Cons, Libs and NDP do not call for Egyptian President to step down

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al-Qa'bong

The discussion of the NDP in relation to Egypt is sorta funny.  I've always had to do double-takes when reading about the NDP in Al Ahram.

Now don't get all excited...

Quote:

NDP promises accommodation

Dina Ezzat examines the reaction of the ruling party and its government to wide-scale public anger

Sean in Ottawa

Am I the only one here torn between Trippie's comments in post 41 and Unionist's and many others throughout the thread?

I am interested in hearing from those struggling with both of these points of view, more than those who deny the other motivation. I think there are good progressive ideals on both sides here and if we want to explore this further we would need to step back a moment and recognize that both sides come from a progressive intent and both have merit.

Then we might be able to further explore the morality or immorality of offering what is essentially only moral support.

I don't think this is morally a clear cut decision. I will say in defence of Unionist and others that the difficulty here is in part due to previous interference.

But if you are an internationalist where do you stop when it comes to interference-- do we stop "interfering" in exploitation of Native Peoples in BC because we are in Ontario? If not why not? The we benefit from their exploitation and therefore are already interfering argument applies equally well to Egypt. The we have responsibility for their position applies equally well to Egypt. I like the idea of non-interference but it is a tough line to draw in a series of integrated relationships and exactly where do you draw it? How do you justify drawing it at national borders? Societies transcend those.

Then there is the question of what is interference. The expression of an opinion, perhaps, but ignoring and not expressing an opinion could also be interference -- if you ignore poverty you enable it. Where -- exactly --  is that line drawn?

Perhaps the issue is that expressing opinions and moral support is okay but coercion, the application of power is not. Sounds cleaner than it is.

I have to say the very few in this thread who seem to be having some trouble with this, leave me more comfortable than those that are drawing absolutes and amid righteous indignation protesting that this is much simpler than it really is-- even from a progressive point of view.

We have had 9 posts after Trippie's eloquent post on the topic-- we should at least engage that post, answer it substantively not with indignation and black and white thinking -- is there nothing in that post that makes people think or even if they disagree have a response?

Sometimes I think the real-world gray areas in these things become inconvenient and people want to make something cleaner-sounding than it is (both sides) and then abdicate their responsibility to consider the other perspective.

What is real, and unfortunately contradictory in my view is:

1) the exploitation imperialism and history of outrageous interference and coercion (that seems to drive Unionists point of view)

2) the importance of solidarity and support across national boundaries (that seems to drive Trippie's)

3) the deep integration of relationships, dependencies (that makes the concept of noninterference problematic)

I also believe ignoring something is in fact potentially a form of interference-- there is no escaping the difficulty of this answer.

I remain concerned that I can get it wrong, that my conclusions are suspect to myself. I am deeply suspicious of anyone here who makes it out that this is a simple moral equation with a straight-forward answer. And those people on both sides I respect and apologize for the slight this comment may represent.

As for the NDP, I would prefer that the party discuss openly this difficulty and acknowledge both sides. That at least would respect and explain both the wish for solidarity, the respect for principles of interference and the morally difficult nature of the response. Maybe that acknowledgment ought to be our response rather than an attempt to lean out in either way or dive for cover and say nothing.

Sometimes it is easier to argue a side than the middle but sometimes the moral answer is in the middle. No apologies to Aristotle.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thank you for that info.

I now agree that the worst problem in Egypt is the NDP.  I hope the people oust the sycophant NDP from Egypt.  They are most likely the agent provocateurs in the streets beating protesters as we speak.

