Chairman Harper

The prime minister’s trip wasn’t about trade, goodwill or pandas. It was about crushing his opposition at home.

by Paul Wells

Chairman Harper

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Foreign ships have been putting into the Cuntan port in Chongqing, on the Yangtze River 1,700 km west of Shanghai, since 1891. But these days the whole region has a new vocation. All of a sudden Chongqing has become a major assembly and export centre for cheap laptop computers designed in Taiwan. Very soon, 50 million laptops a year will be leaving the port, bound for the world.

Sometimes ships come into port too.

On Feb. 11, Stephen and Laureen Harper strolled along the Cuntan dockside, chatting with International Trade Minister Ed Fast while a Canadian television news camera crew recorded the moment for posterity. The Harpers paused next to a dirty white steel shipping container draped with a Canadian flag. Work crews opened the container’s steel doors. The Harpers watched as somebody opened one of the cardboard boxes inside the container.

“It’s pork,” somebody said. “From Canada!”

“All the way from Winnipeg,” the Prime Minister chimed in.

A kind of modern alchemy is at work. We send pork to China. In return, they send us laptop computers. This, Harper said in the news release that followed, is how Canada is using China “to open markets and create jobs and economic growth back home.”

Pork may not be glamorous, but its value adds up, along with all the other commodities Harper and his colleagues were hawking on their week-long trip to China.

Start with those pork exports, whose value nearly tripled from 2010 to 2011. Add Canadian lumber exports, which doubled in 2010 and doubled again in 2011 to $1.5 billion. Add beef tallow exports, back on the market after the 2003 mad-cow disease outbreak, with sales worth $80 million more now than they were then.

Throw in shiploads of beans and lentils, tonnes of uranium for Chinese nuclear reactors, and—above all—rivers of oil from the northern Alberta oil sands, and pretty soon the numbers start to look serious. Chinese investment in Canada tripled between 2008 and 2010, to $14.1 billion. If anything, the pace of investment both ways is accelerating. That’s the basis of a reinvigorated bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Harper interrupted that relationship after he was elected in 2006. When he finally visited in 2009, Chinese President Hu Jintao made sure his tardy guest felt a residual chill. But that hazing ritual is now definitively over. Harper was on the front page of the semi-official China Daily repeatedly during his visit. The paper’s party-line editorial greeted him warmly: “He has come at an important moment when both sides feel an increasing need to bring bilateral ties to a new level.”

In a string of interviews and speeches, Harper has called the renewed China relationship one of the “fundamental transformations” that will define his majority government. And for good reason. China offers Canada a ready market for just about anything Canadian producers want to sell, which makes it a key ingredient in sustaining the prosperity Harper promised voters.

But the opening to China also sets the stage for the next election. It sets up a stark contrast with the NDP on a whole bunch of issues: trade, natural resources, foreign affairs and more. Conservatives believe Canadian public opinion will give them an edge on each of those issues. Harper begins preparing for every election within weeks after winning the one before it, and he was awfully quiet for much of 2011. Do not doubt there is strategy in what he’s doing now.

As a kind of bonus, energy exports to China give Harper a chance to undo a key element of Pierre Trudeau’s legacy. Trudeau, too, used to think a lot about energy and about Canada’s place in the world. His response was the National Energy Program. It aimed to sell Alberta oil within Canada below market prices. It wound up shifting money and power eastward within Confederation. Harper and his supporters believe diversifying energy exports will drive up their price and let a natural western Canadian economic elite rise, unimpeded. If everything works out as planned, it will be the crowning achievement of a political career that began nearly 30 years ago as a reaction to Trudeau’s policies.

Before he went to China, Harper talked this trip up for two months, in a series of TV interviews and then in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos. It was fair to wonder what the fuss was about. But the triple play he’s attempting here is worth some fuss. A significant boost to Canadian exports. A legacy-making rebuttal to the policies that made him angry enough to get into politics as a young man. And a head start on winning a fourth straight election. If he can pull it all off, it will have been worth a little jet lag.

First, the economy. Harper was rattled by the outbreak of the global economic crisis during the 2008 election, but he came to believe he won because of voters’ uncertainty about their jobs and their finances, not in spite of it. Ever since, he’s believed he cements his appeal to voters when they see him concentrating on the economy.

