Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On matters of principle

Stephen Harper on how we're supposed to perceive the Cons' foreign policy, as described just weeks ago:
The Prime Minister reflected this new reality in his triumphalist speech to the Conservative party faithful on the weekend, where he articulated Canada’s approach to the world in a single, potent sentence.

“We know where our interests lie and who our friends are,” he declared, “and we take strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not.”

He didn’t call it the Harper Doctrine, but we can. It is startling both in its boldness and its utter lack of nuance.
Stephen Harper's government today:
Natural Resources Ministers Joe Oliver had hinted Tuesday the Canadian delegation would remain quiet at the meeting because four other countries had already spoken up against the listing.

But on Wednesday, Ukraine switched positions and indicated it could accept the hazardous listing.

Canada's intervention (to block consensus on the naming of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous material) followed immediately after Ukraine's announcement. It also came just after India, a major importer of Quebec asbestos, announced it, too, would support the listing. As with Canada at past meetings, India either opposed the listing or remained silent.

Unless consensus among countries can be achieved, chrysotile asbestos will remain off Annex III, contrary to the recommendation of the UN convention's scientific expert committee.
So which principle is it that calls for a government to ignore all scientific evidence (including that from its own non-partisan public service) to prevent hazardous materials from being accurately labeled?

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