Traditionally Canada has been a country that is a bit left of center politically. The Liberal Party of Canada best represented those ideals and ran the country for a total of 69 years in the 20th century. In all of Canada’s history there have only been 2 parties that have ruled the country, the Liberals and some form of the Conservatives.
There is another political party in Canada called the NDP who are far left. Although they have never formed a federal government, a leader of theirs, Tommy Douglas, many years ago, had a significant influence on Canadian politics. The Liberals adopted Douglas’s ideas like a Canada pension plan and universal healthcare and for many years now most Canadians have grown to cherish these social programs.
In 1993, after being office for close to 9 years, Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney decided not to run for re-election. He went on kind of a grand goodbye tour at the taxpayer’s expense. Canada was so fed up with Mulroney and the Conservatives (called the Progressive Conservatives back then) that the party was almost wiped out in the ensuing federal election only managing to elect 2 MPs nationwide. The Conservative Party would never be the same again.
Meanwhile something was brewing in the province of Alberta in western Canada. A new right wing party called the Reform Party was established and in the 1994 federal election they picked up 52 federal seats, 24 in Alberta and 22 in the province of British Columbia. There has always been a certain amount of resentment in western Canada that Canada has been influenced politically mostly from Ontario and Quebec.
46 seats was a moderate success for the Reform Party. 2 of the leaders of the party, Preston Manning and Stockwell Day wore their religious beliefs on their sleeves. It became quite obvious that the Reform Party would never succeed nationally. Manning and Day got dumped from the leadership of the party and in stepped a man named Stephen Harper who was based in Calgary, Alberta. Harper got together with a young Nova Scotian Conservative, Peter MacKay, and created a new part simply called the Conservatives. The word “progressive” was dropped from the party name.
The Liberals by this time had been in power for a long time. Some Canadians were getting a little weary of the gravelly voiced French Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. In 2003 Chretien resigned and Liberal finance minister Paul Martin, another Quebecer, became the new Prime Minister. Martin was known as a prudent administrator and was successful in eliminating a lot of Canada’s national debt. There was no love lost between former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.
Meanwhile a lot of the Liberal old guard had left politics including former Newfoundland PM Brian Tobin. In 2004 the Liberals found themselves running a minority government. 155 were needed to have a majority government and the liberals only elected 135.
The shit hit the fan for the Liberals with something that became known as “Sponsorgate” or “Adscam”. Basically the heart of this debacle was money being syphoned off by some people from an advertising campaign in Quebec that was directed at fighting the idea of an independent Quebec. The profiteers had federal Liberal connections.
Paul Martin called for a complete investigation of the matter by a man named John Gomery. The Gomery Report concluded that indeed there had been a lot of corruption in the use of federal tax dollars in Quebec advertising. The report also absolved Martin of any blame. In 2008 former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Liberal Girard Pelletier went to court and had Gomery’s opinion that they were key players in Sponsorgate quashed. This verdict was later upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The new Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper demanded Martin’s immediate resignation, His reasoning was that as Prime Minister Martin should be held responsible for the actions of those in his party. Years later when Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, was found out to have paid Conservative senator Mike Duffy’s $90.000.00 overcharge for expenses Harper chose to take no responsibility for the actions of his underling.
For a number of years the federal Liberal Party was in disarray. The Canadian public in general had lost faith in them. A good part of that lack of faith was the poor choices the Liberals made in selecting a national leader. After a tired Paul Martin left office a meek and timid Quebecer named Stephan Dion became the Liberal Party leader. He lacked any charisma. Dion was followed by Michael Ignatieff, another poor choice. Ignatieff had spent most of his adult life living in the UK and the US. In 2011 the Liberals not only lost the election badly, Ignatieff didn’t even win his own seat.
In 2011 the NDP became the official position party in Canada. A lot of this had to do with the well-loved leader of the NDP, a man named Jack Layton. With the Liberal Party in a shambles many former Liberal voters jumped to the NDP Party. The Conservatives under Harper have never garnered more than 40% of the popular vote which occurred in the election of 2011. In other words 60% of Canadians voted for a party other than the Conservatives. Jack Layton died in August of 2011 and the current NDP Party leader is Thomas Mulcair a Quebec politician and former provincial Liberal.
Stephen Harper, His Religion and Israel
Stephen Harper is an Evangelical. Publicly he has never talked much about his religious beliefs which isn’t common for most Evangelicals. 8-10% of Canadians are Evangelicals unlike the US where closer to 25% are followers of that faith. Still 8-10% is a pretty solid base of voters.
