Bits and bites of everyday life

 

Secrets, half-truths and manipulation

No blaming the Easter Bunny this time around: Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair wonders, does Stephen Harper believe in our values and our democracy?

 
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

 
  Harper, hiding behind children.

Last year, Easter Sunday was on April the 4th and it was a gorgeous day: 28 degrees Celsius. We shared a beautiful Easter breakfast and egg hunt outdoors. Everything was fine until the men started talking politics. You can read the article that ensued, posted April 9th 2010 in the True North Perspective archives.

 
I took that opportunity to have my say since I have never been polled and only have one vote in a federal election. The Harper government, a mutant (Reform) Conservative party, worried me from the very beginning. I saw Stephen Harper becoming the George Bush sidekick: “Let’s make sure corporations prosper, never mind the masses”. Thank God, Barack Obama took over the U.S. presidency! Watching how Harper has operated ever since begs one question: “Does he believe in our values and our democracy?”
 
Stephen Harper accuses the opposition of precipitating this last election, saying that Canadians do not want another costly election. He’s right on one point: we didn’t want another election … but please explain why we have been bombarded by this ugly smear campaign aimed at Michael Ignatieff for months on end? I still cringe at the one they directed at Stéphane Dion previously and I’m really sick and tired of the one on TV (the one where they try to convince you that Michael Ignatieff is more American than Canadian and he didn’t come back for you). That campaign ad should be taken off the air, pronto, since it’s like the pot calling the kettle black.
 
Belinda Stronach once said Stephen Harper was ready to break up the country. Look at the division he has caused with the gun registry, pitting farmers and hunters against law enforcement people and the ordinary citizen who doesn’t want to have the U.S.A.’s gun problems. He’s going to multiply prisons instead! Go figure! And what’s behind his idea of shortening the census? He doesn’t care about the Canadian fabric. He doesn’t care about francophones, visible minorities, aboriginals and, women for that matter. Let’s create another melting pot here!! Why not elect Stephen Harper as president … or worse, dictator?
 
As I had said in my previous article of April 2010, I get very touchy about three things. Manipulation is the first. The 2006 election campaign “in and out” financing unraveled at the very same time as Harper promised more transparency and accountability, apparently spending in excess of 1.3 million dollars on the 2006 campaign! Four senior conservatives were charged of willfully exceeding spending. Do they have a difference of interpretation of what’s legal here? We can do what we want but we will control the other parties’ spending!
 
And, what about access to information? Some conservative MPs are outraged. Stephen Harper’s iron grip on his party is beginning to be widely criticized. And what about his decision to only answer five questions from journalists per day? During the last election campaign, he used to look away from the camera. Hello? You were in the public eye and body language counts here! This year, he is hiding behind children! And, remember the performance at the NAC after his announcing cutbacks in arts funding? As an artist, I wasn’t impressed the least little bit. He doesn’t care about the fact that Canada has become world-renowned for producing quality artists and art productions. Didn’t he call artists spoiled brats? Now he promises to increase the Children Fitness Tax Credit and offer an Adult Fitness Tax Credit. These credits would only take effect in 2015 … if the budget is balanced! My father used to do that. He would tell my brother that if he worked hard through the summer, he would be given a calf and the proceeds of the sale would be his. Only it never happened! Dishonest manipulation!
 
Secrets are my second biggest worry! Why is Stephen Harper so secretive? Lack of trust and a paranoid need to control are usually the underlying elements of secrets. Secrets are the stuff of scandals once they unravel and scandals have been a constant with the Harper government, from Bev Oda’s document-altering scandal to Jason Kenney using ministerial letterhead to raise money for the Conservative party to the integrity commissioner ignoring 228 whistleblowing complaints and the government letting her go with a half-million dollar severance package and, of course, a gag order! How does that make you feel? How many federal employees have lost their jobs to cover-up conservative blunders? And look at what they did to diplomat Richard Colvin and Veteran’s Affairs whistleblower, Sean Bruyea! Keep a lid on the ugly secrets at all cost, even if it means destroying the person’s credibility and private life! And if that’s not enough, the unilateral, untendered contract award for the F35 jet fighters should make you fume! Harper’s government failed to report the cost of this program, hence the vote of non-confidence! Is this the kind of government I want for “my country”? No way!!
 
My third preoccupation is “half-truths!” Stephen Harper is trying to take credit for Canada’s excellent performance during the latest world economic crisis. When he took over from the Liberals, we no longer had a deficit; we even had a surplus that was being applied annually against the national debt. Furthermore, he cannot take credit for the reliability and performance of our banking system. It was set up before he came around. He keeps telling Canadians that a Liberal government will spend billions if elected. Isn’t that what he has been doing?
 
And what about his promise to pull our troops out of Afghanistan by 2011? How many more able-bodied, young men and women do we need to sacrifice? And how does he reward courageous soldiers such as Capt. Trevor Greene? He does away with long-term disability pensions for our wounded soldiers and gives them cash settlements of less than two years of salary.
 
Stéphane Dion was in the region this week. He warned this is not the way we, Canadians, want our democratic Canada run. I am sure Elizabeth May agrees with him. She won’t even be part of the election debate! Enough of reform tactics and bullying! Enough of handing out carrots to appease the voters as his promise not to change any laws pertaining to abortion and gay marriages! I want a government who respects Canadians and won’t set them back fifty years. I want to be respected as a woman, an artist, a senior, a tax-payer and I don’t feel I am getting that from the Conservative Party. Time to send Stephen Harper a clear message! We don’t want his mutant, Conservative government anymore!
 
So, there you are! I’ve had my say and this time, I can’t blame it on the caffeine high or a sugar rush. I’m just fed up!

Comments

So right Alberte,

But untill the general population gets angry enough at harper (and we have a credible leader in the Liberals) all this is just "pissing in the Wind" pardon my language.

What is needed is for us to get more Canadians involved in the political process, then maybe we will see true democracy.

Alberte,

I am with you 100%, my husband and I are very concerned at the number of conservative signage about.  I seriously cannot believe all these people are voting to keep this man in power.  He is a law onto himself, manipulative, arrogant and obviously ignorant if you believe he knew nothing about Carson...or who kept people from the audiences that disagreed with his politics.  He must be voted out of office.  If we all take the attittude that Ignatieff is not our man and vote for the status quo...God help us!

I applaud your column and your speaking out!

Angela

Everyone can have their opinion, but claiming that “true democracy” is when politicians agree with you is pretty arrogant. This article is simplistic.

For instance, if we are extending the mission in Afghanistan by providing training, it is because the vast majority of MPs (all duly elected) want this, including the Liberal caucus and the Conservative caucus. Yes, that’s true democracy, whether you like it or not.

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