NDPP

ultimately the ndp (yours) will never seriously oppose the interests of empire

cassius

I'm not surprised. Jack Layton avoids  the Middle East like a plague. When Layton was running for leader, he tried to bridge the gap between the pro- and anti-Israel factions in the party and failed. There are NDP seats that depend on mainstream Jewish voters, who are strongly pro-Israel. Thomas Mulcaire's riding is one. According to one NDP MP, when NDP MP Libby Davies was strongly critical of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Layton let Mulcaire verbally flog Davies in the Commons to ensure his chances of re-election. So falling in line with the Liberals and the Conservatives on Egypt was the safe thing to do. Layton knows that letting Mobarek stay and hover over a transition to democracy means no democracy but a regime acceptable to the US and Israel. But it pleases the U.S. and Israel's supporters here, who echo Israel's position. And that's key. Layton may not care about Egypt, but he doesn't want to lose the party's toehold in Quebec. 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

This unsubstantiated claim that the NDP "depends on "mainstream" Jewish voters" sounds like crap used to justify pro-Zionist/pro-racist views in the NDP and Canadian social life in general.

Unionist

cassius wrote:

There are NDP seats that depend on mainstream Jewish voters, who are strongly pro-Israel. Thomas Mulcaire's riding is one.

I consider that an anti-semitic statement. Just thought I'd put you on notice before I start saying things I'll really regret.

That's besides the fact that your thesis is based on utter abysmal ignorance of my riding.

Skinny Dipper

Although I don't always like to promote advertising, I would like to suggest to Rogers cable customers living in Toronto that they can watch a free preview of Al Jazeera English on channel 176.  I don't know how long the preview will last.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture
Unionist

James Clancy wrote:
'We are disappointed that you, and your government, have not yet called for the immediate resignation of the corrupt and illegitimate government of Hosni Mubarak.' - James Clancy NUPGE national president.

Maybe Hosni Mubarak should call for the immediate resignation of the corrupt and illegitimate government of Stephen Harper.

James Clancy has some pretty specific demands about Egypt:

Quote:

The National Union further calls on the government of Canada to:

  • increase its diplomatic efforts to convince Mubarak to abdicate the presidency;
  • reject any attempt by Mubarak to appoint a successor;
  • support the Egyptian people’s demands for wide-spread democratic reforms;
  • demand the government of Egypt respect the right of its people to protest and demonstrate and to condemn any use of force on the protesters; and
  • recognize the Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions and encourage future Egyptian governments to respect the fundamental human right of Freedom of Association.

Why Egypt? Because it's in the headlines? Or is this just the first in a series of demands for regime change? Based on what? The size of the street protests? Whose decision?

I'm uncomfortable with this kind of interference.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
The Ontario NDP campaigned from the left, and when they won, were so traumatized that they decided to govern from the right, so as to stay in power forever. Whoops, didn't work. It'll take a couple of generations to recover from that lesson. Give them time.

And now with the third recession in three decades, they all govern like Bob Rae with budget deficits as far as the eye can see but a lot less to show for it than Rae's NDP were able to achieve under the top-down neoliberalorama that has every province pitted against the other since Brian Baloney and that Shawinigan handshake guy. Rae's NDP were punished by Southern and Eastern Ontarians who traditionally vote Tory and Liberal and were only caught asleep at the switch during the 1990 election. A rabid phony majority of conservative Ontarians made sure to show up at ballot boxes in phony majority style by 1995. Even though NDP Ontario had the best growth rates in Canada by 1994, religiously Tory supporters wanted to make sure that the uncommon nonsense revolutionairies after Rae would add $35 billion dollars to the annual budget deficit during a period of nation wide economic recovery. And it looks like Pinocchio McGuinty is another Bob Rae wannabe with largest budget deficits in Ontario's history.

Canadians have had to endure three recessions in three decades under the top-down neoliberal ideology emanating from Ottawa. It's still broken only worse than before.

Unionist wrote:
We should, however, also learn to make distinctions

And they are:

1. The NDP should be more vociferous and partisan when it comes to Israel.

2. The NDP should keep their noses out of Uncle Sam's business in Afghanistan

3. The NDP should be more vociferous and partisan when it comes to Uncle Sam's business in Egypt.

NDPP

 Bob Rae has called for an emergency 'take note' theatre-play debate on Egypt in the evil Ottawa talkshop. 

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/02/02/egypt-debate.html

"The debate is scheduled to start at 6:45 PM EDT.."

