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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Canada's Lost Balls Located ...

... found in the vicinity of Stephen Harper's spine

A year ago I was in despair about the state of Canadian politics, and resigned myself to living the rest of my life in a perpetual one-party state, governed by the (at best) incompetent and (at worst) corrupt Liberals. Canadians get the government we deserve, I thought. Well, what did we do to deserve the astonishing performance of Stephen Harper this week? I thought I'd never live to see the like.

The headline in today's Globe and Mail: "Harper refuses to budge". From the National Post: "Harper nixes call for peacekeepers - Israel the victim". Fresh from a meeting with French president Jacques Chirac, who labelled Israel's conduct in Lebanon "aberrant", Harper had the temerity to reject a French suggestion that the U.N. send peace-keepers to its former colony or to negotiate a ceasefire between Hezbollah and the Israelis, saying " the ceasefire is one element of the action plan that's called for in the G8 statement, but I would point out it's not the first thing called for, nor is it the only thing". Further, when asked to comment on an accusation by the Canadian Arab Federation that he was personally responsible for the deaths of Canadian civilians in Lebanon from Israeli bombing because he labelled Israel's military action a "measured response", he responded "I don't think that warrants a response. It's a bizarre accusation".

Predictably, liberals and Liberals are up in arms. Lloyd Axworthy is spluttering about Canada's abandonment of its role as "honest broker" in the Middle East by taking sides in the conflict - a role which, as Andrew Coyne pointed out on CBC news last night, we last had in 1956 during the Suez Crisis, and have been tripping over ever since. One can only imagine Paul Martin's response to this situation - the dithering, the stuttering mumbled bromides about peace-keeping and root causes, the frantic consultations with Bono, Bob Geldof, and Kofi Annan, the dispatching of Alexandre Trudeau on a fact-finding mission, and finally the dumping of truck-loads of money on Arab NGOs.

My god - Canada at last has a coherent foreign policy that supports the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. I don't know how long this will last - maybe Canadians don't, in fact, deserve this government - but it's fun while it lasts.

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