Commons, deals with the conflict of the softwood lumber.

If the votes are in favour of this agreement, then Canada will only get $4 billion out of the $5.3 billion that the USA owe to it. Given the fact that Harper is at the head of a minority government, if the opposition parties are against the trading agreement, then the Canadian government will fall and a federal election will be held in the next month, because only non-confidence and financial votes can topple a minority government.

Finally, Gilles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, has said that the members of his party will vote in favour of the agreement, because his party is having a shortage of money. As for the Liberals and the New Democrats, they won’t support it. We'll see how Canadians will endure this annoying federal political story. This story is to be continued.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

André Arthur's quick tongue and another story

According to an article of the news agency Canadian Press published in the French speaking newspaper La Presse, the Canadian federal deputy André Arthur is not showing a lot of sympathy for the Lebanese people. While saying that "they (the Lebanese) are using their Canadian passport to come in this country (Canada) to ski or to offer a medical operation for their aunt", the deputy of Portneuf raises a very tough question: what's the point of having a dual citizenship when you just come to Canada as a tourist while you do legally bear the Canadian citizenship?

Seriously, some friends of mine and I have come to think that people only use the citizenship of our country to take advantage of political benefits while being abroad. Well, if I wasn't interested to live in Canada, I wouldn't adopt the national citizenship of it. Even though André Arthur is an independent deputy at the Canadian parliament, it's needless to say that he is often close to Stephen Harper's stances on certain issues.

I don't want to sound really rude, but even though I don't like a lot the very idea of dual citizenship, I personally think that a Canadian citizen must only have the right to have an American citizenship for geographic reason, because as you all know it, the USA is our Southern neighbour. Now, I'd rather talk about it another time.

Besides, André Arthur is wondering why on earth did the Canadian government decide to spend $25 millions for the humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Lebanon. As far as I know, the Israeli troops should claim responsibility for the destruction of Lebanon, but the reason why Harper has decided to unblock these funds has a political nature. This move rather looks like hypocrisy. Stephen Harper, the Prime minister of Canada, was apparently supporting Israel, but he's apparently trying to put his past blunders right behind him in order to conquer the heart of the Lebanese community.

This, in my opinion, won't work at all. This ludicrous contradiction shows us that Stephen Harper can't adopt a real stance in foreign policies. When you're at the helm of a government, you don't have the luxury to lose yourself into contradiction with two stances that are opposed to each other unless you just woke up... The Harper government has shown us how clumsy it is when it comes to tackling hot issues in foreign policies. The unexpected military crisis that shook Lebanon has single-handedly shown us, in a manner of speaking, how cold Stephen Harper really is as a puppet of George W. Bush, the USA's head of State. This cold attitude has brought people to think that Stephen Harper is just a man who doesn't seem to care that much about what's going on in the world, especially when Canada's noisy Southern neighbour is trying to act like the maker of world order. Is Stephen Harper a sensitive humanist? Well, Asking the question is like answering to it...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Harper's support for neo-conservatism

Because of the demonstration that was held on the 6th of August for peace in the Middle East, columnist Barbara Kay labels the Quebeckers as “Islamist terrorist sympathizers” who have a “cultural and historical sympathy for Arab countries from the francophonie -- Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon -- joined with reflexive anti-Americanism and a fat streak of anti-Semitism that has marbled the intellectual discourse of Quebec throughout its history”. Finally, in her column’s conclusion, Barbara Kay audaciously states that “unlike them (André Boisclair, Denis Coderre, Gilles Duceppe and Amir Khadir), he (Stephen Harper) isn't willing to sell his soul.”

Obviously, Stephen Harper has “[sold] his soul” a long time ago… This man draws his foreign policy in order to align them on the ones coming from our Southern neighbours. Canada has often had stances in terms of foreign policies that are independent from the USA's viewpoints, a country that is not always trying to find peaceful solutions to the political tensions that tear the world with its condemnable foreign policies, mind you. Stephen Harper's blind support for Israel that lacks nuances reveals a tacit support for the American government's ideas that aims to weaken the Arabic countries of the Middle East in favour of Israel with bloodshed. All in all, these bloodsheds in question don't bring peace in the Middle East...