It’s hard to deliver growth without embracing China, whose headlong rush to urbanize and industrialize hundreds of millions of peasants has made the country a ravenous customer for primary resources. Canada has a lot to sell. Harper told a Beijing business crowd he sees “a symmetry between our economic needs that is found among only a small number of our trading partners.”

What he meant was that China doesn’t just offer a market for Canadian oil, it offers capital to help get that oil out of the ground. “With 174 billion barrels, and likely technological improvement which could move that up to over 300 billion barrels, we’ve got the largest energy project in the world,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said in an interview. But to reach that potential, “we need foreign capital. We don’t have enough.”

So perhaps the most important of the many deals Canadian business leaders signed with China during Harper’s visit was a $1-billion partnership that connected a big Canadian investment bank, Canaccord Financial, with the Import Export Bank of China. Together they’re creating a “Canada-China Natural Resource Fund.”

While Harper was preparing to address business leaders at the almost comically opulent Beijing Hotel, I ducked out to talk with Canaccord’s CEO Paul Reynolds and his point man in China, Howard Balloch, in a hotel café half the size of a Wal-Mart. Reynolds is a relaxed and plainspoken man, very much in the mould of his father, the former Canadian Alliance MP John Reynolds. He was quick to point out the new fund will make “minority, passive-type investments” and that it won’t be “a takeover fund.”

Balloch is a courtly man with a bowtie and a neat silver beard. He ran the national unity shop at the Privy Council Office during the 1995 Quebec referendum, and served as Jean Chrétien’s ambassador to China from 1996 to 2001. When that was done he decided to stay in China. He’s uniquely placed to survey the evolution in Canada-China relations over the past 15 years.

When Chrétien came to China with his big Team Canada road shows in the 1990s, his delegations were packed with representatives of little software companies, community colleges, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, green technology firms and the like. The contracts they signed were often worth a few million dollars. Canada was offering technology and creativity to a China that was still largely rural and agrarian.

Today the situation is nearly reversed. We send oil, uranium and pork; China sends laptops. And the scale of the transactions is much larger. “The Chinese didn’t have $3 trillion of foreign exchange reserves in 1994,” Balloch said. Indeed: they had $53 billion. In terms of cash on hand, today’s China is like 60 of the Chinas Jean Chrétien visited. “It’s a phenomenally different country,” Balloch said.

In some ways he could have been talking about Canada too. We come bearing primary resources because we have less and less of anything else to offer. Employment in manufacturing has fallen by one-fifth since 2004. Nortel has imploded, Research in Motion is struggling, and in January the last Canadian computer-chip maker, Gennum, disappeared from the Toronto Stock Exchange after it was bought out.

None of which is necessarily a problem, Balloch says, especially since resources offer such a tidy return on investment. “Our relationship with China is not going to change the structure of the Canadian economy,” he said. “Canada has developed in part because of the resources on which we sit. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our wheat. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our oil. These are very much a part of who we are. We are a great big country with a very small population and we have rich resources. To pretend that we’re not hewers of wood and drawers of water, and that we’re going to turn our back on that, makes no sense.”

There are places in Canada where that kind of argument has appeal outside the bounds of the current Conservative party electorate. In January I caught up with a Calgary lawyer named Daryl Fridhandler at the Liberal party convention in Ottawa. Fridhandler used to be a key organizer for Paul Martin in Alberta. He worked on Michael Ignatieff’s leadership campaigns in 2006 and 2008. And on the day we chatted, he was furious at a line in a speech Ignatieff had delivered the day before, that Liberals “care about green energy, not dirty oil.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” Fridhandler said. “What the hell is he talking about? I’ve been in briefing meetings with him with leaders of the energy industry. He knows better.”

It came as no surprise to learn that Fridhandler is on the board of an oil sands startup, Oak Point Energy, which stands to make very substantial profits by using small, truck-mounted plants to extract petroleum at lower cost than the big companies do. Fridhandler says the firm’s new technology is green energy because it decreases the environmental cost of getting oil out of bitumen. But Oak Point will always need markets for its oil. Which is why Enbridge’s Northern Gateway twin pipeline project, which would serve the China market, fascinates him.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important to the country than these two pipelines here,” he said. Gateway won’t just add a new market for Canadian oil, it will break a U.S. near-monopoly on that oil—and drive the selling price up as a direct result.

That’s Enbridge’s argument too. “All that crude is kind of landlocked,” says Vern Yu, the company’s vice-president of business development. “You can’t get the best price for your product.” With 2.5 million barrels per day, each being sold for about $20 less than world crude prices, oil companies are missing out on roughly $50 million in revenue every day.

