LETTER — Harper Govt policies and practices I find offensive

Artist's rendering of Bridge of Hope at Victims of Communism plaza.

Artist’s rendering of Bridge of Hope at Victims of Communism plaza in Ottawa.

LETTER — Conservative members’ ridings got the largest proportion of the recently announced Infrastructure funds, money distributed according to greed, not need.

Money has been or is to be arbitrarily wasted on unwanted monuments – the Victims of Communism monstrosity and the proposed Mother Canada obscenity. The former makes as much sense as Vladimir Putin erecting a monument to Canadian aboriginals, and the latter stands as a contradiction to the government’s shoddy treatment of our veterans, on whom the money should be spent.

Julian Fantino’s harsh and heartless treatment of our veterans stands in stark contrast to the way we thanked WWI and WWII vets. Parliament voted the funds, but the vets had extreme difficulty accessing them, so they were re-named “surplus.”

Income splitting proposal, which benefits upper income people who need no extra help.

Selling military vehicles to Saudi Arabia, in spite of its infamous record of shoddy human rights and brutal punishments and executions.

Repeated massive subsidies to Bombardier so they can continue to make huge profits and pay huge CEO salaries and bonuses.

Closing the Iranian embassy, rather than maintaining a connection to an enlightened and potentially valuable mid-east ally.

Harper’s pathetic pseudo-heroic insult to Putin, to “get out of Ukraine.” Posturing, or pesturing?

Questionable judgement in appointments, from numerous senators to Arthur Porter as head of CSIS, and the now infamous ninety thousand dollar deal in the PM’s office to bail Mr. Duffy out of his (their?) predicament.

Seriously flawed judgement in attempts to manipulate the Supreme Court membership, to appoint unqualified candidates, and unprecedented insults to the Chief Justice of the Court, by both his Justice Minister and himself.

Failure to address native education needs and issues, and a petty attack on native culture in exposing a small number of corrupt band leaderships.

Absolute failure of leadership of Health Canada, abandoning the issue to the premiers, in what looks like an attempt to undermine the Tommy Douglas dream.

Deceptive and devious legislative practices of “Trojan Horses,” burying crucial items in massive omnibus bills in order to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. Virtual and open contempt for the traditions of parliamentary debate, having not once ever personally debated an act.

Shameful Election Reform Act, whose provisions deliberately made access to the ballot box difficult for many Canadians. The shameful Robo calls affair and Dean del Mastro’s imprisonment lie at the center of this deliberate, criminal manipulation of our electoral system.

The supposed improvement of the fixed election date, rather than our tradition, in order to enable the tory support mechanism of big business to advertise and campaign without restriction well outside of our 150 year-old 35 day election period. It was Mr. Harper, himself, while leader of the National Citizens Coalition, which sued for this dubious “right” of corporate Canada to manipulate our electoral traditions. This appears like an attempt to emulate the American model – hardly a fair system.

Stubborn refusal the see the missing eleven hundred native women as an issue, preferring to see them only as individual victims of crime – probably their own fault. He can’t see the forest, because there are too many trees in the way.

Unprecedented muzzling and dismantling of Canada’s governmental scientific community, an open attack upon the National Research Council, destruction of the Experimental Lakes project, and virtual abandonment of any meaningful environmental plan. Similar abandonment of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

With Mr.Flaherty, refusal to consider any improvement to the Canada Pension Plan, at the same time as national papers are full of concern for the inadequacy of existing plans, and unprepared potential pensioners. These refusals were subsequently identified by the Auditor General as deliberate misrepresentation of the facts about the Canada Pension Plan, and resulted in the AG -Kevin Page’s – dismissal.

Immoral use of taxpayer money – some 750 million dollars – to advertise Canada’s Economic Plan – basically taxpayer dollars to thank the Tories for spending taxpayer dollars. The money could no doubt have been better spent on aboriginal education.

Using unspent budget allocations, such as veterans’ funds, and overcharged Employment Insurance contributions, to balance the annual budget.

Atrocious attitudes toward and relationships with the media in efforts to cover or mask policies that Canadians might find objectionable.

Killing the traditional Long Form Census, denying policy makers current data, and destroying StatsCan because of a dislike of accurate data about Canadians. The result has been policy informed more by ideology than by data. Ironically Canada’s universities and research community disagreed with this plan, but it was implemented, nonetheless.

One example of the result is the Tough on Crime agenda sold to Canadians, at a time (1990 – 2010) when crime rates were down 20 percent! Also a time when prison populations rose by 7 percent – nearly all aboriginal!

