OPINION: What has Stephen Harper done for us?

OPINION: What has Stephen Harper done for us?

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LEST WE FORGET…
BY: PAULINE STEVENS

Although it was a very long time coming, we are finally heading to the polls on Monday. Before that happens, I thought it appropriate to take the time to remember exactly what Stephen Harper has done since he has been in power.

WITHDRAWAL FROM THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
Under a Liberal government, Canada signed the accord in 1997 and ratified it in 2002. Canada’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions was set at 6% lower than the 1990 base year. When Harper decided to withdraw in 2011, Canada was at more than 20% over its base year! Withdrawing simply saved Harper’s government approximately 14$ billion (yes, billion!) dollars in penalties. Instead, Canada’s environment is paying the price.

LAC-MEGANTIC AND SECURITY
A 181 page report stated that Transport Canada failed to enforce its own safety requirements and neglected to act on various security concerns. It needs to be said – Transport Canada was aware of the problems before the disaster on July 6, 2013, that left 47 people dead and a town devastated. Lac-Megantic still hasn’t fully recovered from the avoidable disaster.

FRAUD IN THE SENATE
An audit that lasted almost 2 years and cost approximately 21$ million dollars (of our money!), found that 30 senators had questionable expense claims and of those 30, 9 were named in the audit and their claims have been referred to the RCMP. The audit not only cost Canada a lot of money, but it cost us our dignity as well.

MIKE DUFFY
Harper appointed Duffy to represent P.E.I., even though he lives in Ontario. Duffy is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to his expense claims. Watch videos of Harper’s comments and Google body language and lies. Need I say more?

NO MORE PROTECTION FOR OUR RIVERS AND LAKES
Harper has failed as far as protecting our rivers and lakes are concerned. Canada had over 2 million protected lakes and 8 500 protected rivers. That’s dropped to 97 protected lakes and 62 protected rivers. The budget was reduced by 100$ million dollars in 2013, signifying the end of the environmental protection of Canada’s lakes and rivers. 2 000 scientists in the public sector who contributed to the protection of our environment were sent packing. The conservatives made things even worse by modifying fishing laws that basically eradicated the protection of salmon habitats.

CANADA’S DEFICIT
I understand that different political parties are choosing statistics that fit with their political campaign, but I also understand that no matter what anyone says, Harper has made budget history! Not only did he truly have 6 consecutive deficits, but he also had the largest deficit in Canadian history! 55.6 Billion dollars in 2010! Quite the legacy…

THE ABOLITION OF CANADA’S GUN REGISTRY
Canada’s gun registry, which is a centralized database overseen the RCMP, links firearms with their owners. Abolishing the registry doesn’t change the fact that you have to have a licence in order to possess and register a firearm. Under Canadian law, there are 3 types of guns: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Harper’s government said the law was wasteful and ineffective, since it targeted law-abiding citizens and not criminals who don’t register their firearms. Yet police said that the registry allowed them to evaluate whether or not they were arriving on a call that had a potential safety threat, as well as helping define the origins of a gun. I’d be curious to know how often the police consulted the registry while it was in effect. As for Harper saying the register was wasteful, I’m also curious to know how much it cost the taxpayers to take the argument all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

THE REFUSAL OF A PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO MISSING, ABUSED AND MURDERED ABORIGINAL WOMEN AND GIRLS
To quote CBC News, ‘’In a span of a week, the Conservative government confirmed their feelings of indifference, disregard and utter lack of respect for indigenous people’’. CBC News said this because Harper said (and I quote him), “Um it, it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest … Our ministers will continue to dialogue with those who are concerned about this.” Somehow, I’m not sure why, but I get the feeling that this is one time out of a very few that Harper actually was honest.

ENTRENCHING CORPORATISM
Harper needs to address the fact that Canada now dominates the World Bank corruption list, in light of SNC-Lavalin. He also bailed out the banks and lowered corporate taxes while cutting back on federal programs and services. Basically, he is proving that he agrees with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Middle class, you say? What middle class??

UNDERMINING POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
Harper’s government has reduced funds for universities. Universities now have to beg and grovel to get corporate funding. I have to ask myself where our country is headed if the government thinks higher education isn’t worth much, yet corporate taxes were cut. Education is more than important – it’s essential to our way of life and to prospering as a country. I guess Stephen Harper just doesn’t see it that way.

CANADA’S MILITARY BUDGET
Harper has tripled our military budget since 2000. The budget now sits at 30 billion dollars. Perhaps that sheds some light on the fact that Harper refused to sign the arms trade treaty…

THE MUZZLING OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
In 2006 during the electoral campaign, Stephen Harper said that ‘’The time for accountability has arrived.’’ Well, we’re still waiting for that to happen.
Under the Access to Information Law (ATI), Canadians have the right to ask for and obtain federal documents and data. ATI is a fundamental and basic part of freedom of expression, which allows citizens and journalists to request and receive documents concerning our government. It would appear that the Harper government wants to silence our freedom of expression, since time and again, time limits were disregarded and some requests completely ignored. Some requests when answered had many pages and much information blacked out. One has to wonder what exactly Harper is trying to hide.
Harper also silences his opponents by restricting the rights of scientists to speak their mind if they oppose him and he also controls all information flowing from the government. Free expression and transparency are definitely not part of Harper’s agenda!

REDUCING OUR CIVIL RIGHTS
With the new C-51 Law in effect, not only will the police now have power to arrest people without a warrant, personal information can now be shared with 17 government departments. I have to ask myself what exactly does my health information have to do with my revenue information or for that matter, with Canada Border services?

BUDGET CUTS IN THE ARTS
In 2008, don’t forget that Harper seriously handicapped our country with 45$ million in cuts to arts and culture funding. If you recall, Harper stated that ‘’Ordinary folks don’t care about the arts.’’. Well I’m quite ordinary and I really care about the arts and our culture! I guess Harper was hoping we would care more about him spending our money on war planes.

I could go on and on and on about the ‘’heritage’’ Stephen Harper has given us to deal with but then that would sort of be like the present electoral campaign, long and drawn out (and lest we forget, a ridiculous and expensive use of tax payer’s money).

Instead, I’ll leave you with Harper’s very own words: ‘’the time for accountability has arrived’’. I say we make Harper accountable by voting him out of office, which he won with a minority government.

Take a look around you when you go out today – every single one of our licence plates in Quebec is telling Harper, ‘’Je me souviens’’ which translates to I remember… which I will when I go vote on Monday.

Pauline Stevens, Quebec City
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LifeinQuebec.com comment:

Whoever you choose to support on Monday 19th October 2015 please do vote.
It’s your right and your voice.

See you at the polls.
Vote

Categories: Opinion, Politics

About Author

Pauline Stevens

Director of a reputable law firm in Québec City and entrepreneur since 1993, Pauline Stevens is the author of a number of articles on subjects that she is passionate about or that intrigue her. Featured in newspapers such as Le Journal de Québec, Le Journal de Montréal, Life in Quebec Magazine and Le Journal de l’Habitation, Pauline has other writing projects in the works.

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