May 30, 2006

Politics vs. Principle - a Response to Calgary Grit

Calgary Grit is a Liberal blogger for which I have a lot of respect. I also vowed never to post on Afghanistan again after I did 3 times a couple of weeks ago. But alas, here I go again.

Mr. Grit has written a pretty scathing review of Michael Ignatieff’s foreign policy, saying many Liberals disagree with Michael’s foreign policy. This is where I have to fundamentally disagree. Primarily, because Grit takes such a narrow view of what Michael’s foreign policy really is.

For his entire academic and journalistic career, Michael Ignatieff has been promoting interventionism. He is well known as a Liberal interventionist, saying we must intervene in societies where the state has failed to protect the basic human rights of its citizens. Nobody can really dispute that is his position, it’s everywhere in everything he rights. He has written it from a theoretical standpoint, a historiographical standpoint, and a direct journalistic standpoint throughout several essays and books.

How many Liberals agree with this viewpoint? Canada’s three last interventions were the result of failed states failing to protect the human rights of its citizens. All began under Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan are startling examples of states who failed to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens. We usually waited for a catalyst to intervene. Bosnia was at war with Croatia and Serbia. Afghanistan sponsored terrorists who flew 3 planes into American buildings. However, the common thread throughout these three missions is that Canada, along with the international community took a commitment to protect these persecuted people.

There is one civil conflict in that time period in which we did not intervene, Rwanda. The results are devastating. 800 000 people were slaughtered due to their ethnicity, a state where a couple of thousand troops could have prevented the massacre of thousands of innocent civilians. The international community sat on their hands and chose not to act until it was too late. General Romeo Dallaire was there and watched the insanity unfold before his eyes. One must also note that was in favor of Mr Harper’s resolution, because in his view, withdrawing support now would be akin to quitting when the going got tough.

Calgary Grit, that is why I disagree with what you have written about Afghanistan. You have said our troops may soon be needed in the Sudan, where Rwanda II is stewing. I agree. However, I do not believe we must turn the Afghans back to the Taliban to protect the Sudanese, but ratehr we must help those who have the manpower, particularly those in the African Union who has already stated they wish to intervene. I believe many Liberals would agree with Interventionist policy, because it is far from neo-conservative, in fact, it’s Wilsonian liberalism, adopted by other famous politicians including Bill Clinton, someone who many Liberals agree with in terms of foreign policy, including the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

You advised your readers to play politics with the issue and vote against the resolution. You say “The majority of Canadians oppose the extension of the mission and you can't beat a government in power by taking the exact same position as them.” I believe they want someone who would make the right moral decision, not someone who would waffle on procedure a la John Kerry (I voted against it before I voted for it). Liberals want a leader with character, and one who would not blink in the face of adversity.

32 Commentaires:

Blogger The Tiger a dit...

We'll see if he can stick to it. That, coupled with his comment about sacred cows to a Quebec audience, makes for a very interesting potential leader.

But his big speech in English Canada -- that one that became his first web-video -- wasn't very impressive.

(Again, though, I'm not his audience, and I won't be during the next election either.)

5/30/2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Antonio, great post. You are absolutely right.

Interventionism is simply the right thing to do. As human beings, how can we simply not do anything to help other human beings whose rights are being trampled on, where death, rape, and other acts of brutality are rampant?

I have not ventured into the leadership debate, but I totally support Michael Ignatieff's foreign policy position. Sometimes, as a government, you need to do what's right, not what will get you more votes the next election.

Franky, I'm ashamed with how many Canadians are reacting to the Afghan mission. Afghanistan is no different than Bosnia or Kosovo. The only difference is that there are Taleban terrorists in certain parts of the country which attack coalition troops. The only reason why the Taleban ever got to the power they once were and why they still carry out attacks today is due to ineffective Western foreign policy, which saw the US supporting the Taleban against the Soviets (one of the worst decisions ever made, which eventually cost Americans many lives at home, not to mention the absolute trampling of human rights in Afghanistan). Also, a few years back, pre 9/11, the world community was outraged when the Taleban blew up two huge bhuddist statues. What hypocrisy... the Western governments were upset when statues were blown up, but turned a bling eye to the atrocities commited against the Afghan people.

