Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Good politics, bad policy

The Mark Holland Report

Good politics, bad policy, – a short-term game we’ll pay for Good politics, but terrible policy. That pretty much sums up the Stephen Harper government’s first months in office.

"On the recent violence in Middle East, Harper has also no doubt made political gains in some circles with his bold statements of support for Israeli military action, but he has done so at the expense of many years of Canada carefully cultivating a more balanced approach, which has earned us international credibility as an honest broker. No politician can ignore politics. But politics at the expense of good policy is a short-term game that we’ll all pay for".

Holland condemns Middle East Violence:
MP Mark Holland has condemned the latest violence in the Middle East and is urging the Canadian government to take a balanced approach and to work with the international community to restore peace to the region. "I condemn all acts of violence directed at civilians, whether by states or non-state actors," says Holland. "All conflicts must be resolved in accordance with international law, and resolutions of the UN Security Council must be respected." The initial response by Prime Minister Stephen Harper was "very inappropriate," says Holland. Harper claimed Israel’s response was "measured" at a time when Israel was bombing civilians in Beirut and other world leaders were urging Israel to exercise more restraint. Canada has a tradition as an "honest broker" in the Middle East, Holland notes, and should not tilt too far in one direction.

A Major shift in Canadian Foreign Policy:
Prime Minister Harper’s pro-Israel tone exceeded even that of U.S. President George W. Bush, who acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself, but also urged the Jewish state to be mindful of consequences. Harper has been more closely aligning Canadian foreign policy with the United States and Australia, and to a lesser extent with Great Britain. "As a middle power, Canada’s strength has been working with the international community through the United Nations and other multilateral institutions," says MP Mark Holland. "Our relationship with the United States is important, but we must be wary of unilateral approaches to foreign policy." Holland says he is proud that the former Liberal government chose not to participate in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq because it didn’t have sufficient international support. He notes that Harper supported the invasion, which is now widely acknowledged as a serious mistake.