Canada's Main Challenge is Getting Citizens Out of Egypt

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/02/02/egypt-debate.html

"While Conservatives would like to see a new Egyptian government that is friendly to Israel, Canada lacks significant sway in the Middle East. If the army remains loyal to Mubarak, a period of intensified repression could result. The country would become more of a military dictatorship and less of a party-ruled state.."

'Canada has become little more than an embassy for Benjamin Netanyahu' - George Galloway

 

trippie

@ Sean

I don't come to my opinons lightly. There was a time when I truelly believed in the NDP. I thought Bob Rae was doing exactly what he should have done in Ontario at the time.

 

But know I am older and have a much better understadning of the world and Capitalism. I see how it works, I have reviewed history, I've read many opinons, listened to all sides, here and there.

 

My conclusion is this; Capitalism is a world wide economy. Though the working class is divided into different countries, the economy they live under is not.

 

When the working class revolts, it revolts for the same reasons, at the same time, around the world in different degrees.

 

You can not seperate what happens in Canada from what happens in Egypt.

 

 

trippie

Time line of the latest Working Class revolution.

 

 - 2007-2008 world capitalism crashes

- The bourgeoise prop it up with bailout money given to the banks

- the advanced Capitalist Countries force the weaker ones to impose austarity measure on the working class

- The working class in Iran, Greece, italy, Spain, France, England, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, USA (midterm elections) revolt

 

The question now is; who will win, the bourgeoisie or the working class?

My bet is on the bourgeoisie, but only through the help of its class collaberators.

 

Who are these class collaberaters? Well they're the people from the working class that have the most to lose, the petty-bourgeois.

 

Ask yourself, the current stance fromt the NDP, s it leading towards Socialism? or will it help keep the bourgeoisie in power? What kindof world does the NDP want?

 

I already know whatthe LIbs and Cons want. The want to profit from the labour of the working class. They want to maintain the current class structure.

 

So my question is what do the NDP want? I know what they want. And what they want is for me to sell my labour power to the lowest bidder.

Unionist

Sean - I'm not ignoring your post #52 - just thinking about it as I watch events unfold. I don't have a simple answer. Maybe no answer at all. All my instincts tell me that our duty is to free ourselves so that we can assist others, and meanwhile stay the hands of our oppressors from exploiting and committing aggression against others in our name. What else are we to do?

 

Sean in Ottawa

@ Trippie and Unionist

I wrote what I did because I have no easy answer-- this means that I cannot argue against the logic of either of you as you first laid out-- the only thing I can argue is that this is more complicated and less black and white than I'd like-- I am an extremely opinionated person and I think I know the answer very often (others can dispute but I have the confidence) but on this case I am so torn that I see no simple answer and a pile of conflicts. I addressed both of you in part because you represented polar opposite arguments and I find myself concluding you are both right-- which is a paradox.

I lean more towards expressing opinions being ok and coercion and the use of power being more problematic.

But was it wrong for all the socialists of the world to go to Spain in 1936 to try to defend the Socialist republic? Was that solidarity immoral? It was more than moral support.

I listen to everything here and I end up unsure. I don't like being unsure of what is right or wrong on something like this when I feel I should have an opinion.

anyway-- if either of you on reflection have more thoughts that can help resolve not only your arguments but to satisfy the needs of the other, you can help me.

For the moment I find myself wanting the NDP to express this difficulty-- to admit both the need for solidarity and recognize the problems with interference and the need for respect and self determination of peoples. Its a cop-out but I guess so is my current position.

Sean in Ottawa

I'll add thank you both for the restraint, respect and kindness you are showing an admittedly weak and unsettled position.

Fidel

trippie wrote:
So my question is what do the NDP want? I know what they want. And what they want is for me to sell my labour power to the lowest bidder.