As a puppet of George W. Bush, Stephen Harper probably doesn't care that much about how the USA's imperialistic ambition destabilizes the world. Needless to say that the Bush administration is so tempted by making unilateral decisions in order to satisfy the American interests around the world and those who are against them inevitably become the object of their anger. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper has chosen to be on Bush's side and this will transform Canada into a quiet supporter of worldwide imperialism. Just like journalist Larry Zolf, I do agree that even if Harper loses some support, he'll probably get votes from certain members of the Jewish community, who are usually liberals with a small “l”, since his foreign policies are favouring Israel. By the way, don't you think that Stephen Harper is just mindlessly repeating what George W. Bush says? This is so embarassing for proud Canadians.

Being against the decision of the Israeli and American governments doesn't necessarily illustrate a “reflexive anti-Americanism” nor an anti-Semitism. Barbara Kay doesn't seem to see that the Israeli and American governments are advocating political stances that don't bring peace at all in the Middle East. Seriously, Kay has gone way too far in her column... Finally, has Canada lost its independence in foreign policies? Let's talk about it now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

News for today

Ok, I'm definitely not supposed to write on my blog because guess what, I just have nothing interesting to write. That's it, that's all. Nonetheless, as I'm reading an article of the French newspaper Le Monde, I'm learning that Mahmud Ahmedinejad, the very conservative president of Iran, has a blog. No, I'm so serious! Here's the link that will bring you to Ahmadinejad's blog that can also be viewed in English.

Yes, you're going to say that Ahmedinejad is not attracted to the new technologies and that his government, which is full of idiots who pretend that they're so civilized, has done so many efforts to censor the Iranian web space (blogs, web pages, etc), just to make sure that the cultural sector is "purified" as Iran's minister of culture says it. Hey, does the previous sentences give you the envy to compare Iran (and most counries of the Muslim civilization) to the Europe of the 18th century? Let's talk about it later. Well, to be very honest with you, Mahmud Ahmadinejad's blog is just so boring to read.

Other news for today that only concern people who live in the province of Quebec. The Parti Québécois (PQ) has swept the counties of Taillon and Pointes-aux-Trembles in yesterday's by-elections without creating any surprise. Let's see if we'll have a real political fight as people love it at the National Assembly and also, let's see what André Boisclair is truly made of, because I'm sure that some supporters of the PQ don't identify Boisclair as their leader. For the moment, Jean Charest, the leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, didn't really deliver the cake that the Quebeckers have been waiting for, as the head of the provincial government. On that note, I'd like to say that Charest actually has a huge work to do...

Anh Khoi Do, Montreal, Qc. Canada

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blaming the Hezbollah

Since the beginning of this conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization, many people have been blaming Israel for all the collateral damages on Lebanese civilians. Obviously, what the Israeli troops have done is clearly reprehensible, but on a second thought the Hezbollah is not as clean as it looks. In fact, as you've probably noticed it, the reason why the Israeli army killed so many civilians it's because it was targetting the areas in which the Hezbollah was hiding in order to attack Israel.

Seriously, if the members of the Hezbollah care so much about children, why would they hide in areas full of civilians? Consider the upcoming statements as partial answers: while being aware that many Lebanese citizens might get killed, the members of this organization led by Hassan Nasrallah certainly want to use these civilians as a "collective human shield" in order to save the members of their organization. The previous affirmation shows us that they really don't care that much about the people that they're apparently protecting.

As Richard Martineau, a Canadian columnist, pointed it out two weeks ago in the famous French speaking weekly newspaper Voir, the more the Hezbollah see dead civilians, the more they'll feel like telling to the Lebanese people that the dead civilians have died as martyrs. Furthermore, the Hezbollah is using these so-called martyrs in order to justify their desire to destroy Israel by saying something that sounds like: "You see, they (the Israelis) don't like us so we have to bash them." It doesn't look like the Hezbollah wants peace with Israel because they show us that they just want to pursue their objective that consits in destroying Israel and needless to say that their desire of destruction will plunge Lebanon into a river of blood. Well, if these terrorists were truly men of honour, which is not the case, they'd probably face the Israeli troops like real men without putting the civilians between them and their opponents.

However, even though a concrete plan, albeit fragile, for the establishment of peace has been made by the United Nations (UN), the Middle East is not likely to cease to be a hot corner on the globe, politically speaking. On that note, I'd like to specify that I'm definitely not pro-Israel nor pro-Hezbollah just to tell you the truth. In order to broaden this very interesting debate here are a few observations that I'll leave to you. Is the international community aware that if the UN's international forces along with the Lebanese army secure the devastated areas while the Israeli army is proceeding to a withdrawal, will this give to the Hezbollah a safe window of time to reconstruct itself in order to pursue their anti-Semitic objective?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Questionnable relations

In Montreal, a city that is known for sheltering a relatively huge Lebanese community, a demonstration was held in the streets of the city in which I live on Sunday in order to let people freely show their support for Lebanon (and also Palestine) against Israel, the “invader”. In fact, some deputies belonging to some federal and provincial political parties came to the demonstration in question.

