Stephen Harper has strong ribs. No, not because they manage to contain his microscopic heart. We know they’re strong because he’s been banging his chest for about 4 years now without showing any signs of discomfort. On Tuesday, our imperial leader decided to give his ribs a particularly stiff test as he spoke about the greatest threat to Canadian territorial integrity since Burger King bought Tim Horton’s.
Imagine a stage set on a cliff, above crashing waves, in a gale-force wind. Harper’s voice booms, “If left unchecked, environmentalists and legal marijuana will tear apart the fabric of our petro-society!” He could have said that, but he didn’t. While both environmentalists and legal dope will destroy Canada as we know it, there is a group looking to beat them to the punch. Russia, Harper said, is on a mission to bring hellfire to Canada’s Arctic ice.
Harper said that Canadian troops must remain alert to the threat of a Russian invasion. He said that Vladimir Putin is determined to ensure that, for Russia’s neighbours, “there shall be no peace.” Hold on a minute…we’re one of Russia’s neighbours. We’re screwed!
Acknowledging the threat, Canadian troops prepared for battle with a series of realistic military exercises designed to combat a Russian incursion. The first involved four soldiers rappelling from a helicopter to rescue a beached cruise ship, and the second was a search-and-rescue mission for a fishing boat. In summary, we’re ready for an invasion of tourists, or another cod war.
The optimist can frame these preparations in an even better light, though. Consider our military exercises a challenge to the Russians. They’re Stephen Harper’s way of saying, “We dare you to invade in a cruise ship or a fishing vessel!” This is bold, even for Harper. Surely he knows that, by sending four people and a helicopter to confront a Russian cruise ship or fishing vessel, we would already have committed more than half of our military resources to war. Maybe there’s some way around that…if we lump this in with the F-35 file we can spend anywhere between $9-45 billion to find out. That could be worth it.
Still, Harper is not an optimist. Speaking to the troops, he issued a warning: “As we look at the world around us today, we see growing threats in a growing number of places and the growing strength of people who disdain democracy [and] despise modernity[.]” These words proved that Prime Minister is aware that his poll numbers are falling. So who is the biggest threat to Stephen Harper’s Canada? Is it Russia, the Liberal Party, or maybe Steve himself?