So, the Twitterverse (and the comments page for said article) is furiously rebuffing the Globe and Mail this morning (also affectionately known now as ‘Globe and Fail’ and ‘Old and Male’), after their editorial team endorsed Stephen Harper for the 41st Federal Election in Canada. No matter what party you support – hell, even if you are a Con lover – this editorial is an embarrassment to journalism. Why’s that, you ask?
Because the Globe wants you to vote him in based strictly on economics, and actually speaks positively of his character(!). It also spends the first part of the editorial pointing out Harper’s transgressions and labelling them ‘petty’. I’m pretty sure Harper’s Goverment paid for and possibly scripted this drivel, being as it’s ripped from Con debate rhetoric.
Here’s a few of my favourite parts:
We are nearing the end of an unremarkable and disappointing election campaign, marked by petty scandals, policy convergences and a dearth of serious debate. Canadians deserved better. We were not presented with an opportunity to vote for something bigger and bolder, nor has there been an honest recognition of the most critical issues that lie ahead: a volatile economy, ballooning public debts and the unwieldy future of our health-care system.
Already, we have a contradiction in terms: there was no opportunity to vote for something bigger and better, and yet, the Globe condemns spending and expansion because of our economy. Well, we can’t have it both ways – nor can the Globe deny that spending money on bigger jails – a strategy proven a huge failure in the United States and unnecessary as crime rates drop, no matter what moral panic the media are perpetuating this week – is a form of spending and expansion.
As for ‘petty’… well, we’ll return to that in a moment.
The challenges facing our next federal government do not end there, of course. The next House of Commons must find new ways to protect Parliament, the heart of our democracy. It needs to reform its troubled equalization program without straining national unity. Relations with the U.S. are at a critical juncture. Any thickening of the border threatens to punish all Canadians, while negotiations over perimeter security have implications for national sovereignty and economic security. Wars in Libya and Afghanistan, climate change, Canada’s role in the world, the rapid and exciting change of the country’s ethnic and cultural makeup – the list is great, as is the need for strong leadership in Ottawa.
I agree with all of these priorities. Shall we examine Harper’s contributions thus far?
Democracy: The first Prime Minister in our history found in contempt of Parliament, Harper limits media questions to five per meeting. Harper also forces his backbenchers to always vote in line. Harper campaigned on transparency and fewer appointments to Senate, yet has made the most appointments in history, killed the Freedom to Information Act swiftly and quietly, prorogued government to avoid democratic processes which include coalitions (yep, they’re very legal; Harper even tried to use one to his advantage against the Liberals)… Oh, and did I mention his wealthy party attempting to castrate smaller parties – thereby hampering democracy – by removing the stipend each party gets from the government per vote received during an election? That’s right; Harper’s Goverment (because it’s not our country’s government, anymore; just check the papers) feels that I do not have the right to dictate that a whopping $2 and change of MY taxes go to the party I have chosen to represent ME. And then, we have those pesky police investigations showing that the Cons violated election spending laws in a previous go-round – essentially buying the election, as proven and upheld in the Appeals Court. Hmm….
Equalization: Harper’s leaked booklet o’ troublesome quotes makes many references to health care and how Harper would much rather privatize the whole she-bang and wash his hands of helping the province. I sure hope all of you middle-class Con voters have a way to pay hundreds of thousands in medical bills on your own, should cancer strike you or your loved ones. I doubt equalization will go well in his hands; his funds get allocated to his ridings and the rest be damned.
Canada’s Role in the World: Harper is the sole reason that for the first time ever, Canada is not on the UN Security Council. Why? His foreign policies. Peacekeeping, good-hearted Canada is no longer trusted by the UN. We also have been condemned for our environmental policies, and Harper wants to kill funding to Planned Parenthood for another first – hindering their care overseas – because of abortions. Does it feel American up in here?
Only Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have shown the leadership, the bullheadedness (let’s call it what it is) and the discipline this country needs. He has built the Conservatives into arguably the only truly national party, and during his five years in office has demonstrated strength of character, resolve and a desire to reform. Canadians take Mr. Harper’s successful stewardship of the economy for granted, which is high praise. He has not been the scary character portrayed by the opposition; with some exceptions, his government has been moderate and pragmatic.
