NEWSEVENTSDIRECTORIESSEARCH UBCUBC CopyrightmyUBC LOGIN
Home
About Us
People
Global Focus
Research
Visiting Scholars
Postdoctoral Fellows
PhD Students
Networks & Groups
Master of Public Policy
IR Program
Lind Initiative
Room Booking
Lobby Gallery
Events
Profound policy shift carried out by stealth
Description: The arguments over our military mission in Afghanistan — peacekeeping and peacemaking vs. war, operating under U.S. command vs. partnering with NATO allies, etc., etc. — are really about something much larger.
Date: 15 April 2006
Author: Haroon Siddiqui
Source: The Toronto Star
Profound policy shift carried out by stealth

Canada is steering willingly into U.S. military orbit, says Haroon Siddiqui

The arguments over our military mission in Afghanistan — peacekeeping and peacemaking vs. war, operating under U.S. command vs. partnering with NATO allies, etc., etc. — are really about something much larger.

By cozying up to the U.S., more specifically, to an administration that's arguably the worst in modern history, and certainly the most unpopular in the world, Ottawa is sacrificing our independence and, more crucially, Canada's good name abroad.

Either to protect our bilateral trade or as a reflection of a profound ideological shift carried out by stealth, Ottawa has changed policy in ways unimaginable under Jean Chrétien.

"The trend started under (Paul) Martin but it has been exacerbated under (Stephen) Harper," Lloyd Axworthy, former foreign minister, told me.


It can be seen in the change in Canada's votes at the United Nations in favour of Israel, he said. "We used to play the role of an honest broker but we are now an advocate for one side..."


Ottawa has also become casual about prisoners' human rights.

It has agreed to hand over detainees to the Afghan government, which may transfer them to the Americans and Guantanamo Bay.

The Netherlands, which is to send a contingent to Kandahar, on the other hand, has signed a tougher protocol.

Knowing that torture does take place in Afghan prisons and aware of Washington's scornful approach to the Geneva Conventions, the Dutch have negotiated access to the prisoners by their own officials as well as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture. Kabul must also give advance notice of any transfer of prisoners to a third party.

Canada has opted, instead, to wash its hands of the prisoners, leaving their fate to the Red Cross. "The Dutch agreement is significantly more stringent than the Canadian one," Michael Byers, professor of international law at UBC, told me...



Click here to read the complete article

Print Version
Log in
All Rights Reserved© 2007, Liu Institute for Global Issues
Banner Photos by Lindsay Mackenzie
Design by BlendMedia