Gretzky wrong to call Harper “one of the greatest prime ministers ever”

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Thursday, Sept 18, 2014

Wayne Gretzky in February, 2006. (Photo: Kris Krüg/Flickr)

Wayne Gretzky in February, 2006. (Photo: Kris Krüg/Flickr)

Is “The Great One” crazy?

During a United for Ukraine Gala in Toronto last week, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky praised Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his unblinking support of Ukraine. Then he called Harper “one of the greatest prime ministers ever.”

“It’s really amazing, that our country, the leadership we have right now. One of the greatest prime ministers ever,” said Gretzky. “It’s really nice to see that our prime minister is not only protecting Canadians in Canada, but Canadians around the world. So congratulations for leading our country the way you are.”

Gretzky is entitled to his political opinion. However, his endorsement comes at precisely the moment Harper is fine-tuning his candidacy for “Canada’s worst prime minister ever.”

Last Friday, we learned that the Harper government had secretly ratified the sellout Canada-China FIPA trade deal. FIPA or Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, effectively locks Canada for 31 years into a trade agreement that allows state-controlled Chinese companies to sue Canadian governments for millions of dollars should they decided that our public and environmental protections interfere with their pursuit of profit in Canada.

A few reactions to FIPA:

Why the fixation with the Canada-China FIPA? Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, reacted to Harper’s ratification of the deal with, “At no time since 1867 has the sovereignty of Canada been significantly undermined. This deal is one-sided and will never benefit Canadians.”

In the fall of 2012, the Harper government approved the $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc., a Calgary-based Canadian energy company, by the China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC).

“When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments,” said Harper in December of that year.

That’s doublespeak. CNOOC is a state-owned Chinese company. The Canada-China FIPA deal opens up Canada for serious economic exploitation by Chinese and other foreign state-owned companies. Especially in the strategic energy sector.

In a recent report, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned that CNOOC/Nexen-style takeovers “can pose a threat to national security.”

“While the vast majority of foreign investment in Canada is carried out in an open and transparent manner, certain state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private firms with close ties to their home governments have pursued opaque agendas or received clandestine intelligence support for their pursuits here,” said CSIS in its 2010-11 public report. “When foreign companies with ties to foreign intelligence agencies or hostile governments seek to acquire control over strategic sectors of the Canadian economy, it can represent a threat to Canadian security interests.”

The report also warned of the risk of “state-sponsored attackers” and disruption of “the multicultural harmony that is central to Canadian identity.” The bottom line is that “one of the greatest prime ministers ever” does not sign deals that compromise the their country’s identity and national security.

The idea that Harper is “protecting Canadians in Canada” is ridiculous. Insulting, even. About a year ago, the Vancouver Observer reported on the Harper government’s use of the National Energy Board, CSIS, RCMP and “private oil companies against environmentalist groups and indigenous-rights activists.” Earlier this week, the Toronto Star reported: “Law enforcement agencies are still making warrantless requests for telecom customers’ personal data months after a Supreme Court ruling appeared to shut down the practice.”

The point is: we live in a partial democracy, a country a few steps from becoming a mature police state.

A few reactions to Gretzky’s Harper endorsement from the social media:

The good thing is: so far, no other celebrity has jumped onto the bandwagon to endorse Harper.  Harper is no Barack Obama.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.
  • Mmmk

    What a great peice from an Independent journalist, progressive blogger and activist aka unemployed and uneducated. Harper is one of the greatest Prime Ministers in a long time. God help us if the NDP or Liberals get in.

    • Greg

      Moron.

  • linda

    I am so glad Mr Harper is not Barack Obama. We are a blessed country to have him in leadership. You need to remember what it was like under Trudeau’s father. We are still dealing with his mess. Does the liberal party fund you?

  • Rob Jones

    ah Wayne, a member of the 1% who will put his name on anything for a dollar. I love Gretzky the hockey player, but Gretzky is the ultimate corporate sell-out? This doesn’t surprise me!

  • Mark

    You Candians are very fortunate to have a strong leader with Reaganesque qualities unlike a weak and disastrous one that we have to suffer with here in the US. The author of this piece is obviously a left wing. fool.

    • Mark, I doubt that you would find a lot of Canadians who would consider themselves “very fortunate” to have Stephen Harper as their prime minister right now. I doubt that you would fund a lot of Canadians admiring Harper’s “Reaganesque qualities.” As for your “left wing fool” insult, I don’t have time for that. That’s because, even though I’ve never met you, I do respect you, your opinions and your interest in Canadian politics.

      Back to Harper… It’s rare for leading western publications to portray the leader of a western democracy in terms that are usually reserved for developing world dictators. But lately, The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), The Atlantic and Washington Post, to name a few, have had real harsh words for Harper.

      In a recent piece titled, “The Closing of the Canadian Mind,” The New York Times said “Harper represents the politics of willful ignorance.”

      The Guardian recently asked, “Is the Stephen Harper era over?” in a piece centred on Harper’s decision to spent millions of taxpayers’ money “on secret tar sands advocacy.” The piece concluded with: “But we may be permitted to hope there is now a chance that something of the old Canada, committed to moderation and multiculturalism at home and to multilateralism and cooperation abroad, will re-emerge from the fray.”

