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  • August 10th, 2015

The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Warmongering

Michael Welton, writing for CounterPunch, reviews Yves Englers, “The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy (2012)” (“The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Warmongering”, CounterPunch, 7 August 2015). While Engler’s book was written in 2012,  Welton makes clear that this hard hitting critique of Harper’s foreign policy is more relevant than ever as the Prime Minister trumpets his alleged foreign and defence policy credentials on the election hustings.  Below are some excerpts from Welton’s review:

“Engler documents relentlessly the way Harper has fused corporate interests with Canadian state policy. While Canadian families are sleepily getting their kids dressed, fed and nudged out the door to school, Harper and his gang has been up all night planning dirty tactics to undermine opposition to the tar sands oil production or mining interests in Latin America.”

“Sleazy and secretive, Harper works tirelessly in every possible forum to undermine climate legislation and opposition to the tar sands. He lobbied intensely for the tar sands in Europe and fought fiercely for US support of the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2007, when California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the worlds’ [sic] first Low Carbon Resources Board to monitor our carbon footprint, Canadian officials rushed in to have the tar sands exempted. What an image: Canadian officials buzzing about the world to obstruct social justice however they can.”

“I wasn’t fully aware of how aggressively the Canadian governmental intervened to support Canadian mining interests. When a private member’s bill (Bill C-300) was introduced in the Canadian parliament to foster social responsibility in the mining sector, Harper launched a “ferocious lobbying campaign” to ensure that the bill was voted down. One can see why.”

“Harper’s regime will do what is necessary to ensure the triumph of Canadian mining interests. This may mean working to overthrow an anti-mining government (or install a government that will de-regulate mining legislation and make expropriation illegal), funding mining lobbying organizations, using diplomats to advocate for the industry in question, and funding a pseudo-NGO to work to promote the mining industry under the guise of promoting conflict resolution. Harper supported the ouster of Lugo in Paraguay and the removal of elected president Manuel Zelaya in the Honduras.”

“In the final few chapters of The Ugly Canadian, Engler introduces us to Stephen the Tough Guy. Beating his chest like a silver back gorilla, Harper has tried to militarize Canada by getting in on combat action wherever he can and permeating our sporting culture by doing things like having the navy hold flags at the Canadian Open. Hockey Night in Canada has also been subject to Don Cherry’s pro-military diatribes and degrading celebration of brawling in the NHL.”

“Harper has spent more money on the military than previous governments, and even sought to establish permanent bases (in Jamaica and six other countries). Harper’s mental state appears somewhat crazed: he wants to define Canada as a “warrior nation” and establish “courageous warrior” as a founding Canadian principle. War is now celebrated; not decried as a ghastly and beastly affront to our humanity. Harper is a herald of Cold War Two, with trumpets blazing.”

“Stephen Harper is very secretive about what he is up to both at home and abroad. He doesn’t tell us the truth. Engler states: “The Conservatives repeatedly lied about Canada’s role in Afghanistan.” He also hoodwinked Canadians about “extending Canada’s military engagement into its second decade” and tried to deceive us into thinking that a non-combat presence in Afghanistan was really the case. Not so. No wonder he is sleazy Stephen. Keep your wary eye on this guy. Turn your head, and he is shooting up some town somewhere.”

To read the full article, click here: “The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Warmongering“, (CounterPunch, 7 August 2015)

To purchase Engler’s Book, click here: The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy (2012)

Image Credit: Michael de Adder

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