Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Harper MisGovernment's sick priorities

Is this how much Prime Minister Harper cares about
the safety of Canadians?

Image obtained from West Coast Native News
The Harper MisGovernment has fought a long battle to destroy indigenous lands with pipelines, showing desperation for US approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Stephen Harper's lackey, Jason Kenney, has gone so far as to opine about US public opinion polls on Keystone to get the dirty - and perhaps bloody - oil project through.

As a unique study in priorities, one should note this same Harper MisGovernment often implies that we have scarce public money. As a response to this the Fabian Neo-Conservative agenda of Harper includes cuts to many basic public services, like transport safety:

The Harper government has made dramatic cuts in spending on aviation, marine and rail transport safety over the past five years, even as it was touting new safety measures in the transportation sector.

The latest figures from the federal government's public accounts show actual spending by Transport Canada on marine safety has plunged 27 per cent since 2009-10, while aviation and rail safety spending are both down 20 per cent or more.


[F]unding under the "transport of dangerous goods" did increase to $14.7 million last year, up from $12.7 million spent in 2012-13. Spending on the dangerous goods directorate averaged $13.9 million in the three previous years.

By way of comparison, the Conservatives budgeted $16.5 million last year, according to supplementary estimates, to advertise "responsible resource development" [emphasis added], a program that includes new safety rules for the marine transport of oil, such as double-hulled tankers.

("Tories Make Big Cuts To Transport Safety While Touting Safety". Bruce Cheadle (Nov. 10, 2014). The Canadian Press)
So the specific subset of "dangerous goods" transport safety increased in the year of the exploding train, but much more basic transport safety has been cut and not even "dangerous goods" safety gets as much public money as ads bragging about our "responsible" resource extraction?!

Harper Government spending, Dangerous Goods Safety vs
Ads for "Responsible Resource Development".

Image constructed off of data reported by Bruce Cheadle.

Sounds about right ... for Harper.

Hope the thought of a 20% drop in rail and aviation safety comforts you as the train passes by in the middle of the night or as you board your next flight.

 As we all know, when the cupboards are bare we really get to see what a government's true priorities are. What does the Harper MisGovernment, in this cash-strapped environment, deem worthy of scarce public funds? 

While slashing transport safety budgets and fighting fair funding for First Nations Child Welfare the Harper MisGovernment has decided to spend some more money advertising for rich, highly profitable Corporations.

The Federal Government has hired the ad firm FleishmanHillard as part of a $22 million ad campaign for the tar sands. While Harper rests Canada's economic future on unsustainable, dirty oil extraction dependent on pipelines crossing and jeopardizing indigenous land, the actual net benefit for Canadians remains uncertain.

Oil and gas is estimated to create only 4,500 jobs per year over the next decade, well under the job count for many major industries. The nascent Green Energy Sector is already surpassing total tar sands employment, while there are no Federal (and very minimal provincial Albertan) royalties from oil.

Job creation from different sectors.

Image Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Tax subsidies - going up to $1.38 billion from the Federal Government in 2008 - spur extraction and environmental degradation of indigenous lands. Much of the wealth from oil extraction goes to multinational corporations while minimal jobs are created in Canada as the indigenous and settler peoples of Canada get left with the high environmental bill.

All in all this amounts to an increasingly twisted and sick set of priorities from the Harper MisGovernment. Failure to make crucial public investments and continual legal brawls with indigenous nations while providing Corporate Welfare in advertising for an unsustainable industry harmful to the land and even the future of the planet. No sound leader would bank our future on being an economic "superpower" of last century's energy. 

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  1. Boy is is going to be fun watching all you lefties swallowing your tongues when The Federal Conservatives are re-elected!

    1. Always nice to see rightwingers get giddy over the prospect of upsetting lefties ... with only Canada as collateral damage.