Featured Post

The Compassion Project, Only Compassion Defeats Dehumanization

Compassion doesn't have to be a "deep sorrow", just the willingness to be moved to ease the pain of another, the w...

Monday, October 15, 2012

25 Reasons Stephen Harper is Bad for Canada

These have been going around for a while, but I thought they deserved repeating and remembering.

1. Contempt for Canada
The reason you're being called to vote again, is because on March 25th, 2011, the Harper administration was found to be in contempt of Canadian parliament. This is the first time in the history of any commonwealth government that this has happened. The
Speaker of the House of Commons had to rule three times that "the Harper government" appeared to breach parliamentary privilege.
 
2. Cheated in the 2006 Election
In Spring of 2011, a federal court found that Harper's Conservatives wilfully violated the $18.3 million election spending limit, during the campaign which originally brought them to power in 2006. 4 Conservatives (including 2 Conservative Senators) currently face charges and possible jail time.
 
3. Turned Canada's Surplus into Debt
In 1993, the Conservatives chalked up a $38 Billion deficit. By 2006, under non-conservative leadership, this had been turned around into a $16 Billion surplus. Four years later, and Harper's Conservatives have returned Canada to a record $56 Billion deficit.
 
4. Wants US-style bank deregulation
When Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition, founded in 1967 to oppose Medicare, he supported US-style bank deregulation. Nevertheless, since the 2008 Financial Crisis, he has been taking credit for the relative strength of our financial sector, based on a system he inherited, but didn’t support.
 
5. Opposes Medicare
Harper believes that Medicare should be provincial, and wants to break it up. While heading the National Citizens Coalition, founded to oppose Medicare, he said "the feds" should scrap the Canada Health Act.
 
6. Harper shut down Parliament. Twice.
One of the Conservative platform promises was more accountability. Since making this promise, Harper has shut down Parliament twice. Once for several months to block an inquiry into Afghan detainees and to stall government bills, and a second time to avoid a vote of non-confidence which he was expected to lose.

7. Wants to replace the stable CPP with the untested PRPP
Although seniors' incomes have dropped for the first time in decades, it is clear that the Harper government was laying the groundwork to replace Canada's well-run, cost-effective, and stable CPP with a private, more expensive pension scheme - the Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), run by the bank, mutual fund, and insurance industries. This new plan would mean Canadians would have to work for longer, or to retire on less.
 
8. Shut down Women's and Minority advocacy groups
Since coming into power, Harper has cut funding for women's advocacy by 43 per cent, shut down 12 out of 16 Status of Women offices in Canada and eliminated funding of legal voices for women and minority groups, including the National Association of Women and the Law and the Courts Challenges Program.
 
 9. The Economic Action plan has been to the benefit of the super rich
Harper's economic 'recovery' favoured the extremely wealthy. Over 321,000 Canadians lost their jobs in 2008 and Canadians' average wages fell. Meanwhile Canada's 100 wealthiest persons became richer, reaching an average net worth of $1.7 billion each, up almost 5 per cent from 2008. The majority of those surveyed by the Parliamentary Budget Office reported that the program has had either a neutral or negative impact on jobs. Even the conservative Fraser Institute has criticized it.
 
10. Fraud.
One of Harper's top aides, Bruce Carson, had been convicted of 5 counts of fraud, and is currently under investigation by the RCMP. Most recently he was lobbying the government to buy water filtration systems, from a company where his wife was employed.

11. Loosened regulations to allow more chemical residues on your food
Since taking office, Stephen Harper has weakened regulations so that more pesticide residues can be left on your fruits and vegetables. The plan is to bring Canadian regulations in line with U.S. Levels, which can be up to 100 times higher. Under additional new regulations, corporate food producers will be allowed to conduct their own safety inspections. In 2008, when Luc Pomerleau, a biologist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with a flawless 20 year record with the agency, leaked these plans, he was immediately fired. Since then, the listeriosis meat outbreak killed 17 Canadians.
 
12. Wasteful G20 spending, and a record number of arrests
At the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, Harper spent $1.9 million building an artifical lake and nearly $1 Billion on security for the 3 day event. 1,105 arrests were made - the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Of those 1,105 arrests, only 99 criminal charges were laid.
 
