Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lawrence Cannon, no friend of Canadians

As the Tories launch their latest round of plans to secure a majority government, they might find getting off the ground is easier if you first get rid of the anvil sitting in the luggage bay.

The anvil in question is Lawrence Cannon, our federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, and no friend of Canadian citizens travelling abroad. In this weekend's Globe, both
Rex Murphy and Gerald Caplan eloquently describe Cannon's bungling and bizarre comments that make clear his inability to stand up for the citizens his government is supposed to represent. If law-abiding Canadians find themselves in trouble abroad, who can they count on if not their own government?

The latest mistake -- trapping Toronto woman Suaad Hagi Mohamud in Kenya after Canadian officials wrongly denied she was Canadian -- has resulted in a
$2.5 million dollar suit against the government. Abdelrazik, the Canadian citizen trapped in Sudan for over six years until a court forced the government to bring him home, will likely cost the government millions more. Money of course doesn't make up for the grief and trauma experienced by the victims.

While we can't personally blame the Minister for every mistake made, it's his inability to speak up and resolve issues that we should question. In some cases, his department is
completely silent when dialogue with a foreign government is clearly warranted. In the case of Abdelrazik, for reasons still never thoroughly explained, his department deliberately created additional roadblocks to prevent the citizen's return home.

The question now is how much more will this Minister cost Canadians before he finds the exit?


thebanana said...

Maybe, just maybe, he's not a bungler, and is merely "following orders". Perhaps the Harper-cons truly are not friends of those who have funny Muslim sounding names.

Fat Arse said...

@ Banana,

Bungler or ass-kisser? It matters not. Cannon's lips should be removed from the portfolio. After all, all they do is flap!

As for Harpo & co. not being 'friends' of Muslims - probably true. But when one has a Canadian Passport IT SHOULD NOT MATTER! A Canadian is a Canadian, is a Canadian!

Stimpson said...

I don't think this is a matter of Cannon's "inability" in any way. It's all about the government hardly caring at all about certain citizens abroad. Remember when Kanye West raised eyebrows by saying "George Bush doesn't care about black people"? Well, substitute Lawrence Cannon (or Steve Harper) and brown and you're in the right ballpark here.

Prairie Topiary said...

I think you're right. "Inability" should be read as wearing heavy quotation marks.

I very much doubt it's a coincidence that the Canadians experiencing all of the abuse at the hands of our government happen to have Muslim or Arabic sounding names and dark skin colours. When your world view is reduced to a simplistic "us" and "them" mentality, it's easy to rationalize mistreatment of "them".

nitroglycol said...

Compare the Brenda Martin case. Convicted on 22 April, transferred 1 May, released 9 May. Hmm...