Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On responsibilities to protect

I know I already touched on the Conservative court arguments yesterday in their appeal of the Federal Court's order to repatriate Omar Khadr, but I was reading more coverage this morning and this quote from the government lawyer stood out to me:

"There is clearly no duty to protect citizens under international law," Ms. Mueller told the court.
Duty, perhaps no, but what about responsibility? What struck me about this quote was that it brought to mind the concept of a "Responsibility to Protect" which Paul Martin pushed hard during his Prime Ministership:
It says that we should have the legal right to intervene in a country on the grounds of humanitarian emergency alone when the government of that country is unwilling or unable to protect their people from extreme harm as a result of internal war, repression or state failure.
Could there be an issue that highlights more starkly the differences in Liberal and Conservative philosophies?

The Liberals argue we have a responsibility to protect people (who aren't our citizens) in other countries on humanitarian grounds.

The Conservatives argue we have no responsibility to protect our own citizens.

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