Canada in the world: as promised, we’re getting noticed


Quebec experts in human rights say they’re facing a lot of questions about Canada when they travel abroad. “People ask us, ‘What’s happening to Canada? You’re nowhere, and when we do see you, you’re subcontractors for the Americans,'” says Jean-Louis Roy, who used to run — uh-oh, here comes a debate — Quebec’s human rights commission. His colleague Jacques Frémont offers a similar diagnosis, which I have also heard from European diplomats.


Canada in the world: as promised, we’re getting noticed

  1. That’s weird, ’cause Bob Rae seems pretty sure Canada is now spending too much time talking about human rights instead of building our trade relationship with China…

  2. Security Certificates are our own version of the Guantanamo detentions. Between that abomination and our other excesses involving evil means to acheive “just” ends, I can’t imagine why anyone would give a crap about our opinions on human rights.

  3. I have trouble grasping why Harper wants us to be the little country that couldn’t – or rather, that didn’t bother trying.

    Perhaps the centre-left has “owned” Canadian patriotism for so long that by now the very idea is distasteful to the right.

    Meanwhile, the Republican Party being their intellectual godfather, isolationism + bellicosity becomes the instinct. Minus the bellicosity, naturellement.

    Does Harper prefer Canada for any other reason than that he gets to be its prime minister?

  4. Having been inthe financial business for more years than I care to remember I see the goverment view of reduced interest rates and taking a share position in banks as a positive step. Particularly the share position as having regard to the strong position of the banks the government could well make a handsome profit over the years.

  5. Uh oh, the europeans don’t like us, whatever shall we do?

  6. Why would we be subcontractors for the US when we can become subcontractors for France?

  7. I think this post just shows Wells is bored and is looking for a reliable subject for a contentious comment thread. Anyway I’ll bite…

    Shouldn’t that be Quebec “experts” on human rights. What qualifies someone as an expert on human rights anyway. This implies they have some rare and particular knowledge that goes beyond the inherited wisdom of centuries of legal and cultural inheritance. Just proves how education can make you stupid.

    The fact that European diplomats disapprove of something is a recommendation for it, no?

  8. Jack Mitchell asked: Does Harper prefer Canada for any other reason than that he gets to be its prime minister?

    Let’s leave Mr. Harper to answer that…

    “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.”

  9. I don’t think it’s because the Europeans don’t “like” us.. It’s that they look at us and there’s no “there” anymore.

    Does McCain make freedom fries ?

  10. Dave quotes:
    “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States.”

    Would it be too much to ask you to consider that Harper is showing his love of country by trying to undo that damaging attitude? He could have been a draining brain himself. He is sticking around, now with a new mandate. I hope he remembers the words you just quoted Dave, and that he seeks to right the listing ship.

  11. okay, look all you bitter Liberal partisans.
    you lost the election. the people have spoken. The conservatives stole all your plays from Kinsellas handbook, and you got what you have given.

    This bitterness you feel will pass. The sun has risen on Wednesday morning, and life has gone on. Yes, Harper is Bush, Conservatives are fascists, Harper lies, yadda yadda, we can taste your biliousness. Get counselling, and get over it.

    Just think, this is what Alliance types felt like when Chretien won his third dubious majority, and they lashed out, and wrote firewall articles. Take some time off, all of you. You are saying and writing nasty things that will come back to haunt you. Imagine if you had only won two seats, even though you had obtained two million votes. Show some grace and class, or pretend to. Look on the bright side, if Obama wins, wont it have been good that Kerry lost 4 years ago? Everything happens for a reason, the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Liberals will win elections again, like they did after 84. Canadians have never bought into the impending two party system, as preached in 84 or 93, they like two moderate centre right parties, with an NDP rump to be a conscience. Will keep on happening. I will quote Kim Campbell: (and how often does that happen!) Your day in the sun will come again, this I promise you…

    Now go volunteer, or do something productive with yourselves!

  12. “He could have been a draining brain himself.”

    He’s a professional lobbyist and politician. I don’t think it’d be a great loss.