It's what Marx wanted, which is to win the battle for democracy. The NDP will never promise to fix in four years what took our colonial administrators in Ottawa,  and who are always obedient to Bay Street, decades to Puerto Ricanize. Because it would be a lie. Canadians have grown weary of being lied to by Tory and Liberal parties. If Canadians are sure of anything today, it's that they don't want to give either of those parties phony majority dictatorial powers for four years at a time.

takeitslowly

 
I don't know if we should romantize the revolution in Egypt. I read that there are rich Egyptians who also want the president to step down.
 
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/931165--riots-affecting-rich-in-egypt-may-be-decisive-blow-for-mubarek
It will be a good day if they end up having any kind of democracy, but our country is a good example that "democracy" is not really all that democratic.

Aristotleded24

takeitslowly wrote:
I don't know if we should romantize the revolution in Egypt. I read that there are rich Egyptians who also want the president to step down.

Maybe the rich people read the tea leaves and want Mubarak to step down in order to simply calm people down so these same rich people don't feel threatened.

Fidel

There were some filthy rich people in the states who funded Obama's campaign. Buy them early is their motto. As far as the elite are concerned, change is good if it only means a change of faces for the sake of projecting an appearance of democracy. But populism and true  democracy are the last things they want to have happen. It will be important for the west to strangle democracy in the cradle in Egypt before it ever learns to crawl. The spread of hope is a dangerous thing as far as a vicious empire is concerned.

trippie

@ Fidel:

 

I trusted the NDP in the past. The only thing I have seen from them all these years is afurther shift to the right.

 

They helped prop up the Martin Liberals and then helped the Cons take them down. In the end the Canadian working class got nothing. And now the NDP leadership wants to abandon Socialism from it's party platform altogether.

 

What gives? It's hard I know, but reality must prevail. The NPD, at every turn, has lead every working class revolt in Canada straight beck into the bourgeois system of government.

 

From the historical record, the NDPs purpose is to reform Capitalism from the left , not dismantle it. And that is a direct asult on my labour and freedom.

cassius

N.Beltov wrote:

This unsubstantiated claim that the NDP "depends on "mainstream" Jewish voters" sounds like crap used to justify pro-Zionist/pro-racist views in the NDP and Canadian social life in general.

cassius

Fact: There are ridings in Canada where the Jewish vote is decisive.  Fact: In those ridings, a handful in the Toronto area and one or two in the Montreal area, politicians ritually pledge their party's and their undying support for Israel. Those are facts. Calling someone an anti-semite because you are unnerved by their comments is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

cassius

Unionist wrote:

cassius wrote:

There are NDP seats that depend on mainstream Jewish voters, who are strongly pro-Israel. Thomas Mulcaire's riding is one.

I consider that an anti-semitic statement. Just thought I'd put you on notice before I start saying things I'll really regret.

That's besides the fact that your thesis is based on utter abysmal ignorance of my riding.

cassius

The Jewish community in Outremont makes up 10% of the riding's demographics. That vote is not to be overlooked. That they are strongly pro-Israel is hardly an anti-semitic statement. It's a fact. As I said above, calling someone an anti-semite because you are unnerved by what they say is the last refuge of a scoundrel. 

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Are there any statement of support for the pro-democracy protesters from any of the opposition parties? So far, Harper has come across as a toady for Israel's government.

Slumberjack

cassius wrote:
As I said above, calling someone an anti-semite because you are unnerved by what they say is the last refuge of a scoundrel. 

You should stop now.  I'm down to my last bag of Orville Redenbacher and I don't want to waste it on this.

Fidel

trippie wrote:

@ Fidel:

I trusted the NDP in the past. The only thing I have seen from them all these years is afurther shift to the right.

 But the real right are not governing as far to the right as they were hired to do by Bay Street and big business. So not only is the right defanged by their own FPTP system if only temporarily over the last five years, the NDP never got anywhere with Canadians who do bother voting by promising socialism. And that's the problem, Canadians who do the voting and choosing represent a phony majority of opinions in this country. We often read newz articles where experts try to second guess the mood of Canadians and basing their opinions on electoral results from an election machinery which distorts public opinion to extremes on election day.

trippie wrote:
They helped prop up the Martin Liberals and then helped the Cons take them down.

