18 October, 2015


I fear many Canadians are embracing hatred as the prime mover in their choice this election. It seems left wing progressives love to promote hate; these progressives can't see their promotion of hatred as a disaster leading us to American style polarization.
--"Mike Kenny" (published online 10/17)

Embracing hatred? More like rejecting it.

The list of people Stephen Harper hates is exhaustive and exhausting. He hates the media, because he's under the mistaken impression that it has a left wing bias (exactly one paper, the Toronto Star, has consistently endorsed someone other than Harper over his tenure). He hates Parliament, because it has a pesky habit of trying to get in his way: that's why he's repeatedly prorogued it, why he was found in contempt of it, and why he's forever trying to bypass it.

Harper hates the Supreme Court of Canada, because it insists on interpreting the laws of the land rather than bowing to the Law of Harper. This despite the fact a majority of its judges were appointed by, you guessed it, Stephen Harper.  He hates environmentalists--he's gone so far as to call them terrorists. He hates Statistics Canada, the CBC, Sikhs, Muslims...really, anyone and everyone who disagrees with him on anything, ever.

Among a host of ugly qualities, the thing that defines our Prime Minister most in my mind is that it costs $78,000 to ask him a question. I find that repugnant. It proves that he lives in a bubble, deliberately isolating himself from dissent and conflicting opinions.

That's not a leader, whatever his job title may say.

Harper first came to power promising transparency and accountability, only to preside over the most secretive government in our nation's history. He touts his economic management: eight straight deficits before a fake, manufactured surplus; a higher unemployment rate now than when he took office; increased inequality; and most recently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal negotiated in utter secrecy that will outsource Canadian jobs and cede our sovereignty to corporations. (Thanks, Wikileaks: without you, we'd still have no idea what's in there.) He's now saying the economy is too fragile to entrust it to anyone else. Who made it that way, Steve?

I can't vote for that record. that personality, that "leadership" style. Even if I agreed with everything Harper has done, I'm honour-bound to vote against the way he's done it.

Now, this is of course my opinion, and you are free to say I'm full of shit. I have friends and colleagues who think Harper is the best thing to happen to Canada in ever. Notably, they exist on a privately-schooled, monied plane I can scarcely imagine. For us plebes, I firmly maintain a vote for the Conservatives is a vote against our self-interests.

So who to vote for? Voting against is mandatory (NSFW link)  as far as I am concerned, but it's also dangerous if you don't closely examine the person and party you're voting for. Depending on your political proclivities, voting against landed us with Bob Rae. Or Mike Harris. Or Stephen Harper himself, for that matter.

If Jack Layton were still alive, it'd be no contest. That goes for my vote and also, I suspect, the wider election. But alas, he's not.

For much of this campaign, I was planning on voting NDP anyway. Mulcair initially impressed me: he seemed statesmanlike, principled and passionate on issues I believe in, and more centrist than any Dipper leader in history. Going in, too, I wasn't at all happy with Justin Trudeau, not least because the Liberals never bothered getting back to me about volunteering after I had expressed an interest in doing so back in February; their siding with Harper on that travesty of an "antiterrorism" bill (C-51) did nothing to endear them to me.

But as the campaign progressed, Trudeau started to win me over. He not only held his own in the debates (full disclosure: I read transcripts), he scored points against both his rivals. Call me perverse: his refusal to stick to a balanced budget really struck home for me. There are other deficits besides the financial: a social deficit, an infrastructure deficit, a research and development deficit, and so on--and given historically low interest rates which won't be increasing any time soon, modest budgetary deficits to address some of the other deficits strikes me as a very good idea.

Trudeau is campaigning on open, honest government. I've never known a politician to campaign on secretive, dishonest government...but somehow that's what we always end up with. The Liberals plan to make all government data open by default, digitally accessible to all Canadians. If they carry through with that, they'll go a long way towards ensuring my vote in perpetuity.

The economic plans do seem a little fuzzy, but I'll take fuzzy with its heart in the right place over clear rich-get-richer-poor-get-poorer policies every day and twice on Monday.

And I suppose I'd better address the thing many people are saying about Trudeau, that a vote for him means a vote for shari'a law in Canada.

Calm down. Have some dip.

Muslims currently make up 2% of our population, a figure Harper has gone out of his way to characterize as four percent too many. Trudeau's proposing to take in (screened) Syrian refugees that would raise that Muslim percentage all the way to...three percent. I have no problem with this. If you do, I'm sorry, but the problem is yours.

I could go on. There are other policies of theirs I agree with and a few I don't. My riding is slated to go overwhelmingly Liberal and a vote for any other party, under our first-past-the-post electoral system, is thus an utter and total waste. Trudeau is promising that the 2015 election will be the last one before meaningful electoral reform. I say: bring it on. I never want to see another majority government in this country ever again....especially one a majority of citizens voted against.

I will say this: I will be holding Justin accountable. You'll see it, here in the Breadbin. If and when his government goes stale, you can count on me to say so.

Whether you agree with me or not, and if you haven't already done so, PLEASE get out tomorrow and vote for your leader and party of choice. This election, more than any other in my lifetime, is absolutely critical for Canada's future. Thank you.


karen said...

I think holding our MPs accountable is the thing we should all be doing. I intend to write to my MP first thing Tuesday morning and introduce myself and reiterate the promises he or she made and remind him or her who they actually work for.

I voted in the advance poll since I am going to be teaching on Vancouver Island on election day.

I am a socialist/anarchist/anti-capitalist, and I vote as far in that direction as I can (which is generally not far enough), but I also don't necessarily make up my mind until I know about all my candidates. I always hold out the hope that someone I think is a truly good person will wind up running for one of parties. I'm generally not happily surprised on that front. I already was able to rule out two candidates completely before the election based on the C-51 vote, and that is the main reason I won't vote for Justin's party. But, I don't trust them anyway. I don't think its just an old saw that they campaign on the left and govern on the right- I think its a fact. I don't think the things that come out of their mouths during a campaign actually mean anything, and at no time in the campaign did I think that more than when I heard one of the Liberals more recent radio ads. In it Mr. Trudeau talks about getting into politics because he didn't support the things that Harper stood for - except that he voted for them. He voted for all the omnibus bills that included such things as closing coast guard stations and removing environmental protections. He voted for C-51, and skipped the vote on c-24, the act that gives us two classes of Canadians and allows the government to deport "undesireables."
I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt when he first entered politics, but saying he doesn't support the kind of Canada Harper wants, when he voted for it is just too much.

Ken Breadner said...

...and that's what happens when you write a blog tired.
I meant to address C-51, since i alluded to it earlier, and it skipped out of my head like an errant dream.
I don't agree with Justin supporting C-51. At all. But the damn thing was going to pass and has passed anyway. Given that it exists, and was going to exist with or without Liberal support...I await, rather anxiously, the promised improvements to it. I would prefer a repeal, but I'll settle for significant changes, among them an actual definition of "terrorist" that doesn't boil down to "someone we don't like."
Absent those changes, I will be turning on the Liberals right quick.