Enter Stage Right hands out its awards...

The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted February 19, 2001

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien (right) with Hong Kong president Tung Chee Hwa
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien (right) with Hong Kong president Tung Chee Hwa

Talking about human rights and actually caring about human rights are two different things. Just ask Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

See, Chretien led a large trade mission to China last week, one where he spoke publicly about human rights abuses and democracy in the Communist nation and met Premier Zhu Rongji and President Jiang Zemin, where he brought up the issues personally. Make no mistake, the real purpose of the trip was to sign contracts. That's all.

Just ask Hong Kong legislator Martin Lee. One of the 24 elected members of that city's 60 seat Legislative Council and an outspoken agitator for human rights, Lee had asked for a meeting with Chretien to give him a true picture of what was happening in that city. Saying that is schedule was too full, Chretien brushed him off.

"I think when the Canadian government says that it has committed itself to the development of democracy and human rights and the rule of law, it sounds rather hollow when (Canada's) prime minister comes to Hong Kong, he doesn't see somebody who is democratically elected by the people," said Lee.

"When he cares for all these things, yet he doesn't see me, it sounds pretty odd."

In his defense, Chretien said that merely listening to two speeches earlier that week would have shown that how much he cared about human rights in China.

"Listen to my speech I made in Beijing. Listen to my speech I made in Shanghai. I'm not very shy" about speaking out on human rights, Chretien said.

Yes, but how about acting?

web posted January 29, 2001

There are nanny states and then there are nanny states.

Proving that there is nothing that cannot be provided for or controlled by government, a recent Canada Health Department discussion study has urged that the federal government consider setting up a publicly funded system of surrogate moms. Instead of being paid wages, the women would receive benefits similar to the pay outs from the Employment Insurance system.

See, apparently a few women have been pressured to have children for their childless friends and family. In a noble desire to protect these women, the Health Department thinks that "a public registry of surrogates who would receive modest compensation for their services, e.g. Employment Insurance rates. This form of state-operated surrogacy was seen as resolving the inducement issue" (the fear that women would be pressured to bear babies against their will).

Under a publicly run system, these unknown dim bulbs say, "persons without the close family or friendship ties necessary to seek out an altruistic surrogacy would not be deprived of one of the methods available to have a child."

Normally, ESR would blast this idea with our usual clever quips but in all honestly, we are speechless.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted February 19, 2001

Say what you will, U.S. President George W. Bush continues to surprise this journal, and in the most positive ways. It is tempting for a new president to wash their hands of all that occurred before their watch as the events of a preceding administration. It's another way that government has continued its inexorable growth into the Leviathan it is today.

Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced -- while at United Nations headquarters -- that his boss would not send to the Senate for ratification a treaty creating the world's first global criminal court, one that many believe could be used against American soldiers simply for taking part in the type of missions that Bill Clinton loved to send America's troops into...and a treaty he signed on December 31.

"As you know, the United States, the Bush administration, does not support the International Criminal Court. President Clinton signed the treaty but we have no plans to send it forward to our Senate for ratification," Powell said.

Does that mean the treaty is dead? Not likely. The Bush team -- before assuming office -- called it flawed, suggesting that it may want some changes before it is ratified. Whether those changes go far enough to fix the treaty to the satisfaction of conservatives like Sen. Jesse Helms remains to be seen.

That said, ESR is rather pleased to note that U.S. George W. Bush isn't simply admiring how comfortable the big chair is.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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