Mr. Harper could achieve a great deal more if he would relax his grip on Parliament, its independent officers and the flow of information, and instead bring his disciplined approach to bear on the great challenges at hand. That is the great strike against the Conservatives: a disrespect for Parliament, the abuse of prorogation, the repeated attempts (including during this campaign) to stanch debate and free expression. It is a disappointing failing in a leader who previously emerged from a populist movement that fought so valiantly for democratic reforms.
So, all of those principles you cared so much about in the opening of this piece no longer matter when making an endorsement? Oh, and by the way, the only party with consistent ratings across the country, province by province, is NDP. Oops! I smell a Bev Oda-style ‘Not’ striking out parts of this original editorial and replacing them. I smell an original ‘no endorsement’ editorial changed by the big bosses. In fact, this reeks of the same spin, blackmail and lies used on Bob Rae’s NDP goverment in Ontario – as documented, hilariously enough, by The Globe and Mail.
His idea of reform has been for the worse, not the better – unless you’re rich, white, male and/or big business.
The biggest lie of all: Harper did not save this economy at all; policies in our banking industry and those established by the surplus-holding Liberals did. Harper has run a worse deficit than Mulrooney.
What else has Harper done? Taken from numerous resources, including ShitHarperDid.com:
- Broke his promise to ‘never tax income trusts’
- Set a law for fixed election dates then broke it when it suited him politically
- Attempted to buy Chuck Cadman’s vote while the man was dying and vulnerable, no less
- He has a manual on how to undermine Parliament debates and process. No, really
- Prorogued government to avoid judgment on his party’s actions in Parliament – essentially avoiding democractic process
- Reduced Federal Meat Inspectors, leading to the deaths of 20 people in the Maple Leaf scandal due to impossible work conditions for remaining inspectors
- Has appointed three ministers who have intentionally misled Parliament (Oda, Clements, Mackay)
- Found in contempt 3 times – this bears repeating as it’s a first in our country’s history
- Spent $1.2 Billion on the G20, and is facing allegations of spending on his buddy’s Muskoka riding with funds specifically deisgnated for other purposes, as noted by the Auditor General
- Arrested over 1000 people that weekend, the majority of those charages being dropped, and facing numerous complaints of police brutality and unlawful imprisonment conditions and rights breaches
- Frugal spending apparently means spending $100 Million between elections promoting your party
- Hid information about Afghan detainees and lost our access to Camp Mirage, which led to increased costs for that war effort
- Appointed two senators who had 67 forged invoices falsely claiming tax rebates for election expenses
- Has staff being investigated by police for 3 separate case files
- Defunding any organization that questions pro-Israel agenda
- Cut funding to arts, women’s rights orgs (Planned Parenthood, etc), human rights & democracy orgs (KAIROS, Rights & democracy)
- Cut statscan
- Cut funding to science and research (Human Genome Project, CPRN)
- Has attacked: Parliamentary budget Office, Elections Canada, RCMP Public Complaints Commission, and Linda Keen, head of Canadian Nuclear regulatory Agency
I’m sorry, but I defy any Con supporter to come up with a list this awful about any previous Prime Minister of ANY party, Cons included.
This is not the Canada we’ve always known. This is a Canada that Harper has been holding hostage under the falsified demon of the economy – something he’s made worse, ultimately, by running us from surplus into massive deficit. None of his big-ticket spending plans will benefit Canada financially in the long run, nor will they help Canadians where they need it most. Harper is not our financial saviour; he will be our demise, with Flaherty at the reins.
Do I believe any party has a perfect approach or platform? No, not at all. But I do know that of all the parties, Harper’s does not have the core values that have long distinguished Canada from its contemporaries at heart. He has only the interests of his backers and his back pockets in mind.
Voting for Harper is a slap in the face to the democracy you are exercising on May 2nd. Hell, his people have tried to steal a ballot box of advance votes (by a group that is least likely to support him)! If none of the other parties appeal to you, but democracy does, abstain. Things will only get worse from here under Harper. At least your voice will still be heard under, oh, any other party.
I fear for my country. I hope it wakes up on May 2nd. Unplug from Harper’s matrix, before we’re too far down the rabbit hole to see the light again.