Thursday, August 17, 2006

What AIDS Conference? Let's play golf!

This is not another rant about the PM, exactly, but it certainly speaks to priorities. I just heard on the news, that Canada will not be making any funding announcements at the Conference. There will be an announcement in the weeks to come. What??? We have the largest group of professionals and activists gathered together in our country and we're not going to tell them what Canada is prepared to do to help them? After all the ridiculing our Gov't, (meaning we the people), has received for being missing in action, Harper's team decides to further make us look ridiculous by doing this? What a heinous snub to those who really care about the greatest humanitarian crisis we have known.

I thought this PM was supposed to be intelligent? I keep reading what a great strategist he is. He looks to me like a child that didn't get the response he wanted, so he took the public cheque book and went home.

Do you want to know the real kicker? Just after having heard that news, my husband came home from playing golf. Guess who was on the course at the same time....Tony Clement!!!

Yep, they're very engaged on this subject, they realise the importance of the issue, just as long as it doesn't interfere with their tee off time!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The "Spin"ning Wheel

Does this writer actually think anyone is buying, this?

How does this:

The poll states that 82 per cent of Canadians asked believe that Israel has a right to self defence

translate to this?

An overwhelming number of Canadians support Prime Minister Stephen Harper's assertion that Israel's attacks on Lebanon are justified because Israel has a right to self defence

Support for Harper didn't drop because he said Israel had a right to defend itself, it dropped because of the 'measured' comment, vis a vis the force employed and his unilateral stance.

"The Globe poll didn't really ask a fair and unambiguous question," said COMPAS President Conrad Winn ...right. As if Israel's right to defend itself was ever disputed by anyone.

Well, if the conservative's seriously think that a majority of Canadians support Israel's self-defense rights, translates to, the majority of Canadians support Harper, then they are more seriously deluded than I thought.

Update here. It looks like they won't be able to get away with misleading polls afterall.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Arctic will still be there in a week, the Conference won't

I know Stephen Harper's absence at the AIDS Conference has been on many blogs, but I'm struck by just how ashamed I am by this decision. I watched CBC this morning, and saw the Grandmothers Fighting AIDS assembly. These are women who have lost their children and now are raising their grandchildren. These are women in their 60's and 70's, with little or no means of support, most of them are widowed or have been abandoned by their spouses, responsible for the upbringing of the next generation. Schooling, uniforms, books, medicine, doctors...all these necessary things have costs associated with them, so it is with awe, that I watched these strong women, simply say , we must do it, so we do.

Given their struggle, their strength and dedication to this cause, (and of course they are only one aspect of the AIDS scourge), I do not care how you cut it, there is NO excuse, NONE, for our Prime Minister not to be there.

This latest inaction by the PM has me realising, that the pride I have always felt for Canada's actions and place in the world, is slowly being eroded.

I heard this interview this morning, after seeing the grandmothers and it further confirmed my feelings.

But what really got me was this interview with Tony Clement. Talk about saying a lot of nothing and basically inferring that it's not that bad because we're not the only country in this situation! Where's the leadership? I guess if you can't blame the Liberal's, blame the rest of the world too.

Clement -The second objective is that this conference is a large international conference, and if we can continue to move the agenda forward, in both the research that is being done - because this is a conference of scientists and as well as activists - and in terms of the continuing work we have to do together to collaborate on the treatment and the care and the prevention, then I think we will have achieved something.

So we are very much a multi-lateral player, and I would have to say that Canadians don't like blowing their own horn, but I've seen it in international forums that we are respected. Our point of view is taken very seriously because our activity is over the last 20 years on this file.

Yeah, that was then...

I would say that I've never been so ashamed of our position, but maybe I was the day this Government was elected into office.

I just heard that McGuinty will be speaking at the opening ceremony, good. I wish one of the Leadership Candidates was also going to be there.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ibbitson's "Good Guys"

In his column yesterday, John Ibbitson speaks about the importance of solidarity between the leaders of Cda, US, UK and Australia, vis a vis terrorism. At first blush, the comment seems both logical and benign.

He opens his column by stating that the PM, and the above mentioned leaders, read the same report every morning. The document is prepared by the security services of all 4 countries.

However, further along in the article he says,

So, it is hardly surprising that the leaders of English-speaking nations have virtually identical world views, speak largely with one voice and act mostly in concert.

Huh? Reading a security report provides them with the same world view? Wouldn't it be their interpretation of the data, based on their ideology, that has them speaking with one voice?

He then goes on to say,

"That is why those who accuse the Prime Minister of tying Canada too closely to the United States are dangerously deluded".

This rankled.

Though never mentioned in the column, there is an implication, through omission, that:

a) This is something new and Martin did not receive the same morning briefing. This practice began some time ago though, there was a brief period when we were somewhat left out of the loop, after not joining the Iraq fiasco. (This per an e-mail I received from Ibbitson.)

b) If there was a government in power, in Canada, that did not share the same ideology of the other 3 leaders, it would be left out of the loop. Isn't it logical and indeed in everyone's best interest, that the same information would be shared. Shouldn't the same level of trust exist, regardless of political stripe, between allies?

I enjoy Ibbitson's writing and I'm not wildly outraged here. However, having read cerberus's great post on media bias yesterday, it got me wondering about how the public debate can be shaped by what is not said in the media.

It helped me realise, at least in part, how misinformation can get out there and eventually become part of the discourse. I obviously read the column through the lens of my own bias, as will those with differing views, and so the public debate goes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The tide seems to be shifting

When the poll came out suggesting that only 32% of Canadians supported the Harper government position in the Middle East, a common refrain from the Conservative's was, "then why hasn't their overall popularity dropped?"

As I read those comments, my thought was...patience. As the adage goes, it pays off, as seen here