In the end, that's the whole issue; whether to turn a blind eye and go with the 'flavour of the month' world issue, which is Sudan. Let's not forget that it was two years of ineffective Western intervention which has allowed the Sudan situation to persist and worsen over the past couple of years.

We are Canadians. We need to support human rights EVERYWHERE, not just where it seems more popular. No one likes war. No one likes coffins of soldiers coming home. But we do not live in a ideal world, and sometimes human lives are lost when doing what's right. It is our duty to support human rights and democracy all over the world and help failed states everywhere. We should never return to the ineffective foreign policy of the past which saw countless die everywhere, including Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Sometimes doing what's right is that hardest thing to do. But just because it's hard, doesn't mean we give up. We are Canadians after all.

5/30/2006 10:46 AM  
Blogger renew the party a dit...

I fully support Calgary Grit on this one.

Furthermore, I just cannot even consider Mr. Ignatieff for the next leader. Writings and university teaching do not translate into experience as a politican- and Mr. Ignatieff has no experience as a politician.

His position to support the mission when we were given no details about the mission is a rush to judgement and there are plenty of Liberals that share my view.
I think we will have to learn to disagree on this one.

5/30/2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger ottlib a dit...

I have read Clagary Grit's take on this and I have read yours and I find both make valid points.

For Conservatives, this is a simple proposition. We have to fight the war on terror and the best way to show that world that we are contributing to that effort is to send our troops into harms way for an indefinite amount of time. Of course, they tend to care less about the effectiveness of such a strategy.

For Liberals, life is rarely that black and white. Thus this lively debate about Dr. Ignatieff's position on the Afghan mission.

5/30/2006 12:56 PM  
Blogger polfilma a dit...

Great post, Antonio.

What bothers me about the comments of someone like Calgary Grit is that they say things like, "you can't beat a government in power by taking the exact same position as them".

The best leader is someone who takes a position and sticks with it because it is the "right" position, not because it is a "different" position from your opponent (Harper).

Some of the MPs who voted "no" were only voting against the Parlimentary procedure which Harper used to bring about the vote, not the mission itself.

The Liberal party and Ignatieff have plenty of issues to disagree with Harper. We don't have to disagree with him on every single issue.

5/30/2006 12:56 PM  
Blogger calgarygrit a dit...

Good post Antonio. A few points:

1. Ignatieff himself said that he wouldn't have taken Canada into the Iraq war because Canadians didn't support it. So he's already said he'd compromise on his principles.

2. Afghanistan is more muddles, I'll agree and I can see both sides of the issue. However, on issues like Star Wars and Iraq, he was clearly off-side on the Liberal Party position (in general, obviously some Liberals would support him).

3. There's certainly a place for interventionism. But is it really neccesary for Canada to take on the bulk of the manpower required for this mission? We've tied our hands completely for the next 3 years, preventing Canada from helping in other places.

4. Finally, as I was saying, from a purely political perspective, whether this is right or wrong, I think this position will a) hurt Ignatieff in the race and b) hurt the Liberals, primarily in Quebec. As I said in my post, Ignatieff was right to vote for the motion because it's what he's always believed in. I just don't know if this is the best political direction for the Liberal Party to take.

5/30/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

The problem with liberal internationalism is that it is naively idealistic (you cant liberalize everyone), used as a front for less benign motives (a la Iraq), selectively applied (there is a plethora of countries that we can "liberally intervene" in), and time and time again has been a proven failure with negatives far outweighing the positives.

A liberal internationalist vision for Canada is even more naive and dangerous given our middle power status. Canada does not have the resources to intervene on our own, thus we must latch on to the expeditions of the larger powers and whatever agenda and baggage they might have.

Mr. Ignatieff's position may be based on principle, but it is still wrong for this country and wrong for the Liberal party. We can have our principles and be wrong. It does not follow that taking a position based on principle means that the position is right.

