25.5.06

Howard a bad influence on Harper

A poor act to follow Although they are close, Stephen Harper should not allow himself to be influenced by John Howard May 22, 2006. 01:00 AM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Harper, Aussie PM to cement close ties -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 18. Graham Fraser's article detailing the wonderful relationship, similarities and ideologies of Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Canadian PM Stephen Harper hits a low note with Canadian expats, such as myself, living in Australia. I have always pointed out to my Aussie family and friends how many similarities there are between my old and new homes. However, I've always been fiercely proud of the differences in many government policies. It makes me sad to think Canada may head down a similar political alleyway to that of the Howard government if the two leaders do more than just compare notes. Currently, every single state in Australia is behind a Supreme Court case against Howard's new industrial relation laws. Big business: 1, lowly worker: zip. The immigration policy of choice in Australia consists of locking up "illegals" in penetentiary-style camps, most located in remote and inhospitable regions. These people include whole families, men, women and children, who can spend years in detention behind barbed wire while they wait to hear that the Australian government won't give them asylum. Then they are sent back to countries where they have already been brutalized. The immigration department here is also plagued by "mishaps," wherein Australian citizens and/or long-term residents have been deported to foreign countries or locked up in these camps along with other "illegals." Next, our ongoing shame regarding Aborigines. Despite great pressure from within and outside of these communities, the Australian federal government continually refuses even basic gestures, such as a formal apology on behalf of previous governments. This only serves to continue the marginalization of the original owners of this land. Forget the "three birds with one stone" of Howard snuggling up to major world leaders. The Australian military, which is currently at war with Iraq for no clear purpose, should instead be focusing on getting its own house in order. Case in point: Only one Aussie soldier has died in Iraq, very recently, and my heart goes out to his family. More than one version of cause of death has been circulated, the wrong body was sent home to Australia, and a military official "forgot" a sensitive document regarding the situation at the Melbourne Airport. This has taken over any real news that may come out of Iraq in regard to Aussie troops stationed there. Mr. Harper, please do not let your relationship with Mr. Howard influence you in any way, shape or form. And if you personally see benefit in any of the situations I have just outlined, and would ever imagine including them in Canadian policy, then God help us all, Australian and Canadian alike. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Courtesy of an E-mail (no relation of mine) Rebekah Rogers, Victoria, Australia

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