Any given politician who came to this demonstration has done an irreparable blunder. In fact, many demonstrators, mostly of Arabic heritage, who were at the demonstration, were candidly showing their support for the Hezbollah by brandishing the Hezbollah’s flag. Furthermore, the politicians who came at this demonstration didn’t probably care about the fact that people will associate them with a terrorist organization in the likes of the Hezbollah, which is considered illegal by the Canadian government since 2002.1 Obviously, the Canadian political opposition parties have cast opprobrium on their image.

The Parti Québécois, the Liberal Party of Canada and the Bloc Québécois are definitely turning a blind eye on terrorism, because they didn’t really seem to care about the fact that some people brandished the Hezbollah’s flag. Even though the Hezbollah is 1) a Lebanese political party and 2) a “charitable organization” that runs schools and hospitals in the South of Lebanon, it has, nonetheless, 3) a very anti-Semitic terrorist branch that is looking forward to destroy Israel. The third statement made in the previous sentence clearly reveals us, as opposed to what some ignorant people who blindly support the Hezbollah say, that this terrorist organization doesn’t want peace at all.

Furthermore, don’t forget that this Shiite organization led by Hassan Nasrallah is financed by Syria and Iran, which is a country that has a president (and a clumsy liar) who is openly anti-Semitic by the way. Don’t be surprised if you saw the president of the Fédérations des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) Henri Massé do a such a smart analysis: “The attacker is completely Israel.”2 Instead of exhorting the international community to order a cease-fire with neutrality some people are backing up a side by blaming the other one (i.e. Israel) as if the latter was the only criminal that must be fingered.

As you all know it, the very complex concept of neutrality implies the fact that one is plainly “not supporting either side in a conflict”.3 Showing empathy for Lebanese people is easily justifiable, but condoning the presence of a bunch of narrow-minded fake political scientists who support the Hezbollah is definitely a lack of neutrality. In fact, it’s a tacit support for terrorism, which is hindering the establishment of peace in the Middle East, and also a despicable display of laissez-faire attitude towards the Hezbollah. Furthermore, those who support the Hezbollah believe that they’re 100% right and the pro-Israel people are 100% wrong. This article is to be continued in one week.

1. Frédéric Lavoie. « Un serveur montréalais piraté par le Hezbollah », La Presse, Montreal, August 10, 2006, p. A5

2. Henri Massé quoted in Lysianne Gagnon. « Et vive le terrorisme! », La Presse, Montreal, August 10, 2006, p. A17

3. [s.a]. The Compact English Dictionary, Omega Books, Hertfordshire, 1985, p. 190

Monday, August 7, 2006

A history of manipulation

If you do follow the news on the Internet, I'm sure that you often go on the web site of the British news agency Reuters. Now, as I'm surfing on the net to get my daily news, I'm reading an article in French that says that this internationally renowned news agency has deleted of its database 920 pictures taken by a Lebanese freelance photographer during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. In fact, all these things that are probably reported by the news agency Agence France-Presse reveal us that the Lebanese freelance photographer in question has manipulated two pictures.

On Sunday, the news agency Reuters announced on its web site that it was dissociating itself from its freelance Lebanese photographer because he (or maybe she) has apparently modified the pictures that were taken. Do you want to know how the pictures looked like? Well, from what we can see, the photographer in question has used the so brilliant technology provided by the software Photoshop in order to manipulate his two pictures. The picture that shows you a view on Beirut doesn't look really credible, because that employee of Reuters working in Lebanon has multiplied the effect of the Israeli air raids on the capital city of Lebanon.

The column of smoke that you see over the buildings are darker than they were in the original version of the picture. The second picture shows us an Israeli airplane shooting three flares, but we do learn that the number of flares has been brought to three because of the Lebanese photographer's ability to play with Photoshop. Here are the two pictures that you can watch: [1] and [2]. Now, I think that I've read enough news for today and I must keep reading the novel Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali (A Sunday at the swimming pool of Kigali), from Gil Courtemanche, which is a novel that talks about the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.

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