On January 3, Iran summoned Canada’s envoy to Tehran to protest Canada’s “blatant violation of human rights.”, just days before our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper fired back with this bon mot, “Iran is the world’s most serious threat to international peace.”
This is not the first time Iran has held Canada up as being in severe and consistent violation of human rights. In September of 2007, they distributed an entire booklet detailing Canadian human rights violations. Some of the accusations in that 70 page booklet were, that Ottawa denies Canadians everything from clean water, the right to food and the right to work. Yes these charges were laid against CANADA!?
It seems that Iran has decided to make Canada a target every time the United Nations Human Rights Council is about to convene in order to take attention away from blatant and heinous violations of human rights in their own country.
The question I ask myself, is why Canada? Yes we hold ourselves up as a standard-bearer of human rights, but we, admittedly, are still a work in progress. We also hold ourselves up to scrutiny from the United Nations because we feel we have nothing to hide and actually want violations to be pointed out to us so we can correct them. I assume the reason to slam Canada is to point out hypocrisy in our stance and therefore make the point that human rights violations occur everywhere so why is Iran singled out and berated for this so-called crime? There’s another answer to the why Canada question. Oil. We are also an oil selling nation and, therefore, competition.
Back in 2007, there were several other countries that sided with Iran and their booklet. Predictably, they were countries who were also some of the world’s worst violators.
This begs another question. Why is it that every country in the world is not striving to make sure that all human beings are granted basic human rights? Morally, this seems to be an obvious thing to do. Is it greed? (that’s very likely a big part of it) Is it fear? (fear of allowing the oppressed freedom, then having to face retribution from them) Is it religion? (or is that just the excuse they cloak the greed and fear in?)
In my opinion it’s the simple belief that the rich cannot exist without the poor. But must the poor need to suffer beating, rape, torture and humiliation so that the rich can be rich? The answer is a resounding NO. Rich and poor are relative terms. Just how poor do the poor have to be in order to make a rich man feel rich?
Canada is considered a medium income inequality country. We have the lowest income inequality in that category. (though the gap is growing) Canada is a country that still has a middle class. A country where the average person without a university education can still make a comfortable living and have a good quality of life. Yes, we have poor people, but as a socialist country, we have a huge amount of programs in place to help with housing, food and employment. We are also a country that provides welfare for those who need it. Are we a perfect country, no, that doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to improve.
So instead of bashing Canada on the world stage, perhaps Iran should focus on improving its own reputation.