Just because all your friends are doing it, doesn't make it smart
Just as the Commonwealth was formed to keep its colonies aligned globally with Great Britain, La Francophonie was established in 1970 as a way to foster cooperation among states with some French heritage and protect the vestiges of France’s imperialist past.
There are 53 member countries, 2 associate members and 13 observers, all with various levels of French culture, language or historic ties. Canada, as a country is a member, as are the governments of New Brunswick and Quebec.
Canada has always been an important player at La Francophonie meetings, partly as a sop to our own French-linked population in Quebec, and partly because we offer both British and French pasts in an increasingly mono-culture world.
Generally at its biannual meetings, La Francophonie devotes itself with topics including arts and culture and development opportunities among its very poorest members, including Rawanda and the Congo.
However, at this year’s meeting in Bucharest, Romania, members of La Francophonie presented a resolution calling for support for Lebanese citizens from this summer’s mini-war between Hezbollah/Lebanon and Israel.
That’s right. The motion, led by Eygpt, called for alignment with Lebanon and, effectively, censure for Israel.
Stephen Harper, attending the conference, was having none of it.
Let’s remember that both sides experienced deaths during July and August– the only difference was the Israeli army didn’t hide out in civilian bedrooms, like Hezbollah.
Harper took a strong stance and forced a compromise expressing the suffering of all people in war is wrong, regardless of their nationality or religion. The revised resolution was accepted unanimously, though grave reservations were expressed by Egypt and Lebanon.
Reading through the left-wing blogs, you’d think that Stephen Harper, in suggesting both sides had suffered during the conflict, had personally held a gun to the heads of Lebanese children.
His impassioned appeal for intervention in the Sudan, as well as Canada’s contributions to the discussions in education and technology were brushed over.
Stephen Harper questioned the anti-Israel bias of the international community. What kind of Canadian does that?
Well, for starters, one that isn’t going to bow down to world pressure. It takes guts to go in front of 68 world leaders and say no. Canada was the only one who raised issue of equal suffering, which says more about the other countries, frankly, than anything else.
This meeting afforded us another glimpse into Stephen Harper, the Prime-Minister.
And it showed very clearly that he’s a guy that will take the hard, unpopular road – if it’s the right way forward.
As seen today in 24 Hours Daily.