Mr. Ignatieff's foreign policy prescriptions are the second biggest reason I wont be voting for him under any circumstances in December (the first being that I believe that his absence from this country and lack of the common touch will make him an electoral disaster of the 1984 variety).

I do not believe in biting off more than we can chew. Select engagements in places we might actually make a difference are one things, but Mr. Ignatieff supported the war in Iraq. Period. Full stop. He can try to wiggle out of that position all he wants ("I was actually for the war before I was against it") but some of us have longer memories than that.

The more this leadership campaign gets rolling, the more convinced I become that Mr. Ignatieff has to be stopped. I would fear his foreign policy positions if I actually believed that he had an icycle's hope in hell of beating Stephen Harper. Ignatieff victory = Harper majority.

Its only one man's opinion, but thats how I see it.

5/30/2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Calgary Grit

1) Making the decision whether or not intervention is warranted is far different from sending your troops there. Jean Chretien was known for making a habit of not answering hypotheticals. Michael is no different here.

2) The Liberal party position 4 months ago in the election was the one Michael Ignatieff voted for, and which, sadly, 60 Liberal MPs disagreed with. Granted, the extension was not in our platform, but nonetheless, there was NEVER any mention of brining the troops home in 2007. All indications were that we were staying until the job was done, as we had in Bosnia.

3) It is well known that the Sudanese government does not want non-African troops in the area. With our 12 billion dollar surplus, there are ways which we can provide assistance to the African Union countries who want to commit soldiers without necessarily send troops there ourselves.

4) We should ALWAYS as a party take the direction that is the correct one. ALWAYS. Even if that decision hurts us in Quebec (remember the Clarity Act) It is our role to explain to Quebeckers and to all Canadians WHY being in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. We should remain a party that does not renege on our commitments. Not extending the mission, which is what some of our MPs voted for, would have resulted in us wasting the effort we made to try and fix the Afghan society all to send them back to their nightmare.

5/30/2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

1) Making the decision whether or not intervention is warranted is far different from sending your troops there. Jean Chretien was known for making a habit of not answering hypotheticals. Michael is no different here.

I find that to be a rather weak explanation. It was pretty clear that Mr. Ignatieff supported the war in Iraq and he gave us no reason to believe that he wouldnt have taken us in there kicking and screaming untill after he decided he wanted to run for a party that overwhelmingly opposed that war.

3) It is well known that the Sudanese government does not want non-African troops in the area. With our 12 billion dollar surplus, there are ways which we can provide assistance to the African Union countries who want to commit soldiers without necessarily send troops there ourselves.

And the Taliban never wanted us in Afghanistan. Whats the difference?

4) We should ALWAYS as a party take the direction that is the correct one. ALWAYS. Even if that decision hurts us in Quebec (remember the Clarity Act) It is our role to explain to Quebeckers and to all Canadians WHY being in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. We should remain a party that does not renege on our commitments. Not extending the mission, which is what some of our MPs voted for, would have resulted in us wasting the effort we made to try and fix the Afghan society all to send them back to their nightmare

The vote was more than on extending the mission. It was about the first chance for parliament to reject or endorse what Ignatieff calls the "new paradigm". Do Canadians really endorse our new role?

5/30/2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Thomas a dit...

As usual, Antonio, you speak highly of human rights while forgetting the most important human right of all.

The right to national sovereignty.

The very reason that terrorism exists or gross human rights violations happen in the first place is because of imperialism in the first place.

People flew airplanes into American buildings because of the US' endless support for the state of Israel and their disrespect for Islam around the world.

The horrible genocide in Rwanda took place because of Belgian imperialism and the creation of false ethnic tensions.

Canada must peacekeep, not peacemake. Bring the troops home now!

Thomas @ thelongwalk.ca

5/30/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Kyle

the decision to send Canada to war is up to Cabinet, not simply the Prime Minister. Michael made his statement as a private individual.

One cannot simply assume it would have meant shipping the Canadian soldiers off.

Even Chretien never gave his personal opinion at the time, just that he wanted a proof and that a proof is not a proof until it is proven.