Joe Oliver represents Joe Volpe’s old Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, and it was clear from our conversation that he’s a little leery of discussing the possibility that Gateway could increase returns for every petroleum exporter, not just for Enbridge. He clearly doesn’t want it to turn into a debate about the West getting richer while everyone else pays higher gasoline prices at the pump.

“Right now, there are a thousand companies, at least, from Ontario operating in the oil sands,” he said. “The benefit to the East in developing the oil sands will be much greater than any additional price they have to pay, if in fact they have to pay any.”

But there are at least two provinces where most voters would view higher returns for oil companies as an unalloyed good: Alberta and Saskatchewan. New census data show that Alberta is the fastest-growing province in Canada, with Saskatchewan in third place.

Here’s where we get at something fascinating about exporting oil to China that hasn’t been widely remarked—yet. The effect of the policy would be to increase the oil industry’s profits and make Western Canada even richer and more powerful than it was last year. Which is precisely the opposite of what Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program did to Alberta 30 years ago.

Trudeau sought to protect Canada against skyrocketing world oil prices by requiring Alberta oil be sold in Canada at lower than market prices. The effect, any Alberta conservative will tell you to this day, was to keep Alberta down while protecting Ontario and Quebec and fattening federal coffers. The whole thing seemed designed to subjugate “the burgeoning, politically deviant West,” Peter Brimelow wrote in The Patriot Game, a 1986 book that became a sort of user’s manual for western conservatism.

Harper has found a policy that would have the opposite effect. Its direct electoral benefits would be limited—every Alberta seat but one is already Conservative; he can’t win much more there—but its effect on his legacy would be profound. He has spent a quarter-century getting mad at Pierre Trudeau. China would help him get even.

In the meantime, he always has another election to win, and just because the next one is tentatively scheduled for 2015 does not mean it is too soon to prepare. A few Conservative political staffers in Ottawa are starting to track the NDP response to Harper’s recent moves, and they are not displeased that it amounts to a blanket rejection of everything he is doing.

Interim leader Nycole Turmel has suggested she would oppose Gateway even if it passes an environmental review. Before Harper’s trip, Windsor West MP Brian Masse warned that resource exports to China would amount to a Trojan horse. “We’re going to see, basically, Canadians have their own natural resources used as a subsidy to basically take their jobs,” Masse said.

The NDP’s opposition extends to Harper’s plan for free trade with Europe and to his plans, so far devoid of detail, to reduce the long-term cost of Old Age Security. NDP MPs advocated in Washington last year for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Barack Obama wound up delaying a decision on that project until after this November’s presidential election.

In the 2008 and 2011 election campaigns, Harper’s Liberal and NDP opponents campaigned for the finer things in life—environmental regulation, labour standards—while he ran as an advocate of tangible economic benefits for middle-class families. He has won more seats and a tad larger share of the popular vote every time. China allows him to rack up tangible benefit at a much faster pace. A lot of NDP and Liberal voters have this much in common with Daryl Fridhandler: they depend for their livelihood on industries whose exports to China are already growing and will soon grow faster. When the time comes, Harper will remind Canadians that the NDP opposed every bit of it.

“If I have to have a battle, it’s a battle I would relish, because we’ve got, in our opinion, overwhelming facts on our side,” Joe Oliver said. “I just think the NDP position is a bit fringe, actually. I think that their base is divided on it.”

The Conservative base has its moments of doubt too. On Feb. 12, the day Harper returned from China, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s Twitter feed offered some fascinating reading. “Honoured to meet Ming Li, who spent several years in a Chinese forced labour camp for ‘subversive’ activities as a Falun Gong practitioner,” Kenney wrote, and then: “Had an excellent meeting today w/ board of Tribute to Liberty, the group working to erect the Canadian Monument to the Victims of Communism.”

Probably the timing was a coincidence. But trading with a country where human rights are still routinely trampled still rankles many Conservatives. For Joe Oliver it’s an easy choice to make. “I don’t think Canadians would want us to shun what will become the largest market for our resources in the entire world, and growing. It doesn’t achieve anything on the other side, and it would hurt us.”

