Canada's 10-year preoccupation with trade as a means of fixing human rights abuses has been a dismal failure, human rights activists said today. They called on Prime Minister Paul Martin to take a firmer stand when he visits China during his Asian tour next week.
"We cannot leave human rights simply to the whim of market forces," Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International Canada, told a news conference. "To have pursued that as almost the solitary approach to how human rights were going to be raised and advanced in the Canada-China relationship was inadequate."
But it is just not China where that policy has failed, it has failed everywhere we have tried it. It hasn’t worked in Iran. We sell them wheat and buy oil, but the Mullah’s still don’t hesitate to bludgeon to death a Canadian citizen when the urge comes upon them.
Take Cuba, and you know Canadians feel so smug and superior to the Americans because we have diplomatic relations with Cuba and they don’t. It definitely brings out the ‘huha, huha, huha’ factor in Canadians. For decades now Canadians have been traveling to Cuba and spending their hard earned northern pesos, and yet, no matter how much trade or tourist dollars Fidel receives from us; he is still imprisoning poets, writers, musicians, homosexuals or anyone else Fidel & friends take a notion to imprison and torture.
I know what you are thinking; everybody in Cuba can read and write and they have free medical care. Great skill to have but if using those skills lands your genitals a date with a car battery or there are no books to read; what’s the point? Free medical care is a definite bonus providing that you can get it. Again, I fail to comprehend the benefit in having a doctor attempt to diagnosis a health issue without the equipment, tools or the drugs to cure you. But hey, it’s free.
If you really insist on believing the myth that using soft power diplomacy with despots makes a despot more humane I have an idea for you to try the next time your lying on one of Cuba’s sandy beaches sipping rum and having the sun warm your skin; try to imagining the song a Cuban sings on a date with a car battery attached to their genitals.