The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Fer gawd's sake, people, you're givin' me whiplash.

Polls seem to show that most Canadians support the Canadian government's handling of the Iraq crisis. The string of seeming flip-flops and contradiction on the subject of regime change in Iraq makes one wonder why the support is that high -- it's certainly not because of the style or presentation of the government's arguments. From today's Globe and Mail:
The federal government backtracked furiously yesterday, saying it does not necessarily support Washington's war objective of toppling Saddam Hussein.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien disavowed Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham's remarks on Monday that Canada wants to see regime change in Baghdad.

"The question of changing of regime is not a policy that is acceptable under the United Nations charter," Mr. Chrétien said.

Mr. Graham changed his message from the previous day.

"No, Canada has never been in favour of regime change," Mr. Graham told reporters after a committee meeting on Parliament Hill.

On Monday, he said, "We as a government are supportive of the United States' desire to get rid of Saddam Hussein, to deal with the weapons-of-mass-destruction issue around the world. And we'll continue to work with the United States in terms of non-proliferation, in terms of the war on terrorism."
Uh, which one is it? There's no shame in saying that even though the government has not endorsed the war, it wants to see the back of the Hussein regime. It's perfectly possible to have been against the war because of the fact that the Canadian government does not believe that one nation should be the international arbiter and enforcer of which regimes shall be allowed to continue and which must fall, but to now take a position that is not neutral. Lysiane Gagnon said it so well in her column yesterday that Canada can still (and must) choose sides with honour.

In fact, the government could use the fact that the war is now on to say that it will pitch in to the humanitarian effort in Iraq after the fighting ends, and to the rebuilding of Iraq and helping to ensure that the next government of Iraq is one that is acceptable to the Iraqi people and not just to the Bushies. Given the United States' less than sterling record of installing governments in foreign counties -- the honourable exception of West Germany does not compensate for the likes of Pinochet, Noriega, that Hussein guy, and other less-than-luminaries -- it's a solid stance for Canadians to take. Don't knock our constitutional lawyers; once they've cleaned up in Afghanistan, on to Iraq!

I think that that's what the government has been trying to do, what with today's announcement of $100-million earmarked for Iraqi aid, but the message is so muddled that it'll be lost in the storm of controversy over Canada's stance on military intervention. What the hell is going on? This government has been masterful on making a modicum of sense to Canadians on most issues. Right now, it seems that Chrétien and company have settled for being less unacceptable to the Canadian public than the "America, right or wrong" rhetoric of the opposition Canadian Alliance, the absolute commitment to pacifism of the New Democrats, or the muddled Progressive Conservatives, a party that preached multilateralism six weeks ago but that has (mostly) gone into full hawk mode as the war neared.

Where's the Liberal spin machine to get the message out when you need it?
Comments: Post a Comment

Reports, opinions, columns, and anything else on this site, are © 2002-2003 Ian King unless otherwise noted. Permission granted to use material on this site for non-commercial purposes provided that the work is attributed to the original author. All other uses require specific permission of the original author. Contact weblog owner with any inquiries.

Feel free to link to this web log. The management likes getting lots of traffic.