Letter to the Editor – PJ Robertson on Stephen Harper and Human Rights – Morrisburg Ontario Aug 17, 2011

You have to hand it to him.
2006 – He declares no way will he deal with China in view of China’s record on human rights, asserting that principle trumps the dollar. In the same year, he cancels the Kelowna Accord which has a great deal to do with human rights among Canada’s native peoples.
2011 – He travels to Colombia, which has a questionable record on human rights, to negotiate free trade. Travels on to Honduras, which has an abysmal record on human rights, to negotiate free trade. Dismissing objectors as “protectionists.”
He is our ethical, accountable, transparent, principled PM, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Having never set foot outside Canada before he became PM, he is now all over the map.
How’s that for leadership and statesmanship!
PJ Robertson – Morrisburg ON

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James Moak


  1. It’s good leadership in that he is with ability to change with the times. In current global economic downturn and with economic situation in the US, PM Harper, a economist, is diversifying from our huge dependence on US/Canada trade and seeking new markets. That is leadership and prudence. It puts logic, common sense and fiscal responsibility ahead of ideology and political correctness. His visits are about trade and that is hugely important for a trading nation such as Canada.

    The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean projects growth at 5%… 3-4 times higher than the US. Although Canada can never replace the US as our major trading partner, we can seek out and diversify trade to reduce damage with any further downturn in the US.

    China is a huge market and although we can draw attention to China’s human rights issues, obvious we have not and shall not change the way China conducts itself. This month alone, China purchased 2.2 million bushels of US corn out of a projected 5 billion bushels anticipated for 2011. Currently China buys 1/4 of all US soybeans. The list goes on with bottom line conclusion it is economically advantageous and prudent for Canada to tap into these and other global markets.

    When one is on solid footing and economically secure principle perchance does trump the dollar. When that economic footing starts to crumble it becomes time to merge the two. We all have our ideologies and we all are with our economic realities. When times change it is prudent to change with them.

  2. It only makes sense that North & South America can be partners on a world stage from geographic and
    ancestorial beginnings alone. Canada would also have an easier fight to correct human rights of smaller nations than China.

    Many believe it is better to have been in Canada a long time if you want to be PM, or is that just a Tory ad against Ignatieff.

  3. It makes good sense PJ. Five years ago things were perhaps the same, but different when compared to our new world vision in 2011. The future belongs to those who are willing to change. Thankfully Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are willing to embrace change and I hope and pray that they will see us through the next Great Depression which is already starting.

  4. Fair enough, that’s “realpolitik”–adapting to changing times and circumstances. A good thing.

    However, “realpolitik” does not explain or excuse the hypocrisy of using human rights as a stick to beat the Chinese with, while at the same denying human rights to your own peoples. Nor does it explain or excuse the twisted logic of accusing those who question the free trade negotiations with Colombia and Honduras as “protectionists,” when the issue they are questioning is not free trade but human rights violations.

    Worryingly, twisted logic is the default weapon of the Harper government whenerver they encounter opposition or disagreement. Other notable examples: 1) If you disagree with our tough-on-crime policies, you must be soft on crime; 2) If you question our handling of the Afghan mission, you’re not supporting our troops–worse, you are unpatriotic.

    Taken together hypocrisy and twisted logic amounts to dishonesty. More worryingly it leads to contempt and convictions of moral superiority. Contempt for experts who don’t agree with you (e.g. on climate change). Contempt for evidence and the facts if these don’t square with your ideology (e.g.crime rates). And famously in Harper’s case contempt for Parliament, which means contempt for the Canadian people. All of which adds up to a belief in moral superiority: “Proven facts? Evidence? Expert judgment? What are they? We know better!”

    History is littered with examples of where things go, when the party in power holds the people in contempt.

    So, by all means embrace the future, embrace change, Stan. At the same time, keep an eye on the party in power. If they hold you in contempt, the changes they bring about may be very different from what you had in mind.

  5. You need to move on and stop dwelling PJR. While I notice that everything you speak of is in the past and nothing about change for the future. Many years ago someone spelled it out for you: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

  6. Just because Harper uses character assassination and personal attacks to deal with people who disagree with him, doesn’t mean he’s not a nice guy.

  7. Hypocrisy, dishonesty, contempt, moral superiority—you are OK with these, Stan?

    Everything I speak of is in the past, you say? How do you get that? Actually, I am very concerned about the present and therefore of necessity the future. Besides, Harper was in Colombia and Honduras only a week or so ago. In any case, as the philosopher-poet George Santayana memorably put it, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Which applies particularly to those who act as it they were original human beings.

    As to Charles Darwin, he’s a hero of mine—we attended the same school, though he was there some 130 years earlier! Try the words of someone of our times, Stan.

    “Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.”– Martin Luther King jr.

    For me hypocrisy, dishonesty, contempt and moral superiority in our leaders matter a very great deal. But not for you?

  8. @ PJR. Don’t waste your time and energy arguing with Stan. He’s just a red-neck Canadian Tea-Party wannabe.
    The proudly ignorant crowd just loves it when they get a rise out of people like you and me.

  9. Wise words, Furtz. Thanks.

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