Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You Can't Take Him At His Word

Stephen Harper was in British Columbia over the weekend, "negotiating" with British Columbia's native peoples on the Northern Gateway file. Michael Harris writes that Mr. Harper has a constitutional duty to consult with first nations. But Harper doesn't negotiate:

That approach would violate the Harper government’s preferred tactic when dealing with opponents: blunt declarations of how it’s going to be, followed by a rabbit punch or two. Think of Jim Flaherty’s negotiating technique with provincial health ministers in Victoria. Not a lot of back-and-forth, right?

If the prime minister had really wanted to talk to native leaders, he wouldn’t have sent Enbridge executives to assume Ottawa’s constitutional role of consulting about pipelines — a company’s whose reputation for stewardship of the environment is well known.

The prime minister, who is supposed to be a bright guy, has finally realised that Northern Gateway is in deep trouble:

It has suddenly dawned on the PM that native reservations about Northern Gateway are headed to court. And since Ottawa has a constitutional obligation to consult, accommodate and compensate First Nations for developments that touch their lands, Harper is belatedly touching all the bases before the legal briefs are filed.

Harper's charm offensive is totally insincere. When it comes to Canada's First Nations, what Harper does is diametrically opposed to what he says. Consider the record:

Harper is the prime minister who killed the Kelowna Accord, replacing Paul Martin’s commitment to change things with a commitment to something less than the status quo.

It was the Harper government that gutted environmental protections in a spate of anti-democratic omnibus legislation, forcing natives to protect the land on their own.

The Harper promise of a new relationship between First Nations and Ottawa has fizzled. After a florid apology with all the trappings of state, the PM merely replaced the mistakes of the past with the mistakes of the present, including a sneaky change to band funding agreements that critics believe would allow government policy to trump native treaty rights.

During the Idle No More protests in Ottawa, PM Harper was as aloof as Louis the 14th, refusing to meet certain native leaders who were tired of the federal runaround on land claims and treaty rights. They learned that Stephen Harper doesn’t make time for nobodies.

Harper has now decided that a promise to do something on the environment file might help sell Keystone to the Americans, and that playing nice with Canada's native peoples might sell Northern Gateway to them. Mr. Harper is a slow learner.

And it should be evident to all parties that you can't take him at his word.


Anonymous said...

The Harperites are transparent on some issues. This obviously cynical attempt to establish an eleventh hour record of 'consultation' with First Nations before the court cases begin is an example of their transparency.

The Harperites are little more than bitumen salespersons. The oil industry wrote the omnibus legislation that destroyed environmental legislation and gave the Harperite cabinet veto power over any environmental review.

I suspect that the decision has already been made; Northern Gateway will be approved regardless of any resistance. And that will be when the real fun begins.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. Approval is pre-ordained. But acceptance isn't.

And if the government thinks that First Nations people are pushovers, they're about to get a rude awakening.

rumleyfips said...

aElija Harper just said "no". and it was all over.

Owen Gray said...

It's too bad the elder Harper isn't here to confront the younger Harper, rumley.

the salamander said...

.. 'Not a man of his word' .. Simply another clear legacy and character statement regarding Stephen Harper.. and 'You can't take him at his word certainly defines the man's most striking characteristic.

Unfortunately, he somehow became the Prime Minister of Canada.

The man becomes more sleazy and despicable every single day.. and can barely talk coherently.. I've often noticed how his delivery becomes riddled with repetition, stock phrasing, cute, or fancy.. but awkward word clumps. Of course he wants to limit or eliminate questions from the media & press. He sounds and presents.. as ridiculous, pompous and prissy.

Its political pablum spilling from him and being spoon fed to mainstream media. Supplemented of course by vague, un-fact checked, often hysterical, pompous pronouncements released by underling ministers, deputies, PMO dwarts and secretaries

To top it all off.. its essentially 95 % malarky, spin, mundane pomp n ceremony and a lot of giant deflection, baloney & ego ..

Just review the bumptious twitter pronouncements.. or the dreamy ravings released by his communications slaves and faithfully echoed in Question Period by his docile bovine caucus, his comfortably piggish & numb party.. and whatever and whomever lamprey types he attracts or pays to service the distorted activities.. whether legal or illegal.. or sheer fantasy

Of course he's learning to speak Chinese ..If we can't comprehend or trust what he's saying he will do to Canada in simple English or French.. how would we understand what he's saying he will do to Canada.. in Mandarin or Cantonese ?

A pork tongue great white pudgy chief ...
trying to push Canadians into a corner
and will try to round up the First Nations as well ..

All this while selling out Canada and its environment
our creatures and ecosystems
and trashing the dreams needs and wishes
of any glowing hearts across this great land

You and who's army .. Stephen Harper ?

Owen Gray said...

You have obviously taken the measure of the man, salamander. And, as you say, the man comes up short and small.