First, they tweet asking this rather tendentious question, suggesting the answer is “yes” — or at least they accomplish what I think is their actual goal, which is to conflate the words “all talk” with Harper’s far-north outreach (link):
Stephen Harper north of 60: Are the PM’s yearly trips all talk? http://t.co/QuOO2Hqr
— National Post (@nationalpost) August 23, 2012
Then moments later, they tweet again, ever-so-subtly instructing us as to how we should think, and how we should approach the question. Let’s see if we can figure out how we are supposed to think! (link):
(Northern) white lies: Are Stephen Harper's yearly trips north of 60 all talk? http://t.co/QuOO2Hqr
— National Post (@nationalpost) August 23, 2012
The linked article is actually headlined “White Lies,” lest there be any doubt as to the motive to start with.
It buries the lede. To the extent that they even bother to mention the most important point of Harper’s yearly trips to the far north in the opening paragraph, which is that he actually bothers to go up north every year unlike previous ever-so-Canadian leaders, they twist themselves into a knot to use that most important point against him. Take this part of the smug, sneering opening paragraph:
“Harper has made it a point to swing through the three territories each year seeing the sights, tasting the local seal and delivering promises of new infrastructure and ships. Critics, both northern and southern, have dismissed the yearly ritual as “all talk.”
Golly. “Swing through.” I didn’t know you could travel countless thousands of miles and “swing through” the far north of Canada, just wistfully “seeing the sights,” and “tasting the local seal.” And oh how jejune of the prime minister of Canada to do that. It’s not at all as important as politicians marching in all those fantastic gay pride parades!
And hey, I wonder if any non-critics have not dismissed anything remotely pro-conservative today! Ah, but who gives a sealshit about that, when there’s incredibly stupid, contrived criticism to get on with, using at least a third of page four of their “National” paper to do it?
And by the way, no, it turns out no non-critics were available in Canada today. Just critics. That’s because it’s mostly another liberal media hit piece. It virtually skips over possibly the most important attribute of Harper’s yearly sojourns to the far north — the thing which is at the actual heart of the prime minister traveling to the far north every year — which is the simple fact that he promised he would, and he does.
All the ubiquitous, incessant, left-wing media blather about their prescribed need to make the country “inclusive,” and make groups of people feel (barf) “empowered,” and other such left-wing claptrap (like creating giant national parks out of land which is crown-owned anyway), fly out the igloo window when even a pseudo-conservative is making an effort to help far-northerners feel “included” and “empowered” by the other Canadian folks down south, most of whom have no clue about the far north. (One need only look at the liberals/socialists/progressives down south who all want to ban all guns, to figure out their vast understanding of Canada.)
The article lists six “promises” that this politician has dared to make, which are behind schedule (Wait. What? Government projects behind schedule?! No way!), or which in any case have not yet been accomplished. And it might all be true, but it is not necessarily the PM’s fault, or at least not his alone. And it’s certainly not something I’d classify as “lies,” whether “white” or not.
As a general matter, the PM’s opposition — Liberals, the socialist NDP, the media — have all worked almost as hard as Stephen Harper. But they’ve worked hard to make sure some actual progress that the Harper Conservatives (keyword: conservatives) want to make in Canada is shouted-down, slammed as unreasonable, or racist, homophobic, un-inclusive, anti-women, environmentally unsound… and then summarily shut-down, pending another royal commission, judicial inquiry, 10-year-long environmental assessment, or yet another election. Or at least delayed to the greatest extent possible, at the hand of the government bureaucracies which are stacked from top to bottom with liberals and sundry leftist, progressive ideologues that they’ve appointed over the decades. (Yes, the progressives did build that, pace Mr. Obama). Or they did it by outright political lies and misinformation and omission of information and/or pure maliciousness. Their motives are far more suspect and slimy than Harper’s, in this regard. Write an article about that! (Nah, just kidding. As if!)
And they fail to mention the latest big thing, which is the creation of that big, new, national park. Why didn’t they mention that in this laughingly and purposely incomplete list?
Maybe they just had to make room for the article right beside it, wherein they report that a few northerners complained that the Harpers used ATVs on what “used to be pristine” trails, but thanks to the likes of the stupid evil Harpers and this year’s “yearly ritual,” are no longer pristine. For its part, the editors at the National Post toss out the whole baby seal with the bath water: “PM’s Arctic trip marred by ATV quarrel.” The whole trip! Marred! Damn those Harpers and their promises to build the north!
The National Post can’t claim to not know about the park, as their partners at the state-owned CBC might do, since they even reported on it, just yesterday:
… On the second full day of his annual northern tour, he visited the site of a new national park reserve in Norman Wells, a small community about 680 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife.
Negotiations to create the NDaDats’ihch’oh (pronounced nats-each-choh) reserve have been underway for years and involved the federal government working with local First Nations groups to make the deal happen. …
They can’t write that it’s all about Harper just doing it for votes, since there are roughly 800 far-north votes. And they can’t write about it being to secure all the campaign cash those northerners could contribute to Conservatives. No, the problem is that it could just possibly be that Harper actually cares about his job, and he cares about Canada. And all this time you’ve been instructed by the Left and its media division that only the sacred socialist Jack Layton cared!
So maybe the politics of it are just largely not helpful to progressives, and are too largely pro-conservative. Which is a little like lying through omission. Or largely like that.
Maybe writing fully informative news articles — not omitting things to advance a point of view — and not writing just another lousy hit piece, is too big for the National Post. But God knows the National Post is beyond any reproach, and it’s never “all talk.” And it never writes any “white lies.”
Not white ones.