Stephen Harper makes gains for his political philosophy by being forever ready to sell it down the river if he can hope for some benefit later. From 2006 to 2008, while he was enjoying splendid isolation from China, it grew from a very large market to a titanic one. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a child of Cold War East Germany whose life story makes her a kind of German monument to the victims of Communism, swallowed her pride and visited China three times before Harper had gone once. All the countries that were supposed to have their act together, the European Union and the United States, turned out to be barely more reliable than Ponzi schemes.

So Harper changed his mind. He tried using his power against China and didn’t get far. Now he will draw power from China. And there is a hell of a lot of juice in that wall socket.




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Chairman Harper

  1. If Harper would like to make adjustments to pensions perhaps he should consider increasing the number of years required for MP’s to work before they are eligible for benefits. I believe only 6 years service is required.
    Suggesting seniors work longer is ludicrous. Work where? Do you know what the unemployment rates are today? Give the jobs to young people not seniors.

    Many seniors ae living on the edge of poverty now…increase OAS and CPP, reduce the age for benefits and  reduce the clawback levels so those that don’t need the benefits don’t get it.(like MPs)

  2. Lots of trivia here – fun read.  I didn’t know Canaccord’s CEO Paul Reynolds is the son of the former Canadian Alliance MP John Reynolds.
     
    Finally, acknowledge that we are hewers of wood and drawers of water – we have resources – thank gawd for that.   China plans ahead and now we can too.
     
    Maybe time to talk about our wonderful success with “pulses”??

    •  Canaccord started the pump and dump scheme ,and protects the same techniques with evading us  feds for money laundering, by having phantom accounts in Europe….its called good business ..I call it market manipulation

  3. Pork to China sounds a lot like coal to Newcastle but presumably demand has outstripped supply over there and now they need to import it. 

    Largest market for our resources is likely to be trans pacific trade deal that is being negotiated at moment without us because Cons want to protect a few thousand sainted farmers in Ont/Que from competition. And trans pacific trade deal includes some countries that don’t have unsavory human rights record like China does. 

    Wells ~ He has spent a quarter-century getting mad at Pierre Trudeau. China would help him get even.

    CBC Digital ~ Trudeau Goes To China:
    Pierre Trudeau has been to China twice before, but the third time it’s as prime minister. Canada and China have recently established diplomatic ties, and Trudeau is hoping to secure access to the Chinese market for Canadian business. On a 1973 tour that includes such highlights as the Great Wall and martial-arts displays, Trudeau gets a last-minute invitation: a visit with Chairman Mao. 

    Nietzsche ~ Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.

  4. Two comments:
    -Selling western crude at international prices wouldn’t necessarily drive up the prices Ontario refineries pay for crude (maybe Edmonton).  The price discount is currently located in the US midwest (e.g., Patoka). 
    -Keystone XL offers the same market opportunity Gateway does – a new market and international pricing.


  5. a U.S. near-monopoly on that oil” – Wouldn’t having one buyer be more of a monopsony?

  6. Chairman Harper!

    It seems to me that Paul Wells wrote a lot about the advertized benefits of Harper’s plans to sell crude to China.  But the title of the article suggests he really should have a lot more to say about this deal. 

    Are Canadian’s ready to accept very significant control over Canada’s economic future by an undemocratic communist dictatorship?  China’s energy joint ventures around the globe have proved one thing only: their government owned corporations NEVER enter into joint vengtures that result in signifiacnt benefits for both parties.  Win – win is not in their vocabulary.  Its not in Cannacord Financial’s vocabulary either. 

    Chairman Harper indeed. 

    • Further to my comment above.  Paul Wells makes the good point that Harper’s drive to sell bitumen to China benefits primarily Alberta and Saskatchewan. Meanwhile Don Drummond has written a report that suggests Ontario is in for several years of conservative fiscal policies that could mean unemploment in the range of 10% for at least half a decade, combined with a severely smaller social safety net.  At the same time Harper, Flaherty and Clemment are planning to serve up similar fiscal conservative medicine from Ottawa.  It may all be medicine we need, but in about four years people in every Province except Alberta and Saskatchewan may be thoroughly sick of this fiscal conservative medicine that doesn’t even consider modified tax policies.  Harper’s policy of economic dependency on crude oil sales to China and damn all the opponents, is likely to polarize the country severely and it is unlikely to show significant benefits before the next election, especially outside Alberta and Saskatchewan.  This begs the question: How can Harper hold on to government with only Alberta and Saskatchewan supporting him at the polls?

      • “ This begs the question: How can Harper hold on to government with only Alberta and Saskatchewan supporting him at the polls?”