Evangelicals are not neutral when it comes to politics. In the US in particular it is quite common to see “Televangelicals” voicing their right wing political beliefs on TV. Many leaders live in palace like homes and some even own private jets worth up to 10 million dollars. They preach that the quest personal wealth is good even though the bible has little to say favourably about the rich.
There are some strange things that most Evangelicals have in common. They believe in “end times” for starters. Most are climate change deniers. Speaking in tongues which is a kind of trance like gibberish often occurs in their churches. Many followers are against gay marriage and a number believe that being gay is something that is learned and not born into.
Over the years there has been a long list of Evengelical leaders who have been found to not exactly follow the straight and narrow road. A number have committed adultery including Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Haggard, Billy James Hargis, Aimee Semple McPherson, and Jim Bakker. Two of the better known Evangelicals in the US are Sarah Palin who talks in word salad and whose daughter speaks to young people about abstinence while having 2 children out of wedlock and former Rep. Michelle Bachmann whose husband ran a business trying to de-gay gay people.
Harper may have not been upfront about his religious beliefs but he has quietly behind the scenes influenced Canadian politics with his religious beliefs. Nowhere else is it more evident than his stand on Israel. Right wing Christians look at Israel as the Holy Land. No matter what Israel does including creating new settlements on occupied land, Harper steadfastly refuses to denounce Israel on any of its policies.
In 2014 Harper led a delegation of 214 Canadians on a trip to Israel. 30 of them got free plane tickets courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer. Among the group were a number of Canadian rabbis and people who represented Canadian Jewish groups like the B’Nai Brith. Also on the journey were representatives from Crossroads Christian Communications, Trinity Bible Church, and The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches.
Less than 1% of Canadians are Jewish. About 1.7 Canadians have Ukrainian heritage. Where was Harper when the Ukraine was being attacked by Russia. Did he organize Canadian Ukrainians and travel to the Ukraine to show our solidarity with that country?
Harper and the Politics of Fear
There is little doubt that a large part of Harper’s political base is older white people. Nothing scares them more than change. Suggest to them that something is going to be taken away from them and they get very upset. Currently Harper is running ads on TV telling viewers all the things the Liberals are going to take away from them. Of course he doesn’t mention that the Liberals will be giving far more to the middle class than the Conservatives will.
Harper has continually beet the drum about how Canadians should be in grave fear of ISIS. We all know about the killings and the beheadings. A Canadian is more likely to be killed by a rampaging moose than an ISIS fighter. At best there are only 40,000 ISIS fighters. With over 350 million people living in the Middle East area it should be those people who eliminate ISIS.
Crime has actually gone down in Canada in the last decade. Harper would like Canadians to not think that is the case. Old people in particular are often scared shitless watching the local TV news. The reality is that Canada has one of the lowest crime rates on the planet.
The war on drugs in Canada and the US has been a total failure. Recently Harper made the claim that marijuana is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. The Canadian Cancer Society wouldn’t agree with that claim. Legalizing pot has nothing to do with saying that it is OK for teenagers to smoke the stuff. It is about regulating and taxing it, taking the profit away from the criminal element.
Harper and His Credentials
It is amusing that Harper has run ad after TV ad about Justin Trudeau’s lack of experience. Other than working briefly in the mailroom of a large oil company in Calgary, at a job his father secured for him, Harper has no experience working in the private sector. He has been involved in politics his whole life. When Harper became Prime Minister he was 4 years older than Trudeau is today. Trudeau didn’t become a politician until he was 36 years of age.
Harper has an economics degree from The University of Calgary. Since becoming Prime Minister in 2006 he had added over 150 billion dollars to Canada’s debt. His party hasn’t managed to have a balanced budget in all those years.
Harper claims that his party has now finally managed to balance the Canadian budget this year. To get there he has taken money from UI and Veterans Affairs. He also sold off GM shares that the government had acquired in bailing out the auto maker. They could have been a good source of revenue but Harper chose not to hang on to them. And of course he made another cut to the CBC.
Under Harper Canada has experienced the worst economy since WW2.
Harper the Benevolent Dictator
Harper’s policy is to answer as few reporter’s questions as possible. He is the lone spokesman for the Conservative Party. In fact all Conservative MP’s need to get clearance from his office before speaking about political issues in public. He has made it a point of limiting his communications with provincial premiers. There is no open discussion of what is best for Canadians.
Harper has silenced government scientists. They are not allowed to have opinions that they can state publicly.
Harper and American Style Right Wing Politics
Harper has been running his political ads that Justin Trudeau is just no ready for over a year now. His political game never stops. One of his right hand men, Kory Teneycke, was instrumental in getting Sun News on TV. Sun News was basically a northern copy of the right wing Fox News in the US. Every night Ezra Levant or one of the other right wing nuts would try to scare their viewers in one form or another. A common theme was their made up threat that Christmas and Christians were under attack. It didn’t matter to them that most Canadians could care less whether someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Sun News was also like a propaganda arm for Israel.