But how many times have the Liberals brought down the Harpers since 2006 besides none? They've actually voted with the Harpers in House votes more than any other party. In fact, the Liberals are indistinguishable from the ReformaTories since 2006. The NDP are fighting two Bay Street wolves not one.

And the way our obsolete electoral system works is that if you don't vote, or if you vote for a party without a snowball's chance of beating either of the two Bay St. parties, then you're effectively supporting the two Bay Street parties by quirks built-in to a mathematically absurd electoral system. And we're pretty sure neither you nor I want to do something like that, right?

Maysie Maysie's picture

cassius wrote:
 I'm not surprised. Jack Layton avoids  the Middle East like a plague. When Layton was running for leader, he tried to bridge the gap between the pro- and anti-Israel factions in the party and failed. There are NDP seats that depend on mainstream Jewish voters, who are strongly pro-Israel. Thomas Mulcaire's riding is one. According to one NDP MP, when NDP MP Libby Davies was strongly critical of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Layton let Mulcaire verbally flog Davies in the Commons to ensure his chances of re-election. So falling in line with the Liberals and the Conservatives on Egypt was the safe thing to do. Layton knows that letting Mobarek stay and hover over a transition to democracy means no democracy but a regime acceptable to the US and Israel. But it pleases the U.S. and Israel's supporters here, who echo Israel's position. And that's key. Layton may not care about Egypt, but he doesn't want to lose the party's toehold in Quebec.  

Okay, first of all Egypt is not in the Middle East.

Secondly, this thread is not, really, about the NDP. It seems to have morphed into a "when do we or don't we intervene" thread, which, aside from the bourgeois angst, is a fine topic.

Thirdly, if you want to talk about Canadian politics and winnable NDP ridings in Quebec or anywhere else, there's a forum for that and a gajillion threads as well. We also had a few threads on the Davies/Gaza/Layton situation when it was current. That's not for this thread. Do some reading.

Lastly, don't say bullshit about the Jewish vote (ack) or the ethnic vote (ack) or other crap without at least a reputable source. Can't find one? Imagine that.

We now return to the regularly scheduled thread topic. 

WilderMore

Maysie wrote:

cassius wrote:
 I'm not surprised. Jack Layton avoids  the Middle East like a plague. When Layton was running for leader, he tried to bridge the gap between the pro- and anti-Israel factions in the party and failed. There are NDP seats that depend on mainstream Jewish voters, who are strongly pro-Israel. Thomas Mulcaire's riding is one. According to one NDP MP, when NDP MP Libby Davies was strongly critical of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Layton let Mulcaire verbally flog Davies in the Commons to ensure his chances of re-election. So falling in line with the Liberals and the Conservatives on Egypt was the safe thing to do. Layton knows that letting Mobarek stay and hover over a transition to democracy means no democracy but a regime acceptable to the US and Israel. But it pleases the U.S. and Israel's supporters here, who echo Israel's position. And that's key. Layton may not care about Egypt, but he doesn't want to lose the party's toehold in Quebec.  

Okay, first of all Egypt is not in the Middle East.

Secondly, this thread is not, really, about the NDP. It seems to have morphed into a "when do we or don't we intervene" thread, which, aside from the bourgeois angst, is a fine topic.

Thirdly, if you want to talk about Canadian politics and winnable NDP ridings in Quebec or anywhere else, there's a forum for that and a gajillion threads as well. We also had a few threads on the Davies/Gaza/Layton situation when it was current. That's not for this thread. Do some reading.

Lastly, don't say bullshit about the Jewish vote (ack) or the ethnic vote (ack) or other crap without at least a reputable source. Can't find one? Imagine that.

We now return to the regularly scheduled thread topic. 

Sinai Peninsula is in the Middle East.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks for that important key point, Wilder.

How about we go back to the thread topic?

Fidel

Babble's an anti-imperialist site. "Middle East" is an imperialist term.