        He can’t and therefore he probably will not let it get that bad before calling an election.  

        As PW accurately states ‘ and just because the next one is tentatively scheduled for 2015 does not mean it is too soon to prepare’

        If things start going south in a hurry we may see another election sooner than later, Chairman Harper has giving no indication that laws will stop him if the benefits are worth it.

        And if things do continue to go south it would not surprise me to see an election right after the Liberal leadership campaign because history does have a way of repeating itself.

  7. These established experts in economics, say the Harper pension age change to 67 and various alterations to the pension plan are “not necessary”….Kevin Page ,Official Parliamentary watchdog…Scott Clarke, former deputy minister of finance….Peter de Vries, financial advisor to the federal government….Philip Cross, former head of Statistics Canada….Edward Whitehous, World Bank, specializes in pension related issues and the economics faulty of McMaster University which performed a study……..So Why are changes occurring??…..Harper is misleading the public…and it is hurting our seniors.

    • How is it hurting Canadian seniors? Harper’s stated categorically that the pension reforms won’t affect anyone close to retirement. It’s intended to effect future retirees. Stop lying.

      •  Well gee, those future retirees are going to be hurt seniors, aren’t they?

        Stop defaming people, and calling them stupid for pointing out the obvious.

  8. Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program:

    “It wound up shifting money and power eastward within Confederation”

    This never happened.  Power was already firmly in the East.  Given that the NEP was NEVER implemented, it couldn’t possibly have shifted anything, let alone money, except Western Anger.

    • You don’t think foreign investers paid attention to Trudeau in this area? With one statement, the leader of a country can affect the movement of billions of dollars. At least Harpers statements help these investments move in the right direction.

      •  Sending our resources overseas, to an untrustworthy nation to boot, is the right direction?

    • but then what will the sweet darlings get their cowboy hats in an angry knot over if not a 40 year old fantasy?

    • Never implemented? What planet were you living on at the time?

  9. That oil you talk about is NOT GOING THROUGH BC. 

    • Sure it will

    •  If you’re talking about an oil pipeline from Canada to China, YES IT WILL. I take it geography wasn’t your best subject.

  10. Take the pension and lower not raise the wage of mp’s, if the actually had to live off the same amount of money as the average canadian family makes mabey they would do a better job representing us!

  11. PW, you were on a multi-day oilsands spin tour. And you are regurgitating the talking points with nary a critical comment.

    Sadly, this is quite common. 

  12. Harper Version One didn’t sell out to China and held his ground.  Harper Version Two has no interest in building up the country only selling out to China.  So the intent is to sell oil to China but still import oil from the Middle East to support Eastern Canada.  It’s nuts.  

  13. The Harper/Oliver/Kent plan to put our investments into extracting and moving our natural resources and closing down our manufacturing base  dove tails quite nicely with their decision to abandon the fight against green house gas emissions.

  14. Trudeau’s idea was to have a truly NATIONAL energy policy where Canadians would be able to meet their needs and buy their own oil at cheaper prices. So the whole country benefitted from this.

    Alberta and Harper are looking at an isolated, narrow-minded, narrowly-defined Canada where one region becomes obscenely fatted – thanks to past generations of Canadian taxpayers who had previously subsidized the West.

    Harper’s “divide and conquer” politics, and total lack of the   necessity of seeing a whole Canadian cohesive union, and not pass off a fat-cat OIl Oligarchy,  will come to bite him on his wig one day…perhaps he should hoard up on some Hairspray from Bejing….  

    Perhaps  when Canadian voters retire him in 3 years,  he’ll get his own “Price is Right” show in Calgary, Bejing one day 

  15. Seniors are already not just talking but mobilizing against these “Canada for Rich Seniors Only” policies that the conservative- Reform-Alliance (Crap)Party is going to  asphyxiate them with!

    Harper wants to “dismantle and destroy” Canada and remake it in the image of the tea party nanderthals south of the border.  May God have mercy on this beautiful country in the hands of the Petro-Government for the 1%.  We are slowly waking up though…and we won’t give this robotic appartion another chance to practise his ageist backwater regressive agenda…

  16. Unfortunately, as with most articles about Canada and China, this piece attempts to create a connection between the economic relationship and the political rhetoric that simply isn’t there. It is never made clear specifically what impact there is on the economic relationship from Harper’s earlier cold rhetoric or his more recent warming to China. If one looks at the trade relationship (see Industry Canada’s trade data website), you’ll see a boom in the economic partnership over the last decade with the only blip coming in 2009 imports (though not exports) due to the global economic crisis. Except for on the Canadian political scene, his words were largely irrelevant because Canada’s message has been neither consistent nor leveraged with other allies delivering the same message. Economic relationships can obviously be affected by political difficulties, but Canada is too politically irrelevant for Chinese leaders and the Chinese public for the Chinese regime to really hurt the economic partnership (and maybe scare other partners) over the domestic-audience-directed words of the Canadian leader of the moment.

