By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday August 21, 2012
Harper’s Arctic visits net mixed results
Each of the last six summers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has journeyed to the North, sprinkling throughout its remote communities promises of federal funding and development.
This year will be no different: Harper leaves today for a five-day trip that begins with a rally near Whitehorse and ends Friday in Churchill, Man.
Harper appears to have the Midas touch about him on these annual visits.
The projects and people he encounters, albeit rarely beyond the bounds of a carefully-choreographed photo-op, get money and encouragement.
In return, his government gets to bask in days of positive news coverage, backed by some of the most beautiful images of the country.
But it seems that what Harper tries to turn to gold in his visits up North doesn’t always stay that way.
Many projects he has announced for the region in recent years are behind schedule and some places he stops later find themselves falling on hard times.
Last year, Harper visited the Kluane National Park, home of Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. There, he announced a new visitor’s centre and extolled the region’s “lush valleys, immense ice fields (and) spectacular mountains.”
But a research station located just outside its gates has since had its federal funding cut, and the last federal budget will also see the national park’s services cut as well. (Source: Halifax Chronicle Herald)