    Marty, I don’t think we should just have to accept a duplicitous prime minister. On issues of some gravity, Harper has either lied or flip-flopped in the span of a few days. During the election he said we would never run a deficit, because there are no small, temporary deficits. Fiscal conservatives voted for him because of this assurance. Of course, one of his first public musings upon re-election was to suggest he would not prevent a deficit next fiscal year.

    Seriously. The joke is on all the Conservatives who think they elected one of them.

  13. Would that be the same Jean-Louis Roy featured in this article by Graeme Hamilton?

    The federal government has ordered a special review of a federally funded organization promoting democracy and human rights, to investigate “allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing,” the National Post has learned.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Inspector General, which carries out audits and evaluations of department programs, moved ahead by a year and significantly expanded its regular five-year review of Rights and Democracy, a Montreal-based human-rights centre.

    “The Office of the Inspector General accelerated the start of the 2008 Departmental Review of Rights and Democracy by expanding the scope of the five-year review to include a special review of allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing at Rights and Democracy, specifically concerning accountability, programming, and labour relations,” a Foreign Affairs Department spokesman confirmed in a statement.

    The accelerated review was launched in July, two months after the National Post reported on the spending and management style of the organization’s then-president, Jean-Louis Roy, and the tense climate among the centre’s 45 employees. Mr. Roy left Rights and Democracy in August when his five-year term was not renewed, and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has not named a replacement. Janice Stein, the chairwoman of the board of directors, is interim president.

  14. Well said Marty – the only point I would add that if the LPC is not careful their bad hair day has just started!

  15. Of all the leaders, only Stephen Harper – the talented but curiously neglected Canadian prime minister – is able to point to a popular and successful record in office.

    Some will regard it as alarming that, in current times, world leadership should rest with Canada. But the Canadian Tories are a model of how to behave during a downturn.

    They have kept spending in check and reduced taxes. They are playing their full role in world affairs, notably in Afghanistan.

    Rather than canting about saving the world (Mr Harper, in his quiet and courteous way, is a Kyoto-sceptic) they have addressed themselves to curing remediable ills and, above all, to putting their own affairs in order.

    If the rest of the world had comported itself with similar modesty and prudence, we might not be in this mess.

    http://www. telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/07/07/dl0701.xml

  16. That would seem to be the one, Norman. So clearly his criticism is selfless and he is worried only for others, as he, personally, has had no trouble finding the government, or vice versa.

  17. Yeah, like cutting the GST.

    So, the corollary, naturally, would be that the proper thing now would be to raise the GST back up, no?

  18. No, raise the GST and lower taxes on investment, as many proposed when the cut was initially proposed.

  19. So, is it irrelevant, therefore, that this action would occur “during a downturn”?

  20. Ti-Guy,

    Raising GST, and lowering taxes on investment as Andrew suggests.

    And what if the downturn was a result of a reduction in consumer confidence/spending? Wouldn’t raising the GST be counter-productive?

    Just asking. You seem to always have the quick one-liners. Perhaps you could explain further your criticisms and solutions.

  21. Dot, it is, will continue to be, and always was a stupid tax cut. I doubt it would do much to affect consumer confidence, just as the cut did more or less nothing that slightly delay some large consumption purchases (or have retailers pay the extra 1% until the cut went through).

    Cuts to just about any other tax would be better.

  22. And an increase would stimulate consumption in the short-term by moving up purchase decisions before the tax hike.

  23. Ben, is it opposite day or something?

    They raised our government spending at the fastest rate in this country’s history.

    They raised income taxes at the lowest level.

    They’ve abandoned our diplomatic lead on the national stage, and our “full role” in Afghanistan is now promised to end in 2011, whether that leave success, failure, or total chaos in its wake.

    I don’t regard it alarming that Canadians have presented the model of how to act in these turbulent times. I find it alarming that this is attributed to Stephen Harper’s conservatives with every point being almost the reverse of what Mr. Harper has actually done.

  24. Style, I said nothing about it being good policy for stimulating consumption.

    The real problem facing consumption is availability of credit and debt levels. GST is noise.

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