Hardly anybody ever watched Sun News and it eventually went off the air.
Another US right wing tactic was voter suppression. Remember the Conservative guy in the Guelph area who falsely told voters that their polling station had been relocated? His name was Michael Sona and he was sentenced to 9 months in prison and 1 year probation.
Who knew years ago watching CTV that Peter Kent, Mike Duffy, and Pamela Wallin were all closet Conservatives? Then we found out that Conservative senators (all appointed by Harper) Duffy, Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau were all living the high life at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. Their expense claims were criminal and they should have had charges laid against them.
And then this mystery guy, Nigel Wright, offers to pay $90.000.00 that Duffy owed. Nigel Wright was Harper’s right hand guy. The thought that Harper never knew what Wright was up to is nothing short of laughable.
These senators weren’t the only Conservatives who felt that they could extract as much as they could from the taxpayers. In Alberta premier Allison Redford was forced to resign because she treated the Alberta coffers as if she was entitled to abuse her power. Her daughter flew to places around the world at Alberta taxpayer’s expense along with some of Redford’s friends. And who can forget the private penthouse she was having built at the taxpayer’s expense?
The Mike Duffy deal may be out of the public’s eye at the moment but the matter is ongoing in the courts.
9 Years of Harper. How Did He Change Canada?
-Pulled out of the Kyoto Accord.
-Spent millions researching the purchase of new jets for the Canadian Air Force. The price kept going up and up and at this date no planes have been purchased.
-Took credit for Canada’s banks not being involved in the US financial meltdown of 2008 when in fact he was against laws restricting risky practices by banks.
-Renamed the Canadian Navy the Royal Canadian Navy. Canada is an independent country. We fought in WW1 and WW2 and have our own flag. We’ve done our part for the UK. We have no need to show any loyalty to a foreign queen.
-Canada was once known for our peace keeping. Today, we now rank 62nd in our contribution militarily to world peace.
-Increased defense spending by 18%. Canada’ navy is virtually rotting away. Our jet planes are old and out of date. The reality is that as a country we simply don’t have the money to rectify this sad state of affairs.
-Spent 75 billion on a bail-out package for Canadian banks while they were making record profits.
-Spent 1.2 billion dollars on the G-20 boondoggle while having demonstrators arrested. Spent over a million dollars creating an artificial lake in Toronto.
-Put all his eggs in one basket relying on the success of the Alberta tar sands while virtually ignoring other aspects of Canada’s economy. Reduced corporate taxes when there was no need to. Norway has close to 1 trillion dollars tucked away from oil taxes while Alberta is now sinking into debt.
-Fanned the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry.
-Attacked the Supreme Court of Canada when he didn't like their decisions
-Has spent over 100 million dollars in federal courts denying justice to the Aboriginal peoples.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg as to how one man has changed the face of Canada.
Harper’s Current Political Promises
-Income splitting….. This is a concept designed to give a tax break mostly to the well to do. It is of no help to divorced couples, single parents, or people with low incomes.
-Home improvement assistance…… Harper gave a speech about offering Canadians $1000.00-$5000.00 to improve their houses. He gave the speech at a company called Olympic Tile in Toronto. Olympic tile doesn’t manufacture anything. Nada! They import tiles from places like Italy and Mexico. Homes in cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto have appreciated dramatically over the last decade, in some cases by $1,000.00 per month. If you can afford a house in the 500K to 1 million dollar range you shouldn’t need financial assistance. And where would this money be spent? In most cases probably at some American big box hardware store like Home Depot. You know Home Depot….a company that pays their employees extremely low wages and ships their profits off to the US.
-The kach-ing deal……Harper has used props to show what Justin Trudeau will take away from Canadians should he become Prime Minister. Harper skillfully doesn’t include in his amateur presentation the fact that Trudeau will replace Harper’s ideas with ones that in fact give Canada’s middle class a far better deal.
-The continuous fear that the Conservatives try to deceive the Canadian voter with….currently some Conservatives running for office have suggested that if Trudeau gets elected pot will be sold to kids at corner stores and houses of prostitution will be common in some communities. Pure bullshit!
-And then there is former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother organizing an event for Harper and the Conservatives. Is it possible that there is a more perfect poster boy than Rob Ford for the damage drugs can do to one individual?
What About the NDP?
|NDP leader Thomas Mulcair|
There is little doubt that the NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, is a very bright man. The guy was in law school at the age of 18. He is also a political opportunist. He was a Quebec Liberal from 1994 until 2007. At the present age of 60 he has been involved in politics almost his entire life. He asked for a Conservative federal cabinet post before joining the NDP.