  17. Wells at his best – gets me thinking: is anyone starting to wonder if Harper DELIBERATELY wanted Obama to punt Keystone XL, or even asked him to do it? Or winked and nudged and said “sure, Barack, I understand you need to throw your wealthy environmental donors a bone.” Because this China strategy is too elaborate to have resulted just from us being stunned at the Keystone decision. Harper was handed a gift, a bully pulpit to bulldoze environmental and First Nations resistance in the name of anti-American populism, and pursue a generational policy that would have been tougher with Keystone approved.

    • Probably. Harper gutted environmental protections in his last omnibus budget, paving the way for the pipeline. The trade deal he made with china, that goes into effect nov 1 will mean those protections cannot be re-implemented without chinese approval., because Canada or the provinces will be sued if canada passes any laws or regulations that negatively impact their operations. Such suits will be secret proceedings. Canadians will have no recourse against the Chinese corps.

  18.  To pretend that we’re not hewers of wood and drawers of water, and that we’re going to turn our back on that, makes no sense.” There are places in Canada where that kind of argument has appeal outside the bounds of the current Conservative party electorate. ”

    In matters of trade, playing to one’s strengths, is logical. Known as comparative economic advantage. It’s not about the opinions of one part of the country, compared to another ! It’s about what works, and what doesn’t.

  19. Harper the opportunist. First gives China the middle finger, then sucks up to it. Now it is, as the Chinese say, “Pai ma pi”, patting the horse’s ass. China is out to feed its 1.3 billion inhabitants, Harper is out to pander to his golf course CEO buddies who stash their billions in cash overseas. He and his neo-Conservatives don’t give a damn about Canada, and would surely sell us all down the river during the course of his regime. We all had better kick his stealthy butt out of office ASAP before our nation joins the U.S. in its downward slide into the bigot’s grave. We’re destroying our environment at record pace, sending our jobs overseas, ensuring that youth graduate to few jobs, dig stuff out of the ground and sell it to the highest bidder while local citizens pay top dollar for it, and oh-so-many sectors of society have been kicked and beaten on the ground: seniors, army veterans, immigrants, First Nations, scientists, artists, and anyone and everyone who isn’t a redneck supporter of Harper and his fascist henchmen. If Canadians aren’t angry now, and do something about this dictator and his Energy Merchandising Buddies, then God damn us, we deserve the crisis we’re in. Coz we’re too busy with our Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, iPads, smart phones, UFC, whirlpools, RVs, noisy pubs, and Cineplex Odeon to care about our country. Wake up, morons, before you wake up one morning in a Canadian-style North Korea!

  20. Harper the opportunist. First gives China the middle finger, then sucks up to it. Now it is, as the Chinese say, “Pai ma pi”, patting the horse’s ass. China is out to feed its 1.3 billion inhabitants, Harper is out to pander to his golf course CEO buddies who stash their billions in cash overseas. He and his neo-Conservatives don’t give a damn about Canada, and would surely sell us all down the river during the course of his regime.

    We all had better kick his stealthy butt out of office ASAP before our nation joins the U.S. in its downward slide into the bigot’s grave. We’re destroying our environment at record pace, sending our jobs overseas, ensuring that youth graduate to few jobs, dig stuff out of the ground and sell it to the highest bidder while local citizens pay top dollar for it, and oh-so-many sectors of society have been kicked and beaten on the ground: seniors, army veterans, immigrants, First Nations, scientists, artists, and anyone and everyone who isn’t a redneck supporter of Harper and his fascist henchmen.
    If Canadians aren’t angry now, and do something about this dictator and his Energy Merchandising Buddies, then God damn us, we deserve the crisis we’re in. Coz we’re too busy with our Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, iPads, smart phones, UFC, whirlpools, RVs, noisy pubs, and Cineplex Odeon to care about our country. Wake up, morons, before you wake up one morning in a Canadian-style North Korea!

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