Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is Canada Losing Its Democracy?

Idle No More defies Stephen Harper

Nearly two years have elapsed since the last Canadian federal election. I wrote about that election in a post about how Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper  could have a free rein since he'd won a convincing majority. What I could not have foreseen was how firmly in the grip he was of the oil and gas industry. Or to what lengths he would go to bypass governance in order to swindle the public.

I really didn't expect much from the man, given that he is a toady of the Christian right-wing evangelicals. He makes no excuses for being an acolyte for the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who have been frequent visitors to Alberta during Harper's reign.  

But in my wildest imagination I could not have foreseen how Canada could have fallen into the vile swamp that Harper envisions for this country. 

I mistakenly thought there would be some checks and balances to keep watch on Harper's doings. He had shown such disregard for Parliamentary procedures with a minority, what could he do with a majority? I wrote my concerns in a post two years ago in Conservatives Win A Majority: American Style.

Today, I see some Canadians realize they are awakening from their slumber and finding Stephen Harper is planning to sell Canada to the highest bidder. He and his party are so arrogant that they no longer disguise their plans, which include building a massive network of pipelines to service exports to China and the U.S.

Did I miss something?

Where were the public inquiries, the public input, the debates in the House of Commons? 

Where was the public outcry? After all, these pipelines will be built across pristine arctic wildlife refuges. Was the public involved or even informed?

For example, Harper has already initiated secretive legislation under the guise of a trade agreement with the innocuous sounding title of FIPA. But this treaty now gives Chinese energy conglomerates sovereign rights within Canada's borders. The Chinese can operate with impunity without environmental scrutiny. The Chinese companies can even sue Canadians for non-compliance measures under terms of the treaty, which will run for the next 31 years. 

Only the Green Party had read the fine print and objected to the measure. They had less than thirty days to comment and bring it before Parliament. Albeit many of the finer details remain obscured. The FIPA treaty with China was ratified on Halloween of this year with virtually no media involvement.

But this week, Harper is being called out by the First Natons leaders who are taking direct action under the banner of "Idle No More"

Bands across Canada are coming together, because oil platforms, oil and gas pipelines are being planned without public participation. Moreover, new federal and provincial Conservative legislation is being targeted to subvert traditional First Nation land claim treaties, making it easier for oil and gas to exploit previously protected land from development.

This begs the question and no one in Parliament to my knowledge has asked it: 

Who does Harper truly represent? China? The oil and gas pipeline lobby?

Why are the citizens in Canada being left out of the equation?  

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