Thursday, April 22, 2010

Steve, About That Apology Thing

L'il Stevie Harper seems more than eager to apologize for supposed wrongs committed by Canada while under Liberal government but the hypocrisy is glaring.

Supposedly, Governor General Michaelle Jean, was acting on government direction when, in visiting Rwanda, she apologized for Canada's inaction during the 1994 campaign of genocide that claimed 800,000 lives there.

Inaction? To me that suggests a situation where one had some ability to act but simply didn't. The first unasked question - did Canada really have any ability to act in any meaningful way in Rwanda in 1994?

The apology sort of overlooks the fact that Canadian forces were heavily committed to other humanitarian missions in 1994 - Somalia (UNOSOM I & II) , the Balkans (UNPROFOR), Haiti (UNMIH), Iraq (UNSCOM) and a gaggle of smaller committments in such distant hotspots as El Salvador, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Kuwait and others. As for Rwanda itself, Canada was engaged in the United Nations Observer Mission Uganda-Rwanda (UNOMUR) followed by United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). Canada was but one of a handful of countries that were in Rwanda during the genocide.

Yes Belgium apologized and, given its colonial past and the dodgy way it acted leading up to the genocide, it certainly owed an apology. Yes the United States apologized. Given the way it blocked intervention at the UN Security Council, it clearly had some atoning to do. But Canada? No way.

What shows the rank hypocrisy of the Harper/Michaelle Jean apology roadshow are the remarks she made just one day earlier in the Congo. As she trolled her backside through the DRC, she wasn't interested in apologizing for Canada's failure to act during the years of slaughter and butchery there that cost five million lives. Instead she made a silly remark imploring the government to prevent the rape of Congolese women as though that was going to achieve anything.

Of course we couldn't go to the aid of the Congolese because we were tied down as part of George w. Bush's Foreign Legion in Afghanistan. But Steve didn't have to engineer the extension of our committment in Afghanistan first to 2009 and then to 2011. He could've said that we've done enough for Washington and for Kabul and now we're needed more elsewhere to stop this mass carnage in the Congo. You want a failure to act that warrants our apology? There it is.

Maybe GG Jean was only following orders with her hypocritical apology to Rwanda and her convenient slide on the Congo but, then again, she's always been Harper's faithful water carrier, hasn't she?

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