Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why I don't like Harper

Joining the Mound of Sound, PG Liberal, and Woman at Mile 0, among others, I want to throw in my two bits worth on why Harper must go.

When JFK narrowly beat out Richard Nixon in 1960, it was said that actor John Wayne was shocked. Then, magnanimously, Wayne said, "I didn't vote for him, but he's my President and I hope he does a good job." For all his faults, Kennedy lived up to that standard, something no President unfortunately has done since.

Liberals have had their share of heroes and villians who have served as Prime Minister. So have Conservatives. While I was disappointed when Harper won two years ago, I hoped he would try to do a good job as Prime Minister of Canada. He hasn't even come close. In fact, I (as a Liberal) have to go as far as say that Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark and John Diefenbaker (all Conservatives) were a heck of a lot more competent at the job. But that's because they were Progressive Conservatives, progressive in the positive sense. Harper is the furthest from that.

Rather than cut income taxes (the more prudent and revenue neutral course), he cut the consumption tax (GST) which is a much more reliable source of steady stream revenue to the point where we might run a deficit this year for the first time in over a decade. He attempted to eliminate the Court Challenges Program, which in fact he can't since it was set up under the Official Languages Act a full four years before the Charter of Rights came into force. He's said he wants to restore the traditional balance of powers between the federal and provincial levels, but in fact is bent on mass centralization and this is no more apparent than his proposed immigration reforms which completely disrespects agreements with the provinces on the nomination of suitable regular class immigrants.

He opposed floor-crossing in the opposition benches, but was perfectly okay with someone crossing the floor the very first day he became PM. He was against public financing of political parties and tax credits for contributions to federal parties, yet seemed quite content (it seems) to not only exploit public financing but bend the rules to ensure an election victory.

He favours seniors with pensions at the expense of those who must rely on Old Age Security and the Supplement alone -- if they get the Supplement at all. Health care reform is a bust -- rather than demand benchmark improvements in five areas as he promised, he let the provinces get away with improving just one.

He has shown his contempt for children by decimating the purpose of the tax-free Child Tax Benefit and adding money that is taxable rather than having a real strategy to reduce or eliminate child poverty. His plan to create 125,000 day care spaces is nowhere near met because businesses don't have the incentive to do so.

And he's very content to be the fishing and hunting buddy of Dubya and will continue to act in this vein if John McCain is elected President. He wants Canada to be the fish and game, not the fisherman and hunter.

As far as Middle East diplomacy goes, he has just about destroyed Canada's reputation as an honest broker in the region. Of course we must support the state of Israel and stand up against militant groups that want to destroy the only true democracy in the region. But we also need to insist upon a just solution for Palestinians and other Arabs who want to live and let live; as well as ensure free access to the holy sites of the three main monotheistic religions. Harper, unfortunately, comes off as a Kingdom Now evangelical who thinks we must trigger Armageddon rather than let events take their course in due time. This is unacceptable. Frankly, I wouldn't be too surprised if Harper would support tearing down Haram al-Sharif and rebuilding the Third Temple. It's right in his ballpark.

Make no mistake, if Harper wins another term he'll almost certainly help the US in its more fanatical missions. When our tour of duty in Afghanistan ends in 2011, they'll be reassigned -- to Iraq. And as in the US, he'll play the patriotism card.

He wants to get rid of the CBC, or at least CBC News; even if he doesn't want to admit it.

Another thing I don't like about Harper: Racial profiling in selective mass mailings. There are literally hundreds of people named "Lee," for instance, who have received Chinese New Year cards even though they're Anglophone and not Chinese. The same goes with many people named Livingstone and Waxman who received Hanukkah cards even though they're Christian. And so forth. A friend of mine, whose parents are Italian but considers herself 100% Canadian, was quite insulted when she received a "Buon Natale" card for Christmas last year from Harper. She considered it patronizing to ethnicity, the exact opposite of the old Reform Party's entirely correct opposition to "hyphenated Canadians."

And oh yeah, "I gonna sue ya" to just about everyone in the House of Commons and the peanut (i.e. press) gallery who disagrees with him.

Harper has chosen expediency over vision. This must not be tolerated. That's partly why I've kept writing this blog.

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1 comment:

Howard said...

Well spoken my friend. The subtle difference between US politics and Canadian politics is that we habven't yet learned to assinate our bad leaders.