[possibly sucking up]I think we should stick with Maysie's word on where Egypt is not situated. And besides, there is no Middle Eastern continent.[/psu]

Stockholm

To me the term "Middle East" has always meant most of North Africa, as well as all of Asia until Iran. Its not a place with a set political boundary - just like no one can give you an "official" definition what constitutes the "Far East". FWIW if you read the wikipedia definition of "middle east" it clearly defines it as an informal term used by Europeans to refer to North Africa and western Asia - it is debatable whether Morocco is part of the middle east - but Egypt DEFINITELY is. Of course geographicaly speaking, if you live in Japan its all the Middle West not the Middle East - but the term Midwest has been appropriated by people in Michigan and Illinois!!

Egyptians I have met alwats refer to their country as being "in the Middle East"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East#cite_note-0

al-Qa'bong

I agree with Stockholm?

 

Quote:
In the academic community, the term Middle East refers to the Arab countries of North Africa; the Arab countries of Asia; Israel; and the non-Arab countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. According to some broader definitions, it may also include the five countries of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Some might also include Azerbaijan.

 

Defining the Middle East

Stockholm

I think its stretching the definition somewhat to Include Pakistan as "the Middle East". It is usually defined as being part of "South Asia" along woth India and Bangladesh...but these are informal terms.

Unionist

Maysie makes an ironic comment about a disruption, and we ignore Maysie and carry on the disruption? Nice way to say goodbye to her as a moderator. What's wrong with Babble Banter for some irrelevant bullshit discussion about what "Middle East" means?

The Arab countries are on fire. If only they had a little bit of leadership and organization and unity (which, of course, they don't), this fire would engulf the Amerikans and the Israeli war criminals and the little feudal princes and despots. The Palestinian people would finally have the support and allies that they need to advance in their struggle.

I don't see any of this ending well, precisely because Israel and the U.S. and the European Union and the Soviets before them have been so successful in crushing all attempts at national democratic revolution in this entire region - with nothing much left in the way of an organized force that we can see (Hezbollah, maybe?). The brilliance of the images from the street, however, is that the popular will can't be crushed forever.

May the Obamas and Netanyahus and Harpers of this world shake in their boots. They are looking at the authors of their destruction.

Fidel

from the same source:

Quote:
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as...

You can't get any more imperialist than the Dulles brothers and US state Dept. of the 1950s. I'm sorry but I refuse to use the same language as those murdering right wing sobs. I'll support Maysie's thoughts on the matter over that psychopathic imperialist J. Foster Dulles any day of the week and twice on Saturdays. I'LL FIGHT YOU!!! JFD burn in heck for all eternity!!

George Victor

As you have observed, Maysie, this thread was quickly turned into another attack thread.

I've been waiting for someone to take the side of the Egyptian masses, 40 per cent of whom exist on $2 a day or less, and food prices that were on the rise anyway, are probably now going through the roof.  Perhaps I missed it in the twisting, turning  arguments that finally seemed to end in the usual mix of "left wing" considerations. Instability of food supplies be damned, let the rhetoric ring out. 

Seems to me that it is a humanistic approach to suggest that the peaceful transfer of power is - and should continue to be - the primary consideration. I believe the average Canadian masses think that way, unpolitical silly billies that they are.  They aren't likely to take to a political party calling for folks to storm the barricades, either.  No, the bullshit flying hereabouts certainly doesn't have the Canadian voting public in mind. And Trippie obviously had just that in mind from the beginning.

p.s.   I've cross-posted with Unionist.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

What's wrong with Babble Banter for some irrelevant bullshit discussion about what "Middle East" means?

 

In a thread set up to discuss our role in *************, it isn't appropriate to note that we define the region according to our perspective, not by that of those who live there?

Sean in Ottawa

Well I found the "Bourgeois Angst" sarcasm out of place as well-- are we to discourage people here from admitting some topics are less than straight forward? How is it progress to pretend that everything is one extreme or another or that we do not have responsibility for our positions. And by that I mean we as anyone participating, listening etc. However we want to define the we.

