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ExpatPundit

"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.





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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Another proportionate answer! After a mere 9 weeks, I have heard back from Bill Graham's office! Much like the response from the Council of Europe, his response is polite, calm, and totally unresponsive to my question. And it took him six weeks longer to respond. Just to recap, I wrote to several people who criticized Israel's March/April military campaign as a "disproportionate response," and asked them if they would tell me what would constitute a "proportionate response." The tally so far:

Voicer of "disproportionate" complaint....................Time since my email
Peter Hansen (UNRWA)...........................................................61 days & counting
Bill Graham (Canada Foreign Minister).............................answered in 61 days
Francine Lalonde (Bloc Quebecois foreign policy critic)....61 days & counting
Chris Patten (EU Commissioner, External Affairs)..........59.8 days & counting
Mikhail Margelov (Council of Europe).................................answered in 17 days
Ray Murphy (Irish Times contributor)..............................52.5 days & counting

Here's the letter:

Thank you for your correspondence concerning the situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

I have taken note of your views and concerns. Canada is deeply concerned about the further deterioration of the situation, and the increased numbers of casualties on both sides. We extend our condolences to the families of all the victims, both Israeli and Palestinian. The need to implement a cease-fire and resume security cooperation is urgent. Canada continues to believe that only a negotiated solution can bring a just and lasting peace to the region.

We fully support recent United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Middle East, including Resolutions 1397, 1402, and 1403. These resolutions call on the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to move immediately to a meaningful ceasefire and to work towards implementing the Tenet work plan and the recommendations made in the Mitchell Report, with the aim of resuming negotiations for a political settlement. The resolutions also demand immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction.

We remain in touch with the leaders of the region, and review the situation regularly with our allies. I will continue to work with the parties to encourage them to halt the violence and resume negotiations to achieve a just and lasting peace. Canada stands ready to support all international efforts to bring about a resolution of the conflict.

For a copy of a document outlining Canada's long-standing policy on key issues in the Middle East you may wish to browse our Web site at www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/peaceprocess. Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Bill Graham

Recall that my email asked simply -- in between the sarcastic overtones -- "Could you provide any suggestions for what would have constituted a "proportionate" use of force in response to these attacks?" I fail to see how this email addresses that. I will send a reply forthwith, posthaste, and other such words.

Asked and answered. Two stories from the Globe and Mail today, both about the G-8 summit:

p.1: "Will the Mideast ruin Chretien's African agenda?"

p.5: "Mideast plan not expected to derail agenda."
Amazon.ca is here! Let's see the Canadian retail booksellers fight this. Chapters and Indigo Books, two huge chains in Canada, successfully prevented U.S. firms from coming over the border in recent years, successfully persuading politicos such as Sheila Copps that having U.S.-headquartered chains enter the market would somehow restrict the availability of books by Canadian authors. Now Amazon.ca is here! Low prices, and with perfectly normal shipping rates. It used to be that I would have to spend $3-4 per book to get shipments from Amazon, but no more! Ah, the blessed freedom of the Internet marketplace...
Free Trade, but not for milk or airplanes. Not much news today about those U.S. hypocrites who are blocking free trade of Canadian lumber. Oh, but there is this article:

"WTO to hear Brazil dispute": The World Trade Organization decided yesterday to set up an arbitration panel to handle Brazil's request that it impose retaliatory sanctions against Canada in the latest round of a long and bitter row over aircraft subsidies.

Brazil has accused Canada of failing to implement the findings of an independent WTO team of experts that ruled in January that loans provided to Bombardier Inc. were illegal under international trading rules.

Plus another one, not online, noting that Canada is now in trouble for its dairy subsidies. But keep up that self-righteous anger, guys!
And exactly how did they stall? Another gem from Reuters, in an article ostensibly about a new, improved Israeli tank:

Israel's crushing military response to the Palestinian revolt, which erupted in September 2000 after peace talks stalled, have drawn international condemnation and talk of possible sanctions by European suppliers of arms components. [emphasis added]

So Barak offers practically all of the land concessions demanded by the PA, and Arafat rejects it out of hand, stunning Clinton, the Israelis, and most of his own underlings -- and this is how the "peace talks stalled." Well, if you're going to avoid calling suicide bombers "terrorists," there's not much point in blaming Arafat for the end of the peace talks, I suppose.
Quick and dirty roundup. Too much going on outside of the blogosphere today, so I'll just do some quick posts with little commentary. Besides, I'm pretty ticked off that nobody has bothered to link to my timely "Bush speech" anagram from yesterday.

1. John Ibbitson goes two-for-two. One day after his lame whinging about the U.S. and capital punishment, Ibbitson writes a front-page story about Bush's speech. Does Bush get any points for injecting a much-neede dose of moral clarity into the Middle East morass? Not from John:

Although Mr. Bush appeared to move farther than ever before in his willingness to support Palestinian statehood, his much-anticipated speech seemed mainly intended to delight conservative and Jewish supporters, while offering little or no comfort to Arab or European allies.

You know, those beloved allies such as Saudi Arabia and France. Yup, this was merely a campaign speech, and we should judge it by keeping score of who will give Bush brownie points and who will be steamed. Lord knows Bush couldn't be applying a moral compass. After all, he's Bush. And this is the U.S. we're talking about.

As for the U.S.'s promise to recognize an independent state of Palestine when certain conditions are met, Ibbitson states:

If Palestinians reject Yasser Arafat and his allies, renounce terror and embrace full democracy -- impossible conditions in the eyes of many Mideast experts -- the United States will recognize an independent state of Palestine....

Perhaps I am reading too much into this, but is Ibbitson complaining that it is unreasonable of the U.S. to tie the creation of a Palestinian state to these conditions because a lot of people think it will be really hard for them to be met? Have we really sunk this far? Have we really defined deviancy down so much that it is unreasonable to balk at supporting a state for people whose leaders insist on cultivating suicide bombers in order to blow up neighboring civilians? Apparently so, as far as John Ibbitson is concerned.

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