03 August 2007

Dalhousie Honours an Arsepluck

May 25, 2007 I was sitting in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax at my son's graduation from Dalhousie Law School. The speech from the recipient of the Legum Doctor (honoris causa), Prof William Schabas, seemed a little flaky in that he referred to his fight to establish the inalienable right of all people to peace and that, to that end, he had established offices all over the world. It seemed typical of a liberal that he had responded to a need he had identified by establishing a beauracracy.

Just the other day, however, I discovered a new dimension to Prof Schabas. I was perusing a post at The Torch and it struck me that one of the people who had written to the International Criminal Court to investigate the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan for War Crimes was this same wingnut. I recognized him because he is the director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway. The letter was instigated by Michael Byers, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia who is a senior policy advisor to the federal NDP who wrote a defence policy discussion paper for the NDP in the spring of 2005. He is a strong proponent of distancing ourselves from the USA in defense matters.

What is Schabas role in this? It is not clear if he is a happy participant in a stunt that was clearly designed to play to the tune of the debate going on in Commons the week of the letter allowing the NDP to state that there had been complaints to the ICC about the CF in Afghanistan or if he was a dupe of Byers' to lend credibility to the stunt that was lacking in a PoliSci Prof/Political Hack but it was a cheap and dirty trick to play on people who put their lives on the line by people who respond to human rights issues by setting up offices around the world.

I am offended that I was made part of honouring this arsepluck by attending my son's convocation.