Tag Archives: Stephen Harper

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper visits the troops in Afghanistan

Harper: Not a primping peacock bitterly clinging to his teleprompter
Harper: Not a primping peacock bitterly clinging to his teleprompter

Joanne over at Blue Like You has the story. (Photo credit:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Here are some of the best bits from the official government press release:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today travelled to Afghanistan, where he visited with Canadian Forces and civilian personnel stationed in Kandahar.

“From the very first day of the Afghan mission the men and women of the Canadian Forces and civilian officials, have served courageously and selflessly to help the people of Afghanistan build a better future,” said the Prime Minister. “Over the course of this mission our men and women in Afghanistan have made incredible sacrifices to defend our values and our interests. It is an honour for me to meet with them, to thank them, and to let them know that their country supports them. They make us very proud.”

Look, the Canadian general even put him to work as a field artillery spotter. (Photo credit:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Harper calls in fire mission on Taliban: "Right 1 degree. Fire for effect!"
Harper (not effeminate) calls in his third fire mission on Taliban forces: "Right 1 degree. Fire for effect!"

While Barack Obama drags 25 teleprompters with him when he travels overseas, Harper didn’t bring any teleprompters with him, and he travels into a warzone.

Here is the description of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan from the Canadian forces web site:

Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan are guided by the Afghanistan Compact, which includes a five-year framework for coordinating the work of the Afghan government and its international partners, outlining specific outcomes related to security, governance and development with benchmarks and delivery schedules.

For example, a new Afghan constitution has restored the rule of law and respect for the human rights of all Afghan citizens, including women and children. The Afghan people now vote, women and girls have rights, and children are going to school.

The biggest threat to rebuilding is continued violence and threats from the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In fact, terrorism is a clear and present threat to global peace and security, and terrorists used Afghanistan as a base of operations during the seven-year Taliban regime. In the interest of collective security, Canada and its international partners share a duty to help ensure that terrorism cannot take root again in Afghanistan.

And Canada is busy spending money on things like this:

The Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada is deepening its partnership with UNICEF and the Afghan Ministry of Education to invest in improved learning centres, construct new schools for 18,000 children in Kandahar, and provide funding for a 10-month literacy course for 2,500 women in the region.

“Investing in education is vital to improving human rights and, in particular, the rights of women in Afghanistan,” said the Prime Minister. “My message to the people of Afghanistan, and to our international partners is clear. Canada will do its part.”

The Prime Minister also visited Kandahar’s Dahla Dam project on the Arghandab River. Eighty percent of Kandahar’s population lives along the Dahla irrigation system. The Government of Canada is investing up to $50 million over three years to repair the dam and improve its surrounding irrigation system while helping train local farmers in new water management and crop production techniques.

“Canada’s Afghan mission is more than just a security operation. It is also about making a real difference in the quality of life for thousands of Afghan families,” said the Prime Minister. “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to see, first hand, the kind of meaningful contribution Canadians are making to Afghanistan’s future.”

Hmmmn. Obama is spending a lot of money, too. I wonder what the trillions of dollars he spent on his special interest groups is accomplishing? Well, Warner Todd Huston at Stop the ACLU managed to track down some of it.

If we need no other example of why government can’t “stimulate” an economy, we have but to look at the use to which the city of Akron, Ohio wants to put some of its “stimulus” money. Akron, it seems, wants to spend some of that money for suicide prevention. Oh, not a general suicide prevention program that might at least employ people. No, Akron wants to build a fence on a bridge that seems to emit a siren call for jumpers to prevent them from killing themselves.

Akron’s All-American Bridge, a “Y” shaped structure that serves as a main artery into the city, has been a platform for suicide jumpers for so long now that area residents have nicknamed it the suicide bridge. Consequently, city officials have proposed using more than one million dollars of the city’s “stimulus” money to erect a fence that will help prevent people from being able to use the span as a means to an end.

There’s other stuff we could do with that money you know. Like making the rest of the world freer and reducing threats from terrorists to the homeland.

IBD: Canada fills Obama’s leadership void

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Investors Business Daily had a good post up about how other countries with more conservative leadership are picking up the slack left by Obama’s naive socialism. Canada is led by economist Stephen Harper, who studied the economic theories of F.A. Hayek and other proponents of free-market capitalism. Harper understands what economic policies promote liberty.

Here is an excerpt from the article: (a podcast version is here)

Thus far, the Obama administration seems more interested in continuing its global apology tour, Latin edition, during this weekend’s Fifth Summit of the Americas than he is in leading. His accusations against America are stronger than his promotion of the institutions and treaties that bring authentic democracy and prosperity to our hemisphere.

