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Harper's Two Faces: Flirting with a Dictatorship

05/16/2013 11:34 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT

It didn't take long for Harper to express his opinions about Chavez's government after his death. On the very same day that the controversial ruler officially passed away, along with brief condolences, he stated that now Venezuela would be able to "build a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights."

It is not surprising that Harper would make such remarks about a government that has fostered political prisoners, oppressed freedom of speech, encouraged nepotism, and allowed political discrimination in the public service.

Nevertheless, to everyone's surprise, after an election with overwhelming evidence of fraud, imprisonment of political leaders and even murders. Harper had nothing to say. Even after Venezuelans desperately continue to ask the international community to reject Maduro as the legitimate president until there has been a vote recount, he has still not responded to the matter. Which, makes people wonder whether his sentiments regarding Venezuela's tyrannical government are actually truthful or are just made to feed the Conservative pro-freedom propaganda. Perhaps, Harper even took a page from Chavez's book: lots of discourse, zero action, and a double-dealing hand.

The reality is that the Conservative's agenda benefits from Maduro staying in power. Consequently, even though he appears to reject Venezuela's oppressive ways in front of the cameras, his actions demonstrate a second face that is not ambivalent to pact with undemocratic governments for economic gain.

Canada is currently competing with Venezuela as oil supplier to the United States, with the purpose to win over Washington for the infamous Keystone XL pipeline to Texas refineries. Even though at one point this might have seemed impossible, Alberta oil has steadily displaced Venezuelan crude in the U.S. market during the past recent years due to political tensions in the country that have lead both the U.S. and Venezuela to threaten multiple times to cut trade relations. Consequently, as conflict rises in Venezuela, the more likely it becomes for TransCanada Corporation to come out victorious, and for as long as an illegitimate leader stays in power of the oil-rich country, tensions will continue. The losers, of course, would be the environment and Venezuelan's human rights.

In addition, rumor has it that a deal between the two countries would allow the gold mines owned by large Canadian companies in Venezuela to remain untouched, rather than being expropriated, if the Canadian government does not take a stance on the latest election results.

Will Harper's Conservative government continue to look the other way when it comes to Venezuela's political situation in favour of Canadian oil and mining corporations?