Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ibbitson debunked

Quite the material here from John Ibbitson: "Scoring in China – without prostituting ourselves." Two of the main pillars of Ibbitson's paean to the Prime Minister are wrong, however.

On the "scoring in China" thing, Ibbitson writes this:
The Chinese granted Canada permission to market group tours of Chinese citizens to Canada – a privilege that other nations have long enjoyed, but that our country has been unsuccessfully seeking for a decade.
Really? (To use an enthusiastic David Akin turn of phrase.) That's just not true:
"Canada Granted Approved Destination Status by Chinese Government, BEIJING, China, January 21, 2005."
If Mr. Harper hadn't sat on his hands for four years, that might have been finalized long, long ago. Seems like a pretty glaring error for Mr. Ibbitson.

On the "without prostituting ourselves" score, here's what Ibbitson writes:
How to balance trade and human rights on the China file has baffled every Canadian government. Most just caved, shoving the issue aside. Mr. Harper believes he can promote both.
Yet check out Paul Wells from last night, with a 2001 Chretien speech in Shanghai (excerpt):
“Of course, the rule of law is about more than just a dry set of rules. The rules themselves reflect fundamental values of right conduct.

“The Canadian experience, and that of countries around the world, is that these values, and the rights that make them specific, are universal. They are endowed equally to all people, everywhere. Not on the basis of any special power or privilege, but purely and simply because they have been given the gift of life.

“That is why we call them human rights. And they not only protect individuals from abuse. They empower them to contribute fully and creatively to building a stronger society.

“Canada believes that frank discussion among nations about human rights can foster wider respect for and entrenchment of those rights. That while circumstances and experiences may vary from nation to nation, we all share a sense of what is just, what is right.

“True friends are never shy about exchanging views on important issues.

“And so, as a friend, I must tell you that Canadians are concerned when they hear reports from China of interference in the right of free expression. Or that people are imprisoned and badly treated for observing their spiritual beliefs. These reports transgress our most deeply-held convictions…”
Doesn't sound like caving to me.

With columns like Ibbitson's, who needs to buy ads? Just remarkable.

Kudos to the debunkers.