Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ignatieff: clouded in nuances...sadly

It is perhaps important that we take appropriate measures to safeguard our freshwater from large-scale diversions before we endorse water as a human right officially, but that should not inhibit our ability to act on the spirit of the principle. In developing nations all over the world, Canada can assist by sharing our water management practices, by sharing technology and building infrastructure, and by helping local populations gain access to and preserve local water resources. (Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, in an e-mail letter to concerned citizens, July 6, 2010.)

Mr. Ignatieff is a deeply complex and interesting human being. He seems to want to say the right thing in supporting the principle of water as a human right. However, he couches his support in such perhaps reasonable conditions so as to leave himself "wiggle" room should he fail to keep his commitments.
  1. Is water part of the Free Trade Agreement or not? If we do not know, how do we find out?
  2. Why can Canada not "officially declare water a human right" while assisting others in their water management practices? Would the official declaration not enhance our credibility and authenticity in our initiative to find collaborators to join the effort to make water a "human right"?
  3. Why is it necessary to safeguard our water reserves "before" we endorse water officially as a human right? Are they not complementary and mutually both congruent and necessary? Why create an unnecessary diversion of both your and our attention from the core issue, declaring water a human right?
With respect, Sir, this is a political party you are leading, not a graduate seminar at Harvard. Canada needs your party to regain the confidence of the national electorate, and a letter like the one I received from your office today is certainly not a good step along that path. In fact, it feeds your critics with so much ammunition as to cloud your reputation and your party's potential for growth in a kind of intellectual "bafflegab" which is not germane to your success.
Please have your staff re-draft the letter after instructing them to remove all the intellectual codicils; this is not a will they are writing; or are you especially clairvoyant, knowing in advance the likely outcome of continuing along this path of circumlocution?

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