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UN Photo – Jean-Marc Ferre On Tuesday, James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, will conclude his nine-day visit to Canada, with a press conference in Ottawa. Anaya’s address will likely foreshadow his public report about Canada’s treatment of its First Nations people which is due out in September 2014. It might not be pretty. On Saturday, for example, Anaya visited Pukatawagan, a remote Cree reserve with more than 2,500 people. Here’s how CTV News described the northern Manitoba community: In some cases, families of 15 are living in three-bedroom homes. Some of the houses on the reserve are infested with bed bugs and have mould issues. In one home, an elderly diabetic woman who lost a leg and relies on her family to help care for her lives with no running water. And, on Monday, the Rapporteur was to meet with former Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine who was going to tell Anaya that the UN should recognize Canadas history with the First Nations as genocide. [ Related: UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples to visit Canada amid tense verbal standoff ] Fontaine with former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress Bernie Farber penned a column in the Globe and Mail explaining his position. Our conviction is that Canadian policy over more than 100 years can be defined as a genocide of First Nations under the 1948 UN Genocide Convention. We hold that until Canada as represented by its government engages in a national conversation about our historical treatment of the First Nations; until we come to grips with the fact that we used racism, bigotry and discrimination as a tool to not only assimilate First Nations into the Canadian polity, but engaged in a deliberate policy of genocide both cultural and physical; we will never heal.
Harper’s Canada: Hypocrisy And Double Standards
Canadians are criticizing the Harper government for dismissing UN concerns about the human rights situation in the country.Canada is currently undergoing a Universal Periodic Review at the UN, where members have expressed concern about the plight of the countrys indigenous people. The world is taking note of the ruling Conservatives shameful betrayal of Canadas once admirable reputation as a fair country sincerely working on the world stage to improve the lot of the disadvantaged and suffering. In the UN Human Rights Councils Universal Periodic Review, Canada was criticized to such an extent that the Council decided to send the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, representatives of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the situation in Canada. Harper learns a lesson in diplomacy However, the talking point in diplomatic circles world over is the hypocrisy and double standards of Harper when he decided to boycott the Commonwealth conference scheduled to be held in Sri Lankas capital Colombo next month.Many Canadians point out that Harper has slipped to the lowest level a leader of any country could fall to.At the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Bali, Harper was snubbed by the prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia when Harper brought the subject of boycotting the CHOGM in Sri Lanka. They both told Harper, in no uncertain terms, that they would attend the Commonwealth conference in Colombo.Harper learnt a lesson from Tony Abbott, who was only recently elected as the Prime Minister of Australia, when he was told by Abbott how to deal with friends and how to develop friendships. Abbott said he considered Sri Lanka to be a friend. David Cameron snubbed Harper months ago. The Queens decision to send her son Prince Charles to Sri Lanka to represent her is also seen as a new beginning for the Commonwealth. Harper has failed to see that move by the British monarchy. Hugh Segal, one of Harpers men who visited Sri Lanka recently last week, stooped to the lowest level and called a very highly respected former Indian diplomat, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamlesh Sharma a stooge.Sources close to Harper say that Segal had the blessings of the Canadian Prime Minister to call Sharma a stooge of the Sri Lankan government. Sources further pointed out that Harper had isolated himself and Canada on the world stage by his foolishness and immaturity. No sense of foreign relations Harper and his highly inexperienced Foreign Minister John Baird have no sense of foreign relations. They have completely ignored the advice given by several senior Canadian diplomats on improving relations with Sri Lanka. Harper and Baird are considered restless and inexperienced and are no match for the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is known to hail from a family involved in politics for over 67 years.The President himself has been in politics for over 45 years and is considered the most successful Sri Lankan President ever. Rajapaksa, unlike his predecessors, has made a name for himself on the world stage for his boldness, strong convictions and his leadership.