Friday, August 27, 2010

Harper's Northern Annual Photo-Op Was Just More Hot Air

Since Stephen Harper refuses to do anything about global warming, we should at least keep him out of the Arctic. The glaciers are melting fast enough without more of his hot air.

Susan Riley had a great column in the Ottawa Citizen today, in which she exposes the Harper government's view of reality. From Dimitri Soudas's nonsense about a Russian threat, to Stephen Harper's nonsense about a Russian threat.

The Russians must think we're idiots. I can just imagine their political cartoons.

But she also sheds a little light on Harper's posturing in the Great White North.
The truth is that Harper's government, while giving northern sovereignty welcome profile, has promised much and invested little -- outside of annual photo ops like this week's military ballet on ice and Harper's unexpected northern jig.

Meanwhile, a 2005 promise of three new icebreakers has been downgraded to one big ship and six patrol vessels. There is still no sign of the promised northern deep-water port. And -- despite Harper's announcement of three new surveillance satellites to keep an eye on "the bad guys" -- investment in northern science, environmental protection and military presence has been slow in coming.

As Gen. Walt Natynczyk (whose candour is becoming refreshing) noted, the North is a more hostile and expensive environment for Canadian forces than even Afghanistan. Now, if he could free up $16 billion somewhere ...
I agree with Riley. This government is dealing in illusions.
Ideology, illusion, will probably trump reality, evidence, in both these cases. The next challenge for Harper is to convince Canadians, including deficit-shy Conservatives, that we really need those expensive fighter jets -- not exactly tailored to fight home-grown terrorism, which seems a more immediate threat than a replay of the Second World War.

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