Economic development whatever the cost!

For me, whatever might be worthwhile in Stephen Harper’s speech is degraded by his choice of location for delivering it. The Prime Minister of Canada flew to Switzerland to join the world’s rich and powerful to articulate his vision for our country. Instead of being an end-of-day addendum to a disinterested audience—which it was—Harper’s vision should have been boldly stated and debated in the Canadian Parliament.

In Davos, Harper said to a lecture hall emptying for the dinner break:

Our number-one priority as a government is prosperity.

Mind you, the statement does not surprise. It fits with the Conservative strategy of deeming any who hesitate to support unfettered industrial and commercial expansion to be enemies of Canada. The Harper Government regularly displays contempt for Parliament and contempt for the people of this country.

This week, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver jetted into town to speak with prosperous plutocrats at Vancouver’s Terminal City Club. His message was familiar: Canada’s government has a responsibility to make sure that business can take advantage of Alberta’s tar sands and any who gets in the way of Enbridge are “radicals” to be ignored.

Despite having loaded the National Energy Board with industry insiders, Oliver worries the results of their regulatory hearings are “unpredictable.” Accordingly, he plans to streamline the process so that approvals are granted without delay. The Harper Government wants rubber stamp providers not regulatory agencies.

That’s the same philosophy that served Joe Oliver so well when he was CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada:

Protect small investors from chicanery of fraudulent predators? Hell no, that would slow market activities in unpredictable ways.

A couple of weeks ago, BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon gave a speech that reviewed the state of the 2011 provincial economy and the outlook for 2012. Where did he give that speech? Again, to a gathering of plutocrats at the Board of Trade.

I’m reminded of the first major political speech I ever attended. Prime Minister Lester Pearson spoke to thousands of students at UBC’s War Memorial Gym. He took applause along with derisive hoots and hollers and gave lowly frosh like me a sense of respect and attachment to the leader of Canada’s government.

Quite a change today when government ministers fly on private jets to luxurious enclaves where a chance encounter with a citizen is impossible.

Categories: Enbridge, Harper Government

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4 replies »

  1. Another sign of how much contempt this man shows for our parliament and therefore the people of this country. We find out about future policies and cuts to services from sweden!
    Environmental concerns are now considered red tape in the way of corporate advancement and must be eliminated or ignored whilst being labelled as radical.
    We can only hope greater minds take note.


  2. Quite correct Hugh. Alberta will end the year in the red with a $3.1 billion deficit according to the province's second-quarter budget update.

    They've had a long history of ceding natural resource revenues to the private holders. This has enriched a handful of Albertans beyond belief along with largely foreign shareholders of major oil companies.

    In return, young Alberta men can make good money working the oil patch but there's little left for people such as the disrupted First Nations people of northern Alberta.


  3. The tar sands are Harper's personal greed, and the greed of the gigantic oil company's.

    Neither the Enbridge pipeline nor the dirty tar tankers, do anything for the BC people or the F.N. Our beautiful province, the marine life and our wildlife, are worth far more that Harper and Enbridge could ever be.

    Harper's demeaning speech in Davos, insulted Canadians and other country's. Other country's leader, are just not as intelligent as Harper is. Canada's stance in this recession, is entirely our previous P.M. foresight. That is what saved Canada.

    Since Harper's majority, Canada has slid backwards. He wastes billions upon billions of our tax dollars. $13 billion of our money, Harper gives to the wealthiest corporations in the world.

    Harper had better shut his big mouth, about starting a war with Iran. Obama said, he was cutting his military, and Canada has to p/u the slack. The U.S. has tension with China and Iran. Russia has said, it would be a mistake, to attack Iran. Canada is a vast, huge country to defend. Harper has offended the Arab country's. Canada's best role is that of a, peacekeeping nation. Harper has fouled and dirtied, our country's, once good name.

    Luis Moreno-Ocampo has given Harper a summons, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Harper was hoping, Canadians would forget all about his crimes. We hope the F.N. people, will also sue Harper for crimes against humanity, for his utter negligence. The F.N. people are living in a, fourth world country.


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