Rare praise for the Harper Conservatives

I’ve been relentlessly negative about the Harper Conservative government.  So I feel a responsibility, when they get something right, to offer some praise.  Today, the Harper government announced $80 million in funding for de-mining Afghanistan. Critics can always say that more can be done.  The article quotes Jody Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines lamenting the focus on Afghanistan only.  As Ms Williams says:

“Not that Afghanistan doesn’t need it — of course it does. But, being a tad cynical, it does cross my mind: is all that money going to Afghanistan because there is controversy around Canadian troops in combat missions in Afghanistan?

“Is it trying to make up for the fact that some Canadians are not really thrilled about war-making as opposed to (Canada’s) historic leadership in peacekeeping?”

I agree with Ms. Williams.  There is definitely some political significance to the choice of Afghanistan.  But if focusing on Afghanistan helps to protect Canadian soldiers it’s difficult for me to find fault with the choice.  And we have a greater responsibility towards Afghanistan because of our involvement there.

This doesn’t fix things.  I still think we should redefine our role in Afghanistan, and work hard to establish some stability so that we can move out.  We should not be supporting US troops defoliating the poppy crop which the Afghanis rely on at the behest of a hoodlum government.  But let’s give credit where it’s deserved.  This is a step in the right direction.

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While I’m praising the Harper government, they did something else right a couple of weeks back.  They announced federal protection of two enormous areas of boreal forest, mostly from the threat of uranium and diamond mining.  Again, this in no way makes up for derailing the Commonwealth climate talks.  And climate change is the far more pressing environmental concern.  This was reiterated in a comment from the World Wildlife Fund:

Lorne Johnson, an official with the World Wildlife Fund Canada, said he hopes the government will eventually tackle climate change in the same manner it’s tackling conservation issues.

“We’ll probably come out swinging next week on climate change and (the government’s) targets for industry, but today, this is a massive accomplishment and we applaud it,” said Johnson, on hand for the announcement.

But this announcement was undoubtedly a bright spot in a sea of bad news for the environment.

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