Thursday, April 16, 2015

Why are we in Viet Nam Ukraine?

and financing a Monument to the Victims of Communism?   Election 2015.

Cue Chris Alexander's fevered paeon to a new cold war with Russia to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress this past February, and Stephen Harper's remarks in his keynote speech at the Tribute to Liberty dinner for the monument in May last year 
"Nearly one quarter of all Canadians were either held captive by Communism's chains or are the sons and daughters of those who were."
Con MP Wladyslaw Lizon, who beat the former Lib MP by just 1½% of the vote in 2011, is one of three founding members of Tribute to Liberty. Which brings us to...
"Federal political parties have been staunchly showing support for pro-Western aspirations in Ukraine and condemning Russian aggression in the Crimean peninsula. The fact there are more than 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent may help explain this.
An Ottawa Citizen analysis shows that Canadians identifying themselves as being of Ukrainian represent a potentially game-changing voting bloc in dozens of federal ridings. The fact ridings with large Ukrainian-Canadian populations in Toronto, Winnipeg and parts of Saskatchewan were hotly contested in 2011 speaks to the importance of each party being active on Ukraine."

Berthiaume gives examples of the percentage of Ukrainian-Canadians in those ridings from the last election.  A few of them :

  • Yorkton-Melville, Sask. - 29.3%
  • Elmwood-Transcona in Winnipeg, won by 300 votes - 20.6%
  • Winnipeg North won by 44 votes - 13.3% 
  • Winnipeg South Centre won by 722 votes - 13.4% 
  • Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar - 13.7%
  • Palliser, Sask won by 766 votes  - 11.1%
  • Wascana, Sask - 13.1%
Royal Military College professor and Ukrainian-Canadian Lubomyr Luciuk argues that party affiliation mattered more than the individual MP’s identity in the last election, as when Con MP Ted Opitz in Etobicoke Centre beat Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who is of Ukrainian descent. The margin of victory was 26 votes.
"Before the election, the Conservatives accidentally released documents that confirmed they were targeting the riding’s Ukrainian-Canadian community, which numbers 7,955 and represents 7.1 per cent of the population.
“There were Ukrainian-Canadians working for Ted Opitz against a Ukrainian-Canadian because he was in the wrong party at that time,” Luciuk said. “Whereas the Conservative party was making all the right sounds about things Ukrainian.”
Making all the right sounds about things Ukrainian....  Ten days ago the Toronto Symphony Orchestra dropped Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa for her remarks on the conflict in Ukraine on twitter that offended "Ukrainian media outlets". TSO paid her not to play her scheduled concerts.

So now the Cons are sending 200 soldiers off to Ukraine to win an election for them in Canada in October.

Walkom : "Deep in his secret heart, Stephen Harper should whisper a quiet thank you to Russian President Vladimir Putin."

Scott Taylor writes in Harper shoots first; asks questions later
"Far from a democratic institution, the current Ukraine government is a collection of in-fighting oligarchs — some with their own private armies and neo-Nazi militias. With a ranking of 142 on the Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine is unsurprisingly the most corrupt country on the European continent. 
If the Harper government is truly seeking to garner the Ukrainian-Canadian vote in advance of this year’s election, it would do better to leverage economic relief for Kiev’s crippling debt load in exchange for implementing truly democratic, progressive reforms."
Yeah, well, "leveraging economic relief for Kiev's crippling debt load" doesn't really cut it on the Cons' new cold war election messaging front.


Boris said...

Blankly, Harper is sending military forces to Ukraine to score votes from persons in Canada whose ancestors came from cultural-politcal region known as Ukraine, but still identify as Ukrainian (or anything else!) despite likely never having lived there, speaking the language, or otherwise being familiar with more than a cursory knowledge of the place. I realise that for many people it is important to belong to some kind of imagined community or living by a certain identity-narrative, but at some point is moves into the absurd and the superficial, fantastical, and the dangerous when it means that you'll vote for a fascist thug because he sent troops to help the army of a place you've never known fight an enemy you've never known.

thwap said...

I'd be interested in what those Libyans who protested against Qaddafi during the revolution there think about the situation now.

And I don't blame the Ukrainians for being anti-Russian. But it really has nothing to do with Canada. We should stop supporting US militarism and invasions of other countries before we start taking stands against the same thing in other countries.

The situation in the Ukraine is grim though. Their economy has gone to shit, their military can't fight and their government is full of corrupt oligarchs and neo-nazi psychotics. Things will probably implode before Putin missteps.

If somehow, only harper could suffer for something, that would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Spring thaw in the ceasefire agreement is what this agreement is all about. Everyone involved appears to be moving towards an escalation. NATO is already in doing exercises in the west of the country even though they're not even a NATO member, nor can the Ukrainian government request NATO assistance due to its lack of well established borders.

Personally, I think campaigning on a foreign policy issue generally tends to be a poor strategy. The CPC probably know this and are again just trying to game the margins of victory.

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