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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stephen Lewis; A Winner Or A Whiner?

I actually caught a few minutes of the Strombo Show last night and although I didn't catch much, what I did hear of the AIDS Conference debate really made me think. The debate was over Stephen Harper's absence at the conference and whether we should be embarrassed as Canadians that our Prime Minister chose not to attend. Apparently, a couple of comments were made at the conference, some by Stephen Lewis, about Stephen Harper's absence. The host of the show and the callers I heard were quite riled up.

Stephen Lewis a whiner? Ha. Not in my opinion. I've seen quite a few interviews with him, some recently on the news and the interviews George did with him (which are currently on The Hour's homepage) and Stephen Lewis seems a very intelligent, caring and devoted man. When someone has put so much of himself into a cause I would expect him to do everything in his power to make the government take notice. There should be Canadians who are embarrassed that our Prime Minister did not attend. This conference is not about jumping on bandwagons or celebrity fanfare. AIDS is a real pandemic, it's here in Canada and the atrocities carried out in other countries because of this disease need everyone's attention. Including our Prime Minister.

Stephen Harper wanted the job of Prime Minister and he should expect some backlash over not attending this conference. I'm not sure how I really feel about Stephen Harper not attending this conference, I only know that he should expect criticism for not attending. This is a diverse and caring country, we should be proud to have people calling out our Prime Minister on causes such as this. I think it was incredibly intelligent to start a media frenzy over Stephen Harper's lack of attendance, the more the media reports on the issue, the more Canadians will stand up and take notice.

Maybe the debate took an entirely different direction while I was tucking my son into bed, but as I was tucking him in safe and healthy, I thanked the stars again that there are other people, including Stephen Lewis, fighting the good fight for me so I can sleep and feel something is being done to help those less fortunate than most of us.

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This post was emailed to us from Lauren in Regina, the Stroumboulopouli's most recent guest contributor.

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For more information on AIDS, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, more African aid organizations and how you can make a difference, please follow these links:

13 comments:

She's Crafty said...

It is embarassing that our PM is not in attendance. I am appauld.
The Arctic sovereity trip should have been rescheduled or Stephen Harper should have made it so that he could attend and then fly back?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well said, Lauren.

We seem to have a history, as a nation, of having our elected leaders pass up on these AIDS conferences. Yes, there are many issues to deal with as PM, and yes the arctic is definitely a priority, but a non-show at a conference of this magnitude speaks volume, and not flatteringly.

Thankfully we have people like Stephen Lewis who do care and who show that they care.

Barbara said...

I peeked in to the session with Stephen Lewis and Bill Clinton today... but then I had to go back to telling the people trying to get in that the room was full and they had to go to the overflow room. I got chills from the parts of the speech I did hear. Did I ever tell you that Bill Clinton and I share a birthday...
One of the volunteers asked Bill's security if Mr. Clinton would give her an autograph... He did and he was very nice about it. I saw his signature on her volunteer vest.
Barbara B., Ben's dad went to the AIDS conference when it was in Montreal. So 1 out of 3 have attended as the Prime Minister.
There was a backlash when J.C. himself sent the Health Minister in his place to the Vancouver conference...

Alana said...

I think you're exactly right, Sarah. He should have been at the conference, no but's about it. It's bad enough that Canada (Paul Martin) refused to accordingly fund Africa at last year's G8 Summit. As a country known for our generosity and compassion, we seem to be repeatedly failing in those categories year after year. We, as a country, have what it takes to make a huge impact, but it's hard to do so when our leader refuses to take part in anything that could make a difference.

hilary m. said...

Great post Lauren. I never truly respected Stephen Harper, but he's just sunk deeper in my eyes. AIDS is such an important issue for Canadians and everyone else in the world. Did anyone catch the interview with the First Nations woman in Manitoba on Sounds Like Canada?

Jas Bhambra said...

Thats embarassing no doubt. I wish the world leaders would think more about the real threats like AIDS, poverty and the like, rather than thinking about waging wars...

Excellent post, Lauren.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, people. I think our Prime Minister's choice of attendance is directly realated to his five election promises. The five promises he was elected on included health care, and this is definately a health issue. Since being elected, he's officially changed his mind and decided national defence is the new health care. Although this would explain his choice of attendance, and confirm he is fickle, I certainly disagree on many levels. I'd like to say I'm dissapointed in Harper but my expectations weren't that high to start with.
Lauren

Alana said...

I think you've hit the nail right on the head, Lauren.

It's hard to be truly disappointed in someone when your expectations for them weren't that high in the first place.

Yes, he should have been there. Yes, he should be doing something about the AIDS crisis, solely because he has the power to do so.

But he won't, and really, we shouldn't be surprised, because that's the person he's been since Day One, and he never tried to hide that fact.

He's a douchebag, no way around it.

(pardon the language)

Anonymous said...

"Douchebag," hmmm. Possibly the best reference ever. Don't suppose you had in mind the episode of South Park when the boys had to choose to vote between a douchebag or a crap sandwich? Good thing we have The Hour to help us choose.
I hope we can raise our expectations of our government in the near future or we'll all be burying our heads in the sand.
Lauren

Alana said...

LOL, I didn't have that South Park episode in mind, no, but now I do! And it comes with that little song...ha ha ha, that's perfect.

And suitable too. I mean, this is where we are with Harper, but if Paul Martin had be re-elected, would the position be any different??

I guess that's why I didn't vote for either of them, lol.

GottaBeKD said...

I was happy to e-mail our PMO regarding Harper's noted absence last week. I e-mailed on Friday saying it wasn't too late, he could still make it! In a time when 23,000 people were travelling during the terrorism scare of last week, you'd think the man could get in a plane, train or automobile to show his support. I see this as a boycott really, and a complete lack of interest in our global well being.

To even suggest Stephen Lewis is whiner makes me want to spit. AS IF... anyone who has any sense will read his book and then fully support him. The world would be in much better shape if Mr. Harper had half of the passion Mr. Lewis does. We all should.

Thanks for the forum!
kdf

Anonymous said...

So very true, Lauren...as PM there are some mandatory meetings and events to attend...skip lunch...skip PE, but please do not neglect the hugest health care crisis in our lifetime!...I hope to hear more from you in the near future...can we soon hope to find your name on a ballot near us?

JJ in Saskatchewan

Anonymous said...

Sure JJ, you fund my campaign and I'll take on "can't lose Goodale" in the next election. Looking for a new career anyway. Losing in politics seems just as good as any.

Love to hear of others emailing our elected officials, Gottabekd. I do that myself quite often. Even if they don't take one email seriously, you never know when they'll get three hundred about one issue and be guilted into listening to us Canadians. And sometimes you get nice letters back from them.

Lauren