Fearing a victory by US Democrats, Stephen Harper pushes for a Fall election – solely on a platform that would see us boost our failing economy by raping the Arctic of all its remaining natural resources. Harper wants to spend $100 million to map these resources. What would it be like to spend $100 million instead on the development of cars and trucks that didn’t use fossil fuels?

Harper’s suddenly finding Parliament dysfunctional seems remarkably convenient to justify the need for this election. The combination of the US federal election and the sagging economies of both our nations makes the Conservative boast of leading Canada firmly into the black ring hollow – no doubt, Harper envisions cries of “what have you done, lately?”. As a recession looms, Harper fears Canada will follow the US economically and – far more catastrophic for him – politically, if the US elects Democrat Barack Obama.

But it’s the economy Harper prefers to focus on, perhaps because his social policies are coming under greater fire, as evidenced by Health Minister Tony Clement’s recent blunders at the World AIDS Conference and the Canadian Medical Assocation’s annual meeting. The economy can be touted as this minority government’s only success; neo-Con attempts to increase border security, build more jails and jump into bed with the US and Mexico to increase free trade have met with only lukewarm response at best from Canadians. This government’s continued ignorance of Omar Khadr’s plight is nothing more than thinly-veiled racism, exposing clearly the true agenda of a group of people still very much immersed in the ideals of its Reform and Canadian Alliance history. Who knows what role the kid had in the killing of a US Marine, but if that was a 16 year old, white, prodigal son of a Christian family sitting in GitMo, you can bet he’d have been back on Canadian soil faster than you could say Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Rather than face his party’s failing social platforms or our seriously ill environment, Harper clings to ice-breakers, tossing out the term “northern solidarity” as something that must suddenly be guarded or protected after 140 years. From what? Someone getting there first and exploiting the environment when it is our Canadian right to do it ourselves, dammit. Why should we be surprised by this? This is a Calgarian elected entirely by the power of the oil industry – sound familiar, America? – who will do whatever he deems necessary to keep the focus of a nation on a full gas tank, a full belly and off the rapid deterioration of the polar ice caps and the mounting carnage that is post-tar sands Alberta.

Alberta oil sands

Alberta oil sands

The machine rolls along, blindly believing that our future is rooted in the exploitation of natural resources, while cancer rates rise dramatically, polar ice caps shrink, fish grow two mouths and oil executives eat, drink and be merry. Do they actually believe there will be a livable world left for their children?

We call ourselves a democracy, yet few of us recognize our own power, the power of a vote, to change the course of a nation and the world. Tell Stephen Harper you see through this sham election and you don’t share his vision for the future of Canada.

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