Enter Stage Right hands out its monthly awards...

The April 1998 Earth is Flat Award

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

If you've ever wondered how far some Canadians would go to defend Cuba's brutal dictator and government, then the world was provided with the perfect example in early March.

On March 9, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Gilbert Parent, welcomed a group of Cuban legislators.

In defiance of any logic, Parent welcomed his guests as "fellow parliamentarians", despite the fact that Cuba does not allow free elections. In explanation, Parent stated:

"You know, we do have some of our provinces where they only elected one party - I'm thinking of New Brunswick. I've never heard anyone say that they weren't carrying out the wishes of their people down there. Besides, I don't think it's for us to dictate or tell other people how to run their countries"

For the benefit of those not familiar with the example of New Brunswick, here's the deal. In 1987, the province elected Liberals to all 58 seats in their provincial legislature, bringing Frank McKenna to power to replace Tory Richard Hatfield. Voters freely chose the Liberals from among 184 candidates from three political parties and 10 independents contending for those seats.

Cuban voters, by contrast, had no choice of candidates or parties in January's general elections. Fidel Castro doesn't permit opposition parties to run.

Parent wasn't finished with glossing over tyranny with that comment, however.  Parent, who greeted Cuban ambassador Bienvenido Garcia Negrin with a hug, also brushed off questions about the way Castro treats dissidents.  The Speaker referred to "so-called political prisoners."  "We think that their internal matters about their so-called political prisoners - they have their justice system there. We're going to show them ours," he said.

"I notice that we in Canada are sometimes accused of being less than fair with our aboriginal people (by) people outside of the country. We do the best we can with what we have and we try to make ours a better society. I'm sure the Cubans are trying to do the same thing with theirs."

But the vice-president of Cuba's national assembly denied the existence of political prisoners in his island nation. The media have created "a distorted view of the realities" in Cuba, said Jaime Crombet Hernandez-Baquero.

"In Cuba there are no flagrant violations of human rights," he said.

On March 11, Parent apologized for his remarks, one day after refusing to answer questions about the matter in the House of Commons -- prompting Canada's conservative Reform Party to storm out of the House.

Parent, a long line of Liberals that Enter Stage Right has exposed as Cuba lovers, deserves nothing less than the flagrant contempt of Canadians and the world. Hundreds of Cubans currently languish in prisons for supporting democracy, 19 of which were recently accepted into Canada. At the risk of being compared to National Socialism by the intellectual dwarf, Gilbert Parent is our winner for the Earth is Flat Award for April.

The April 1998 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.

A businessman who dares to question the Greehoax orthodoxy?

It happened on March 5. Roger Phillips, president of Ipsco Inc., one of Canada's biggest steelmakers, said that alarm over the issue of global warming is the "scam of the century."

Phillips told the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce that the commitments Canada has made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions are unrealistic.  At the recent global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, Canada agreed to cut emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2010.

Phillips said that will require everyone to reduce their energy consumption by 27 per cent and cost the economy up to C$37 billion a year.

That's too high a price to pay, he said, and suggested politicians wait 10 years to see if science proves that global warming is getting worse.

"Cutting back industry will not solve the problem because industry only generates 20 per cent of emissions," Phillips said. "Canadians were never told the real story before Kyoto and now are victims of the scam of the century."

But federal Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale, who is responsible for ensuring that Canada meets its greenhouse gas targets, said the country can't afford not to act.

"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and with respect to this issue there are a lot of opinions out there," Goodale said March 6 after speaking to University of Regina students about the Kyoto conference. Of course, as a minister, Goodale can actually force his beliefs on others with international treaties and Canadian law.

"The broad consensus of opinion internationally, however, based upon a good solid scientific foundation, is that this problem is real, that it does demand concerted and urgent action, and if we were to simply close our eyes and hope for the best over the next 10 years, we could find out that we've waited past the point of no return," said Goodale, obviously unaware that a majority of scientists with expertise in the field are not convinced of the Greenhoax effect and that there is no "good solid scientific foundation."

While the majority of business people across the world tremble at government pronouncements about what must be done about the Greenhoax effect, Roger Phillips dares to speak out loud the truth. If only the rest of our persecuted heroes would do the same.

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