Michael Byers probably never will
As the world is momentarily distracted from the events occuring in Iran by the death of Michael Jackson, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff took some time to address a rally in support of the Iranian protesters and protesting the Iranian theocracy's treatment of them.
"The Iranian regime did not anticipate you," Ignatieff told the assembled crowd.
"They thought they could suppress democratic rights and bully, beat and intimidate the people of Iran and the world would not care, the world would not watch," he continued. "They did not anticipate you."
"I'm proud of Canadians who understand that when others cannot stand up we must stand up for them, and when they cannot speak we have to speak for them."
"Canada has known for a long time this was a regime with which we could not have normal relations," Ignatieff announced.
"This is a regime that allowed Zahra Kazemi to be beaten to death in prison. This is a regime that has denied the reality of the Holocaust, that's attempted to develop nuclear weapons, Long before the election we knew this was a regime with which we could not have normal relations."
Ignatieff spoke volumes about the wisdom of Canadians. Indeed, Canadians have long known that we cannot afford our full respect to the Iranian regime.
Well, not all Canadians know this. University of British Columbia Political Scientist and erstwhile NDP candidate Michael Byers doesn't know this.
Some may recall Byers' January 1, 2008 op/ed article in the Toronto Star, in which he criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for recalling Canada's ambassador to Iran.
The reason for the recall was Iran's incredibly malfeasant handling of the Kazemi case. Zahra Kazemi, as many Canadians will recall, as a Canadian-Iranian dual citizen who was beaten and raped to death in an Iranian prison for the grievous crime of photographing a political protest.
Michael Ignatieff gets it. He knows that Canada cannot have a regular diplomatic relationship with this country.
But Michael Byers doesn't. Michael Byers believes Iran should be able to rape and beat Canadian citizens to death, develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of threatening its neighbours, hold Holocaust denial conferences, whip homosexuals while insisting they don't exist, and brutally stamp out political dissent without so much as a hiccup in diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Michael Ignatieff knows better. Michael Ignatieff gets it. Michael Byers probably never will.