OPINION: Stephen Harper’s Horse Must be stopped
Harper’s plans for the Arctic Circle are expected to come with a 3.5 billion dollar price tag for a fleet of ice breaking patrol ships1 before factoring environmental and political costs. It’s no surprise to Canadians that Stephen Harper is breaking the Arctic ice, in 2005 he revealed the project, then again in 20082, and just now are we actually seeing any real work being done. With the project’s estimated arrival time of 20222, Harper’s claims on the Arctic are seemingly slipping away, as the United States, Russia, and Denmark are also trying to stake a claim.2 What horrors might this hold for future Canadians and the sovereignty over the Arctic?
For one, there is the possibility that the Canadian Conservative party may increase taxation in order to cover the unseen cost of creating the ice-breaking ships. This comes at a time where gas prices are at an all-time low, which is alarming to the country due to gas being one of our most major economic pumps. His plan includes taking down the PEARL building, which is in place in order to ensure future glacial sustainability and to track the effects of global warming on the sensitive icy environment.2 He has stated that he will be replacing this functional building, which is reportedly closing its doors due to lack of funding, with a new building that will be called CHARS3, a building that will be directly under the jurisdiction of Harper.
If Harper doesn’t stop to really think about the environmental impact of building a new lookout, then I believe that he will be sacrificing the environment in order to attain what he calls sovereignty over the Arctic North Pole, and what I am calling blatant capitalism. He’s not worrying about how this new building and the ice-breakers will impact the Arctic, he’s worrying about how much it will cost him in the long run, and how much of our money he can weasel himself into before we wake up and realize that Stephen Harper has little regard for the environment when it comes to land ownership. We’ve seen the same case before with the Keystone XL pipeline, which was supposed to reduce the cost and environmental dangers from transferring oil to the United States from Canada. The assessment of the environmental concerns of the Keystone XL Pipeline list the following as concerns generated by the pipeline: “Climate change, GHG emissions associated with oil sands, Potential releases or spills of oil [...] concerns about environmental justice; Water resources; Wetlands;