I have been accused in various online forums, and personally, of harbouring feelings of hatred towards supporters of the Conservative Party. “How can you sleep at night?” one person asked.
Well to answer that last question, I sleep just fine.
To lay all my cards on the table I will say this. Until Stephen Harper came along I was politically unaligned. I followed the campaigns and I voted for the candidate I felt would best represent me in Ottawa; sometimes that was a Liberal candidate and sometimes a Progressive Conservative. Stephen Harper changed that and, as I posted here, turned me from being undecided to becoming a vocal Liberal supporter.
And here’s why:
- When campaigning, Stephen Harper assured Canadians, on numerous occasions, that they would never raid “Seniors hard earned assets” by taxing income trusts. Within the year they enacted legislation to tax trusts, taking billions out of the economy overnight, and have steadfastly refused to provide any financial justification for the move. I, and hundreds of thousands like me, will suffer the results of that betrayal for a very long time.
- Stephen Harper campaigned on open and transparent government and has since led the least open and least transparent Canadian government of all time. Access to information requests are being held back and interfered with by political operatives. Duly elected members of Parliament are being refused access to budgetary information and details on international military operations – information to which they are fully entitled.
- He has shut down Parliament through prorogation rather than being forced to address the legitimate concerns of the opposition parties.
- His government has publically said they will not recognize bills duly passed by Parliament and the Senate (Bill C-377 for example).
- His government has managed to alienate enough of Canada’s previous allies that we were denied a seat at the UN Security Council. That’s another first for Canada.
- He has said that a Parliamentary construct, a “coalition of losers” in his terms, is illegitimate. It is not, although he and his caucus persist in claiming it to be so; this in spite of his own well documented attempts to establish his own “coalition of losers” in the past.
- His government has been found in contempt of Parliament – the first time that has ever happened in Commonwealth history. And not by a so-called cabal of opposition parties, but by the Speaker himself. And his response? It’s just a “distraction”, and “you win some, you lose some”.
- The Conservatives played fast and loose with election funding to improperly gain almost $1 million in taxpayer rebates. And Stephen Harper’s response to $1 million in taxpayer money illegally going to party coffers? It’s an “administrative affair”, move on, nothing to see here.
- When Stephen Harper closed the doors on Parliament and went hat-in-hand to the Governor General, John Baird publically said that if the GG didn’t do what they wanted, they would bypass her and go directly to the Queen.
- On two separate occasions he has used Senate appointments as taxpayer-funded pre-election campaigns for Conservative candidates – Michel Fortier and Larry Smith.
- Senior civil servants and managers, when they tried to speak truth to power, were summarily fired or attacked: Linda Keen, Richard Colville, Munir Sheikh, Kevin Page, Robert Marleau, Marc Mayrand, Pat Stogran, Paul Kennedy, etc.
- His government oversaw the largest abuse of civil rights in Canadian history with the G8/G20 fiasco in Toronto. And it cost the Canadian taxpayers somewhere between $1 and $2 billion for that 2 day photo-op.
- In the current campaign, people are being turned away from his events because they also attended a Liberal or NDP function, or sported an NDP bumper sticker on their car, actions for which he blamed his staff – the usual response.
And the list goes on.
When I discuss any of this with my conservative friends (contrary to popular opinion I do have quite a few) the counter argument is usually some combination of: the Liberals were worse; Iggy isn’t a “real” Canadian; or the gun registry. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got. And I just don’t understand how that is enough to justify continuing the abuses of power we’ve seen over the past 5 or 6 years.
So no, I don’t hate Conservative supporters (although I do admit to despising Stephen Harper himself). But I am baffled by them.