Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Ride

The amazing thing about Stephen's photo-op in the Arctic is that not one of the reporters there was willing to ask him a tough question. Nothing but softballs so he can forward his preferred narrative about "all" that he's done and is willing to do to help transform Canada's North. It'd be brilliant if it were true. The bulk of his promises were delayed , and still won't be completed until 2015, or 2017, which is long past the time to establish an unmistakable and definable presence in the North so as to support Canada's claims to our sovereignty over that region (the UN is expected to rule on all claims by 2013). Not a single question about why he cheaped out and went for the 6-8 slush breakers instead of 3 real ice-breakers when he's perfectly willing to spend $10-$13 billion for prisons to house those who've committed unreported crimes.

There are many examples of Harper being penny-wise and pound foolish -- especially where Canada's Arctic sovereignty is concerned.

This is a lot more important than just securing Canada's share of Arctic riches, it's about our national heritage. Yet Canada's press can't be bothered to get beyond the images they themselves produce -- witness this nausea inducing puff piece from John Ibbitson. He does manage to get one thing right about the opportunistic PM's annual visit in this graph however: Harper appears to genuinely love the North. It’s a tourist’s love – exotic glimpses of its beautiful, barren lands; carefully prepared conversations with local dignitaries.

A tourist's love is right -- as opposed to a native of the region who would be more likely to be concerned with climate change and other environmental issues as far as development was concerned. Harper's just there to exploit it for votes and nice looking pictures for his photo-album.

One of the major concerns should be making sure that off-shore drilling in the region is done in the safest way possible. Maybe someone could ask him a question about that while he's up there. After all just a few short days ago the Senate gave a hearty thumbs up to offshore drilling -- this while the consequences of the Gulf oil spill are still unknown and most likely disastrous. Go take a look at the Truthout report and photo essay on what the region looks like at a time when officials from both the government and BP are saying everything's fine.

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