Obama’s aversion to policies like free trade, which supports liberty and prosperity, is well known:

Today, Obama is paying only lip service to that trade goal while two finished free-trade treaties with friendly American allies Panama and Colombia sit in his desk drawer, unvoted-on in Congress.

He speaks of the U.S. being “distracted by other priorities” but in reality he’s only “distracted” by listening to Big Labor, which has tried to shut Colombia and Panama out of free trade.

In the same way, he’s distracted by the Farm Lobby’s campaign cash and won’t think of ending the senseless tariffs on Brazil’s ethanol — another major free-trade, and energy policy, issue.

He has yet to expend political capital to muscle Congress to put those tariffs and treaties to a vote. If he did, he would show leadership. It’s not going unnoticed by democratic leaders of our hemisphere, who, from Brazil to Chile to Mexico to Peru, are urging him to take action. This is the one issue he should be showing strong leadership on. But he isn’t.

Yes, the world is truly against us because of Obama’s economic ignorance. But there are some liberty-opposing communist dictators that love Obama – because he supports their dictatorships and the repression of common people who don’t even have enough to eat or the opportunity to earn a decent living. IBD continues:

The region’s protectionists can be counted on one hand, and they just happen to be the same countries trying to ruin their own democracies — among them Venezuela, whose de facto dictator, Hugo Chavez, declared at the last summit in 2005 he would “bury” free trade of the Americas. With Obama failing to lead, he’s effectively handing Chavez the leadership, as well as a victory.

He’s also giving Cuba a victory, unilaterally loosening rules for remittances to the island, providing the bankrupt Castro dictatorship with an economic lifeline as well as a fresh pool of visitors to spy on, blackmail and potentially recruit.

Hot Air links to the photos of Obama accepting gifts and shaking hands with dictator Chavez. Hot Air writes:

Via Tapper, the long-awaited meeting between the “destructive force” and the “ignoramus” hath come to pass. There are already a few photos of the encounter at Yahoo News but you have to go to Facebook for the best one. Check out that thousand-watt grin. Funding FARC, imprisoning dissidents, staging wargames with Russia, and of course consolidating dictatorial power — none of it’s enough to ruin a photo op for The One. I hope this at least convinces El Presidente not to throw that Cuba-themed tantrum at the summit that he’s been planning. We deserve something in return for the free propaganda Barry just handed him.

The world opposes Obama’s unliteral war against free trade. Even Russia is disgusted with Obama’s economic naivete. And so is China. But what about Stephen Harper and Canada? IBD’s article continues:

Canada, by contrast, is taking the lead. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his top priority at the Summit is to champion free trade, in line with the will of the region’s real democracies.

“Our focus for the Summit of the Americas will be about free trade and avoiding other countries moving back to protectionist measures,” Harper’s spokesman said. “Canada’s position is that we must not allow the impact of the (financial) crisis to reverse our hard-fought progress towards freer trade and investment.”

…What a shame that it’s now left to Canada to do the heavy lifting on the actions that will genuinely advance peace and prosperity in our global neighborhood.

According to this just-released news story from CTV, Harper is pledging 4 billion dollars to spur trade with Latin America.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pushing for greater regional co-operation and better hemispheric trade relations at the Summit of the Americas, pledging $4 billion in loan guarantees for Latin American countries.

…Harper said on Saturday that loans to the Inter-American Development Bank will help nations in the region get access to credit and build their economies.

“Canada is taking the lead when it comes to ensuring that countries continue to trade during a time of economic contraction,” said Harper in a statement. “This has not been done before and is a very significant contribution.”

Meanwhile, Obama is making Iran and North Korea feel comfortable about their pursuit of nuclear weapons. What a difference there is between Harper and Obama!

Harper’s recognition of Easter and the importance of religious liberty

Religious liberty is the liberty that I value most. Isn’t it amazing that at a time when Obama is taking steps to greatly reduce the freedom to express Christian convictions in public, that up north the prime minister of Canada is talking about the resurrection of Jesus and the importance of religious liberty as a Canadian tradition?

In case you missed it, here are some videos of Harper on CNN and Fox News, as well one from CNBC with Larry Kudlow. I previously wrote about how Colombia is trying to diversify their economy in the wake of Obama’s snubbing them on the proposed free trade deal.

What is the doctrine of peace through strength?

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Image stolen from Douglas Groothuis.

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
– Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

It means, “Let him who desires peace prepare for war.”

The idea of peace through strength was paraphrased in George Washington’s first state of the union address, as well as by Presidents Lincoln and Reagan. Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom) and Stephen Harper (Canada) also believe in peace through strength.

