SHOULD HARPER MEET THE DALAI LAMA?

In a few days Stephen Harper is scheduled to meet officially with the Dalai Lama on government property although this has never happened before. (Paul Martin met with the Dalai Lama for five minutes in 2004 in a church residence). The Chinese government protested bitterly about the Martin meeting and at the time Canadian business leaders warned that such meetings could harm Canadian trade with China, now our fourth-largest export market.

While many Canadians admire the Dalai Lama as an individual, some nevertheless regard the role and teachings of Tibetan religious leaders as anachronisms in the modern era. Tibet was essentailly a feudal society and still manifests feudal practices today.

The Dalai Lama is particularly popular in right-wing circles in the United States – and with the Harper government — where he’s portrayed as a tireless crusader against godless communism.

But is it likely that such ideologically driven actions as Harper meeting with the Dalai Lama will advance the cause of democracy in China or relations between Canada and China?

Should we antagonize China with a meeting that has little or no real substance to it?

Update:  (Oct. 29)

Today, Prime Minister Harper will meet the Dalai Lama on government property, the first Canadian prime minister to do so.

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15 Comments »

  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    I’d have to investigate further, but I feel like the PM should and stick it to the communists. China has to learn to govern without suppressing to many rights.

  2. 2
    Barbara Says:

    Suzanne is right.
    I instant messaged a former student from China who was visiting his family there. I suggested he put in a good word for human rights. He replied that he saw no such violation of human rights and he was impressed with the way people were working together to improve the nation. I replied “Of course, but forgive me if I don’t believe you.” Our conversation was cut short — by the former student, I believe.
    I would be pleased to see a few less goods made in China at the Bay.

  3. 3
    jeremy Says:

    Yes definitely!

    Jeremy

  4. 4
    Chimera Says:

    China should stick to cleaning up China’s own image and quit poking its lead-painted nose into other nations’ business.

    So the tin-hat dictator is meeting with the Dalai Lama on government property, so what? Government property funded by my tax dollars equals my property. I say go for it. But keep an eye on the silverware while Harper is in the room!

  5. 5

    At this stage I would say we have a consensus that Harper should meet the Dalai Lama. I agree.

  6. 6
    Tsering Norzom Says:

    The Prime Minister should take notice of the meetings between the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and meet with the Dalai Lama and initiate China to solve the Sino-Tibet issue. Canada should step up and live to show the world that we can lead to solve one of the ongoing political crisis in Asia and stop China from emerging as a powerful ruthless totalitarian regime.
    The US is already announced its decision to recognize the Dalai Lama with an official ceremony in the Capitol House. Canada will do the right thing by meeting with Dalai Lama for he is an honorary citizen of Canada.
    So hats of to our Prime Minister for teh right decision.

  7. 7

    Tsering:
    I agree with you that the example of the German Chancellor meeting the Dalai Lama is a good one and Harper should follow it. However, it would seem to me that China has already emerged “as a powerful ruthless totalitarian regime.” Eventually I expect that China will confront the U.S in what might well turn out to be a “war of the civilizations”.
    Many thanks for your comment.

  8. 8
    Tsering Tsomo Says:

    I think Prime Minister Harper should meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This will not be the first time a Canadian Prime Minister has met with the Dalai Lama (Paul Martin met with him during his tenure). But this is especially important, because the Canadian people (through its Parliament and Senate) conferred on the Dalai Lama an honorary citizenship of Canada. I think all former honorary citizens have not only met with the leaders of Canada but have also addressed the Canadian Parliament. So I hope, Prime Minster Harper not only meets with the Dalai Lama but also invites him to address the joint Parliament.

  9. 9

    Tsering Tsomo:

    That is a very interesting idea, that the Dalai Lama should address a joint session of Parliament. But it won’t be possible this time. The Prime Minister is slated to meet the Dalai Lama on government property in a few days. Parliament does not sit until October 16. Thanks for your comment.

  10. 10
    Wangchuk Tsering Says:

    I too think that the Honorable Prime Minister Harper should meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama who is the voice of reason and non-violence to achieve lasting solution for all the conflicts in the world starting with the Tibet issue with China. The PM meeting the Dalai Lama will convey a strong message to China that Canada is very serious in supporting the just cause of Tibet and she is not intimidated by the arrogance of power the Chinese government appears to display in all her foreign policy.

  11. 11
    Lovesong Says:

    Yes!!!!!!!

    PM Harper should meet with Tibet’s HH the Dalai Lama, not only for the Tibetans but also on behalf of the Humanity in terms of Human rights, Environment, our global communities, that we, in the free world do have back-bones and can stand with our principals, un-like corrupt and fearfull governments that are too many to count, who kowtow to the bullies in Beijing.

    If we are to have a peaceful and Just world then we all must stand together. LEADERS must lead and with public following and giving support. On meeting HH the Dalai Lama, I fully support our PM Harper and infact, I really feel he is doing Canada proud, just as some other world leaders have done recently for their country.

  12. 12

    Lovesong:

    It seems to me that most of your arguments about “the bullies in Bejing” could be used for breaking our diplomatic relations with China completely. I suspect you would not want to go that far. Thanks for your comment.

  13. 13
    Nawang Sherab Says:

    Yes!!
    PM Harper should meet HH The Dalai Lama to show China that Canadian support religious freedom, human rights and World Peace.

    SAVE TIBET
    Proud to be Tibetan-Canadian

  14. 14

    Nawang:
    I saw that Bush met the Dalai Lama today. Like you I hope he comes to Ottawa and the Prime Minister welcomes him. Thanks for your comment.

  15. 15
    bernie12 Says:

    NEIL

    Your blog on the Dala Lama is timely. I think that Nawang put the issue cllearly on the table and I concur with those comments
    Bernie


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