Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Israel/Lebanon War: Canadian Political Fallout

There's nothing like a war or two to bring out how some people really think and feel about major political issues that they might otherwise have chosen not to even talk about.

Today, I received an unsolicited e-mail from Scott Brison's Liberal leadership campaign staff directing me to read a Maclean's magazine article in which Brison's comments about the Wrzesnewskyj controversy were printed. I replied that I don't care what Brison thinks and asked to be removed from his campaign's mailing list. I am not a Liberal party member and Brison is one of the last people I would choose to lead the party if I had a vote in the matter.

What I found interesting about this e-mail wasn't that Brison thinks Wrzesnewskyj should resign as the Liberal party's foreign affairs critic, but the fact that Brison's comments were found in an article titled, 'Harper spokesman likens Hezbollah to German Nazi party of the 1930s'. That Brison's campaign would consider the fact that his opinion, which is now affiliated with Jason Kenney's extremist rhetoric about Nazis, was a good opportunity to convince liberals like me that Brison is standing on some moral high ground in this matter is laughable. What would have been more appropriate and perhaps effective would have been to provide a link to a statement by Brison on his campaign site - removing himself from any attachment to Kenney's typical reactionary screeching. Kenney's my MP. He's an uber-Conservative and an extremist, attention-whoring, fearmongering wanker who would likely enjoy the affections of the American neocons if they'd let him join their little club.

As for Wrzesnewskyj's comments about how to deal with Hezbollah and the whole idea that he has violated Liberal party discipline rules at a time when the party's about as tame as a feral cat, the one person who has suffered direct blowback because Wrzesnewskyj is associated with his Liberal leadership campaign, Gerard Kennedy, had this to say:

Kennedy did not go so far as to call for Wrzesnewskyj's resignation as critic, saying he wants to talk to the Toronto MP first. But he said his own opinions on Hezbollah are different than Wrzesnewskyj's.
"I think that you can't sanction violence. We have to operate according to principles and one of the principles is not to acknowledge bodies that will not abide by basic human rights and international law," Kennedy said.

Does that include the American and Israeli governments, Mr Kennedy, which both believe they are above the law when it comes to committing war crimes?

Steve, jumping on the Hezbollah/Nazis bandwagon supports Kenney's comments:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday it's not unfair to liken Hezbollah to the German Nazis of the 1930s because both stand for the destruction of the "Jewish nation."

In an interview with CanWest News Service, Harper was asked if the comparison made earlier in the day by his parliamentary secretary, Conservative MP Jason Kenney, was appropriate.

"Like all comparisons, it's true in some ways and not in others," the PM said, "but as near as I can tell, both Hezbollah and the Nazi Party stand for the elimination of the Jewish nation. So I think that's pretty fundamental, and in that sense I don't think it's unfair.

Steve and Jason obviously need to brush up on their history since, when the Nazis were in power, there was no such thing as a 'Jewish nation".

While we're using Nazi comparisons, why haven't Steve and Jason called wingnuts like Dr Laura, Fred Phelps and the conservative group Real Women of Canada Nazis too since they all subscribe to the ideology that gays - who were also persecuted by the Nazi party - are nothing short of aberrations to the human species?

Oh, but criticizing those people isn't appropriate since they're right-wingers and that might actually hurt the Canadian Conservative cause.


One thing that I, as a liberal, am grateful for is that the elephant in the living room - Israel and its actions - is now a matter of worldwide discussion. The more we're able to learn about which governments, parties, politicians, media groups and individuals support Israel's history of war crimes without question, the better. Because, when it all comes down to it, those who support such inhumanity from any group need to be exposed.

If Canadians agree with Gerard Kennedy's opinion that our country's government ought not 'acknowledge bodies that will not abide by basic human rights and international law', then we had better think long and hard about our relationship not only with Hezbollah (which has violated those laws as well) but with the two countries that should be judged by the same standard: the United States and Israel. What's more important? Staying true to liberal philosophy and principles or scoring political points?

Update: Wrzesnewskyj has resigned. It's obvious the Liberal party machine is more concerned with acting as a bloc than allowing dissenting opinions from its members. Congratulations. You've now handed the Conservative party a victory - once again. How's that Afghanistan war going?

But Graham also took a shot at the Conservatives, saying that at least, unlike the government, Liberals are allowed to speak freely.

"You'll be able to go out and interview them... nobody's got them locked up in a bus and thrown away the key, the way (it was done) at a recent caucus of the Conservatives," Graham told reporters Tuesday.

Shorter Graham: Go dig him out of the swamp we threw his body into.

Update: I wonder why Brison's campaign didn't send me these comments that appeared in the Toronto Star:

"The Liberal party is the only party with a proven capacity to form a government. Our standard is higher and that requires a discipline, both in opposition and in government," said Brison. "Clearly, Borys has failed that test."

Added Brison: "The last thing we need on this issue are misguided, uniformed[sic] and increasingly dangerous comments."

Dangerous?? To whom? Let's get real here.

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