Most wars start when a dictator or monarch (e.g. – Hitler) believes he can win a conflict against a weak neighbor quickly and easily. Perhaps to test out his plan, he takes some small aggressive steps to make sure that no one is going to stop his aggression (e.g. – rebuilding the Luftwaffe, occupying the Rhineland, annexing the Sudetenland, annexing Austria, invading Poland). Once he is able to confirm over and over that no democracies are going to stop his conquests by force, he attacks.

The way to stop most wars is to make dictators believe that you have the means and the will to stop their aggression. Clinton allowed about a half dozen attacks in the 90s without any reprisal, (e.g. – World Trade Center, USS Cole, etc.) We did not respond to these terrorist attacks on our national interests. As a result, Bin Laden would joke about how the USA was a “paper tiger” that did not have the stomach for war. He thought that a few American losses would make us pack up and go home.

Contrast Clinton’s view with Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s biography at the White House web site says this:

“In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve “peace through strength“. During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.”

When the USA was attacked by terrorists, Bush, following Reagan’s example, made sure that the aggressors would understand that the first steps of aggression would draw a violent, decisive response. As a result of the Bush doctrine, Libya has discontinued its WMD program and invited inspectors to come in and cart away all of its research equipment. Libya did this only because it believed that the USA was willing to back up diplomacy with force. We can have peace if we cause aggressors to believe that war will cost too much.

Now, violence is not the only way to make war cost too much. We could probably avoid war with Iran or Venezuela or Russia by drilling for our own oil and building our own nuclear plants. No one prefers a war. It’s better to de-fund potential aggressors by supplying our economy with oil that we produce ourselves. This is one good reason to increase domestic energy production. (Another good reason is to lower the price of oil, etc – because of supply and demand: increased supply leads to lower prices)

Reagan won the cold war without firing a shot. But sometimes, especially after 8 years of Clinton’s weak foreign policy, some violence is needed to communicate to our enemies that we mean business. Our  willingness to engage in a military response to the 9/11 attacks was enough to provide us with 7 years free of attacks on American soil. The terrorists knew that next time they attacked us, then maybe Syria would become a democracy. So there were no more attacks on American soil while Bush governed.

Deterrence works. The goal is to AVOID war by making tyrants understand that the cost of their aggression will be too much for them to bear. This is the doctrine of peace through strength.

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last.”
— Winston Churchill

Round-up of US media interviews with Stephen Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

I spotted this round-up of media interviews with Stephen Harper on the Canadian blog Blue Like You. I’ve already blogged about the CNBC interview with optimistic Larry Kudlow here. That interview focused on economic policy.

In the Fox Business interview with Alexis Glick, (video here), she explains how Canada was able to avoid the subprime lending crisis.

Immediately after I talked to the vice chairman of the Swedish central bank, I interviewed — in a “First on Fox Business” — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about a lot of things: Everything from his meeting with President Obama last week, to NAFTA to the “Buy American” clause in the stimulus to carbon emissions and the Canadian Sands to the banking system. Why has Canada’s banking system withstood the financial crisis while other countries banking systems like the U.S. are in such dire straits? In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world. The U.S. was ranked 40th. Canada’s system has much stronger federal regulations and lower mandatory leverage ratios. Canada’s firms never engaged in subprime mortgage lending. For over a decade, Canada has posted budget surpluses; only in the last quarter did they enter into a recession. What is working? What lessons could we learn from them? Take a look. Prime Minister Harper is very impressive.

Canada does not believe in forcing banks to make loans based on ACORN’s vision of social justice. I explained how Democrats like Carter and Clinton forced banks to make these loans and how Republicans tried in vain to stop them, here.

The Wall Street Journal interview was more focused on foreign policy. You may have heard of Harper’s recent free trade deal with Peru. But did you know that Canada also signed a free trade deal with Colombia?

But the mention of Canadian and American political opposition to free-trade agreements with Colombia has sparked a change in the PM’s unflappable manner. For a fleeting moment, what sounds a lot like frustration emerges. “I’m not going to say it’s a perfect government, but we have a government in Colombia that is democratically elected, that has increased democratic norms, that has taken on the insurgency, that is moving that country forward economically and politically. And it is in a hemisphere where we have an increasing number of real serious enemies and opponents.”

Meanwhile, the economically-illiterate, protectionist ACORN lawyer rejected a free trade deal with Colombia.

And did know that Canada has been taking a leading role in foreign policy?

