Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What is Stephen Harper up to Now? This Man is Dangerous

As Harper and his army of misfits have been posturing in the North, a story of immense military build-up in the area should be troubling to Canadians.

This is a government with it's head stuck in the Cold War and you can just imagine their "base" salivating and chanting "get those Ruskies".

Military exercises are one thing, and so is the appearance of an alliance as a deterrent, but the game that Harper and MacKay are playing is a dangerous one indeed.

After visits by Canada's defense and military chiefs to inspect the multinational war games, Prime Minister Harper arrived in Resolute on August 25, the penultimate day of the 20-day military maneuvers, to - in the words of one of the nation's main news agencies - rally the 1,500 Canadian, American and Danish troops present.

Harper's visit to inspect the exercise occurred only hours after another - potentially dangerous - publicity stunt by his government: Dispatching CF-18 fighter jets (variants of the American F/A-18 Hornet) to allegedly ward off two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear) strategic bombers patrolling off Canada's northern border, "something the Russian military does frequently." Harper's press secretary, Dimitri Soudas, "said the two CF-18 Hornet fighters visually identified the two Russian aircraft approximately 120 nautical miles north of Inuvik in Northwest Territories," over international waters.The timing of the Canadian action, as that of its announcement, was calculated. As was a comparable incident in February of 2009 when then recently installed U.S. President Barack Obama paid his first visit abroad to Ottawa, to meet with Harper, and his host scrambled warplanes to intercept a Russian Tu-95 bomber - on a routine mission thousands of kilometers from the Canadian capital - in a show of bravado and of loyalty to his ally south of the border.

"The Russians said then the plane never encroached on Canadian airspace and that Canada had been told about the flight beforehand." [18] Last year Canada's prime minister and defence minister made the following comments:Harper: “We have scrambled F-18 [CF-18] jets in the past, and they’ll always be there to meet them.” MacKay: “When we see a Russian Bear [Tu-95] approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18.” A few days before Operation Nanook began, July 28, Canada also deployed CF-18 fighters against Russian Tu-95 bombers "as debate rage[d] over whether Canada needs the next generation of fighter jets to replace the nearly 30-year-old CF 18s. The Harper government has committed to buying 65 F-35 stealth fighters at a cost of $9 billion. Critics have said such Cold War-type jets are no longer needed."

I attended an all-candidates meeting in Kingston last night, as our local Liberals are looking to replace Peter Milliken, now that he is retiring, and the question of Arctic sovereignty was raised. The answers all round were good, but two things were stressed. Moral sovereignty and diplomacy.

Two notions that would be completely alien to this government.

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