Saturday, August 11, 2007

A good move for Harper...dangerous for Dion Canada steps up fight for the Arctic

I think this is a really smart move by Harper. First of all because it is the right thing to do in the interests of Canada, but also because I believe he will solidify and maybe even broaden his political base.

Gay marriage is a dead issue and it doesn't seem like the abortion debate will be re-opened any time soon either (much to the chagrin of the 2000 facebook/CBC Great Canadian Wish List participants who have the lead in an activity nobody cares about), so what's left to energize the base? Afghanistan and some old fashioned Arctic saber rattling.

Again, its the right thing to do in the interests of Canadian sovereignty, and it will help him in the polls. If anyone cares that is....

I am willing to bet Canadians care about this.



At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree it is a good move for Canada, and I'll give credit for Harper government for taking the steps it announced.

But I don't think folks get reelected for doing a good thing every once in a while, though granted its much better than trying to get reelected by never doing anything good ; ).

They did make this move only after the issue came into the spotlight, which is something for which they routinely used to criticize the Liberals.

in the end, there will be many actions on which to judge the government so I'm not sure I follow the direct line from anti-gay to protecting the arctic. Perhaps the arrogance, all-controlling nature of Harper, the secrecy on the prisoner issue, the secrecy and apparent government involvement on blotting out the Arar papers, endless control of cabinet members moves, going back on his word . . . to the atlantic provinces, to seniors, etc, might get some attention in the voter's minds as well.

I agree this was a good move, but I doubt it is the only action on which this government will be judged to the exception of all others.

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is the coffee kicking in . . . or maybe I'm a bit slow.

But, yes, as a rallying point for the base, you are right that this is a good move. Somehow I missed that on my first read of your post.

Beyond the base, it's trickier. Unless Dion "condemns" the move, which I sort of doubt ; ). If smart, he might even commend the move before pointing out several dozen recent embarrassments of the New Government, such as our peach of a new RCMP commissioner (helping the government blot out embarrassing Arar report details before moving into his new position to teach new tricks to the RCMP).

The base was never going to vote for Dion anyway. It's expanding Harper's base where I think it remains to be seen just how important this would be in the next election. That's when I think people are going to look at the whole record, and it remains to be seen what the real hot-button issues will be then. But I'm not betting on protecting the Northwest passage being the highlight of the election to the exclusion of everything else.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey dum dums, nothing is going to happen, nothing is going to be build, harpy is playing the mouth game, he said lets build heavy icebrekers, ended up been lite ones. are you people that stupid, dont forget who started all this shit, the americans, they are the ones who chalenged our sovereinty of the north, every conservative has sold us out to these idiots down south, i say lets negotiate with the russians, half is ours half is theirs, it will keep the rest out, HES LOOKING FOR VOTES, he wont do anything without his masters aproval, in washigton, thats what you should look into anstead of giving him credit before anything is done...

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many will approve action on Arctic aspects of Sovereignty, but this can be a political scam, as we have seen often in the past. While Canadians may be thinking about how their government is finaly doing something useful and bold, other nations who know the northern scene may be laughing, perhaps out loud. Harper says he will refurbish an existing dock and industrial area once the site of an abandoned mining operation and used by the government for re fueling and some modest military operations for years, at a cost of $100 mil over a decade, he will give the Rangers nicer and complete uniforms and maybe some equipment newer than En field Rifles. He says there will be 6 light patrol boats that will not be able to navigate the far north,either the Northwest Passage or the channel up to this "deep sea port" except for (maybe) two months of the year. But that is the story now! I guess we are to hope for quicker global warming so they can reach the port earlier. These boats may be a total of 3 billion plus, but in fact all the government will be doing for the next two years plus is drawing pictures and they are probably only talking about the first boat, really, which will be stretched out, as a plan, for years further into the future. So this is really about 200 mil. Then there will be a handful of coin thrown at the military. No real committment to build communities in the North, or even to build one real ice breaker. It you exaggerate a bit and say what Harper is talking about amounts to over 500 mil in the next two years, that can be compared to the current Federal surplus which is running at over 3.5 billion for the first two months of fiscal 2007. So, given the past few years performance and assuming what has happened is what is most likely to happen, we are dealing with less than 5% of the likely surplus....the surplus, for this year though he says that his boats are costed over 25 years. That is not going to impress the Russians, and the Americans, who so love to curl their nataional lip at someone and have few opportunities presently, will be able to scorn Canada. Of course,they are going no where with ice breakers themselves, but then we are not going to pop for 800 or 900 mil and build one, are we? No, that is what Harper did not say, and unhappily it was the only thing he might have said that would show real action by Canada.

This is not a plan for action, it is a handful of herring thrown at a temporarily big item. Plainly Harper does not believe Canadians mean business about the north, and unhappily there is quite a bit of evidence he can rely on.
I think this is a great shame since it is very clear the Russians mean busines, and have spent a lot of money and developed a big effort, no matter how silly their claim is to widen "their" continental shelf (which goes down to about 130 metres) to their north, by talking about a connection to a long underwater ridge, the same argument both Canada and some other northern countries are making. You could say it is a crowded idiocy. How do you prove a shallow shelf by dropping tourist badges at 4400 metres to the sea floor? They could be accused of littering.
The, USA, never having agreed to the relevant treaty, in their normal bullying fashion, are just spouting. So wether we are or are not ever going to do something in the north, Harper's offering does not give any real substance.
It just makes no sense for Canada to bluster in a military way about this. Expansion of the rangers, or even real uniforms is ok, real money to develop communities is good, and most of all to step up and order a real modern world class ice breaker is best. We can always make a buck helping American freighters to get through what they said would be no problem.


Post a Comment

<< Home