As for Darfur, the difference in Darfur is that it is not necessary for a canadian soldier to be there for Canadians to be involved in the intervention.

and lastly on this point, Kyle the vote was whether ornot to extend for 2 years, that is what people voted on. But using your logic, Paul Martin was Peace-Making when he originally extended the mission. They voted on a paradigm enacted by themselves, like I said a vote of no-confidence in their former government's decision.

As for you Tommie, the right of a nation to its own sovereignty is important. However, the Peace-Making paradigm is all about intervening in a situation where the state has failed to protect its citizens. The Taliban were hardly models of a state who protected its people.

5/30/2006 2:18 PM  
Blogger calgarygrit a dit...

1) Making the decision whether or not intervention is warranted is far different from sending your troops there. Jean Chretien was known for making a habit of not answering hypotheticals. Michael is no different here.

Maybe I'm just confused on the nuanced position here but I still don't get this. With PM Ignatieff in 2002, Canada would have either supported the war or not. Period. Under your description, you're saying that the Liberal Party would have supported the war but not sent troops? Or Ignatieff would get up and say "I support this war, but Canada will not provide any assistance". Both of those would be recipes for disaster.

And if that position is OK, how is it not OK to say "we support the current mission, we support what is being done in Afghanistan, but we cannot extend the mission."? How is that any different?


2) The Liberal party position 4 months ago in the election was the one Michael Ignatieff voted for, and which, sadly, 60 Liberal MPs disagreed with. Granted, the extension was not in our platform, but nonetheless, there was NEVER any mention of brining the troops home in 2007. All indications were that we were staying until the job was done, as we had in Bosnia.

The current mission was only agreed to under the assumption that it would free up Canadian troops in 2007 for other endeavours. The Liberal Party did not campaign on an extension in the last election.


3) It is well known that the Sudanese government does not want non-African troops in the area. With our 12 billion dollar surplus, there are ways which we can provide assistance to the African Union countries who want to commit soldiers without necessarily send troops there ourselves.

Valid point. However, the African Union troops will need assistance and cannot themselves handle the situation. I think there's a strong chance there will be some sort of mission there.

4) We should ALWAYS as a party take the direction that is the correct one. ALWAYS. Even if that decision hurts us in Quebec (remember the Clarity Act) It is our role to explain to Quebeckers and to all Canadians WHY being in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. We should remain a party that does not renege on our commitments. Not extending the mission, which is what some of our MPs voted for, would have resulted in us wasting the effort we made to try and fix the Afghan society all to send them back to their nightmare.

Personally, I think pot should be legalized. Hell, maybe even prostitution too. But I think it would be a mistake to elect a leader who espouses that. I don't think the mission would collapse with reduced Canadian support. There are, what, 60 countries in the mission? I'm sure some of them could pick up the slack.

5/30/2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

the decision to send Canada to war is up to Cabinet, not simply the Prime Minister. Michael made his statement as a private individual.

One cannot simply assume it would have meant shipping the Canadian soldiers off.


Oh come on Antonio. I thought you studied poli sci! We both know that when push comes to shove on major issues the PM is a de facto sole executive.

You cant have it both ways. You cant call him principled wrt to liberal interventions, and in the same breath say he would have respected the wishes of the majority of the Canadian people.

Another issue for me ius that his support of the war in Iraq, period, showed poor judgement. Even if he were just one voice at the cabinet table, I want my leaders to make good decisions on matters of peace and war.

As for Darfur, the difference in Darfur is that it is not necessary for a canadian soldier to be there for Canadians to be involved in the intervention.

By Ignatieff's logic we would be a lot more effective if we were in Darfur.

Kyle the vote was whether ornot to extend for 2 years, that is what people voted on. But using your logic, Paul Martin was Peace-Making when he originally extended the mission. They voted on a paradigm enacted by themselves, like I said a vote of no-confidence in their former government's decision.

And I think the message that was sent was that the majority of the liberal caucus were not 100% comfortable with the previous government's "paradigm shift".