Since establishing a minority government in January 2006, this prime minister and his Conservative Party have restored Canada’s international prestige by increasing military funding and tenaciously supporting Canada’s dangerous NATO mission in the Afghan province of Kandahar. No NATO ally has put more on the line against the Taliban, and Mr. Harper seems to sense not just the opportunity but the need for Canada to capitalize on it. There is a vacuum in conservative leadership in North America and on the world stage, and Mr. Harper is stepping into it. His objective would appear to be the restoration of liberal-democratic resolve against tyranny.

You want Reaganesque? I’ll give you Reaganesque:

An unreliable NATO has implications for Canada not least because Russia is once again becoming a menace. The Kremlin’s claim to the Arctic seabed can be discounted, he argues, because it is being pursued through the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. But other provocations are worrisome. “They are testing our airspace more frequently than they have been doing in a long, long time,” he says. “It’s the aggression in the Arctic, aggression more generally, an aggression that is increasingly troublesome just to be troublesome.”

Check this out: 2 CF-18 fighters intercepted a Russian bomber that was snooping near Canadian airspace just last week. Look, if Obambi wants to focus on increasing welfare and nationalizing health care, then maybe Canadians will have to pick up the slacker’s slack.

I rarely say this, but I am going to say it for this WSJ interview: READ. THE. WHOLE. THING.

UPDATE: Welcome, Canadian visitors from Blue Like You! Thanks for the link Joanne! I’ve just blogrolled you! I am hoping Stephen Harper gets his majority soon, so he can get rid of those pesky HRCs that keep going after Ezra Levant.

UPDATE 2: I noticed in the comments on Blue Like You that they referenced this interview from CNN with Wolf Blitzer. Here is the video and a news article from the National Post. Ooops. I think the commenter Allison meant a more recent CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria which is here.

UPDATE 3: Welcome visitors from Post-Darwinist! Thanks for linking to me,  Denyse!

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper interviewed by Larry Kudlow

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Larry Kudlow sat down with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and had a conversation about Canada’s economic situation and policies. (Video here)

Kudlow first asks Harper about the banking situation in Canada. Harper says that the banks are run much more tightly in Canada. Harper explains that there are no bailouts planned for Canadian banks because Canadian banks are private institutions.

KUDLOW: Let me begin with an interesting subject here, banking. Everybody’s talking about banking. The Canadian banks appear to be in much better shape than the American banks. They have fewer toxic assets. Their losses aren’t nearly as bad. No one’s talking about bankruptcy up there. I want to learn from our northern cousins. What can you tell us? Why are Canadian banks looking better than our banks?

HARPER: Well first of all I can tell you, it is true. We have, I think, the only banks in the western world where we’re not looking at bailouts or anything like that.

KUDLOW: No TARP money sir, if I’m not mistaken? No TARP money?

HARPER: We haven’t got any TARP money. We’ve gone in and done some market transactions with our banks to improve liquidity. But I think the reasons are really complex, Larry. You know, first of all, our banks are private. We don’t have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac equivalent mucking around in the system.

KUDLOW: Is that a lesson right there Prime Minister?

HARPER: Well, I think my observation is those are institutions with a difficult private/public mix. And sometimes private/ public mixes have benefits and sometimes they have the worst of both worlds. We don’t have anything like that. We do have though, a strong system of regulation, and activist regulators, who go and meet with the sector. But they’re macro, prudential kind of regulations. They don’t try and micromanage banks’ decisions. We try and establish good oversight and transparency.

KUDLOW: Do you have leverage and borrowing ratios that might have been enforced? Because that’s clearly one of the breakdowns here in the states?

HARPER: Well, we do have leverage ratios. What’s ironic is that our own banks had not actually achieved those ratios. They were actually working under them. Part of what we…

KUDLOW: They were under leveraged?

HARPER: They were under leveraged.

KUDLOW: Wait, wait. Canadian banks were under leveraged?

HARPER: Under what they could have been.

KUDLOW: I didn’t know there was such a thing on this entire planet earth.

HARPER: Well I think part of what we have done is through the system of regulation we’ve had, we’ve encouraged a fairly cautious culture in the banks. For example, our banks, when they sign mortgages, largely hold those mortgages rather than trading them. So they have a lot more interest in the underlying quality of those mortgages. And we avoided the sub-prime kind of problem.

Kudlow goes on to quiz Harper on individual income tax rates, corporate income tax rates, tax cuts, Canadian energy production, carbon emissions, protectionism/free trade and auto-union bailouts. If you want to know what it is like to have an F.A. Hayek-admiring economist running your country, (BA and MA in Economics from the University of Calgary), read the whole thing!

UPDATE: More interviews with Stephen Harper with CNN, Wall Street Journal and Fox Business are here!