13. Report an unsafe nuclear reactor; get fired.
In 2008, Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, reported that the aging Chalk River nuclear facility was at a risk 1000 times greater than the international average. Harper quickly fired her.

14. Stephen Harper has shut down Canadian aid to the world's most impoverished countries
Despite consistently pointing out that Canada's economy is a global leader - Harper used the excuse of poor economic times to freeze aid to some of the world's most impoverished countries. An example of this is the African nation of Malawi, one of the 10 poorest nations in the world. Before Harper, Canada was the 6th largest aid donor to Malawi, and the largest supplier of school books. After coming into power, he closed the Canadian embassy in Malawi and took the country (alongside 6 other African nations) off of Canada's aid priority list. Harper cut aid to Africa in half, before finally freezing all foreign aid in 2010.
 
15. The Harper Conservatives want to buy 65 stealth fighter jets using $29 billion of tax payers' money
That works out to around $1000 per person in Canada. The Conservatives initially reported the cost would be $9 billion, plus $7 billion in maintenance costs. In March, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page warned Canadians that the Harper Government was low-balling the cost by more than $12 billion.
 
16. Refusal to sign UN declaration designating clean water as a human right.
In the 2011 budget, the Harper government failed to allocate any new funding for drinking water on First Nations reserves. 100 First Nations communities currently have water advisories, including 49 communities which are high risk. He also refuses to sign the UN declaration designating clean water as a human right.
 
17. Harper tried to quietly eliminate the Canadian long form census
The long form census is how our government determines the state and needs of the country, and is used extensively in various fields of research. In eliminating the census, many projects would be affected negatively, and it will become much more difficult to understand the needs of the country.
 
18. Never kept promises of cutting $1.4 Billion in federal subsidies given to oil companies
In 2007, Harper cut $1.2 Billion from the establishment of national childcare, but failed to keep his promise of cutting the $1.4 billion in tax breaks he gives to oil companies, which continue to see record profits.

19. Sabotaging efforts to deal with climate change
Protecting the interests of large oil companies, Harper has fought global efforts to deal with climate change. In 2009, he cut science research funding by $138 Million, and imposed limitations on scientists at Environment Canada, requiring that they obtain permission to do interviews, and often screened their responses. The result is that Canadian media coverage of climate change science has been reduced by 80%. His efforts here have been so destructive, that in 2009 prominent politicians and scientists called for Canada to be removed from the Commonwealth. The last time this mark of shame was used, it was against South Africa while it was still under racist apartheid rule.
 
20. Cancelled the Kelowna accord
The Kelowna accord was a $5 billion breakthrough agreement to improve the quality of health and education for Canada's First Nation's Peoples. Harper cancelled it in 2006, immediately after taking office.
 
 21. Tarnishing our international reputation as Peacekeepers.
'We detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.' in 2009 Canadian Diplomat Richard Colvin shocked the nation with these words. In Afghanistan, Canada captured 6x more prisoners than the British and 20x as many as the Dutch. Colvin explained that 'Many were just local people: farmers; truck drivers; tailors, peasants...the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured.'
 
22. Wants more power, less oversight
The Conservatives have vowed to implement unprecedented levels of monitoring on Canadians' internet activities. Harper has tried and failed (4 times) to create a law that would implement mass scale internet surveillance, and that would allow the government access to private information without any warrants, and without any court oversight.
 
23. Wasteful prison spending increases, and shutting down rehabilitation centres
Even though crime rates have been falling for a decade, the Harper administration plans to implement tougher laws, and to incarcerate more Canadians than ever before. Plans are to double annual prison spending by 2015 (an increase of $5 billion annually). Meanwhile, six prison farms, considered by some to be Canada's most effective rehabilitation programs, where inmates produced food for themselves and other prisons - have been closed. This is in spite of having support from the majority of Canadians. Observers say that this will result in inmates being hardened, instead of healed.

24. Breaking traditions
Traditionally, the lobby in parliament has been decorated with photos of former Prime Ministers. Since taking office, Stephen Harper has broken this tradition, decorating the lobby with just photos of himself.
 
25. Renamed 'The Government of Canada' to 'The Harper Goverment'
In late 2010, public servants from various departments confirmed that Stephen Harper has indeed renamed 'The Government of Canada' to 'The Harper Government'.