I'd have to agree with CalgaryGrit on this one--Ignatieff's views on foreign policy are out of step with most in the Liberal Party, and I expect this fact to give rise to a considerable "anyone but Iggy" movement.

5/30/2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

First Antonio,

How exactly is dubious at best missle defence shield, or "star wars" intervening in a failed state?

Second of all how is invading Iraq intervening in a failed state?

Thirdly, How is invading Afghanistan intervening in a failed state?

The former Yugoslavia was a failed state when Tito's amalgamated fascist dreamland was no longer viable as a political entity.

The other examples are clearly acts of agression motivated by economic interests. Afghanistan was a little different because of Al Qaeda's attack on the US, but it wasn't a failed state nor was it the Afghan military that did the attacking.

Military invasion of sovereign nations for internal conflicts is an act of war that can envelop entire regions further endangering the very people who need protecting. There are very good reasons to hesitate to do this. Most Canadians do not support such actions.

5/30/2006 2:34 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

whoa, fire incoming..hehe

ok First grit

You cant argue what if PM Ignatieff in 2002, because there was no PM Ignatieff in 2002. There is no nuance. A statement made by a private citizen of whether or not to support foreign intervention is NOT the same as a leader of a country elected by his citizens making the same decision.

Jean Chretien's position had absolutely nothing to do with his personal beliefs.

His position was if the UN goes, Canada goes. We never knew Jean's personal views cuz he never told us, which is why I love the guy.

Since Michael has entered politics in 2005, he has taken the stance as a public figure in favor of extending the mission in Afghanistan.

As to whether other countries can pick up the slack, that is a point which has to be discussed. I believe us leaving is hanging the Afghans out to dry. Troops interviewed by CTV think they are likely going to end up doing 2 or 3 tours.

Kyle, I never at one point said Michael's position on whether or not intervention was justified has changed. I am saying that with the circumstances as they were in Canada at the time, you cant force a decision on someone that they did not have to make. And I do not blame him for not answering hypothetical questions.

You believe Ignatieff's views are out of step, so promote the international views of your candidate (and CG's and Shoshanna's coincidentally) Gerard Kennedy. I am trying to think of gerard's foreign policy positions. Every time I asked him about it In Montreal or Dummondville, he always said he wouldnt rule anything out. Maybe you guys can clarify.

Shoshanna, always a pleasure.

Missile Defence has nothing to do with the current debate. Michael's position in 2005 was that Canada should not have left the table before seeing what was on it. Knee-jerk anti-Americanism will not help this country's relations with the US. We should have waited for them to finish before we told them if we would join, not make a decision based on gaining political points.

As for whether or not Afghanistan and Iraq were failed states, Saddam gassing his own people in 1988 answers that question and the Taliban publicly murdering political enemies and installing a culture of fear among its population are hardly examples of shining stars of the International Community.

We are all judging with 20/20 hindsight vision here but most of us know that previous intervention in the past has worked in Bosnia and Kosovo. But please dont try and argue with me that the Taliban was protecting the fundamental human rights of its citizens.

I await the next incoming wave

5/30/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Edmonton a dit...

I was a little disappointed in Calgary Grits post as well.

Although I respect him, I'd have been more interested in reading or participating in a conversation debating whether we're right to be there.

What I read was 'What position is the correct position in order to attain power'.

And while I know that you cannot remove politics from, well politics, I'd rather evaluate possible leaders on what they really think and not how they intend to position themselves.

5/30/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

Kyle, I never at one point said Michael's position on whether or not intervention was justified has changed. I am saying that with the circumstances as they were in Canada at the time, you cant force a decision on someone that they did not have to make. And I do not blame him for not answering hypothetical questions.

Well I am not ready to let him go that easy. Stephen Harper tries the same thing. Everyone with a memory that extends beyond yesterday remembers him standing up in the House and blasting the government for not going to War in Iraq. Now he says he wouldnt have gone because we didnt have the man power!?! Can you say BS?

Ignatieff was strenuously in favour of the War before. Now that he wants to be Liberal leader he tries to backtrack and say that he wouldnt have gone. I asked him the question myself when I met him in Saskatoon (before I wrote off his candidacy completely) and his wishy washy non-answer quite disappointing.

