Gretzky wrong to call Harper “one of the greatest prime ministers ever”
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:
- Harper’s sneaky, undemocratic, terrible deal with China – The Tyee
- Elizabeth May: Canada-China agreement is a threat to Canada’s sovereignty – Green Party of Canada
- Canada’s secretive treaty with China further diminishes aboriginal rights – Vice Canada
- Harper government sneaks through Canada-China FIPA despite ongoing court challenge – Council of Canadians
- Harper’s sellout Canada-China FIPA deal dismays Canadians – The Canadian Progressive
- Conservatives give China control over investments in Canada – New Democrats
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:
Tonight the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, called Stephen Harper one of our greatest PM’s because of he is #unitedforukraine. Amazing event.
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) September 12, 2014
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Wayne Gretzky endorsed Stephen Harper and patted him on the back for standing behind Ukraine http://t.co/thsLKT5YW0
— Sun News Network (@SunNewsNetwork) September 15, 2014
Gretzky on George W Bush, 3 days after start of Iraq War: “..he’s a wonderful man & if he believes what he’s doing is right I back him 100%” — Derrick O’Keefe (@derrickokeefe) September 18, 2014
— Bernard von Schulman (@BC_Iconoclast) September 16, 2014
The good thing is: so far, no other celebrity has jumped onto the bandwagon to endorse Harper. Harper is no Barack Obama.