Our choice of governments: Liars or Cowards

The throne speech should have been the most important political news of the last few days but, not surprisingly, the Harper government came up with almost nothing. To be sure, there were more hints about handing the economy over the US – what passes for economic policy from a man enamored with unregulated US capitalism. More free trade, opening up telecom and other areas to foreign investment, pushing P3s (public private partnerships) and reinforcing his commitment to the next phases of corporate tax cuts. He will re-introduce his crime bills in their original form and now count on his plurality in the Senate to get through un-amended.

But more important, as they are reminders of the depressing deadlock Canadian democracy finds itself in, were statements from Michael Ignatieff and Harper’s right hand man, Jason Kenney. The first reminds us of why we never, ever want Ignatieff to have a majority government. The latter reminds us of how totally corrupt the current government is – a government of liars who use the political authority given to them to pursue their own personal agendas, the law and integrity be damned.

Ignatieff distinguished himself with a truly despicable diatribe about Israeli Apartheid Week – denouncing it as anti-Semitism and using the same offensive intimidation tactics used by B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress against any criticism of Israel.

He wrote (on behalf of the Liberal Party): “[Israeli Apartheid Week] is part of a global campaign of calls for divestment, boycotts and proclamations, and it should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely. Apartheid is defined, in international law, as a crime against humanity. Israeli Apartheid Week is a deliberate attempt to portray the Jewish state as criminal.

The very premise of Israeli Apartheid Week runs counters to our shared values of mutual respect and tolerance, regardless of nationality, race or creed.”

Except that, in fact, Israel is an Apartheid state and has been so described by none other than its most decorated soldier, its current defence minister, and former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak. He stated recently:

“As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,… If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Ignatieff’s disingenuous condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week should remind everyone that this is the same man who gave loud and unequivocal support for the invasion of Iraq and didn’t change his mind for years. The same man who condones torture. This ethically challenged, dishonest politician does not deserve to be prime minister.

As for Jason Kenney nothing he says or does in terms of manipulating and lying to the public should surprise us.  The Canadian Press through Access to Information, ferreted out emails from his department that reveal he intervened in the preparation of a new guide for Canadian immigrants to excise any reference to the fact that discrimination against gays and lesbians is illegal in this country.

After the original reference was removed on Kenney’s orders, Neil Yeates, his deputy minister recommended putting it back in:

“Recommend the re-insertion of the text boxes related to … the decriminalization of homosexual sex/recognition of same-sex marriage,” says a memorandum to Mr. Kenney fromYeates. Kenney rejected the advice.

But when the gay-rights group Egale Canada met with Kenney last December after learning the booklet made no reference to gay and lesbian rights, he told them gay rights had been “overlooked” when the guide was being prepared.

In other words, he lied. Just as he did in reference to the elimination of the budget for Kairos. This despicable man has no right to sit in the House of Commons.

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