Friday, July 31, 2015

Will election writ spell the end of the Harper government?


In Canadian politics, just three or four days before the election writ is purportedly going to drop, proroguing parliament, both opposition leaders are attempting to out-charm each other, as broad-brush foils to the public’s perception of the prime minister, a mean-spirited and cynical control freak who muzzles and/or eliminates all voices that might hint that his government is not perfect.

The Prime Minister and his government (inseparable as the two headed Janus of Canadian politics are engaged in a long process of the abuse of power. To wit:

·       Smugly touting an election war chest that beats his two rivals combined, (“more Canadians support our government than either of the other two parties” chimed Conservative spokesman on CBC’s Power and Politics yesterday)...

·       dropping a combined $100 million on Toyota to update their Cambridge plant (with the government of Ontario)

·       visiting the Governor General this weekend to generate the longest election campaign in modern Canadian political history (thereby taking upmost advantage of his party’s superior vault of cash

·       sending his Finance Minister out to contradict the Governor of the Bank of Canada when he posits the view that the Canadian economy is sliding into recession (two consecutive quarters with no growth)

·       making faux headlines on the back of a “balanced budget” that is so swiss-cheese filled with holes, given the steep slide in oil prices and the government’s having put all their “eggs” in that basket

·       attempting to overshadow the testimony of former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright at the Duffy trial in mid-August with election coverage

·       demonstrating extremely opportunistic and cynical judgement in the appointment of Duffy to the Senate as media icon to raise funds for the party and then dumping him for abusing the vague and hardly transparent Senate spending rules on ‘residency’ requirements, after Duffy himself protested to the Prime Minister himself that his ‘real residence’ was Ottawa

·       refusing ever to meet with the provincial premiers and territorial representatives to discuss anything including health care, environment, First Nations issues, or even human resource development

·       watching the resignation from his Cabinet of substantive ministers like John Baird, Peter McKay, Jim Prentice all of them in the prime of their political years

·       rotating ministers through the Environment department while persisting in denying and avoiding substantive steps to protect the environment from the toxic tar sands

·       dumping the long-form census on which all academics and social planners depend for their long-range projections

·       appointing candidates to the Supreme Court without fully complying with both the letter and the spirit of the traditional pathways

·       insulting the Supreme Court’s highest judge and thumbing his nose at the court repeatedly

·       refusing categorically to call a Royal Commission to investigate the death and disappearance of some 1100 aboriginal women, while employing the reductionistic “we do not need to look at the sociology, this is simply a criminal matter” rationalization

·       removing discretion from judges through maximum minimum sentences and building hundreds of new prison cells while rejecting the research based approach of remediation and reform of criminals

·       introducing and passing omnibus bills into the Commons thereby hiding nefarious and clearly unpopular measures that would otherwise fail the test of passage in the public interest, thereby upholding party interest above public interest

·       failing to balance personal freedom and public security in the C-51 Bill to enhance the powers of the national security apparatus while simultaneously reducing personal freedoms in the view of those who know and consider these options as part of their careers

·       bribing all parents with cheap child-care cheques weeks before the election date, thereby hoping to benefit from the manipulation of their loyalty in the voting booth

·       muzzling all civil servants from publicly discussing scientific evidence that is required for public application, having nothing to do with shaping government policy

·       emphasizing the military aspect of foreign policy to the abject abandonment of  a Canadian historic contribution to international geopolitics of mediation, negotiation and moderation and PEACEKEEPING, costing Canada a lost vote for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

·       abandoning the balanced and historic position of all previous Canadian governments (Liberal and Progressive Conservative) in the Palestine-Israel dispute, while also removing the Canadian embassy from Tehran

·       reducing the GST in another blatant attempt to bribe lower and middle class voters to support the government.

And this list is hardly complete...merely a remarkable list of taking Canada in the wrong direction, something for which Canadians will have to spend the next decade reversing, if, as polls indicate, we have the balls to throw the government out!

Unlike the leaders of the two opposition parties, I am not, and have no need to be, restrained in my expressions of contempt for the legacy of the Harper government or the Prime Minister. I am not in a position to have to mollify public opinion when the media paints this piece as “rash” “over the top” or even “extreme”.
 Like millions of other Ontarians, who had to dig ourselves out from the debacle now known as Mike Harris, I hope that Harper has so deeply convinced the electorate that pandering to fear, division and blatant and cheap bribery is a governmental diet that breeds only indigestion and gas, certainly not national nourishment and leadership. An old adage in politics as revered as “all politics is local” is the aphorism, “you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

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