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Sinking to the bottom: The wreck of the Stephen Harper

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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.

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