If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you may have noticed that I have shared a lot of news articles and photos that take pot shots at the Conservative Party of Canada. In seeing what I share, you may fairly assume that I am anti-Conservative.
I'm not so much anti-Conservative as I am, unabashedly, anti-Stephen Harper.
I do remember when Canada had a Progressive Conservative Party, and while I didn't share some of the values of those Conservatives, I did respect some of its members and some of its goals for Canada.
I had a great respect for Joe Clark, who was an excellent statesman and foreign-affairs minister—championing the anti-apartheid movement in Canada, the only G7 country to take such a stance in the 80s. Clark also fought for minimum wage for all Canadians.
Walter Baker, a PC member under Clark's minority government, was the MP for my riding and was well-respected by his constituents (he also lived next to a friend's house). Baker first introduced the Access to Information Bill that later was used as a basis for the Access to Information Act, which demands clarity from our government.
I even admired Brian Mulroney's Meech Lake Accord, which was an attempt to bring Québec into the fold in accepting the constitutional amendment and to try to keep that province within Canada. Though I didn't like Mulroney, I could see that he did have vision for a united Canada.
I am not anti-Conservative. I like to think that the majority of Canadians who still support a Conservative government are looking nostalgically to the days of the Progressive Conservatives. That's what I think of those, who complain about the Liberal Party, remember their grievances with Pierre Trudeau and how they disagree with his lavish spending. Like or hate those Liberals, that party was running counter to those old PCs.
That Trudeau is gone. So are those PCs.
I'm not anti-Conservative: I'm anti-Harper.
I share stories about corruption within Harper's party because it seems rampant. I share stories about how Harper has made the niqab an election issue, how he has divided the country and endorsed hate, how he has cultivated a society of fear and paranoia, where someone can call a tip line to report on a neighbour, just because that neighbour is different.
Canada used to be a country that was prided on tolerance and acceptance. Not under Harper's watch.
Our country is now attracting negative press, being viewed by other countries as intolerant and racist. That's not our country. That's not Canada.
That's all on Harper.
With a re-elected Harper government, we will continue to see our scientists muzzled. We will see the demise of our public broadcasting system. We will see the erosion of our privacy. We will see the end of Canada as we know it.
The Supreme Court of Canada has been our last bastion of our constitution. The Harper Government has tried to introduce bills that have been struck down by the Supreme Court 11 times. His court challenges have lost 11 times because they were unconstitutional. And Harper has been trying to discredit Supreme Court judges that have ruled against him. Harper has tried to stack the court with judges that support him.
If the Supreme Court is filled with Harper supporters, he will be able to pass bills that the court has previously deemed unconstitutional.
I'll give a minute for that to sink in.
I'm not anti-Conservative. I'm anti-Harper. I'm anti-Harper Conservative.
If you are considering voting for the Conservative Party of Canada, you really have to stop and think: are you voting of the old ideals of the Progressive Conservatives, or do you really think that Harper is the kind of man that you like, that what he wants to do with this country is good for Canadians—all Canadians.
No political party is perfect. It's impossible to agree with every policy and plan that a single party promises during the election campaign. It's even harder to believe everything that is said.
But of all the party leaders, Harper scares me the most. He scares me because he's already eroded so much that has been viewed as good in Canada. He has damaged our economy, our environment, and the world's view of us. If he is elected again, he will destroy this country.
Stop looking at his promises for tax savings and balanced budget. He has cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars, and his one balanced budget—one in 10 years—is the result of tapping into our reserves.
The payments to families may sound good, but after the tax clawbacks that we'll see at tax time, we'll realize that he has only thrown coins at our feet, expecting to buy our votes.
Do you want a little bit of cash in your pocket, at the expense of our values?
We can't afford another four years of Harper.
I'm not anti-Conservative. If you are looking back to the days of the Progressive Conservatives, you have to understand that, under Harper, they don't exist any more.
If you want to return to the days of the PCs, voting for Harper won't do that. Ever. If you want to return to the days of the PCs, you need to first get rid of Harper. Period.
Let's vote together to ensure that Harper and his followers (Pierre Poilievre, Jason Kenney, Tony Clement, Michelle Rempel, Leona Aglukkaq, Chris Alexander, Joe Oliver, Lisa Raitt... you know, the weasels who will tow the party line before they represent their constituents but aren't showing their faces in public debates or to the media during the campaign) go away. Vote for whichever party has the best chance of defeating a Harper Conservative.
If you can't bring yourself to vote for any other party, please stay home. Don't vote.
We need change. We need to get rid of Harper. We need to let him know that we're not a divisive country, that we value acceptance over paranoia. We value tolerance over hate.
We need change. We need our Canada back.