Harper's Conservatives have a thing for monarchy, the more absolute the better, it seems. At home they've put up portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and added the moniker "royal" to the Canadian Navy and Air Force while in the Middle East they've strengthened Canada's ties to kingdoms from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.
Somewhere in the Lester B. Pearson Building, Canada's foreign affairs headquarters, must be a meeting room with the inscription "The World Should Do as We Say, Not As We Do" or perhaps "Hypocrites 'R Us." With the Obama administration beating the war drums, Canadian officials are demanding a response to the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. The Conservatives signed Canada onto a White House statement claiming: "The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal." While one may wish this were the case, it's not. In fact, Canada has repeatedly been complicit with the use of chemical weapons.
Conservatives are telling a skeptical public that Canada won't be significantly involved in any military action. Yet, ten days ago the head of the Canadian military met generals from some of the main countries backing Syria's rebels to discuss the prospects of building an international coalition force. In another sign of Canada's deepening involvement in the Syrian conflict the National Post and Ottawa Sun recently reported that Canada has funnelled $5.3-million to the Syrian rebels' propaganda efforts since April of last year.
Prime Minister Harper's stance on Syria seems to be a textbook instance of boring second-fiddleism. Like a good backup musician, the PM's endorsed the idea that "Western military action" should be taken against the blood-and-poison-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad, which in practice means supporting President Obama's promised plan to bomb select Syrian sites at some uncertain time in the uncertain future. And like a good bore, Harp's also emphasized that said support will entail precisely no Canadian military contribution whatsoever.