A Commentary by Doug Draper
As this coming October 19th – Voting Day across Canada – closes in on more than nine and a half years of Stephen Harper using and abusing the levers of power to (as he was once reported to have put a gathering of U.S. conservatives) change Canada in ways that we won’t recognize it, Harper seems to be taking steps to distance himself from the Conservative Party he played such a key role in shaping over the past few decades.
“This election is not about me,” Harper can be heard saying in ads his party’s campaign has been running in the final days of this federal election.
Not about Harper? Then who or what is this election about?
Is it about the millions of everyday Canadians out there who are left paying for services the wealthiest individuals and corporations aren’t paying their fair share for because the Harper government refuses to get rid of loopholes that allow them to export an estimated $200 billion a year to tax havens in other parts of the world?
Is it about the tens of thousands of decent paying jobs that aren’t being created in Canada because the Harper government would rather sell our country’s bounty of raw resources to the United States, to China and to other places in the world for fire sale prices where they are used in the refining or manufactured of products that are sold back to us at a price that is higher than what we would pay across the border?
Is this the kind of “leadership” around creating jobs and growing an economy based on a stronger, more diverse manufacturing sector, and seeing that upper 10 per cent pay a share for the services we need that this election is about?
Or is it about the more than 1,000 murdered and missing aboriginal girls and women for which Harper has repeatedly refused to hold a public inquiry?
Is it about the many other aboriginal people in Canada the United Nations says are living in third world conditions and who continue drinking unsafe drinking water while the Harper government does nothing?
Is it about the thousands of Canadians that organizations supporting our medical doctors say are dying prematurely each year from illnesses related to air pollution while the Harper government guts environmental protection rules and casts citizens who advocate for environmental protection as enemies of the state?
Is it about the tens of thousands of young people who are going deeper and deeper into personal debt as they struggle to pay tuition fees for college or university that have escalated well above the rate of inflation?
Is it about what kind of a future these young people will have if Canada continues to show no leadership on fighting climate change?
And what about the recent immigrants to this country that dress or behave in ways that “old stock Canadians” (many who themselves come from families that met fear and intolerance when they arrived in Canada one or more generations ago) are being encouraged by Harper to view as “barbaric?” Is this election about them?
This election is certainly focusing on all of those issues and more. And in each and every case, it is focusing on Harper’s leadership and how it is using to mislead or distract voters’ attention away from them in every negative way from fear-mongering and race baiting to lying about opposing parties wanting to bring brothels into your neighborhood and the country’s children hooked on drugs.
As one Ontario resident put it so well in a letter to the editor in this October 14th’s Globe and Mail: “If Stephen Harper thinks the election is not about him, he’s in for a surprise.”
That surprise will hopefully come when all the votes are cast and counted this coming October 19th.
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