Not only is his credibility on whether he would have gone or not suspect, his opinion on the subject is incredibly relevant regardless of the impossibility of the counterfactual. I dont want a leader who is inclined to support a war with such dubious justification as the Iraq war. I do not want such people leading my country.

You believe Ignatieff's views are out of step, so promote the international views of your candidate (and CG's and Shoshanna's coincidentally) Gerard Kennedy. I am trying to think of gerard's foreign policy positions. Every time I asked him about it In Montreal or Dummondville, he always said he wouldnt rule anything out. Maybe you guys can clarify.

I dont speak for Gerard Kennedy, but I would turn the question around and ask what are Ignatieff's domestic plans beyond empty platitudes about "national unity" and "equal citizenship"?

Part of my problem with Ignatieff is that his candidacy is almost exclusively focused on international issues (Not too drawing for this Poli Sci grad who concentrated in Canadian politics). Its almost like he has all these big ideas and needs a means with which to carry them out--hence his candidacy. I find the idea of my country being used for such a purpose to be offensive.

As for Kennedy on foreign policy. From what I have read, Mr. Kennedy is a liberal institutionalist rather than an interventionist. He sees a more positive role for Canada in international institutions protecting our farmers and manufacturers. His focus on peace rather than war seems much more in step with the Canadians I know than Ignatieff's aggressive foreign policy stance.

5/30/2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Enough with the political rambling lol. Sometimes the answer is black and white. Sometimes the answer is whether to do what's right or what's wrong.

Calgary Grit, Shoshanna, Kyle, let's take a look at different world hotspots and compare...

SERBIA and KOSOVO: Milosovic ordered mass relocations of ethnic Albanians from Kosovar areas. There were reports of killings and human rights abuses. NATO (which Canada is a proud member) got involved to stop the abuses. These were internal problems. This internal situation wasn't effecting other countries. However, the international community did not wish to see mass graves, mass raping, etc. They stepped in to make peace. Was Canada wrong to get involved because we were PEACEMAKING rather than PEACEKEEPING?

AFGHANISTAN: Women had practically no rights. Kites were outlawed. Music was outlawed. People were beaten up at random. People were killed for no reason. There were public executions in stadiums where soccer was played (soccer being outlawed at the time). This state was a terrorist safe-haven which allowed terrorists to commit the greatest most deadly terrorits attack in history. The international community needed to take a stand to insure the world's safety and bring some normalcy to the lives of Afghans. A coalition of nations stepped in to make peace and clean up the mess the Americans had created during the Cold War. Today despite ongoing small terrorist attacks, there have been huge improvements. GIRLS CAN ACTUALLY GO TO SCHOOL AND RECIEVE AN EDUCATION. Was Canada wrong to get involved because we were (and still are) PEACEMAKING rather than PEACEKEEPING?

RWANDA: Massive genocide not seen since the times of WW2. The international community did nothing. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. This was a mostly internal conflict. Using some people's logic, it was right not to get involved, since we'd be infringing on the county's sovereignty. That is no logic at all. That is stupidity. The international community didnt get involved and look what happened.

There is little difference between PEACEMAKING and PEACEKEEPING. It is wrong to do nothing. It is right to help save and improve human lives. Being a good samaritan is the right thing to do. If you have the opportunity to help a fellow human being, than you should.

5/30/2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

There is little difference between PEACEMAKING and PEACEKEEPING. It is wrong to do nothing. It is right to help save and improve human lives. Being a good samaritan is the right thing to do. If you have the opportunity to help a fellow human being, than you should.

If only morality were that black and white. Life would be a lot simpler. I certainly subscribe to the maxim "give me liberty of give me death"; but I am less convinced that is my right to tell people "Im going to give you liberty (sort of--you still have to sell us your oil and let us invest in your country, taking huge profits in the process) and if you die in the process (as thousands upon thousands of Afghans have) then so be it".