I like Maysie and think she is a great moderator but no, I can't get behind such a dismissive comment which was about a discussion exactly on point starting with whether we should or should not be involved at all. I think that is a very fair place to start and do not appreciate any minimization of the question. It is a question that should be asked more often than it is and answered with less formula and bluster. Call that Angst-- but that is a responsibility.

I'm ok with the comment being on its own but it came in a post that appeared more about being a mod than expressing a personal view. I think it is better when all the mods keep those apart.

Maybe Mods should post mod comments in a different colour? Then there would be a distinction made what role they are speaking from and also those comments would stand out as they should.

vaudree

I think that the NDP have been very forthright in both that Mubarak has to go and that there should be democratic reforms (ie that it should not be business as usual) - though they probably cringe whenever they hear the intials of Mubarak's party!  Question Period:http://www2.parl.gc.ca/housechamberbusiness/chambersittings.aspx?View=H&...

Mr. Don Davies: We are seeing right now in Egypt a people rising up against an oppressive autocratic regime that has not respected the democratic rights of people. We see what happens when people join together and say that is enough. It is important to build into any respectful society strong respect for the rights of an individual.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Madam Speaker, I want to join with others in this place to reflect on what is happening in Egypt.
I want to ask the member a question very directly.
Frankly, many of us have seen how the west has gone from supporting Mubarak to understanding that this is no longer tenable.
This is a very direct question and we hope that the government would join us on this as well. Would he agree with the NDP that it is time to say to Mr. Mubarak that his time is up, that it is time to leave, not in one month, two months or three months, that it is time to leave now?
It is important for all of us to be clear on that issue. Otherwise, we are simply talking about concepts without detail, without conviction.
I would like to know what the member thinks of that.

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there is a definite problem with how the west is dealing with this in some manner because of the past record. We all know that for 30 years Canada and the United States were supportive of the regime, including the army. Canada has sold arms to Egypt. We know that.
However, I think that what people are waiting for the government to say very clearly and unequivocally, as was said by President Obama, is that the transfer of power should happen now. What is absolutely clear from that statement is the signal for Mr. Mubarak to resign and leave now.
I am wondering if the minister could please clarify that. If he cannot clarify that, could he tell us why he cannot clarify it and join other nations and world leaders who have done so, frankly?

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to debate the situation in Egypt. As we know, on January 25 things changed in Egypt, and we are still trying to understand the effects of that change. Clearly, things are changing by the minute.
On January 24, President Mubarak was in charge of Egypt. On January 25, the people of Egypt were in charge of Egypt. That continues today to be the dynamic. It is the people of Egypt who are charting the course for the future of that country.
It is up to us, as those who support democratic aspirations, to be declarative that we support the people who have the courage and decided to overthrow a regime in a peaceful manner, a president who has been a tyrant for over 30 years. However, it is of concern that it is done in a way that represents the best interests of the people of Egypt, which is being seen today, and whether the rest of the world will support the intentions of the people who have decided they want to change the power structure within the country. ...

It is with hope and some concern that we watch what is happening. Developments in Egypt today have deepened our concern and the concerns for the safety of the protestors. Let us be clear. President Mubarak's insistence to delay his departure from power, as we heard last night, has contributed to further violence and destabilization, as we saw today. It is clear that for the sake of his country and regional stability, he must bow to the demands of the Egyptian people and immediately relinquish the position of president. ...

What do Egyptian protestors want? What do the people want? The clear consensus among all protestors is they want an end to Hosni Mubarak's regime. We have heard the calls for an end to corruption, an end to the emergency laws that have ruled Egypt for the past three decades. We have heard calls for economic fairness, representative and transparent governance and the protection of rights and freedoms. It is time for political reforms in Egypt and, as Egyptians have made clear, further delay is not acceptable. ...

Some have worried that democracy in Egypt might embolden extremists. They point to the existence of the Muslim brotherhood as the strongest opposition in Egypt. This is false. The Muslim Brotherhood is not leading these protests and is hardly represented in them. In a population of 83 million, it hardly commands more than a few hundred thousand members. In fact, some have argued that fear of an extremist backlash, promoted by the current regime, was the rationale for their existence, and that was to distract others away from what the government was doing.