When Mulcair was a Liberal in Quebec he stated that he greatly admired British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher was like Ronald Reagan’s evil twin. Both believed in trickle down economics. He has also stated that Quebec should be allowed to separate from Canada with anything over a 50% vote.
Mulcair seems to have 2 faces. One where he takes temper tantrums with insiders in his party and one where comes across in public as smarmy with a disingenuous smile, kind of like charming an old lady who is about to die so that he is written into the will.
After leading the polls at the onset of this election his party has slid into 3rd spot. The Canadian public doesn’t seem to trust him. His backing out of a debate on women’s issues because Harper wouldn’t take part didn’t help his cause. He could have debated with Trudeau and Elizabeth May of The Green Party.
Last week I walked into the local NDP office here in Nanaimo while my wife was at a doctor’s appointment. I spoke to a lady at the front desk. I told her I wasn’t a big fan of Mulcair but I might be interested in voting strategically. The Conservatives currently hold the seat in my riding, (James Lunney who thinks the world is 6,000 years old and who left the Conservatives to be an Independent. He’s not running again.) Some other woman at the NDP office piped in that rapists should be castrated and she would do the job herself. It was a bazaar statement to make and had nothing to do with what I was asking. The staff started talking among themselves and ignored me. Screw them I thought. I had come in with a legitimate question. I’m voting Liberal period!
Why Justin Trudeau?
There is little doubt that Justin Trudeau has led a privileged life. He could choose whatever university he wanted to attend and didn’t have to worry about it. He took a year off to travel around the world when he was younger. And then there is his dad’s name that he could trade on. I think he is in possession of Pierre Trudeau’s old Mercedes.
Unlike Harper and Mulcair Trudeau doesn’t have a paunch. You can tell that he physically takes care of himself and politics hasn’t been his total focus in life. He has spent a considerable amount of time outdoors which to me indicates an appreciation of the wonderful country we live in. Personally I would like to see a young couple with young kids as a good image of Canada. I think we’ve had enough of overweight life-long political wonks.
Justin Trudeau’s life hasn’t been all roses. He lost one of his brothers in a tragic ski accident. His mother Margaret wasn’t always the best role model. He also lost his father Pierre.
His political policies reflect what will work best for middle class Canadians.
-A long overdue increase in income taxes for the wealthiest of Canadians.
-The legalization of marijuana. Control the sales and tax the consumption. This eliminates charging people for minor possession of pot and tying up police time. Minors will not be allowed to purchase the product. Pot smoking has been a part of many Canadians lives for decades now. There is solid proof that pot is a lot less harmful than alcohol or prescription drugs.
-Investing in Canada’s infrastructure should be a no brainer. Lending rates have never been lower and now is the time to do it while Canada’s economy is so uncertain. Canada can afford a modest debt for the next few years. It is called investing in our future.
-Trudeau looks at the positive possibilities for Canada where Harper strokes the idea of fear and uncertainty.
-Trudeau won’t operate as the lone spokesman for the Canadian government. He will consult with the provincial premiers as to what is best for Canada. He offers a government that will be far more transparent than the one we have had to endure under Harper.
-He will invest in clean technologies and eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.
-He plans to make visits to Canada’s national parks free by 2017.
-Christian beliefs will no longer be a litmus test as to who should hold political office as has been common with Harper’s government.
-Trudeau and the provincial premiers will attend a conference on climate change at the end of this year in Paris. The provincial premiers will have input on carbon taxes.
-He will listen to public input on oil pipelines and not just the multi-national oil companies.
-He will increase the amount of protected coastal and marine areas by 5% in 2017 and by 10% by 2020.
-Millions will be invested in clean tech.
-He will cut the federal advertising budget that Harper has abused for so long.
-Canada’s military missions to Syria and Iraq will come to an end. Canada won’t be part of the world police led by the US. Countries in the Middle East and that general area will be left to sort out their own problems and Canadian soldier’s lives will no longer be at risk.
-There will be a tax cut for the middle class. 7%.
-A family of 4 making 90K annually will receive a tax free payment of $470.00 per month. That’s $2500.00 more per year than Harper is offering.
After close to 10 years of living under a religious dictator Canada can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, a country that we can once again be proud of. No more just looking at our future as gloom and doom and made up fear. Justin Trudeau isn’t perfect. He has his flaws. All things considered he is Canada’s best hope by far.
It is time to start fresh with new ideas.
Be sure and vote. Canada is the best country on the planet. You owe it to this country and your good fortune to live here to take the small amount of time it takes to vote. If you don’t vote it doesn’t say much for you! Do it!