Contradictions In The Harper Government’s Foreign Policy

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November 3, 2016 by Yasser Harrak

Posted on May 26, 2014 | Yasser Harrak | Written on May 26, 2014

Author’s Note: (Photo: Reuters)

 In a state of mind that does not prevent normal perception, it is very hard to recognize the normality of the Conservative Party’s foreign policy. It appears that they say one thing and then often contradict it later. The Conservative foreign policy is perhaps the most notable of unclear policies of the Harper government. A government that supported the Arab spring in Tunisia and Libya and opposed it in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where human rights conditions are far worse than anywhere else in the Middle East. It is hard to justify toppling the secular regime of Bin Ali in Tunisia where religion is separated from politics and women enjoy equality and have access to education as a priority over the Saudi regime that fueled worldwide Jihadist movements and prohibits women from driving a car. It cannot be justified not to have, as a priority to help the Arab nations, the Saudi regime that chops the hands of convicted burglars in public. The Saudi regime still uses stoning and lashing and slaughter as legitimate ways to punish convicted and sometimes suspected criminals. The Harper government campaigned against the Muslim Brotherhood in the strip of Gaza although it is less strategically important when it comes to the geopolitical analysis than key countries like Egypt. On the other hand, that same government did not campaign against the same international Muslim Brotherhood organization after it took control over Egypt. Under the Brotherhood rule and especially throughout 2013 there were churches burned down in Egypt. There were killings over identity and religious belonging of Christians and Shiite Muslims. Sufi tombs were destroyed. Social media was filled with shocking videos such as that showing Sheikh Hassan Shahata , a prominent Shiite scholar, killed along with few others after a mob attack. Their bodies were dragged by motorcycles in the streets. The Harper government never acted the Canadian way that was marked by supporting human rights equally everywhere. While attending a ceremony to honor Jewish victims targeted during the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Mr Harper denounced rightfully Antisemitism as an evil so profound that it is ultimately a threat to all Canadians. Yet, when members and supporters of the opposition parties in Ukraine (Fatherland, UDAR and Svoboda) expressed Antisemitism openly during the protests to topple President Viktor Yanukovych, the Harper government did not sanction those parties. On the contrary, it pledged unconditional support for the regime change that benefited directly those parties. Not long after, the Harper’s blessing of protesters in Kiev, many of whom were armed and took control of government buildings, soon tuned into a condemnation directed towards protesters that acted the very same way in eastern Ukrainian provinces, but were this time in support of joining Russia. Prime Minister Harper compared Russia’s Crimea moves to the Third Reich aggression. That is after there was a referendum which his government opposed in Crimea that led to the secession from Ukraine. On the other hand, the Harper government supported the referendum on South Sudan’s independence in January 2011 that led to secession from Sudan and the establishment of the Republic of South Sudan. How can the Harper government explain being in favour of referendum in a country and against it in another? The Harper government’s foreign policy no longer reflects Canadian values. It is a Canadian value to support indiscriminately democracy and human rights causes worldwide. The few examples mentioned explain why our Canadian passport is now ranking behind the first 10 best passports in the world. The reputation that Canada and Canadians deserve has been affected negatively under the Conservatives.
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