      In a piece published earlier this week, The Atlantic mused about the “intense animosity Harper inspires among voters who believe he has diminished national attributes they cherish and the rest of the world admires.” The piece also alluded to “Harper’s many offenses to the country’s long tradition of political and social liberalism.”

      The Washington Post just published a piece with the heading, “Tony Abbott is out of a job, and another leading climate-change skeptic may soon follow”. Harper is the other “leading climate change skeptic” who will be out of a job come October 19.

      Harper recently passed Bill C-51, Canada’s “police state” piece of legislation. The new legislation transforms the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s key spy agency, into a dictatorship-style secret police force operating with neither oversight nor accountability. It grants Canada’s spy and policing agencies the power to violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      In an editorial, the Globe and Mail, which endorsed Harper in 2011, called C-51 “Harper’s secret policeman bill.” In a Toronto Star opinion, Errol Mendes, a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Ottawa, stated that “Bill C-51 threatens to sacrifice liberty for security.”

      Heard about the Senate expenses scandal, involving Harper’s appointees to our unelected and unaccountable Senate? This week, the federal privacy commissioner announced that she’s taking Harper to court for withholding relating to four senators embroiled in the scandal.

      I could go on and on… but I’d advise you to educate yourself a little more about the real Stephen Harper, and his dictatorship-style rule based on fear-mongering, secrecy, and scandals. Opinion polls currently place him third, behind the New Democrats and Liberals. That says a lot!

      • ED

        Your references are liberal political blather. Even where facts are truly presented they are misconstrued. Canada under any other political group in the last few elections would be significantly worse off than we are now. Harper, despite my not caring for him personally, has proven that he can lead an economy. Economies are based on money, and Canada had one of the strongest records through the recession of any country in the world. If you vote for the Libs or NDP you are shoving your head in the sand and ignoring reality.

        The reality is:
        1. ISIS is a real threat to the safety of modern governments and countries of the world, including (and having been specifically named) Canada.
        2. If you choose to open the floodgates to thousands of Syrian “Refugees”, which are in truth ISIS male members in their 20’s, you are inviting terror into your country.
        3. Lib/NDP will focus on every minor political controversy that popped up in 10 years of productive conservative government, all while ignoring major political controversy within their own parties out of mere convenience. All while the conservative party focuses on the actual economy.
        4. Both the Lib and NDP parties have committed to running large long term deficits if elected, all while trying to crucify Harper’s government for running a small deficit throughout a MAJOR GLOBAL RECESSION. Tredeau thinks, budgets balance themselves and that small business is a tax haven for the rich (which is where he hides his daddy’s money), and Muclair has re-mortgaged his house 11 times.

        I could go on, but to be honest, anyone who reads your drivel, unless lured here by obvious name dropping and search engine seeding, won’t be swayed by level headed argument because they are already to far gone.

        If god existed I would pray to him to help our country avoid the utter disaster that would be anything but a Conservative Majority government.

      • Cindy

        Polls show what the media want the sheep to believe, I am sure Mark they are thrilled that you are falling in line and doing as they tell you to do. As evidenced by your inability to have an actual thought yourself rather than quoting liberal media! However that does not mean the rest of us Canadians do not understand what is going on. For those of us left who can and do choose to think for ourselves, we appreciate Harper, especially when our choices are him, economic disaster brought on by the liberals, or an unemployment rate, falling prices of homes, and part time jobs replacing full time jobs like Alberta is already experiencing with the NDP in power there for a few short months.

        • Cindy

          My apologies, I meant to address Obert not Mark.

    • Diane

      He IS the best and the majority of Canadians think so…

  • Commonsensical ads

    while I do not agree with everything Prime Minister Harper has done he is by far the lesser of evils! By far the greatest prime minister in my lifetime.

  • Shawn

    That’s because Gretzky doesn’t live in Canada anymore and isn’t affected by this Buffoon’s antics. Heave Steve 2015!

  • George

    “Harper is no Barack Obama.” Thank God for that, it’s why we have an economy, had a great recovery (if you can call what we went through a recession) and a foreign policy with common sense, principles and morals.

  • mARK

    Mr. Gretzky is right. I agree with him. Take away all the propaganda smear campaign that the opposition and their friends in the media have been made us endure for the last ten years and the truth comes shining through. And as for the Nexen deal, we have been selling our interests to the USA for decades. China is an up and coming powerhouse and we might as well be allies and friends with them because in the long run, it will be in our best interests.

  • Helene

    Would only be said by another of the rich and famous

  • Everett

    Disgusting…… must have a lot of Amerikan blood in him now, supporting harperism in selling out Canada, next we will be called chinada……

  • To many shots to the head, poor man.

  • I think he got knocked out one too many times playing hockey

  • thnkfryrslf

    Gretzky should stick to hockey! His remark about Harper as “one of the greatest PM ever” reveals his profound ignorance.

    • Viking

      He also liked Bush and Mulroney, so what does that tell you? A one-per-center who hasn’t lived in Canada for many years . . .