I despise our current government. They're a bunch of feel-good handwringers and pearl clutchers without a single scap of moral discrimination.
Witness their quest to de-fund Canadian films that some unspecified body (presumably the Conservative Reform Alliance Party) calls "offensive". The great irony is that American productions would receive the tax credits regardless. So in one fell swoop the Conservatives both ruin an industry in which Canada remains competetive and drives the survivors to Hollywood. Bravo.
Witness their slavish desperation and lack of depth in technology: Internet throttling? They're fine with it--it's private industry, don'cherknow? Penalizing music lovers? Heck, they actively get paid for that!
Witness the "Reform" (as in the Canadian equivalent of the One Nation Party) of immigration law in response to a crisis that the Conservatives themselves manufactured by cutting staffing levels.
The only organization I despise more is our "opposition" party. If Stephane Dion wants to be remembered as anything other than a Quisling, an apologist, and an enabler, he'd be better off pulling the damn trigger and getting us another election, during which he could then resign. Because he'll sure as hell never be Prime Minister. And doesn't deserve to.
You're the Opposition, Steph. For Christ's sweet sake--oppose something!
However, the Conservatives are just as bad or worse. Positions taken on human rights abuses in Darfur, China, or Guantanamo Bay? None.
Of all of these, I loathe their position on China the most. These self-styled "Conservatives" willingly allow people to deal and trade with China under the auspices of the "principles of the free market," yet take no action as the world's largest military grows to unprecedented size, as the hothouse economy blows more crap into the environment, as workers--supposedly the bedrock of the "communist" state--are exploited and enslaved, and as increasing numbers of dissidents are jailed in the interest of a peaceful Olympics. Not that the Liberal party would have been any better on this one point.
So I was wondering: How best to start forcing despots to change their behaviour? Sanctions work, over time, but they take decades and often have an indiscriminate impact on the most exploited people in such benighted states.
Armed intervention? Expensive, bad for one's image, and no guarantee of victory ... well just look at the "liberation" of Iraq.
Simply asking often doesn't work. But perhaps there's a way to combine polite insistence with treading heavily on some toes?
How about an "uncivilization duty"?
Imagine: July 2008, the new Prime Minister rises in the house and announces that Canada will be examining the conduct of every nation with whom we have a trading relationship.
Using our own standard (a shade shy of perfection--at least until we settle all the land claims, get pot decriminalised, and start taxing consumption at an appropriate rate), we will evaluate each country on a scale of one to 100.
Each country will be assigned import and export duties correspondent with their place on the list. For example, Zimbabwe, at a hypothetical #98, would face 50% duties on all exports to Canada and Canadian imports. The scale would be a curve, so that if you got to within ten positions, you could possibly avoid duties altogether.
It's a drop in the bucket, sure. But it means something. It would be concrete recognition that a democracy (which we're not--we're a Constitutional Monarchy, much better) is a preferred trading partner and that other regimes are pariahs.
It's a very rough idea, but I keep looking for leadership--such as a move for a boycott of the Olympics--and never seeing it.