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Rights and Democracy: An Update

February 28, 2010
Canadian flags

Creative Commons image courtesy Flickr user 't_a_g.'

I recently posted a piece on Rights and Democracy, comparing the Harper Government’s approach to the agency with the way Reagan set out to destabilize and emasculate the EPA during his first presidential term, by among other things, appointing Anne Gorsuch Burford as the EPA’s director, a Reaganite hostile to the agency’s mission and mandate.

Well, a colleague of mine emailed me with an objection to my angle of view.  He argued that the Government recently appointed a new President to the agency, and its choice in Gérard Latulippe– with his impressive international resumé– put the lie to my argument.  If the Government aimed to grind the agency to the halt as I claimed, why bother appoint someone like Latulippe?

Well, yes and no.  It is true that as director of the National Democratic Institute, Latulippe has no doubt gained important international experience in both the Middle East and West Africa.  And has also worked with development agencies in South America and Europe.  But Latulippe’s political stripes are well-documented too.  A former adviser to Stockwell Day and Canadian Alliance party chair, he is clearly a partisan appointment, though his credentials on democracy and development abroad are solid. Ont he other hand, some suggest that while the new President has gotten “Democracy” figured out, it’s the whole “Rights” thing he’s had a bit of trouble with in the past.

The best approach here is to Wait and See.  Latulippe, who has been praised by members on the Left for his development work, may bring stability and new direction.  But with his obvious political ties, he might also bring more of the same — strife and division at the already embattled federal agency.  Stay tuned.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 6:38 pm

    Cheers for the pointer to your blog – as a public interest lawyer and blogger it’s great to see an increase in discourse on rights, democracy and Canadian foreign policy. Thanks also for the appropriate attribution to my photo, a bit of an admittedly stock shot from Victoria’s recent Rally to Resume Parliament.

    Rumon (AKA Tag)

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