Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Electoral oblivion is what they deserve

Babble on.

While Jay Jardine and I don't always find ourselves in perfect agreement, he wrote a line the other day that deserves repeating:

...whenever Something Bad Happens, the ingrained reaction is to reach for the nearest lever of government power and blindly start pulling. Do something, anything to assuage our concerns.

With so much Something Bad breaking loose for the Liberals in Ottawa, Grit hands are grasping for whichever levers are closest, and tugging desperately.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the Zahra Kazemi file. While the government almost certainly knew prior to December of last year the ghastly, infuriating details of Kazemi's death that Dr. Shahram Azam revealed publicly upon his arrival in Canada only last month, and undoubtedly suspected the worst much earlier, it has done nothing of significance to punish Iran for this egregious crime. In fact, Canada has not only re-established diplomatic ties with the Tehran thugocracy, it has actively promoted business opportunities in Iran during this episode. From the DFAIT website:

Iran Telecom, - Tehran, Iran - September 19-22, 2004
Iran Telcom 2004 will be the 5th annual International Telecommunications, IT and Networking Trade Fair held in Tehran. Last year, the event attracted over 25,000 visitors and nearly 140 exhibitors from 18 countries. The $4 billion Iranian ICT market is growing fast, with an annual growht of 50% in the IT market; a young, educated population of some 50 million under the age of 30; and a current cell phone demand of 8 million, with only 3 million currently supplied in the country. Combined with the privatization of the Iranian telecom sector and the introduction of the second GSM operator (operational in Autumn 2004), Iran represents a market of enormous potential in the ICT sector. For more information, please visit: or contact the ICT officer at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran...

Music to Jean Chretien's ears, I'm guessing. And music to the ears of Iran's iron-fisted and black-hearted elite, I'm sure.

But with Liberal seats in Ottawa becoming uncomfortably warm these days, the government wants to be seen to be Doing Something. While I think Kate's suggestion to withdraw our diplomatic staff, expel theirs, and raze both embassies to the ground has much merit, The Honourable Sock Puppet for Foreign Affairs has a different plan: scold them self-importantly, pat ourselves on the back for having the backbone to use stern voices in a diplomatic arena, then forget the incident ever happened since we can't do a damned thing about it anyhow. How nauseating. How typical.

"We will continue to put pressure on Iran," Pettigrew said.
"We need an independent autopsy which will help determine precisely what happened during her custody," said Sebastien Theberge, a Pettigrew spokesman.

"Dr. Azam's story reinforces our belief that this was a murder but the Iranian government will not listen to reasonable demands.

"Now the ball is in Iran's court." (Babbler's bold)

And what - you think they're going to lob it back to you in a polite game of diplomatic tennis, you asshat? This is useless, disgraceful spin control by a useless, disgraceful political party that didn't give a tinker's damn until their poll numbers took a hit, and the Brault testimony got politicos talking election.

When the time comes to cast your ballot, don't vote the Liberals out because they mismanaged public funds. Much as I believe the CPC will do better, I can't guarantee it. Don't even vote them out because they're so anxious to grab the levers of power and yank until something breaks.

Vote these bastards into electoral oblivion because they knew - KNEW - that Something Bad had happened to a Canadian citizen, because they did sweet F-all until Something Bad happened to their precious party, and because while they thump their chests in front of the microphone, they're STILL doing sweet F-all right now and hoping that you forget about this issue quickly so that they can get back to business as usual.

Don't you let them away with it. Don't you dare.

Babble off.

Update: Dana at canadiancomment weighs in with similar outrage:

You just can't beat Liberal politicians. Well I suppose you could but it probably wouldn't be legal. Anyways enough of the fantasizing.

Lately the Liberal Party is busy trying to minimize the damage from the murder of Zahra Kazemi. Like all issues the Liberals deal with, if tough measures are required they often end up spending most of their time trying to look good in front of the cameras.

Too true. And Pierre The Hair certainly looks fabulous in front of the cameras, doesn't he? Unfortunately, neither television, nor radio, nor newsprint can convey the overpowering stench of raw sewage spewing uncontrollably from Pettigrew's sanctimonious, hypocritical pie-hole.

Update 2: Angry in the Great White North points out the real strength of Liberal convictions (via BBG):

The federal government said Wednesday that Canada will not participate in a "Doing Business with Iran" conference in light of new and damning evidence in the Zahra Kazemi case.

Oooo, that's rough. The Iranians can still come, they can still schmooze with Canadian companies, the federal government will still provide all the infrastructure to make the meeting a success. But to show their displeasure, the mid-level bureaucrat who was going to kick things off with a "I would like to welcome everyone to this great city, sorry about the weather...blah, blah, blah" speech that would have run 10 minutes too long anyway is not going to be there, meaning that the group will have an extra twenty minutes to do productive work!

Business as usual, but with sharp hand movements, a stern frown, and a haughty least when the cameras are pointed Pettigrew's way.


At 1:12 p.m., Blogger Alan said...

Yeah! What he said!

At 1:18 p.m., Blogger Mark said...

Dead. On. Babble.

At 2:44 p.m., Blogger Prolix said...

Good rant, Damian. And, I'd have to agree with you. This is a crime that needs to be punished.

I do wonder, however, how many other countries we'd have to break off political and economic ties with if we made this policy (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Vietnam, etc.)? More importantly, would this policy actually be effective in bringing about change -- would it be worth the cost to our own economy? We're a fairly small player -- economically and politically on the world stage when it comes down to it. If the US can't bring about change through a trade embargo, you tend to wonder how we can?

And then there is the other perspective that says that engagement is better than isolation. That the surest way to bring about change is by building their middle class through trade... and by gently cojoling them towards an improved human rights regime...

At 7:24 p.m., Blogger Paul said...

I agree with you.

But I wonder how we convince those who feel that everything has to be approved by the U.N. And those who feel that "interfering" in some other country's internal business is always wrong.

In other words, this is but one isolated instance of an attitute which our friends south of the border has dealt with for decades. Now it's up to Canadians if they're willing to stand up for each other, or if their hatred of Americans and American policies will trump their concern for each other.

At 11:17 p.m., Blogger The Powers That Be said...

Fantastic post.

At 5:38 a.m., Blogger Doug said...

If the US can't bring about change through a trade embargo, you tend to wonder how we can?

Well, there is one element of this comparison in Canada's favor - it's not the US. In the middle east, where your neighbor can't catch a cold without everyone "knowing" that there was shadowy CIA involvement to silence them, it's a domestic and regional advantage to defy the US. It resonates well with the more populist Arab Nationalist sorts and the loon-hadin. It earned Saddam admiration for 13 years, and I'm convinced that was one of the unspoken motivations for his ouster. Among the tyrants, it's like that game where kids tease a chained dog and see who dares get closest to it. Great Satan! Ooooga booga.

On the other hand, I think news that Canada's turned the cold shoulder is more likely to be received as "Holy crap! How'd you tick them off?" Granted, there isn't tons of leverage in lone Canada's favor (would some other country protest in solidarity?), but there's also no built-in incentive for Iran to avoid resolving the matter. An apology and cash payments to families seems to work for Ghadaffi, there's no reason Iran can't follow suit.

But I wonder how we convince those who feel that everything has to be approved by the U.N. And those who feel that "interfering" in some other country's internal business is always wrong.

Those rules don't apply to Canada. Or much of anyone else, for that matter.


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