Canadians worried about what Stephen Harper might do if he were to have a majority should look at what he's doing to Canada's leading human rights agency.
To recap the scandal at Montreal-based Rights and Democracy:
His allies on its board hound its president, Remy Beauregard, for months. On Jan. 7, they vote to repudiate three small grants to NGOs monitoring human rights violations by both Israel and the Palestinians. He subsequently dies of a heart attack. The staff signs a petition demanding that the chair and two board executives resign. The three hire a private investigator. There's a Watergate-style break-in at the centre and two laptops are stolen. Three managers are suspended. There's a chorus of criticism by Beauregard's family, by four former board presidents, by about 100 academics and by 52 NGOs from the U.S., Europe and Israel.
Who's in Harper's Gang of Seven that has caused so much havoc?
Aurel Braun, the chair, is a professor of political science at U of T. He has long been active in B'nai Brith. Le Devoir reports that he is an ally of Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, an Israeli group that attacks those critical of Israel.
Jacques Gauthier, board vice-chair, is a Toronto lawyer, whose PhD thesis argued that East Jerusalem belongs to Jews, not Palestinians. That's contrary to international consensus and Canadian policy. Our embassy is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, for a reason. East Jerusalem is occupied territory.
Brad Farquhar. A management consultant in Regina, he ran against Liberal Ralph Goodale in the 2006 election on an anti-gay platform, according to The Canadian Press.
Marco Navarro-Genie. Another Conservative partisan, he teaches political science at St. Mary's University College, Calgary. According to CP, he mocks climate change and circulates pro-Guantanamo Bay polls.
Elliot Tepper. A professor of political science at Carleton, he was one of the three whose resignation the staff demanded for harassing Beauregard and staff.
David Matas. A Winnipeg lawyer, he served on the board earlier as well (1997-2003), appointed by the Liberals. He is the long-standing legal counsel for B'nai Brith.
Michael Van Pelt. According to CP, he donated to the Ontario Conservatives and heads Cardus, a think-tank committed to the "dynamic current of Christian thought, changing hearts and minds, institutions and networks, with a gospel-oriented ... worldview."
These individuals are entitled to their views and free to advance any cause. But their role on the board raises issues beyond Harper corralling another independent agency.To recap: Arabs, other Muslims and Lefty ideologues swelling the ranks at immigration and "human rights" bureaucracies--thumbs up. Joooos/Zionists, Christians and classic liberals (i.e. Conservatives) getting the nod--run for your lives, it's a gibungous Zionist conspiracy!
What they've done is worse than Ottawa axing funds to the Arab Federation and Kairos, the Christian group, both critical of Israel.
Rights and Democracy, created by an act of Parliament, reports to it, not the PMO. Yet the seven have bullied it into line with his and their agenda on the Middle East.
Still, this is not a simple pro- or anti-Israeli issue. Canadians are pro-Israeli, proudly so. But only some broach no criticism of Israel (or only such that they might approve of)...
Update: As if Harpoon's hyperventilations weren't bad enough, this letter to the Star's editor by a Canadian academic (it appeared in yesterday's paper) compounds the fear-mongering. It's evident that the Star is waging a concerted battle to unseat Harper by making him out to be a Zionist tool, putty in the hands of supernaturally powerful Jewish Lobby (shades of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, eh?). And that's most ironic, considering the paper is a Mothership (along with the CBC) for loopy lefties/virtuousness junkies who serve as the jihad's useful idiots.
Update: My letter to the Star:
Stephen Harper appoints seven--count 'em--seven non-leftists to a human rights bureaucracy, and Haroon Siddiqui immediately raises the specter that a vast right wing/Zionist conspiracy is afoot.
To put the kibosh on such "scary" shenanigans occurring in the future, perhaps government appointees should be forced to affirm their fealty to Siddiquian principles. Requiring them to answer "Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist?" ought to do the trick.Update: Were I asked to describe the essence of Canada in a single line, I would reply: Canada is the type of country that reserves its highest civilian honour for the likes of Harpoon Siddiqui.
That about says it all, I think, about who we are and where we're headed.