rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Sinking to the bottom: The wreck of the Stephen Harper

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Davy Jones Locker

Michael Stewart's, Harper's Franklin 'discovery'; Or, did anyone ask the Inuit?  brilliantly and succinctly pulls the plug on the listing Harper canoe in a massive collision with the crystal-hard iceberg of fact and irony.

Stewart artfully points out the immense disingenuousness of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's claim to have "discovered" one of the ships from the 1845 Franklin Expedition precisely where Inuit oral tradition had placed it for the last century and a half. Piling irony on top of artifice, are the Prime Minister's draconian cuts to Parks Canada (who led the Victoria Strait Expedition that made the discovery) and his repeated refusals to hold a national inquiry into the almost 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.  

This historical 'discovery' follows Stephen Harper's grandiose 2012 bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, a $30 million extravagance paid for by Canadian taxpayers that almost no one outside the PMO paid any attention to, which left Canadians indifferent, and that taught no one anything.

This was followed in 2013 by the publication of A Great Game, a testament to Stephen Harper's belief that chasing a chunk of rubber around a sheet of ice is the defining feature of Canadian identity. 

Marine archeology is fascinating, military history is important, and hockey is an entertaining diversion, but the essential fabric of Canada is cut from different cloth.

Stephen Harper in the Arctic

When our government denigrates Aboriginal peoples, ignores their concerns, eviscerates critical public institutions (such as Parks Canada, CBC, the National Film Board, the National Research Council, Environment Canada, etc.), revokes international treaty obligations (the Kyoto Protocol), creates bogus climate change objectives that the government fails to meet in any case, kowtows in obeisance to the fossil fuel industry, abrogates its responsibility to protect Canada's waterways, ignores the imperatives of youth, mocks the Supreme Court, disparages vital concerns of girls and women, dismisses scientific evidence and muzzles scientists, gerrymanders with the electoral system, and is found to be contempt of Parliament … this is not nation building. Fraudulently claiming credit for the 'discovery' of a sunken ship on the basis on knowledge held by oral tradition of the Inuit does not make for a national vision oran act that Canadians would be proud of. 

It is no substitute for actually investing in and developing the fabric of Canadian society. For respectfully caring for the environment as its stewards.  For sensibly and sustainably developing our natural legacy. For responsibly meeting our international obligations and constructively contributing to making the world a better place. Harper's glee in the discovery as described by Stewart, is utter hucksterism; phony cheerleading whose only intent is to divert the attention of Canadians from substantive issues and accrue credit to his now discredited political administration. I have no difficulty whatsoever in calling it what it is -- a crime against the traditional truth, honesty, generosity, and respect that define what it is to be Canadian.

This Franklin Expedition announcement is the harbinger of an important nautical discovery, however, that Stephen Harper's ship of state is rapidly sinking into Davy Jones' Locker. I'm confident that future generations of Canadians will be happy to leave it in the abyssal muck and murk into which it is plummeting. Tin future centuries there will be no attempt to raise the political remains of the S.S. Stephen Harper, even though everyone will know precisely where they rest and on what shoals they went down.

Christopher Majka is an ecologist, environmentalist, policy analyst, and writer. He is the director of Natural History Resources and Democracy: Vox Populi.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.