13/10/2010

Are you Embarrassed Yet Prime Minister?

Burkina Faso is one of those countries you seldom hear about. A country of 15 million sitting north of Cote d’Iviore, Ghana and Togo, it is one of the world’s poorest nations.   
Canada had a fairly long relationship with Burkina Faso.  Canadian companies, mostly mining firms, provide the small country’s largest source of foreign private investment. But despite our relationship with them, last year, Bev Oda announced that Canada was cutting bilateral aid to several developing countries throughout Africa, Latin America, and Asia and that development funding would be focused on just 20 “priority” countries.

Its Foreign Minister, Bedouma Yoda, doesn’t understand why Canada made that move and came to Canada to ask why. Burkina Faso wasn’t the only African country confused and angered about Canadian actions. Embassies, such as the one in Malawi, have been shut. In all eight African countries were dropped and our smaller list of 20 priority aid recipients marked a shift to Latin America  

“Africa understood that Canada was becoming disinterested in her,” Mr. Yoda said.
My guess is that to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, the old “You reap what you sow” message is now crystal clear.
Canada was humiliated at the United Nations yesterday having been refused a seat on the Security Council. Beat out by Portugal. It is the first time in history that Canada has been snubbed in this way.
But, it wasn’t just Africa.

  • Canada’s move from taking a diplomatic role in the middle east – a mid-power broker - to that of being Israel’s most stalwart defender played a role too.
  • Canada’s role as one of the world’s most active and committed UN peacekeeper has been eroded over the past several years as well, with Canada choosing instead to get involved in much more aggressive actions in places such as Afghanistan.  Canada’s Generals started to boast about killing “scumbags” instead of talking about the commitment this country had in helping to bring order to divided nations struggling under conflict.
  • Canada today has only 62 peacekeepers working abroad, 10 of them in Haiti.
  • This Conservative Government has snubbed its nose at other developed and developing countries over climate change.
  • Harper is out of step with Canada’s allies on women’s reproductive rights
  • In the face of the Global banking meltdown Canada’s refusal to impose a tax on international banking basically scotched a proposal much favoured in Europe designed to build a fund as a cushion to be used in case of a future economic crisis.
  • Then last year, our less that Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave up an opportunity to speak at the United Nations for a trip to an Ontario Tim Horton’s to have a double-double and to press the flesh.
Earlier this year Harper spoke to a near empty United Nations chamber, most delegates choosing to take an early lunch.
So Stephen, are you embarrassed yet? 


You bloody well should be.

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