Martin's announcement comes as Ariel Sharon remains gravely ill and the uncertainty and tension of the political situation in Israel is palpable. Aside from the bad timing, Martin's plan is as presumptuous as it is arrogant.
. . . to serve as a concrete symbol of Canada's dedication to supporting Palestinians in their nation building (. . .) Canada has already allocated over $36 million this fiscal year, as part of its enhanced program of assistance for the Palestinians, to supplement the growth in volume of our assistance and to supplement our diplomatic presence with a broad-based facility that can support our activities in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the Middle East. (PDF file from liberal.ca)
Canadians strive for 'peace, order and good government', but our current ruling party hardly embodies these noble goals -- yet it feels competent to pass along its vision of democracy to a fledgling Palestine.
Liberals would say the goal is to establish democratic principles and infrastructure prior to the formal creation of a Palestinian state. They would tell us that if Canada can work with Palestinians to create the foundations and the institutions -- democracy will follow.
Canada, under the Liberal Party, is a country divided. We are 'a nation of minorities', we are fractured regions competing for papa's money and attention; we are independentt nations wanting to secede and disrespected citizens angry and sometimes bitter that although our votes don't count, our taxes sure do.
The Liberal Party's handling of Quebec and Alberta over 30 odd years are enough to show that they have no place in nation building. Add to that the stench of corruption and incompetence still clinging to this stale government -- and Canadian should know that this initiative is not the right thing -- not now -- not under this flaccid and tainted administration.
Under the Liberal governments of Pierre Trudeau (1980) and Jean Chretien (1995) we had referendums on Quebec sovereignty. The second mightn't have been necessary, but for the fact that in 1982, Trudeau patriated our new constitution -- without Quebec's ratification. What other democratic nation would be so intent on having a new constitution that it would consider going forward without full participation from its provinces? If it took twenty years to negotiate a resolution satisfactory to all parties, it would have been better than the limbo the framers have left for Quebeckers and for the rest of Canadians who look on helplessly. All because another Liberal Prime Minister wanted a legacy. Brilliant.
Western alienation isn't taken as seriously by the Liberals because despite rapidly growing populations, the provinces in the west still don't have enough seats to hold political sway. Albertans in particular seem to feel isolated and the only appeasement the Liberals offer is in the person of Anne McLellan. Even a Liberal strategist was said to have told a reporter "Alberta can blow me." Alberta's alienation is hardly an effective and positive representation of democracy.
If the Liberal government can't lead by example -- which obviously it can't -- it also loses credibility because of its failure to support Israel at the UN. If Canada is going to take a hand in promoting democracy in a new state of Palestine, certainly goodwill toward its neighbour is important, but the trust of Israelis is paramount -- Canada can't offer a positive role model on this front either.
"We will continue to press for the kinds of [UN] reforms that will eliminate the politicization of the United Nations and its agencies and in particular, the annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions." - Prime Minister Paul Martin, November 13, 2005Despite that assertion, Canada's voting record has not improved, and the attitudes about sensitive issues like Jerusalem remain rigid and one-sided:
- Canada holds that any actions taken by Israel to enforce its laws, or assert jurisdiction over the Holy City are illegal saying Israel has no jurisdiction over any part of Jerusalem. In 2005, Canada withdrew all passports that had "Jerusalem, Israel" as a place of birth.
- In April 2002 Canada accepted the "Jenin massacre" hoax as fact, and has not apologized.
- Canada has called upon Israel "to cease obstructing the movement of the staff, vehicles and supplies of [UNRWA]." Canada supports this "free movement" even after wire service videos show UNRWA ambulances being used to transport terrorists, and an admission by UNRWA's secretary-general that some of their paid employees might be Hamas members. Canada has never called for UNRWA to end its involvement in terror.
- Canada says Israel has obligations to Palestinian Arab refugees, with no obligations to displaced Palestinian Jews for the same period.
- Canada has re-stated calls for the prevention of all acts of violence by Israeli settlers, with no call for an end to offensive Palestinian violence against innocent civilians.
- Canada accepts the idea of a Palestinian state without insisting the PA end terror.
How can the Liberal Party of Canada be a credible nation-builder or peace broker with their credentials? To be an example to developing nations, Canada must be free of scandal and able to demonstrate that its own electorate is up to the task of holding government to account. The only way to do that, is to extract the Liberals from their grasp on power, and start rebuilding our own battered democracy. That can't happen with Paul Martin as Prime Minister.