Vote however you wish this month, but please be informed before you cast a ballot. After 10 years in power, this man has nothing to show for it except the erosion of the economy, democracy, environment, foreign policy, culture, and civil liberties.
Harper is Not “A Steady Hand on the Wheel” for our Economy
Harper’s Economic Record Is Way Worse Than His Predecessors
Reputable Economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan have crunched numbers to compare the financial track records of the last nine prime ministers (1946 to today). On 13 of the 16 indicators of poor financial leadership, from job creation to national debt, Harper ranked last or second last.
Economic Growth Has Slowed Under Harper’s Rule
Under the reign of Harper, our economy has hit its lowest levels of growth in 69 years, and our economy is growing by nearly half the rate it did under the rule of his predecessors in the decade prior.
He Claims He’s Creating Jobs. He is Not.
Economist Jim Stanford says he’s responsible for “the slowest job creation of any prime minister since World War II.”
Harper is a Seriously Wasteful Spender of Your Tax Money
Here are 2 examples:
1.) At the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, Harper spent over a billion dollars of tax payers’ money on things like an artificial lake (did we need an artificial lake for a 3 day event?) and over-the-top security so his visitors wouldn’t see Canadians protesting.
2.) He spent 18 Billion on F-35 fighter jets, and before you say you support military readiness, consider this: we’re talking about 18 billion dollars, and he bought the F-35s from Lockheed Martin without pricing them elsewhere. He could’ve shopped around. Worse still, an auditor general’s report revealed the Conservatives misled both the public and Parliament on how much the F-35s would cost.
… But That’s Nothing Considering the Billions We Can’t Even Account For
Auditor general Michael Ferguson found that Harper’s books couldn’t account for $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding. That’s an awful lot of money not to be able to put a finger on. Worse still, there should have been a government-wide review of this anti-terrorism spending, by 35 departments, and there wasn’t.
He’s Wasting Millions Brainwashing Us
The Harper Government has used a record-breaking amount of tax-payer money to buy ads telling us they’re doing great. The Toronto Star estimates that since 2009, the Harper Government has spent at least $500-million promoting itself as fabulous. It’s greasy and wasteful to prime the electorate before an election campaign even begins.
He Inherited a Booming Economy and Made It Go Bust
Back in 2006, when Harper was elected, and our economy was booming; it was growing at 3% per year, and net debt was $492-billion and falling. Now it’s $615-billion and rising.
His Tunnel Vision about Oil Money is Killing Our Export Revenue
In 2000, Canada had a well-rounded economy, with value-added products accounting for over 60% of exports. By 2010, value-added products had fallen by one-third, because the Harper Government hedged their bets on oil and oil pipelines that didn’t go as planned. He let the manufacturing of other, more value-added products decline.
In Fact, He Likes His Oil Buddies So Much He Lets Them Re-write the Law
When the oil industry requested government alter several environmental laws that were “getting in the way of economic growth,” they were granted almost everything they wanted within 10 months.
He Is Not Developing Our Renewable Energy Sector, Despite the Fact There’s Money in It
Why do Mulcair and Trudeau want to develop our renewable energy sector? Why is even China doing it? Because investment in clean energy can provide 6 to 8 times more jobs than similar investment in the oil industry.
ZERO REGARD FOR DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Harper is the Only Prime Minister to Ever Be Held in Contempt of Parliament
In March of 2011, the Harper government became the first in Canadian history to be found in contempt of parliament when they refused to fully disclose the costs of proposed crime legislation, corporate tax cuts, and the stealth fighter jets they planned to buy. As a result, 156 opposition MPs – including every Liberal and NDP – stood together in a motion of no-confidence in government, because Harper refused to provide information our elected MPs needed to properly make a decision on our behalf.
Harper Blatantly Ignores Half of Our Budget Officer’s Requests
Luckily, Canada has a budget watchdog. Unluckily, Harper doesn’t feel the need to answer to him. Since 2006, the office of the parliamentary budget officer has requested data 360 times, but the Harper administration did not hand over complete data in 170 of those 360 instances. It’s against due democracy to deny the PBO that info.
… So the Budget Officer Has Sued Harper’s Administration
Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page wanted to analyze the impact of some program cuts, but couldn’t, because the Harper administration denied him the data he’d need to do so. So Page took Harper’s administration to Federal Court for it. Harper denying Page that information is nothing short of Harper feeling like he can do as he wishes with our tax money.
