Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Profoundly Ignorant

Natalie Brender writes, in the Toronto Star, that the federal government's decision to withdraw from the UN anti drought convention is an enigma:

The Harper government’s latest nose-thumbing at the UN is a baffling move that lacks any obvious political advantage to balance out the sizeable blows it inflicts on the government’s domestic and international credibility. It is taking this government’s foreign policy past the sphere of contentiousness into the realm of unfathomability.

The reasons offered for the decision make no sense:

The $350,000 savings to taxpayers from leaving this convention represents a paltry sum in contrast to cost-cutting challenges; as this paper has noted, it’s not even 2 per cent of what the government spent last year on advertising its Economic Action Plan. And in any case, if savings were really at issue, Foreign Minister John Baird was free to announce a reduction in Canada’s future contributions as opposed to the door-slamming exit he chose.

As for the government’s charge that the UN convention was a “bureaucratic talkfest” that spent most of its budget on discussion rather than programming, that’s exactly what the convention is primarily supposed to do. Above all, it’s aimed at collecting scientific information about drought and desertification, and sharing it to inform effective policy measures.

And, as is always the case with this gang, the decision is demonstrably hypocritical:

On one hand, the government trumpets the new $13 million in bilateral aid it’s just given Jordan to cope with the effects of receiving thousands of refugees daily from the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Yet simultaneously, in withdrawing from the UN convention it effectively pretends not to know – as its own diplomats have surely pointed out – that one of the factors behind recent Syrian social unrest is a multi-year drought that has brought much economic duress and internal migration.

Moreover, at a time when selling the Keystone Pipeline requires a record of action on the environment, the decision will help sabotage the pipeline.

So it is, indeed, puzzling that the Harperites would do as they have done -- unless you factor in what has been obvious from the very beginning. Despite the soaring rhetoric about Stephen Harper's strategic talents, the fact remains that he is profoundly ignorant. That's no enigma.


the salamander said...

In part .. one needs to look at what all members were to provide at the imminent meeting of the UN anti drought convention

If I'm not mistaken the requirement was analysis of poverty co-related to desert and shrinking or impacted grassland within each member's respective country.

Another requirement was to provide factual evidence of what the respective countries have undertaken to alleviate desertification.. and one would assume the related poverty if applicable.

"governments will provide concrete data on the status of poverty and of land cover in the areas affected by desertification in their countries." 70 per cent of the Earth’s arid regions are threatened by desertification

This is simply Stephen Harper now deciding to muzzle an entire country and do so on the global stage via John Baird and play hide and seek with the media re Julian Fantino.

This is a government that hid the folding of CIDA under Fantino into Baird's Foreign Affairs. Well, in fairness, the budget item was right there in plain sight and put there by Jim Flaherty on page 241 within the Budget Chapter 'Supporting Families and Communities' .. in Harper Speak an “enhanced alignment” to “leverage…synergies” and “maximize the effectiveness of the resources available.”

This is much like Harper's bizarre rational upon eliminating the busiest Coast Guard rescue station in Canada '“The paramountcy of government resources in this area is on public safety and the government is allocating its resources in a way that we believe, based on the advice we have received from the coast guard, that is best in terms of public safety,” the Prime Minister said.

“That is to put as many of the resources as we can into actually having rescue boats in the water. That’s where we put our investments going forward.”

??? !! ???

Owen Gray said...

The language is positively Orwellian, salamander. It's meant to obfuscate.

Whether it's Rights and Democracy, CIDA or Parliament itself, the Harper agenda is simple -- shut it down.

Anonymous said...

Harper was furious, the U.N. Security Council banned him a seat. Harper is backing out of, the anti-drought program. Then there was, Copenhagen, Durban and Davos. Another country was angered regarding, Harper gave them false statements, of the toxicity of the tar sands oil.

Harper hates BC for, fighting the Enbridge pipeline and, the behemoth dirty oil tankers from China. He was angry, BC citizens forced Campbell to resign. Harper and Campbell forgot to tell BC people, Campbell worked for Harper, not for the people of BC.

Both Harper and Gordon Campbell, are full of, hate, spite and malice. BC and the citizens have been victimized by both of them, many times. That's why they are known as, spiteful Stevie and, spiteful Gordo.

Owen Gray said...

It appears, Anon, that Harper withdrew from the anti-drought convention out of pure spite.

There seems to be no upside to his decision.

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, it wasn't pure spite after all. Maude Barlow told the G&M last week that the Drought Convention is hoping to reach a protocol on drought and desertification next month that might finger fossil fuel producers and major GHG emitters. In other words, Canada saw itself coming under scrutiny and ran for cover.


Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Mound. It's beginning to make sense. They really are a spineless bunch of cowards.

And they call it "principle."

Dana said...

And these creatures are preferable to many Libs and Dippers over strategic cooperation with one another.

And those Libs and Dippers call *that* principle.

Empty word, devoid of meaning, now.

Owen Gray said...

Power corrupts, Dana. It's merely a question of degree.