Saturday, February 10, 2007

Harper Human Rights and Organ Harvesting in China

I have serious reservations over lots of what the Harper government is doing in so many areas, from the environment, to mandatory minimum sentences to national child care diverted to a phony positioning of presenting “choice.” I really despaired over their ideological induced demise of social programs like literacy supports. Much of this is caused by an incomplete and shallow sense of our society by the Cons who presumes simple self reliance and pulling up ones “socks" is all anyone need for success.

However, when I agree with Harper, I also have to give him his due. The reversal of a campaign promise on income trusts is one I agreed wholeheartedly with and said so in earlier postings on this Blog. I suspect his adamant campaign period promise in defense of the status quo for income trusts was pure politics. One would expect, however, with his celebrated grasp of economics, he'd of had a better handle on the issue's implications and been more forthright on it in the campaign.

We all "know", that in politics, there is a generaly held "belief" that there are certain things you just have to say to win and they are often very different from what you actually have to do once you get the job. The income trust reversal may be a case in point. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is no more redeeming than doing the political thing purely for reasons of power. Sometimes you just have to forget your principles and do the right thing, even in a campaign. (sic)

Once again, however, I am delighted to find myself agreeing with Harper, this time on China relations. The link between human rights and trade with China (and some others too) has to be made pointedly and held strongly. I disagree with the Harper government more often than I agree with it, but fair is fair.

Prime Minister Harper is right to stand up and be counted on human rights as foundational to Canada's long term trade relations with China. People have to realize respect for human rights is essential to long term mature trade relations, just as much as an independent justice system and a reliable currency system is foundational to effective trade relations.

I like Harper’s stand on this, and in particular, his rebuttal to the Liberal Opposition criticism of his stand. They have tried to frame him as “a bumbling cold warrior” accusing him of having “little influence in Beijing because of (his) blunt public criticism and lack of finesse on international affairs.” Harper counters that “past Liberal governments failed to standup to the Chinese on questions of human rights, with no apparent improvement in trade.” Appeasement and pussy-footing are inconsistent with the qualities necessary and the strength of character needed today, be it in a leader or in a country.

In the wake of Maher Arar, we now have the case of Huseyin Celil, a Chinese born Canadian citizen imprisoned in China on terrorism charges with the Chinese denying his Canadian citizenship, even though our government adamantly acknowledges he is a Canadian. Harper also seems to be on this case now too. Wow! Maybe our government is starting to see there is value and rights attached to being Canadian and they need to be protected and respected.

Good on ya Stephen Harper! Now please take up another important humans rights issue with China. Do something about the human rights violation inherent in their harvesting and trading of human organs from prisoners and members of the Falun Gong. I will be monitoring your progress with great interest and a keen eye.