Harper Has Shut Down Parliament Four Times to Avoid Accountability
“Prorogation” means forcing a break in parliamentary sessions. And to quote Tom Mulcair, “Stephen Harper is setting new records for proroguing and avoiding accountability. He should stop hiding and face questions from the people’s representatives.” Since becoming Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has shut down parliament for a total of 181 days – a record from the last few decades. And his timing is always obviously suspicious – like right after accusations he was involved in senate scandals, or right before he was about to be held in contempt, or during an inquiry into Afghan detainees in 2009.
Harper Created a Loophole That Lets Him Borrow Billions without Parliament’s Permission
When the auditor general cried foul about the BILLIONS of dollars Harper’s government had gone through in “non-budgetary” spending it was too late. It was discovered that the Harper Government buried a loophole in a 2007 omnibus budget bill that lets them borrow money without going to Parliament for permission.
Harper Thinks He Should Own the Senate
In a 2013 memo, Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright expressed whiny rage that Conservative Senators were becoming too independent, and god forbid, thinking for themselves and not toeing party lines. They raged against Conservative Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton for “letting” senators to act outside of the direction of the prime minister. LeBreton was subsequently booted.
He Attacked Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
When Harper wanted the Supreme Court to appoint Marc Nadon to its ranks, McLachlin simply did her job and pointed out a legit eligibility issue, and Harper went off on her. It was so odd it left people wondering why he wanted Hadon appointed so badly. Thomas Heintzman is the past president of the Canadian Bar Association. He says he’s “never seen such a shot taken at a court,” and worries that kind of behaviour can undermine the supreme court’s independence in this country.
He’s So Pro Oil Charges Have Been Laid
Harper hired a convicted fraudster, Bruce Carson, to be a key advisor in his office. While employed in the Prime Minister’s office, Carson was lobbied for money to start a new “Eco Think Tank” at the University of Calgary. It was a sham. Carson left to run that think tank, but converted it into an oil industry booster, using a $15-million grant from the Harper government. The devious scheme ended with criminal charges for Carson.
The Harper Government Has a Manual on How to Disrupt a Meeting
The Conservatives have a 200-page manual on how to systematically quell a debate from the opposition. The sleazy book tells chairs how to obstruct unwanted debates and halt meetings that have gone off track. Harper’s people coach people on disrupting the democratic process of debating in parliament.
Zero Regard for Human Rights
Harper Does Not Consider Water a Basic Human Right
In 2010, the Harper government refused to sign a UN declaration which designated clean water as a human right. Also, in Canada’s 2011 budget, the Harper Administration failed to allocate sufficient funds for drinking water on First Nations reserves, leaving over 100 Aboriginal communities at risk.
The Harper Government Has Been Sued by a Justice Department Lawyer
When Senior Justice Department lawyer Edgar Schmidt finally got fed up with all of Harper’s shady bills, he sued the government for inadequately evaluating whether their bills were violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In true Harper fashion, Schmidt was immediately suspended without pay.
He Has Drastically Depleted the Voice of Women in Canada
During the reign of Harper, funding for women’s advocacy has been cut by 43%, and he shut down 12 of 16 Status of Women offices in Canada. It’s no wonder he refused a debate on women’s issues.
Harper “Randomly” Audits Those Who Oppose Him
The 2012 budget declared it would earmark $8-million for CRA to audit selected charities – including seven environmental groups perceived as threats to the oil industry’s prosperity. This sum has since been increased to $13-million a year, and now includes “random audits” of other troublemakers: anti-poverty, foreign aid, and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and United Church of Canada.
Harper Suspends His Dissenters, Instead of Hearing them Out
The most recent example of this came near the end of August. Canadian folk musician and Environment Canada employee, Tony Turner, wrote a protest song about why “Harperman” shouldn’t be in power any longer. The song went viral. Harper’s reaction? He suspended Turner, and is investigating him for recording the song. “Investigating him?” We now live in a country where it’ll cost you your job to write a protest song. Also, more than 100 high-ranking Parks Canada employees are demanding to know why John Wilmshurst, a resource conservation manager with Parks Canada, was let go after sharing details on receding glaciers in Jasper National Park.
His Intolerance of Protests is Borderline Orwellian
In 2010, Harper’s intolerance of electorate discontent broke a record. The G20 saw the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. 1,100 protestors were arrested, and yet only 99 of them resulted in actual criminal charges. So, 89% of people arrested that day hadn’t done anything wrong.
Harper Wants to Legislate Loyalty
Bill C-520 would require every applicant for a government job to disclose their past political activities. It’s a guilt-by-association probing tool, well in line with the Conservatives’ desire to purge the public sector of anyone who isn’t with them.
