The Earth is Flat Award

web posted February 1997

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

There must be something in the air in Ottawa because for the second month in a row a member of the federal cabinet is the recipient of a prestigious Earth is Flat Award.

This month our honoured public servant is none other than Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy who visited Cuba in late January for 24 hours.

So what was the purpose of this trip? Good question. On any day one would hear a different answer to the question, but in the end it seemed to be about human rights.

And seemingly progress was made, and announced, by Axworthy. After dinner and lunch with the Cuban leader, Axworthy came away with a concession, but a concession so small that to hear Axworthy talk about is to place one's self in danger of death due to laughter.

What human rights concession did our Mr. Axworthy draw from Fidel? "broadening and deepening cooperation on the issue of human rights," as well as seminars and academic exchanges. Mr. Axworthy also fought hard and got...exchanges of information. Wow.

More telling than the anemic challenge to communism are the economic ties which were made stronger between Canada and Cuba. Among them are:

  • An agreement to continue programs where Canadian experts show Cuba how to reform its tax and central bank,
  • language on a foreign investment program,
  • Very nice.

    What Mr. Axworthy and his friends do not understand is that every show of support, every dollar sent to and spent in Cuba is another day for Fidel Castro and communism to hang on. Our government, by its official sanction, is to some degree culpable for the inhumanity that occurs on a daily basis in Cuba. By officially supporting a tyranny, our country effectively cedes any claim to being a promoter of freedom.

    Was it okay to pass sanctions against South Africa because it was whites enslaving blacks, while it's permissible to support the government of Cuba because it's Cubans repressing Cubans?

    I'm not arguing for sanctions. A government does not have a right to determine who free people trade with but it also does not have a right to sanction a tyranny.

    To Lloyd's something Fidel doesn't have Earth is Flat Award. Maybe you can trade it for more 'valuable' concessions.

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