Sunday, October 18, 2015

Last Leg

Canadians expect a few things from government: a strong economy, participation on the world stage, and a fair and just society at home. Over nine years Stephen Harper has proven unable to provide these things as Prime Minister.

Canada's international reputation is a tattered shell of what it was. Once rightly thought of as reasonable and progressive in global politics, we are now the country that reneges on international agreements like Kyoto, denies refugees, and no longer has any clout or respect at the United Nations. How far we have come from Lester Pearson getting the Nobel Peace Prize for using UN peacekeepers to resolve an international crisis. I wonder if Canadians still wear a maple leaf when backpacking across the world.

Canadians have always counted on our common values for our sense of identity. Being Canadian is less about where we came from or what our ancestors did, and more about who we are and what we are like. Our sense of fairness, openness, tolerance: universal health care, embracing multiple cultures. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is admired across the world. We are proud of being a decent people. Stephen Harper has eroded this pride like a cancer. His willingness to use racial tactics to divide us against ourselves in the niqab debate and the "barbaric cultural practices" hotline are only the most recent examples. Canada is a less tolerant and more hateful country after nine years of Harper.

Yet somehow Harper is seen as a sound economist. A spate of endorsements, all from Postmedia-controlled papers, were variations of how the Conservatives are the only party capable of managing the economy. (As in the spring Alberta election, all Postmedia papers were directed to endorse the conservative leader. These unsigned endorsements read like forced confessions and usually contradict the opinions of the local journalists.) The Globe and Mail endorsed the Conservatives based on their fiscal record, while hilariously calling on Harper to resign.

It's time to kick this last leg of the stool out from Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. They are not good at managing our money. They are not good at creating growth, or exports, or jobs. This article shows Harper's dismal record in all economic areas as compared to all other Canadian prime ministers over the past several decades. The full report that this article is based on also shows how Canada has lagged most other countries during Harper's tenure. He has mismanaged the economy while being credited for the opposite.

On this last day of a long and ugly campaign, media with a conservative agenda will continue to perpetuate the myth of Harper's able management of the economy. But the independent media and free thinking voters should be aware of the facts, not just the popular assumption. Harper has destroyed our reputation and identity as Canadians, and created a climate of fear and hatred. Without the false perception of his financial competence, he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

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