Our common global humanity is on the line.

(Photo credit: Ceasefire.ca)

We increasingly confront a world where greed, coercion and bribery trumps human rights and our common global humanity.  

Our Foreign Minister has talked passionately about the USA abandonment of its leadership role in championing the “rules based international order”.  Yet the real threat is not American isolationism, but the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on the very notion of a global community based on fundamental principles of human rights and the rule of law.

We call this the “attack from within”.

These Trumpian assaults are numerous and growing.  National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has vowed to “legally and financially retaliate” against judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and any state or company assisting them, if they dare to investigate American citizens for possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.

Then there is the U.S. renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal, a multiparty agreement enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. Despite repeated international certification of Iran’s compliance with the deal, the USA has illegally re-imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran, and enacted other measures to similarly punish any state or company that continues to honour the deal.

In other words, those who seek to uphold the global rule of law are being threatened, intimidated and coerced by the USA. 

Worst of all is the case of Saudi Arabia, a country which continues to enjoy a privileged, protected relationship with the USA, despite its ongoing war crimes in Yemen, its torture of women activists and the complicity of its de facto ruler, Crown Prince MBS, in the brutal murder of a Saudi journalist, resident in the USA and working for the Washington Post.

Canada’s spineless acquiescence shames us all.

Canada, a once-proud architect of the ICC, has been shamefully mute in the face of U.S. attacks on the court. We have expressed regret at the American departure from the Iran nuclear deal, but have done absolutely nothing to help our European Union colleagues as they struggle to keep the deal alive and Iran on board.

And finally there is our government’s moral cowardice in the face of Saudi Arabian barbarity.

To date, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland have all suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia. 

Not so Canada.

It seems that our much-vaunted support for human rights can simply be bartered away.  International law does not permit such trade-offs when fundamental human rights are at risk.  Yet our Prime Minister is doing precisely that, every time he raises the potential loss of jobs or the alleged secret penalty clause as an excuse for failing to cancel the intolerably immoral Saudi arms deal.

At the end of the day, if we stand for anything, we have only one choice: Cancel the contract.Andrew Cohen

There is no time to lose.

We all have a role to play as we seek to restore our government’s basic moral compass.

Fear of Trump must not continue to paralyze our government, even after the completion of the post-NAFTA trilateral trade agreement with the USA and Mexico.

Our end-of-year message to members of Parliament and most of all to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is clear: we want their welcome rhetoric in support of human rights, of international law, of fundamental human dignity, to be more than mere words.

We want and expect our government to stand up for what is right, not just when it is easy, but when it is hard, because that is when it really matters. – Peggy Mason, RI President


Please note there will be no blog on December 28th to give our folks a holiday break.  See you all in the New Year!


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