It just isnt that simple. Taking that principle to the extreme gives rise to a case to invade almost every country in the world... including our own... our continued prosecution of potsmokers is an affront to human rights and certainly a worthy justification for humanitarian intervention. Im being facticious (sp) of course. But the point is there.

5/30/2006 4:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Ignatieff has been travelling the country, most recently Eastern Quebec discussing his domestic policy...here is a tidbit from a speech last night in Sherbrooke on what equal citizenship means:

A student from Saint Boniface pays more to study in Montreal than a student from Saint Leonard. While it is solely provincial jurisdiction to set tuition prices, discrimination based on province of living is something fundamentally wrong.

A young lad from saint leonard goes to BC and gets an ear infection, he cannot see a doctor for free with his Quebec medicare card because Quebec has not signed an interprovincial agreement. So much for national health care. Once again, fundamentally wrong.

What ignatieff is proposing is getting the provinces to sit around the table and dicuss things, same as Jean Charest's concept with the Council of the Federation. We have to address things together and co-operate, not pit one province against the other a la Harper right now. So instead of making empty promises to violate provincial jurisdiction, we have to get everybody talking again. No more knife at the throat federalism.

Once the co-operation starts, Quebec separatists will be left with nothing to grasp for. Truly equal citizenship leads to national unity. It makes people feel they are a part of something. With one province always fighting another, real problems do not get solved. We have to cut through the bullshit, stop defending the sacred cow unless we all know WHY we are defending it. That is why I support this man for leader of the Liberal Party.

5/30/2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

Thats it? Hes going to sit down and get the provinces to agree? Hes going to have to do better than that. Im all for eliminating interprovincial mobility barriers but I will need to see some more specifics.

Im sorry Antonio. I know you really like Ignatieff, and you're certainly entitled to that opinion. But I am pretty certain that he lacks what it takes to appeal to ordinary citizens (the common touch, a commitment to the country by staying in it). I do not want to spend the next 10 years in opposition and will fully support an "anyone but Iggy" movement in the unlikely event that Gerard is eliminated.

To the best of my knowledge it would unprecedented for a major political party in western country to choose a voluntary ex-pat as its Prime Minister.

5/30/2006 5:11 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Well Kyle,

I gave you one example as to why I support the man. Go visit MichaelIgnatieff.ca to get the rest.

I do feel it is truly a shame that this one Kennedy supporter would want to participate in an anybody but Ignatieff campaign. I would never say I would support an anybody-but-Kennedy solution because I believe divisive races hurt the party.

5/30/2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger Kyle Carruthers a dit...

I do feel it is truly a shame that this one Kennedy supporter would want to participate in an anybody but Ignatieff campaign. I would never say I would support an anybody-but-Kennedy solution because I believe divisive races hurt the party.

I agree that divisiveness hurts the party, but ten years in opposition hurts the party even more--and that (IMO) is what we face if we choose Ignatieff. In terms of pure political calculation (putting aside how I feel about his policies/vision/whatever) I cannot see a man who hasnt lived in the country for thirty years winning an election. Frankly, even I am uncomfortable with that idea (but would still vote Liberal anyways because I think that absence or not we are the best party out there). I would prefer someone with a proven dedication to this country.

Its a pretty broad consensus amongst Liberal members (I certainly would agree) that unilingualism effectively acts as a bar to being elected as Prime Minister of this country. I think extended absence has the same effect (as it should), and cannot, in my right mind blindly put party unity ahead of certain electoral disaster.

With all due respect I think it is the Ignatieff supporters, who jumped on board without adequately considering the absence issue (which is far more important than I think you all make it out to be), that put us in this uncomfortable position.

5/30/2006 5:45 PM  
Blogger Thomas a dit...

"SERBIA and KOSOVO: Milosovic ordered mass relocations of ethnic Albanians from Kosovar areas. There were reports of killings and human rights abuses. NATO (which Canada is a proud member) got involved to stop the abuses. These were internal problems. This internal situation wasn't effecting other countries. However, the international community did not wish to see mass graves, mass raping, etc. They stepped in to make peace. Was Canada wrong to get involved because we were PEACEMAKING rather than PEACEKEEPING?"