 

 

vaudree

RE NDP initial statement.  Isn't saying that the election should be rerun and fair sort of asking for an assurance that Mubarak won't win?  I think that the NDP worried about a suileman type situation.

al-Qa'bong

Thanks vaudree.  It seems as if the Nude Ems have moved from their ambiguous position of a week or so ago to saying the right thing.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am glad to hear Paul talk in the language of the will of the people.  I hope that Don's quote was a snippet and his focus was not so narrow as individual rights.  The collective will of the people seems to me what needs to be followed.  Is all we can wish for them a facade like our own where the important decisions are made in closed door meetings in the halls of Washington.  Even here in one of the world's "leading" democracies the people never get a chance to vote for the specifics of the subsuming of our national interests into that of the American behemoth.

Machjo

trippie wrote:

Well it seems from the CBC National tonight that the only part leaders calling for the presedent of Egypt to step down are the Bloc and the Greens.

 

Of course I expect the Conservative and Liberals not to , but what about the NDP?

 

I thought the NDP was working class party?

O

 

As for any political party commenting on behalf of its membership (the only people it formally represents anyway), I can fully agree with that since it's a non-governmental organization simply commenting on the position of its membership for what that is worth.

For For the Canadian Federal government to be commenting on it in its capacity as a government would be a whole different ballgame. Just as it's not in the place of the City of Ottawa to be meddling in Gatineau's affairs, or the Province of Ontario to be meddling in Quebec affairs, so it's not in the place of the Federal Government of Canada to b meddling beyond its jurisdictional boundaries either, especially seeing that the Egyptian people have no voice in our Parliament. If we want the Canadian government to be able to comment in Egyptian affairs, then it had better add electoral ridings acros Egypt and let Egyptians vote in MPs to our Parlaiment.

That said, certainly if there's an issue between Ottawa and Gatineau, either can take the other to the Supreme court of Canada, or Ontario could take Quebec there too, or the Federal Government has every right to take Egypt to the International Court of Justice, or present a resolution against Egypt at the UN. Each government has its jurisdictional authority, and to extend that authority beyond its jurisdictional limitations is paramount to imperialism.

George Victor

George Victor wrote:

As you have observed, Maysie, this thread was quickly turned into another attack thread.

I've been waiting for someone to take the side of the Egyptian masses, 40 per cent of whom exist on $2 a day or less, and food prices that were on the rise anyway, are probably now going through the roof.  Perhaps I missed it ...

From a "liberal" economist, Paul Krugman, writing today in the NYTimes:

 

Droughts, Floods and Food

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

George Victor wrote:

As you have observed, Maysie, this thread was quickly turned into another attack thread.

I've been waiting for someone to take the side of the Egyptian masses, 40 per cent of whom exist on $2 a day or less, and food prices that were on the rise anyway, are probably now going through the roof.  Perhaps I missed it in the twisting, turning  arguments that finally seemed to end in the usual mix of "left wing" considerations. Instability of food supplies be damned, let the rhetoric ring out. 

George it might be far more productive if you made the argument instead of randomly vilifying everyone else for what you have not done either.  

Perhaps I missed your argument in that regard could you point to the post so I can read what your argument about food and the Egyptian masses actually consists of.  If that is what you want to talk about start it off,  lets hear your "rhetoric."

George Victor

You can't have read the Krugman link, Kroppy.  Give it a shot and then tell us what you think of connection to the fate of the Egyptian masses that I raised earlier.  

I'm trying the new high road. Really. Wink Don't blow up its bridges.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

George Victor wrote:

You can't have read the Krugman link, Kroppy.  Give it a shot and then tell us what you think of connection to the fate of the Egyptian masses that I raised earlier.  

I'm trying the new high road. Really. Wink Don't blow up its bridges.

 

I read it but didn't find it particularly noteworthy.  I was actually asking you for your opinion on it since you raised it or am I to take it you agree with every word he wrote. 

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