Total waste of money on the War of 1812 as Canada’s War of Independence.This campaign was a pathetic attempt to bolster some kind of Yankee-esque patriotism. Canada did not exist in 1812, and the War was a British colonial affair in which the population of what was then Upper and Lower Canada were mere pawns to both sides.

I have read somewhere that some one hundred million dollars of this money was diverted from, among other places, Veterans Affairs Creating and fostering the Temporary Foreign Worker program, which allows wealthy corporations to divert employment from qualified Canadians who need those jobs to temporary substitutes.

Why do the Conservatives support companies and investors who want to make healthy Canadian profits but will not pay healthy Canadian wages?

A continuing conflict with the Auditor General over, among other things, veterans funding, totally changing the admirable Canadian history of showing our veterans – WWI and WWII and Korea – the genuine and unlimited gratitude they deserved, something all Canadians have always seen as a tacit moral absolute.

Immigration invitations which focus not on the refugees or others in urgent need, but on multimillionaires whose wealth has done little more than help in the gross inflation of west-coast property prices. Parodying the Statue of Liberty: ”Give me your rich, your predatory, your myopic acquisitor.”

These policies, practices, efforts, omissions – whatever we call them – form a deliberate and conscious plan to change Canada from what it has been to some private image in Stephen Harper’s mind, not openly shared with the people of Canada, and uncomfortably reminiscent of much that takes place in the United States.

We are slowly being manipulated into a society in which our historical tendency to accept and to accommodate each other has been replaced with ever larger gaps between us – monetary, cultural, ethnographic, political – with no a priori image of the final outcome – no sharing from Mr. Harper of the image of Canada which drives him.

And although the image is hidden from me, the clues I have listed above form a sketchy picture which disturbs me. This is not the Canada I grew up in and became proud of. This is not the kinder, gentler, more pacific but highly principled nation we once were proud of.

Rather, it strikes me as the image created in a kind of megalomania – personal choices for national monuments – the unshared private manipulation of an aloof autocrat. Wake up, Canada!



About Mel Rothenburger (8243 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on LETTER — Harper Govt policies and practices I find offensive

  1. Thanks for the support, Gisel! But the concern you describe as being absent is clearly itemized in the third from last paragraph.
    Thanks again.

    • My point was that our outdated electoral system is what is enabling Harper’s re-shaping of our country against the wishes of the majority. Not quibbling with your list, just stating that this would not be possible under a more representative system.

  2. By the way, Robert, I don’t know why you got the impression I was claiming to be great, because I made no such claim. You should read more carefully. All I did was document news stories, legislation, and speeches, and express my disgust at the direction in which our country is being pushed. And I do intend to volunteer in the election – against the Conservatives.

  3. Hate to disillusion you Robert, but everything in this letter has happened, and even worse is in progress. You support C-51 ??? Shame on you. Harper has done more for the rich, and their corporations, the whole while, robbing from the middle class, and the poor.

  4. Robert (bo) // July 20, 2015 at 5:34 PM // Reply

    Most of what was said is so untrue, get your facts right before you start to insult the hard work put in by our politicians, if you are so great, why aren’t you in politics. It is easy to sit back and make false accusations when you are doing nothing but complaining. Do something positive then boast of your accomplishments. Not complain about people who are working hard to make this a better place for all Canadians

    • Pierre Filisetti // July 20, 2015 at 10:11 PM // Reply

      He has taken the time to write a letter. Please go ahead and take the time to pen a letter yourself on the subject. Looking forward to read and compare.

    • Pierce Graham // July 21, 2015 at 10:07 AM // Reply

      All (and More than) the complaints I listed have been documented, with parliamentary and press records, in a book entitled Kill The Messengers, by Mark Bourrie, retired Parliamentary journalist. I formed my list long before I read the book. I suggest doubting readers of my letter bother to check printed, proven facts.

  5. Quite the list! I think one often overlooked fact is actually enabling the “re-shaping” of Canada against the will of the majority of Canadians: the way we elect our political representatives. First Past the Post allows a minority to govern as though they represented the majority of Canadians. That’s what’s allowing a relatively small minority to make wholesale changes: we don’t get what we voted for. Learn more at next week’s Fair Vote Canada forum: taking place Tuesday, July 28 at the TRU Alumni (Clocktower) Theatre, starting at 7 pm. Until Canadians choose to modernize our voting system, we will continue to be vulnerable to the kind of manipulation you describe.

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