Uncle Steve Awarded Human Rights Medal (Say What?!)

“I wonder how long it will take them to figure out that my name isn’t ‘Stephen Lewis’?”

You have got to be shitting me:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today became the first Canadian to receive the B’nai Brith International President’s Gold Medallion, in recognition of the Government’s efforts to fight discrimination and uphold human rights in Canada and around the world.


In presenting Prime Minister Harper with the award, B’nai Brith International President Moishe Smith, a resident of Ottawa who is the first non-American president of the organization, cited a number of actions the Prime Minister and the Government have taken to advance human rights and oppose discrimination, including:

  • Unequivocally supporting Canada’s role in the UN-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan;
  • Refusing to sign a resolution denouncing Israel’s right to self-defence at the 2006 Francophonie Summit;
  • Suspending relations with the then Hamas-led government in Palestine, for its refusal to renounce terrorism; and
  • Delivering a heartfelt apology acknowledging the overtly discriminatory Indian Residential Schools program.“Prime Minister, whether in opposition or in government, you have always portrayed a leadership style that speaks of principle and honesty,” said Mr. Smith.
  • Y’know why irony was unavailable for comment, Alison? Because it just committed suicide.

    Related: Bob Hepburn on how certified humanitarian Stephen Harper is “snubbing” a true Canadian human rights icon, the *ahem* “disgraceful” (hey, wasn’t irony’s festering corpse lying face down a moment ago?) outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner (and former Supreme Court of Canada justice) Louise Arbour.

    When [Arbour] announced her resignation, diplomats from across Europe and other parts of the world sang her praises. Some presented her with flowers. Canadian diplomats, though, barely acknowledged her presence, issuing only a bland, terse statement acknowledging that Canada would continue to support human rights.

    Later, then foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier tried to assuage the outrage from human rights groups over Canada’s dismissive response by issuing a short statement praising Arbour for “expanding the concepts of human rights and fundamental justice.”

    Since then, Harper and his government have remained silent, except for Toews’ ugly outburst.

    Is Harper so small-minded that he cannot speak for himself about Arbour and her accomplishments?

    Is such pettiness a sign that Harper is once again out of step with most Canadians, this time when it comes to recognizing the need for a progressive, courageous champion for human rights?

    Yes and yes.

    Simple answers to simple questions.

    But hey, at least Uncle Steve has a shiny medal from B’nai Brith to ease his (non-existent) conscience.

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