09/27/2012 10:50 EDT

Harper Wins Richard Nixon Prize, Not A Good Thing


Stephen Harper has won the first ever Richard Nixon Prize for steadfastly protecting "the rich and powerful."

The ignominious honour comes as the prime minister is in New York to accept his World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Nixon's former secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, will present the honour.

The Nixon award is being presented on Thursday morning by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada National Capital Region, the Indigenous Environmental Network, NOWAR-PAIX and the Ottawa Raging Grannies.

The prize will be given to Harper in absentia using the empty chair technique popularized by Clint Eastwood in his speech to the Republican National Convention, according to a news release from the organizations responsible for the award. Writer and activist Yves Engler will present the prize. His latest work is titled "The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy."

The groups say they are giving Harper the award for his "principled, forthright and steadfast international policies in the interests of the rich and powerful." They cite backing for the 1 per cent, bombing Libya, standing by Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, remaining in Afghanistan despite public opinion, support for mining interests and withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol as reasons that Nixon "would have been proud" of Harper.

Writing in iPolitics, Engler says the committee also looked at "more obscure aspects" of the prime minister's foreign policy.

"We applaud Canada’s decision to send 2,000 troops to Haiti days after the 2010 earthquake. It took real courage to send troops to ‘secure order’ for Haiti’s elite when many other countries misguidedly focused on search and rescue teams to pull injured people from under rubble."

Engler also writes that Harper's opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, when many world nations support it, means the PM agrees with Nixon that Canada's obligation is first to support the United States and then the rest of the West.

Do you think Harper is cast in the same mould as Nixon? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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