Absolutley false. Anybody who believes that Milosevic was anything but a democrat and a multiculturalist should also believe that Saddam Hussein has WMDs...somewhere...right?

Dr. Michael Parenti has written much about the truth about Yugoslavia. NATO's involvement had nothing to do with human rights. Most of the "genocide" was commited by CIA armed and sponsored Kosovo Liberation Army troopers.

Read Parenti's "To Kill a Nation: The Attack of Yugoslavia" and also Diana Johnstone's (a Swedish journalist in Yugoslavia during the ruthless Western attack) "Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions."

Parenti has posted an article, The Demonization of Slobodan Milosevic, here.

5/30/2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Thomas

Yea ok, enough with the conspiracy theories. What about Bosnia? Croats, Serbs amd Bosniaks all committed numerous attrocities. Are the mass craves that were discovered all committed by CIA agents?

As for Kosovo, both the Albanians and Serbs are to blame for the escalation in violence that occured there. However, there were mass relocations. There were trains packed with Albanians speeding away to other areas of Kosovo. If you had watched the news at the time, you'd have realized that CIA agents weren't conducting these but the Serb army.

Get your facts straight and don't put too much faith in conspiracy theories. Milosevic and multiculturalism? Lots of dead Bosniaks near Srebrenica would think otherwise.

5/30/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

Thomas

One further thing... what you claim as the truth is an insult to all those that died, suffered and continue to suffer today from the Balkan conflicts.

5/30/2006 8:18 PM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Id idn't Antonio. I said it was not a "Failed State", this would i assume means a total collapse of civil government. Lots of states don't protect the human rights of their citizens. We can't go around invading them all.

In fact, Canada is cited as violating the Human Rights of our Native People's. Should someone invade us on this pretext? Say Sweden, if we are lucky.

5/31/2006 12:47 AM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

s.b.

the answer to your question is no, but some form of action should be taken against those countries where the human rights violations cause countless deaths and widespread suffering. we can't just turn a blind eye and pretend it ain't happening.

5/31/2006 1:07 AM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Monroe Doctrine
Or Interventionist foreign policy
initiated by Roosevelt as a response to Pearl Harbour, but with other motivations?

Obviously, you can't argue against stopping imperial Japan or the Fascists in Europe.

However, how has this "Paradigm shift" been used by U.S. administrations since to justify neo-colonial domination of the Americas, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Coup d'etat aka Chile, Iraq, etc?

And how does this allow other nations to effect similar policies within the global realm with impunity, aka Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary the Baltics invaded by Stalinists?

Same Paradigm.

Does Canada really want to go from a "Monroe Doctrine Nation" to a "Roosevelt Corollary Nation" without real power, making us essentially a puppet of US foreign policy that has been wreaking havoc in geo political global conflict for half a century?

Should we not help develop diplomatic solutions and real development through the UN, with emergency peacekeeping and disaster relief capabilities?

I think the answer is clear.

5/31/2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Vincent Robidas a dit...

To the best of my knowledge it would unprecedented for a major political party in western country to choose a voluntary ex-pat as its Prime Minister. (Kyle Carruthers) :

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia.

She worked mostly has a professor at Université de Montréal before becoming President of Latvia in 1999.

5/31/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

I think we can agree that the UN has serious problems, with rampant corruption and inability to do anything about Sudan over the last couple of years and the disastrous fiasco of Rwanda. Idealy, acting through the UN would be a right course of action. However, after Rwanda and the semi-repeat of Sudan, I have little faith in this organization when it comes to peacekeeping.

5/31/2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Mr. Ignattieff's "Roosevelt Corollary" paradigm shift for Canada, would see us divide the planet again. Theocracies vs Neo Liberal Democracies, instead of Capitalists vs Communists.

Only this time the Theocracies won't be quite so "Cold" as international relations with the Eastern Block.

I think things could get a whole lot "Hotter" when the Theocracies form a Middle Eastern Block against the Western Democracies.

Then What?

5/31/2006 11:48 AM  

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