Mr. Harper tries to win the North.

Does Prime Minister Harper earn Air Miles for all his travels? The answer is ‘no’ when you consider that he uses a VIP A300 military transport jet for those long distance hauls. Some people are concerned about his lack of attention as to what is going on in Ottawa. They know that the Conservative government has little on the agenda for the fall sitting and that the Conservative majority might try to force through some of their more right-wing agenda items.

But it is a mistake to think Harper is out of touch with Ottawa when he is not there. With today’s communications, he has thorough briefings from Ottawa while travelling. Where he is out of touch is with the Canadian people.

You can see that lack of contact and lack of empathy in his announcement of the new national park near Norman Wells in the North West Territories. We might as well call it the new park as few in the south are going to learn to pronounce its aboriginal name. What was immediately obvious about the park is how it had been gerrymandered to allow for mining of known mineral deposits. Many of the native leaders were very disappointed and they had a right to be. Harper had been playing to the natives the opportunity for resource jobs for them but many of their leaders were not buying these temporary opportunities for employment.

The other big event of this trip was the public introduction of the military’s Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2). This heretofore very secret weapon of the Canadian Forces has been around for some time but never on public display. To show how they might go about securing a boat at sea is to allow law breakers to study their techniques and prepare to defend against them.  If you are Prime Minister, you can order it but Defence Minister Peter MacKay standing around in the background had a responsibility to try to talk the Prime Minister out of the foolish idea. It did Canada no good but then Peter MacKay does little of any good either.

Mr. Harper’s visit to the north is supposed to be an annual event. Such visits will be more worthwhile when the government can do more to make life more liveable for people up there. To suggest that people move south is to abandon our north to those countries that have learned to live in colder climates. If any country is in the category of those who know how to live in the north, it should be Canada.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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