Friday, August 18, 2006

Canadian Tories Shun AIDS Conference

Global National, August 17

Primer Minister Stephen Harper's government in Canada has postponed any announcements regarding AIDS initiatives and funding until the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto wraps up on Friday, August 18. Harper said the issue has become "too politicized" with so many AIDS activistis in town. Global National reports:

At a news briefing at the conference, interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham and B.C. MP Keith Martin slammed Harper and his government for choosing not to announce measures that would show Canada’s leadership in the battle against HIV-AIDS, both globally and at home.

“What an opportunity that’s lost,” Graham said. “I think we have to recognize that the art of politics is the art of inspiring people to say, `How do we rise above petty differences and how do we try to genuinely help people?’

“And this was an opportunity to show leadership and to genuinely help and if the money comes, great. But it would be a shame that it couldn’t be done in a way with the global community that’s here and so many young Canadians could’ve said, 'We’re proud of you.’ ”

Martin called the government’s postponement of an announcement reprehensible and appalling.

“It shows a complete lack of respect for this disease and for the people who suffer from it and for the people who work in it,” he said. “The government has been missing here. They’ve showed no presence, no plan, no money.”

YouTube video (1:45)

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