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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

In The Dark and Left Behind: Harper's Canada Starting To Look Like North Korea?

"Critics see a politically motivated attempt to change the science agenda in Canada; the government has consistently defended its changes, saying it wants to fund projects that offer a more immediate return on investment."

I actually believe this to be the case.  The Harper's Canada Government is doing to Canada what Disney is doing to Star Wars - cut the frills and focus on core product offerings.  Short-term Return On Investment is the only thing that drives them; if a service, process or product can't be proven to make a short-term profit, get rid of it.

The problem with this tough-minded "business as government" approach is that it completely ignores social and conservational economics.  Easter Islanders did the quick ROI thing, too - as a consequence of not planning ahead they destroyed their island and devastated their society.   As any farmer could tell Team Harper, if you don't leave some fields fallow for a time, you suck them dry of nutrients.  You might as well burn your lands and boil your sea.

There are additional consequences to the narrow-mindedness of the CPC's governance style.  By walking away from international forums (like the UN), trying to bully foreigners who challenge them (like James Hansen) and by talking domestic smack in inappropriate global forums (Margaret Thatcher's funeral, for instance) the Harper Government is rapidly eroding Canada's legitimacy as a serious player in the world stage.

By playing every single card for a narrow, questionable domestic agenda and undermining Canada's democratic institutions, bureaucracy and science in the process, Team Harper is basically telling the world that Canada's stepping away from the international adults' table.

In addition to that, the world's full of populations that care about the sustainability of the global environment and things like freedom of the press and corruption-free governance; if Canada, once known as a shining example on the world stage falls, those populations will push their democratic governments to censure or stop doing business with Canada.

Much as Canada has done with Iran.

When other nations stop taking you seriously, they cease to see relations with you as an asset.  As they walk away, bilateral deals and opportunities dry up.  That creates increased internal pressure, as these lost opportunities weigh on businesses and families both.  If Team Harper continues to put partisan wins ahead of the long-term sustainability of the country, they will only clamp down even harder on dissent, removing debate from our democracy and leaving a limited, poorly-considered suite of policy ideas available to them.

There's a model out there of what that kind of system, left unchecked, looks like - North Korea.

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