JIS SHOCK – Will Canada Match Tough Talk With Action?

Stéphane Dion, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement that the government was “deeply dismayed” by what it called an “unjust decision.”   http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/bantleman-indonesia-supreme-court-1.3463266

He was of course talking about the Indonesian Supreme Court JIS ruling.

Shock is probably the most accurate description of how expats here have responded to yesterday’s news. We’ve posted on the JIS scandal often enough, and you can check back for details if you want to know more.

I was out again yesterday, a long journey into the heart of Jakarta. Hence it wasn’t till I met up with a group of foreigners downtown that I heard about the high court’s decision to reverse the accused teachers’ release  – and actually increase the sentence.



Shock? Other words like consternation, or bafflement, would also be appropriate. But of course words are cheap.

Here are more of Dion’s.

“I just want to say that already today Indonesia is penalizing itself because the confidence one may have about the ability to do business in Indonesia, to have justice in Indonesia, has been jeopardized by the decision of the Supreme Court yesterday,” he told reporters.



“So if Indonesia want to send a message that your rights will be respected — you will have due process in Indonesia — they need to correct the situation for Mr. Bantleman and the other gentleman.”

‘NEED TO?’   Fighting talk!

But will Ottawa actually DO anything?

Indonesia has emerged as Canada’s largest export market ($2.03 billion in 2014) in the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN) region and is an important destination for Canadian foreign direct investment abroad (a stock of $4.32 billion in 2014). Canadian exports nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014.http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2015/11/15/prime-minister-announces-infrastructure-funding-indonesia#


That report was all about how, only a few months ago, Canada promised Indonesia a further $14.25 million in aid.

Like I say, words are cheap, but money talks. That handsome donation will surely not be the last chunk of largesse from the pockets of Canadian tax-payers, over which Mr. Dion has some oversight.

That may, or indeed may not, add weight to his intercession with those who prowl the corridors of power here in Jakarta!