What the Prime Minister Left Out (of his speech) on Canada Day, July 1, 2012

Text of Mr. Harper’s speech http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Text+Prime+Minister+Stephen+Harper+Canada+Address/6870149/story.html

On Canada’s birthday, Prime Minister Harper could have said something completely different. But he didn’t. His speech had the same character as his recent Omnibus Bill C-38 with so many hidden changes to the Canadian landscape and to Canadians, which his government railroaded through Parliament.  His praise of our  economy failed to recognize that there can be no economy without the contribution of nature, and without environmental protection such as the ‘sacred’ Fisheries Act which he gutted in Bill C-38. Criticism for this has come even from Conservatives.

Mr. Harper has approved the further industrializing destruction of Canada’s beautiful wilderness. Much of Canada’s ‘economy’ is now based on the extraction and ‘fire sale’ of the Alberta Tar Sands –  tar or bitumen. The tar must be separated from sand with heat and refined using hundreds of barrels of pure fresh water and thousands of cubic feet of natural gas that could heat Canadian homes. The process is so expensive that it is not worth doing unless world oil price is at least $90/barrel. Not only that but the horrible landscape destruction, predicted to grow to the size of Florida has had the sentient life of the Boreal Forest killed off, the Athabasca River poisoned causing increased cancers to First Nations people living downstream. He proposes to send this tar, diluted with gasoline via a pipeline through some of British Columbia’s most pristine wilderness with vulnerable Salmon streams, to a port and coastline that would be destroyed forever by even one bitumen spill.

Mr. Harper also failed to mention that the only reason that anyone would try to extract the tar from the sands is because all of the easy oil in the world has already been found. This should have led him to tell Canadians about the dangers of peak oil to the economy, including peak food prices.

Mr. Harper failed to mention the Climate Change that all of us on this planet are now experiencing – due to the ever increasing burning of coal, oil and gas. Anyone over 70 as I am or any farmer could tell Mr. Harper that the climate has changed and for the worst. Just look at the news about heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and more severe monsoons killing thousands around the world. The insurance companies know this. So does the U.S. Pentagon who state that Climate Change is the greatest Security Risk facing us now, not some kind of vague terrorism.

Mr. Harper’s reference to the military and the War of 1812 is propaganda to reshape Canada into a war fighting nation (Afghanistan?) which goes contrary to the ‘peace, welfare and good government’ historical description of Canada since its founding. Mr. Harper’s remarks belong to the 19th and possibly 20th centuries, not to the present.

Mr. Harper briefly told one truth – that First Nations, alongside British Regulars were primarily responsible for the defence of the Canadian colonies (not yet Canada). Many of the settlers who had freshly come from the U.S. took very little part in this war that no-one really wanted and which ended when both Britain and the U.S. could no longer afford to pay for the war. The First Nations allies without whom the colonies would have been absorbed into the U.S., were then betrayed by having their lands taken from them, moved onto tiny reserves and then the greatest insult, a genocide – having their children taken from them to be cleansed of who they were in the Residential Schools. They (and we )still live with that legacy today. First Nations children and their parents still suffer an existence found elsewhere only in developing countries, with higher suicide rates, greater poverty, more inadequate housing, lack of clean water and second class education compared with the rest of Canadians.

Mr. Harper could have chosen to tell the truth to Canadians. He didn’t.



About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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4 Responses to What the Prime Minister Left Out (of his speech) on Canada Day, July 1, 2012

  1. Back to 1812 and the question, “Why is Harper celebrating?

    Apparently he is celebrating the fact that 200 years ago we repelled invaders! But Harper is the champion of today’s invaders, known collectively as Big Oil, who are desecrating much of our environment.

    During the War of 1812-14 (let‛s retain that second date — it was not an overnight affair) our borders had to be defended from the shores of the St Lawrence to Sault Ste. Marie and Michilimacinac.

    And now Harper is busily celebrating the border defenders of 200 years ago while busily attempting to open the borders to more and more Big Trade invaders!

    Our PM ignores Parliament, debauches our democracy and simultaneously celebrates the War of 1812? Talk about distracting attention!


  2. Harper commemorated the War of 1812 with a $28 million heritage extravaganza.

    That’s because Harper and his New Warrior supporters among historians, journalists and sundry militarists ***are attempting to establish war as the pith and essence of all Canadian history.


  3. Do You REALLY Know Your History? The War Of 1812 Was Fought Over Hemp!

    Not one senator from a maritime state votes for war with Great Britain, whereas virtually all western senators vote for war, hoping to take Canada from Britain and fulfill their dream of “Manifest Destiny,” in the mistaken belief that Great Britain is too busy with the European wars against Napoleon to protect Canada.

    It’s interesting to note that Kentucky, a big supporter of the war which disrupted the overseas hemp trade, was actively building up its own domestic hemp industry.

    At this time, 1812, American ships could pick up hemp from Russia and return with it three times faster and cheaper than shippers could get hemp from Kentucky to the East Coast over land (at least, until the Erie Canal was completed in 1825; shortening travel time dramatically by as much as 90%).


    • MurrayLumley says:

      No I didn’t know that. Thanks. I’m not a historian – just fed up with being propagandized. All I know about what I said is from research by a young Mennonite scholar – Jonathan Seiling – of St. Catherines, ON, who has written a book about and is doing speaking engagements that many new settlers not only didn’t want to engage in the war but were very badly punished by it – having their horses, wagons and farm animals commandeered by forces, perhaps from both sides. Many women – left at home as their men were dragged off to the militia tried to hide their animals from raiding soldiers. They were also required to billet soldiers – and far longer than the law at the time allowed.

      See http://mcco.ca/warpeace-1812 and http://warresistancein1812.blogspot.ca/ and http://activehistory.ca/2012/05/upper-canadian-war-resisters-in-the-war-of-1812/

      Thanks for your knowledge. It seems to fit other historical data. Murray

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