Knowledge is Power So He’s Deny US Knowledge
Harper Scrapped the Long Form Census So We’d Not See How Bad Off We Are
The mandatory long-form census was the only way for Canada to gather adequate info about the state of our country, like how well the middle class is faring, or whether low-income families are receiving adequate services. The Harper government replaced the mandatory long-form census with a voluntary National Household Survey, despite Canada’s most senior statisticians claiming that a voluntary census would result in useless data. And it turned out they were right. Also, this data suddenly costs money now. When Harper’s people lied, saying StatsCan agreed about scrapping the census, Statistics Canada’s chief quit with a very public open letter blasting the Harper Government.
Harper’s Gagging of Media is Making Headlines
To quote the New York Times, “His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions.”
His Blatant Muzzling of Canadian Scientists Has Earned International Attention
Scientists have always strived to publish information of benefit to society like “don’t drink if pregnant,” and “smoking causes cancer.” But Harper is doing all he can to silence our scientists about modern-day food and environmental concerns. PIPSC is a union of 55,000 scientists and professionals in our country’s federal public service. A recent survey revealed that hundreds of scientists had been asked to exclude or alter information in government documents. Thousands more said they’d been prevented from talking to the media or the public about their work. 90% feel they cannot openly communicate their findings. This all culminated in a full on protest last December, when our scientists banded together seeking to “expose the damage the Harper government has done to federal public services.”
Seriously, The Muzzling is Full on Muzzling
Here’s something right out of a movie: our government researchers are travelling to prestigious international scientific conferences, but they’re being accompanied by “media minders,” who shadow them to ensure they don’t say anything Harper doesn’t like about Canada’s energy industry, i.e, any findings pertaining to proof of climate change. Thanks to Harper, talk of federal climate change in Canadian media has dropped 80% in recent years.
See the Pattern? He’s Controlling the Dissemination of Information So You Don’t Think about Anything
He has been prime minister for nearly a decade for a reason: He shields Canadians from the reality that we’re not doing so well right now, and he isn’t a great leader. To quote the New York Times, “Harper has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking the country in ignorance.”
Crushing the CBC is Crushing National Conversation
A country this big needs a public broadcasting corporation keeping us all in the loop on what’s going on nationally, from arts & culture, to news and issues. Yet we’ve all seen the Conservative government’s disregard for the CBC, as funding, staff, and now even buildings are being gutted. During the 2011 election, they’d claimed they would “maintain or increase support for the CBC.” Not even a year later, Harper hit the CBC with their biggest cut of the new millennium.
Federal Agricultural and Marine Science Libraries Trashed and Decimated
The Agriculture and Agri-Food Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta formerly housed decades of valuable, specialized agricultural information. In the summer of 2015, photos emerged of the library’s contents discarded in a dumpster outside the building. This was the 16th federal science library lost since 2012. Among others were seven world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans archives. Scientists report witnessing a “chaotic chucking of rare literature” with the clear intention of destroying material that contained sensitive environmental information.
He Has Destroyed Our International Image
Former Prime Ministers are “Ashamed of Harper’s Canada”
Take Jean Chrétien (PM, 1993-2003). He wrote an open letter, “In my travels around the globe, I am regularly asked: What has happened to Canada? What has happened to the advanced, peace-seeking, progressive country Canada once was? These questions evoke great sadness in me.”
We’re Environmental Monsters
In 2012, Harper launched an unprecedented assault on Canada’s environmental laws when he introduced Bill C-38. It ended automatic environmental assessments of Federal projects, and gutted the Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. In 2011, Harper yanked us from the Kyoto agreement – an international scale effort to reduce climate change – making Canada the first signatory to bail on it. And the Climate Action Network Europe ranked us at number 58 on a list of 61, with only Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Australia doing less to combat climate change than us.
Harper Proposed and Passed Bill-C51
Bill C-51 might have been the news story of the year. It has been condemned by the UN, constitutional law experts, past prime ministers, Supreme Court justice members, First Nations, business leaders, newspaper editors, academics, and others, for the risk it is to freedom of speech in Canada. Bill C-51 is the kind of legislation that would consider this very article an act of terrorism, for the way I’m harping on my prime minister. It also allows government agencies to share personal information without regard for privacy, and would give far too much power to CSIS, RCMP, and CSEC to spy on us and act independently on the info they gather, including the right to detain us, before we’re proven guilty, for up to a week.
And All of This Barely Scratches the Surface … Tune in Next Week, for a More Thorough, Week-long Skewering.