Some would say that the Harper regime's justification for its decision to commit militarily to the fight against ISIS was patriotic and stirring:Said John Baird
“My Canada heeds the call’’.... “My Canada protects the vulnerable. My Canada does not leave all the heavy lifting to others.’’Said Mr. Harper:
“If Canada wants to keep its voice in the world — and we should since so many of our challenges are global’’ ... “being a free rider means you are not taken seriously.’’Also from Mr. Harper
“Our government has a duty to protect Canadians and to shoulder our burden in efforts to combat threats such as ISIL. We must do our part.”Such compassion, such commitment to the world that exists beyond Canada, such a stirring reminder of the duty to protect .... such utter and complete nonsense.
Actions, and in many cases, inactions, speak far louder than lofty rhetoric. Perhaps it is only the particular brand of conservatism practised by the Harper regime, but these clarion calls to duty and compassion expressed above seem more honoured in the breach than in the observance when this government's sorry record is scrutinized.
Consider the following inconvenient truths about our current regime:
Canada's cut to foreign aid was the biggest of all countries in 2013. According to One Campaign’s 2014 Data Report, as reported in The Star
In 2013, Canada’s aid spending sunk to 0.27 of GNI — below the international average of .29, according to the One Report, which does not include debt relief in its calculations.This leads Stephen Brown, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa, to conclude
“We have a moral imperative for bombing, but not so much for helping the poor”.Now hot to protect the vulnerable, one wonders where the Harper regime's philanthropic impulses were in its refusal
to sponsor any more than 200 Syrian refugees, though the UN’s refugee agency asked us to take at least 10,000 refugees.Or, as Haroon Siddiqui recently pointed out
He has also refused to allow a mere 100 children from Gaza, victims of Israeli bombings, to be brought to Canada for desperately needed medical treatment and rehabilitation. His sympathies are selective, mostly ideologically and politically driven.
Of the government's refusal
to provide proper health care to refugees, I will not even speak.
Or consider how trying to track and help our domestic vulnerable has been hobbled
by government's decision to cancel the mandatory long- form census:
It took David Hulchanski five years to create the most sophisticated tool to track urban poverty ever devised. The work was painstaking. The result was startling and worrisome.
It took Tony Clement five minutes — if that — to destroy Hulchanski’s mapping device.Without the reliable data provided by the long-form census data, his methodology, which was on the verge of being used across the country, was useless.
How about the regime's abject failure to protect the environment and help combat climate change, as outlined by The Globe
and discussed in this blog yesterday
And the muzzling of our scientists, virtually forbidden to share their worrisome research on the environment and climate change lest it hamper the imperative of economic development via such Harper-favoured projects as the Alberta tarsands, has been well-documented
The list goes on and on, of course, but I believe the pattern is abundantly clear in these few examples. The latest war cries on the basis of patriotism and compassion for the vulnerable, certain to appeal to its base, is simply more evidence of the egregious hypocrisy of the Harper Conservatives that has only gotten worse the longer it has stayed in power.